May 10, 2023 Edition
A monthly round-up of news and trends important to the AltaSea community.
May 10, 2023 Edition
A monthly round-up of news and trends important to the AltaSea community.
May 13, 2023 – 2pm to 4pm
The non-profit organization is expanding its program list to include a Blue Economy vocational scuba diving, lifeguard certification course called “EECI Dives to the Blue”. The program will be coordinated by Gerald Durant, Dive Master for the Fire Department of the City of Los Angeles. Participants have two opportunities at free open enrollment business seminars.
May 20, 2023 – 10am to 12pm
Volunteers are essential to the work we do and the goals we want to achieve in our community. We want you to know how much we appreciate you and this could not be done without you! The work you do and the time you give is immeasurably valuable to the mission and vision of AltaSea for a more sustainable, just and equitable world.
July 29, 2023 – 10am to 12:30pm
Join us at our AltaSea Campus located at 2451 South Signal Street, San Pedro, CA 90731.
Guests Speakers Linda Chilton and Michelle Horeczko will be discussing, What is that happening right off our coast?
Michelle Horeczko at California Department of Fish and Wildlife Marine Region presents Sustainable Fisheries and Marine Resources along the California coast.
Our speakers and local ocean-focused organizations will be available for guests to speak with.
Oct 14, 2023 – Save The Date
AltaSea’s Blue Hour connects science, culture and community by cultivating immersive experiences through multi-disciplinary arts. From global to local, creators and innovators chronicle the vision of a Blue Economy, telling the stories of the ocean, the humanity of those devoted to its preservation and future. Blue Hour supports AltaSea’s Project Blue, which offers students a voice in supporting LA as the center of the Blue Economy through education, career opportunity, access to access to arts and culture. This year’s Blue Hour Guest Curator is American interdisciplinary artist, Kim Abeles whose artworks explore the environment, biography, geography and feminism. Stay tuned for more updates!
Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger energizes 4-acre rooftop solar installation at AltaSea (FoxNews)
On April 21, Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, AltaSea CEO Terry Tamminen, AltaSea Board Member Dr. Melanie Lundquist, and LA City Councilman Tim McOsker joined AltaSea to celebrate the completion of AltaSea’s 4-acre rooftop array. This is another historic milestone in AltaSea’s history, as the blue technology hub becomes the largest ocean R&D facility to be powered by renewable energy. The installation will provide enough energy to power AltaSea’s 35-acre campus, sending its excess energy to the grid. The energy generated from the panels is enough to power 700 homes!
Former Gov. Schwarzenegger flips on AltaSea’s giant rooftop solar panels (Daily Breeze)
The flood of sunshine in San Pedro on Friday morning, April 21, was apt, as as former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a crowd of more than 100 people celebrated a completed solar rooftop project at AltaSea, the marine science lab at the Port of Los Angeles.
The 180,000-foot panels cover four acres of rooftop on the old port warehouses that now are now home to the ambitious, 35-acre research hub, the largest such center in the nation dedicated to creating and powering ocean-based jobs in the emerging blue economy.
Schwarzenegger, who climbed the scaffolding steps and did the honors to turn on the rooftop solar project that will power the AltaSea campus and 700 local homes, marveled at the campus’s progress.
Captura, AltaSea plan ocean carbon removal system at port of Los Angeles (Environment + Energy Leader)
Captura, a carbon removal company founded at Caltech, has partnered with AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles to advance ocean-climate solutions. The partnership aims to promote technology development and industry collaboration in the ocean-climate space. As part of the collaboration, Captura’s newest ocean carbon removal system will be installed at AltaSea’s 35-acre blue economy campus. The ocean carbon removal system can capture up to 100 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the ocean annually.
The latest system is scaled up by 100 times from the company’s first pilot, which has been operating at Newport Beach, California, since August 2022. Captura’s direct ocean capture (DOC) technology leverages the ocean’s natural capacity as a carbon sink to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
How new technology could turn oceans into a giant ‘sponge’ for carbon dioxide (yahoo!news)
Our planet’s oceans already absorb a vast amount of carbon dioxide and warmth caused by climate change, but could new technology turn them into a giant “sponge” for CO2? That’s the aim behind SeaChange, a project masterminded by researchers from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
SeaChange pilot plants turn CO2 absorbed by the ocean into minerals, leaving the ocean free to absorb more. Researchers believe that around 1,800 industrial-scale plants would capture about 10 billion tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide per year – almost a third of the 37 billion tons released annually.
California’s wave and tidal legislation moves forward (OffShore Energy)
The SB 605 bill passed both the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee and the Natural Resources and Water Committee in the past two weeks unanimously, with 15-0 and 10-0 votes, respectively.
The bill, which seeks to create a framework for the development of wave energy in California and to establish a regulatory pathway for the construction and operation of wave energy projects in state waters, has now headed to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
LA innovators dive into the sustainable ‘blue economy’ (Greater LA)
Nsilou spoke to KCRW from AltaSea, a nonprofit housed near the Port of LA where her marine science class was on a field trip. Part incubator, part research facility, and part educational institution, AltaSea supports scientists, entrepreneurs, and students working to make Los Angeles a global hub for the so-called “blue economy” — the aquatic equivalent of the sustainable green economy on land.
Getting students like Nsilou excited is just one part of the mission, says AltaSea CEO Terry Tamminen. He’s bullish on LA’s “blue” future.
“Los Angeles is absolutely going to become the Silicon Valley of the sea,” he tells KCRW. “I do believe in the next 10 or 20 years, this will be to the California economy what Silicon Valley was 40 or 50 years ago.”
How aquafarms combat climate change while raising seafood (TODAY Show)
Offshore aquaculture is one of the most resource efficient means of protein production, supplying half of the world’s seafood today. There is a growing body of scientific evidence that shows marine aquaculture is a valuable tool for the U.S. to meet its climate goals.
In a previous Stronger America Through Seafood (SATS) commissioned report that was a comprehensive review of existing scientific literature on the climate impacts of farming finfish, shellfish, crustaceans, and seaweeds, the findings are supportive of an expanded industry. The report demonstrates that aquaculture is healthy for our planet and must be part of any credible conversation about meeting U.S. and global climate goals.
This floating ocean garbage is home to a surprising amount of life from the coasts (NPR)
Scientists studying a giant collection of plastic trash floating in the middle of the open ocean have found some unexpected inhabitants: dozens of marine species that usually stick close to the coast. Among the plastic debris, the researchers found all kinds of nonnative species, from anemones to worms to little crustaceans.
“To find that many coastal species on a relatively small sample size was shocking,” says Linsey Haram, a marine ecologist who did this research while working at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
Scientists discover pristine deep-sea Galápagos reef ‘teeming with life’ (The Guardian)
Diving to depths of 600 meters (1,970ft), to the summit of a previously unmapped seamount in the central part of the archipelago, the scientists witnessed a breathtaking mix of deep marine life. This has raised hopes that healthy reefs can still thrive at a time when coral is in crisis due to record sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification. It also showed the effectiveness of conservation actions and effective management, they said.
“They are pristine and teeming with life – pink octopus, batfish, squat lobsters and an array of deep-sea fish, sharks and rays,” said Dr Michelle Taylor, a marine biologist at Essex University and co-leader of the expedition in a human-occupied vehicle, HOV Alvin, a submersible able to take two scientists to depths of 6,500 meters.
The most mysterious forests on Earth are underwater (VOX)
A few miles west of San Diego is a stretch of ocean that’s rather unremarkable from the surface. The water is cold and blue. There’s some green seaweed peeking out.
Sink below the waves, however, and a whole other realm appears. Under the sea here, near Point Loma, is a forest as beautiful as any other. It’s made not of trees but of strands of giant kelp, a species of algae that can grow taller than a 10-story building.
Tethered to the seafloor and buoyed by air-filled chambers, the kelp strands undulate with the current, moving in slow motion. Schools of fish, seals, and other aquatic critters weave through the stalks like birds through a forest canopy.
Bizarre blue ‘jellyfish’ washing up on California beaches are a sign of spring (Scientific American)
Along the U.S. Pacific coast, droves of alien creatures about the size of a doughnut are washing up on beaches and leaving a mat of briefly blue debris that soon fades to a crackly white—hiding just how bizarre these animals are.
“Most people experience them as some kind of weird, off-white, old-toenail-color crunchiness that you walk on on the beach,” says Julia Parrish, a marine ecologist at the University of Washington. “They have no idea that they’re actually walking across billions and billions of organisms.”
LACO kicks off ordinance for sustainable food ware (RLN)
LOS ANGELES – The County of Los Angeles begins May 1 implementing an ordinance that requires all food-service containers, cups, dishes and cutlery distributed by restaurants and food facilities in unincorporated areas be recyclable or compostable.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the measure in April 2022 to reduce plastic blight, unburden landfills and reduce our dependence on harmful fossil fuels. The vote made Los Angeles County the largest municipality in the nation to take aggressive action against the scourge of single-use plastics.
More California oil and gas workers make the jump to clean energy (The Mercury News)
With new local, state, federal and international mandates aimed at reducing carbon emissions, latest Department of Energy records show fossil fuel sectors continued to post job losses even as the pandemic eased. Petroleum lost 31,593 jobs from 2020 to 2021, for a 6.4% drop, while coal jobs dropped by 11.8%.
At the same time, the energy sector overall grew faster than the national workforce. And all renewable energy divisions added jobs that year, with careers in geothermal, hydro, wind and solar power all up between 2.8% to 5.4%.
World Bank signs $350 million loan for blue economy projects in Morocco (The Fishsite)
The blue economy development programme hopes to stimulate job creation and economic growth, while shoring up food security and improving the sustainability and resilience of Morocco’s natural resources. According to a news story in Afrik21, a key component of the funding will be invested in sustainable aquaculture and tourism projects to help jumpstart the country’s Covid-19 recovery. This will include vocational training in blue economy management, training in ecosystem restoration and management and improving climate resilience in coastal areas.
The Moroccan government will use the loan to strengthen natural resource management, develop institutional frameworks and improve strategic sectors that will make the country’s blue economy more resilient to climate change. The other component will establish an inter-ministerial commission and regional coordination mechanisms to facilitate coordination between sectors of the blue economy.
Scientists estimate sea kelp generates $500 bn a year (PHSY.ORG)
The study published in Nature Communications offered a rare gauge of the contribution from the tall seaweed, which is threatened by climate change, valuing it at three times the amount previously thought.
The international team of scientists quantified the contribution of six kinds of kelp to fisheries production through the species they support.
They also calculated the benefits from kelp’s role in nitrogen and CO2 removal.
“Globally, these kelp forests produce an estimated average $500 billion per year,” they concluded, making them “over three times more valuable than previously acknowledged”.
They found the kelp—whose support of numerous lifeforms was noted by Charles Darwin—sequester 4.91 million metric tons of CO2, thus removing planet-warming gas from the atmosphere.
Kelp are threatened by human-caused climate change, which warms the oceans. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has documented damage to them from marine heatwaves in recent years.
How do people use kelp? (NOAA)
Kelp forests are extremely biologically productive habitats for a huge range of sea creatures including fish, urchins, sea otters, sea lions, and even some whales. Because of this, kelp forests are critical for fishing and recreation industries.
Unfortunately, overfishing disrupts the balance of kelp forests by removing predators and allowing plant-eating populations to explode and overeat the kelp, destroying the forests. Pollution, such as sediment runoff and industrial waste, also contributes to the destruction of kelp forests.
‘A legend is born’: Kirsten Neuschäfer becomes first woman to win historic Golden Globe Race (CNN)
Kirsten Neuschäfer has become the first woman to win the Golden Globe Race.
Neuschäfer and 15 other competitors, who were all men, set off from Les Sables-d’Olonne, France on September 4, 2022, with the aim of making it around the world via the five Great Capes before returning to the coastal town in the west of France.
Entrants race solo, non-stop, and in boats that are reminiscent of the ‘Golden Age’ of solo sailing – the yachts have to be designed before 1988 and are without electronic instruments or autopilots.
NASA’s last S-MODE mission studies the ocean’s surface (PHYS.ORG)
NASA has taken to the seas and skies to study the unique environment at the ocean‘s surface, where marine ecosystems intersect with our planet’s complex atmosphere. On April 7, scientists participating in the Sub-Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment (S-MODE) embarked on the RV Sally Ride from San Diego on the last of three field expeditions to understand the ocean’s role in the Earth’s changing climate. They will be at sea for about a month until returning to San Diego on May 4, and they will operate for most of that period in tandem with an accompanying airborne campaign.
“There are small swirls on the ocean surface—eddies—that are challenging to see by satellites and models,” said S-MODE scientist Kelly Luis, who is working aboard the RV Sally Ride. “During campaigns like S-MODE, we get to be up close to them to understand their broader impact on the climate and oceans.”