AltaSea: Trending – September 13, 2017

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


Exxon Misled the Public on Climate Change, Study Says (New York Times)

As Exxon Mobil responded to news reports in 2015 that said that the company had spread doubt about the risks of climate change despite its own extensive research in the field, it urged the public to “read the documents” for themselves.

Now two Harvard researchers have done just that, reviewing nearly 200 documents representing Exxon’s research and its public statements and concluding that the company “misled the public” about climate change even as its own scientists were recognizing greenhouse gas emissions as a risk to the planet.

Gardening the Seas to Save the World’s Corals (EcoWatch)

As ocean waters warm and acidify, corals across the globe are disappearing. Desperate to prevent the demise of these vital ecosystems, researchers have developed ways to “garden” corals, buying the oceans some much-needed time. University of Miami Rosenstiel School marine biologist Diego Lirman sat down with Josh Chamot of Nexus Media to describe the process and explain what’s at stake.

Giant Plankton May Help Move Plastic Pollution to Sea Floor (The Scientist)

Plastic pollution has emerged as a real threat to Earth’s ecosystems, especially in the ocean. But microscopic bits of plastic that swirl near the surface may have a route to deeper layers. Giant larvaceans, members of the marine zooplankton that swim in the upper layers of ocean waters worldwide, may be capable of ingesting microplastic pollution and transporting it to deeper parts of the sea, according to researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).

Scientists from the California Academy of Sciences uncover factors that shape sea life (EurekaAlert!)

On its 50th anniversary, the landmark theory of island biogeography–the study of the distribution of species on islands over time–expands from land to sea with fascinating results. A team of researchers led by Dr. Hudson Pinheiro, postdoctoral ichthyologist at the California Academy of Sciences, have proposed a new conceptual model of island biogeography for marine organisms–a theory that explores how different processes (like sea level fluctuations and geographic isolation) influence marine species diversity around islands. The team found that, despite some similarities, the forces that tend to shape diversification and community assemblage on land are different from those that impact islands’ marine environments.


Local port districts continue to pursue aquaculture opportunities (The Log)

Federal officials declared Pacific bluefin tuna are not on the verge of becoming extinct, but local harbors are still pursuing opportunities to ramp up seafood production in Southern California.

At least two port agencies have been actively pursuing opportunities in aquaculture, with the Port of San Diego recently revealing details about four pilot projects and the Ventura Port District aiming to develop production of shellfish in the Santa Barbara Channel.

Tweet Streams: How Social Media Can Help Keep Tabs on Ocean Health (News Deeply)

Ecosystems are under pressure all over the world, and monitoring their health is crucial. But scientific monitoring is very expensive, requiring a great deal of expertise, sophisticated instruments and detailed analysis, often in specialized laboratories. Research suggests that social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram could be a rich source of free information for scientists tasked with monitoring the health of coral reefs and other environmental assets.


A Global Analysis of the Potential Productivity for Aquaculture (UCLA IoES)

The majority of the world’s aquaculture is concentrated in only a few countries – most notably, China, Indonesia, and India. Most of this production takes place either on land or in coastal habitat, where environmental impacts are often severe. Evidence shows that innovative offshore technologies can dramatically reduce the environmental impact of large-scale commercial fish farming. UCLA IoES research builds off a previous study sponsored by the Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) that identified regions around the world with high biological potential for offshore farming of fish and bivalves. 

The project focuses on six countries: Morocco, Oman, Palau, Philippines, United Arab Emirates and the United States of America, and, identified areas of high ecological potential which can possibly introduce or improve the current aquaculture situation. The researchers partnered with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and are working directly with Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) and National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) to produce a report that shows how aquaculture may be a strong candidate for marine conservation programs.

U.N. Report: Little Known About Ocean Plastic’s Impact on Human Health (News Deeply)

There’s an estimated 51 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean, most of it broken up into bits smaller than the nail on your pinkie finger. Marine animals eat this plastic when they mistake it for fish eggs, plankton and algae. And so do people when they slurp down oysters, consume crab or eat other types of fish and shellfish, according to the latest research on the presence of plastic in fisheries and aquaculture issued by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.


Swimming for Science and Sustainability: Marine Plastic Pollution (AltaSea)

September 16, 2017 at 10:00am

Open House featuring

  • Ben Lecomte, Swimmer, Advocate, Founder, The Longest Swim
  • Matthew Mulrennan, Director, Ocean Initiative, XPRIZE
  • Captain Charles Moore, Founder and Research Director, Algalita Marine Research and Education

Ben Lecomte will swim from Tokyo to San Francisco – eight hours a day for six months. Matt Mulrennan will discuss the award winning XPRIZE ocean acidification technology that Ben’s support vessel will carry as he conquers the 5,500 mile journey across the Pacific including through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that Captain Moore and Algalita have been studying for over 20 years. 

Attendance is free and open to the public. Please wear flat, closed-toe shoes.

Address: Berth 58: 2456 South Signal Street, San Pedro, CA 90731

Parking is available along the sides of Berths 57-60.

RSVP required – email Kristina at

Sustainable Seafood Expo (Cabrillo Marine Aquarium)

October 1, 2017 at 12:00pm

Learn how the​ fish on your dish should be caught or farmed and how YOU can lessen the impact on the marine environment by making savvy seafood choices.

Information Booths • Cooking Demonstrations • Seafood Sampling • Educational activities

Welcome back 2017 Keynote Speaker, Adrian Grenier, Co-founder of the Lonely Whale Foundation and recently appointed UN Environment Programme Goodwill Ambassador. Join us and hear him speak about the impact of plastic pollution and learn about his newest initiative, Strawless Ocean.

Visit the Sustainable Seafood Expo website for more details and to buy tickets!

Attack of the Killer Algae (Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy)

September 23, 2017 at 11:00am

Presentation and book signing with author, Eric Noel Munoz about an exciting success story against invasive algae in our oceans. Free. RSVP here or call 310.541.7613.

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