Scripps Oceanography/UC San Diego News at Oceans'13


Information on attending Oceans'13 is available here.

An Ocean in Common: Opening Plenary Session

Tuesday, September 24, 8:30-10:30 a.m. • Atlas Ballroom

UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla is one of four plenary speakers who will kick off the Oceans’13 conference in San Diego by addressing the theme: “An Ocean in Common.” Khosla will address UC San Diego’s robust ties to the ocean and marine science communities, as well as its long-time collaborations, through Scripps Institution of Oceanography, with the U.S. Navy—in San Diego and across the world’s oceans. From Scripps’s 110-year-history in marine science to today’s leadership in academia and research, Khosla will discuss UC San Diego’s role as a unifying force for science, engineering, and societal impact. The other plenary speakers include explorer and environmentalist Sylvia Earle; Deputy Assistant Administrator for NOAA Research Craig McLean; and Chevron Energy Technology Company Deep-Star Director Greg Kusinski. The plenary session officially opens the technical and scientific program of Oceans ’13, a major forum for scientists, engineers, and others interested in the oceans and jointly sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Marine Technology Society. Scripps is serving as academic host of the conference.


Special Sessions

Scripps Students at Sea

Wednesday, September 25, 10:30-11:50 a.m. Pacific Salon 3

As marine environments and coastal populations around the globe experience a host of rising threats—from sea-level rise to pollution to rising ocean acidity—the need for highly trained oceanographers and other marine scientists with experience conducting research at sea has never been greater. Research vessels, including Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s fleet of four ships and one research platform, provide early career scientists with irreplaceable training on “laboratories at sea” for a new age of global exploration. During this special session, a panel of Scripps graduate students co-chaired by current Scripps graduate students Karlina Merkens and Benjamin Grupe will discuss recent research cruises, from the Gulf of Mexico to Hawaii, covering topics ranging from marine mammal studies to fisheries to coral reefs. Scripps graduate students have been given the opportunity to lead such expeditions through the unique UC Ship Funds Program, which enables University of California graduate students to conceive, propose, execute, and direct their own scientific programs aboard Scripps research vessels.


A Call for Stewardship of the Deep Sea

Wednesday, September 25, 3:30-4:50 p.m. Pacific Salon 1

The deep sea is the world’s largest ecosystem but remains its least explored. Considering emerging threats from issues such as pollution and resource exploitation, Scripps Institution of Oceanography marine ecologist Lisa Levin will chair a special Oceans’13 panel discussion on the urgent need for environmental management and monitoring of the deep ocean. “Research and Technology Needs for Stewardship of the Deep Sea” will address the challenges facing protection and conservation of the deep sea, including the logistical barriers to exploration and discovery, as well as recent economic concerns about the depletion of deep-sea fish stocks, energy extraction, and minerals mining. Other speakers on the panel are Scripps scientists Tony Koslow, Kathryn Mengerink, and Doug Bartlett, and long-time Scripps engineer Kevin Hardy.

Technical Presentations

New Technology to Gauge Coral Health

Wednesday, September 25, 8:40 a.m. Pacific Salon 7

Coral reefs around the world are now threatened from a variety of factors, from overfishing to pollution to ocean acidification. New tools and technologies to monitor coral health are urgently in demand to help scientists decipher these changes. Scripps and UC San Diego post-doctoral researcher Tali Treibitz will present details on the development of a new method of surveying coral fluorescence—the light produced by corals that can serve as an indicator of coral reef ecological and physiological health. While fluorescence imaging has been regularly studied in the laboratory, field use has been restricted due to sunlight disruption. Treibitz and her colleagues are developing a method for effective daytime fluorescence imaging with an off-the-shelf camera, allowing wide-scale coral reef fluorescence surveys.


New Analysis of the Deepest Habitats on the Planet

Wednesday, September 25, 10:50 a.m. Pacific Salon 1

James Cameron’s record-setting dive to the world’s deepest point on March 26, 2012, yielded much more than newspaper headlines. The DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition and the “lander” instruments (developed in conjunction with long-time Scripps engineer Kevin Hardy) provided a rare opportunity to study the world’s deepest habitats in their natural state. Tapping into the expedition’s video footage, Scripps graduate student Natalya Gallo is analyzing the ecology of the world’s extreme depths at the Mariana Trench (10.9 kilometers / 6.8 miles deep) and New Britain Trench (8.2 kilometers / 5.1 miles deep), as well as large deep-sea amphipods collected using baited traps on the landers. The two trenches offer a fascinating comparative opportunity to study how food availability shapes trench communities. DEEPSEA CHALLENGE was a joint scientific expedition by Cameron, National Geographic, and Rolex.


Ocean Video Game Promotes STEM Learning

Thursday, September 26, 10:50 a.m. Royal Palm Salon 7

Video games aren’t just car chases and shoot-’em-ups any more. For Scripps scientists and education specialists, video games are an effective tool for teaching scientific concepts and promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills. Scripps’s Cheryl Peach will describe a video game developed at Scripps based on the National Science Foundation’s Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) that emphasizes oceanographic concepts and reinforces targeted science learning goals. The Deep-sea Extreme Environment Pilot (D.E.E.P.) game, tested through youth programs at Birch Aquarium at Scripps, takes players on a compelling and realistic ride as pilot commander of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) through challenges spanning from virtual hydrothermal vents to a deep coral reef environment. D.E.E.P. and other educational video games can be downloaded for free at:

Student Poster Presentation

Reconstructing Surface Wave Profiles from Forward Scattered Acoustic Pulses

Tuesday, Sept. 24, 1:30-3:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Sept. 25, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. • Atlas Ballroom

Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego will present a breakthrough in imaging the shape of the ocean surface and waves. Graduate student Sean Walstead and oceanographer Grant Deane have developed a novel acoustic remote sensing technique that goes beyond traditional sonar. It enables them to use underwater sound alone to learn about wave shape in great detail. The researchers analyze the structure of sound pulses that have been transmitted from an underwater transducer, reflected off surface waves, and recorded at a distant receiver. The reflected sound is so sensitive to details of the surface wave field that knowledge of surface elevation and local wave curvature can be determined more precisely even than with the use of high-speed cameras. The researchers said that this technique can improve remote sensing of surface waves, which enhance greenhouse gas exchange and momentum between the atmosphere and ocean. It also has important implications for the performance of underwater acoustic communications systems.

More information about Oceans'13 is available here.

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