AltaSea: Trending – November 14, 2018

A monthly round-up of news and trends important to the AltaSea community.


Huge Cluster of Octopuses Observed Southwest of Monterey (KQED)

AltaSea partner, Ocean Exploration Trust and their research vessel E/V Nautilus are in the news.

It was at the very end of a 35-hour expedition on Tuesday when scientists spotted the octopuses — more than a thousand of them — in a previously unexplored rocky habitat near the Davidson Seamount, an ocean habitat about 80 miles southwest of Monterey.

Marine scientists embarked on a 10-day research expedition to a previously unexplored part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary with the help of two remote-controlled robots.

They were found in “brooding” positions, with their arms inverted as they covered their eggs, which they cemented to rocks approximately 10,000 feet below the ocean surface.

It was the first time scientists had found this type of cluster on the West Coast, and only the second time they have ever been observed.

The Big Meltdown (National Geographic)

As the Antarctic Peninsula heats up, the rules of life there are being ripped apart. Alarmed scientists aren’t sure what all the change means for the future.

Here at the bottom of the world, a place all but free of human settlement, humanity is scrambling one of the ocean’s richest wildernesses. Fossil-fuel burning thousands of miles away is heating up the western peninsula faster than almost anywhere else. (Only the Arctic compares.) The warming is yanking apart the gears of a complex ecological machine, changing what animals eat, where they rest, how they raise their young, even how they interact. At the same time, the shrimplike krill upon which almost all animals here depend for food are being swept up by trawlers from distant nations. They’re being processed into dietary supplements and pharmaceuticals, and fed to salmon in Norwegian fjords and to tropical fish in aquariums.

So much here is changing so fast that scientists can’t predict where it’s all headed. “Something dramatic is under way,” says Heather Lynch, a penguin biologist at Stony Brook University. “It should bother us that we don’t really know what’s going on.”

Poralia rufescens jellyfish spotted off coast of California (BBC News)

A rarely seen red jellyfish has been spotted in deep water off the coast of southern California.

Scientists from Exploration Vessel Nautilus used a remotely controlled vehicle to dive down and observe deep sea creatures. 

Microplastics found in 90 percent of table salt (National Geographic)

Microplastics were found in sea salt several years ago. But how extensively plastic bits are spread throughout the most commonly used seasoning remained unclear. Now, new research shows microplastics in 90 percent of the table salt brands sampled worldwide.

Of 39 salt brands tested, 36 had microplastics in them, according to a new analysis by researchers in South Korea and Greenpeace East Asia. Using prior salt studies, this new effort is the first of its scale to look at the geographical spread of microplastics in table salt and their correlation to where plastic pollution is found in the environment.


Meet The Real Life Lara Croft Of Ocean Science (Forbes)

The earth has lost about 50% of its coral reefs within the last 50 years. A UNESCO study reported in 2017 that by 2050, 90% of the coral reefs will die of heat stress.

Dr. Erika Woolsey is a marine biologist, filmmaker, teaching fellow and lecturer at Stanford’s and the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions, National Geographic Explorer and entrepreneur who is using virtual reality and underwater photogrammetry to engage and build public attention to the beauty and risk our oceans face.

Sea Grant Announces 2018 Aquaculture Research Awards (NOAA Sea Grant)

NOAA Sea Grant announced the award of $11 million in grants for 22 projects to further advance the development of a sustainable marine and coastal aquaculture industry in the U.S.

As part of the Department of Commerce, NOAA facilitates the growing uses of and demands on our ocean resources. One of the most urgent opportunities in the “Blue Economy” is the need to expand sustainable seafood production in the U.S. —both through the better utilization of our wild-capture fisheries and the expansion of marine aquaculture.

Interview: TMA’s Michael Jones on BlueTech Week (Marine Technology News)

Marine Technology Reporter interviews Michael Jones, the ubiquitous leader of The Maritime Alliance and the architect of the Blue Tech Week in San Diego. The theme for the 10th Annual Blue Tech Week is “UN Sustainable Development Goals – Industry Solutions”.


Science & Engineering Internship Program, Science Communication Fellowship accepting applications! (The Ocean Exploration Trusts)

The Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) is accepting applications for students and educators to participate in the 2019 E/V Nautilus Expedition exploring the Eastern Pacific Ocean along the coast of North America from Canada to Mexico! Founded by Dr. Robert Ballard, OET is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to bringing ocean exploration to the world via live telepresence and providing experiential opportunities for students, young professionals, and educators.

Paid internships for community college, undergraduate, or graduate students, and recent graduates are available in ocean science, seafloor mapping, ROV (remotely operated vehicle) engineering, and video engineering through the Science & Engineering Internship Program. Accepted students will have the chance to sail aboard E/V Nautilus for 2-4 weeks learning from experts in the field.

Opportunities for formal classroom educators, informal educators, and artists are available through OET’s Science Communication Fellowship. Accepted Fellows attend a science communication training workshop in March 2019 and sail aboard E/V Nautilus for 1-3 weeks to bring the excitement of ocean exploration to students and public audiences around the world through varied outreach platforms. For program specifics and detailed application packets, visit:

Science Communication Fellowship Application Deadline – December 14, 2018.

Science & Engineering Internship Program Application Deadline – January 4, 2019.

Questions? Contact the OET Education Team via

This 12-Year-Old Girl Built a Robot That Can Find Microplastics In the Ocean (The Smithsonian)

Anna Du was walking along Castle Island’s beach in South Boston when she noticed plastic scattered on the shoreline. She reached down to pick it up, and quickly realized there was many more tiny pieces than she could handle.

“When I realized how many pieces there were, it seemed impossible,” says Du, who was in sixth grade at the time.

But Du approached the problem like any good scientist—first, by doing a little research. That’s how she learned that 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the oceans every year—and that’s in addition to the whopping 150 million metric tons that are already there.

Then she got to work building something that could help solve the issue: a remote-operated vehicle, or ROV, that can move through water and spot plastics on the ocean floor.

Educators: Set sail with NOAA! Become a Teacher at Sea (NOAA)

NOAA’s Teacher at Sea Program provides pre-kindergarten through college-level teachers a hands-on, real-world research experience working at sea with world-renowned NOAA scientists. This opportunity gives educators a unique insight into oceanic and atmospheric research.

Applications and references are accepted only through the Teacher as Sea online application system from November 1–30, 2018. The application closes at 5:00 pm Eastern on November 30.


#GivingTuesday at AltaSea

November 27, 2018

#GivingTuesday is a global giving movement that has been built by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in countries around the world. Millions of people come together to support and champion causes they believe in and the communities in which they live. Whether you are driven by helping AltaSea find ocean-related solutions to the planet’s most pressing challenges, or you’re excited about AltaSea’s role in boosting the local economy and the STEM education programs we’re bringing to Los Angeles schools, your action makes a difference. Click here to make a gift!

38th Annual Spirit of San Pedro Holiday Parade (San Pedro Chamber of Commerce)

December 2, 2018 from 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Each year, this festive tradition brings families, little leagues, scouts, students, high school bands, equestrian units, and volunteers to downtown San Pedro to celebrate the holiday season and our community.  More than 9,000 individuals will line the streets to view the parade.  The AltaSea team will be participating in the parade.  Please come down and give us a wave as we pass by!

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