Jon White – From the President’s Office: 06-11-2018

2018-06-11T17:01:03+00:00 June 11, 2018|

Last Friday, we celebrated World Oceans Day, but the ocean-themed events lasted all week. On Monday, after months of planning, the Ocean Plastics Lab opened on the National Mall. COL is proud to be a partner in this international effort to educate the public, in a hands-on way, about the extent of the ocean plastic pollution problem and science’s role in helping address it. In my remarks at the opening ceremony, I highlighted the international cooperation that made Ocean Plastics Lab’s D.C. visit possible and reminded everyone how this exhibit will catalyze commitment and ingenuity in the thousands of people who will pass through it in the coming days — which is exactly what we need to solve problems like this. We’ll be continuing this discussion at a congressional briefing this week, and you can still see the exhibit through June 17 (more details here).

I also participated in an event hosted by the European Union celebrating 20 years of the European Union and United States Science and Technology Agreement and five years of scientific collaboration between the EU, the United States, and Canada under the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation. My panel, the Transatlantic Research Cooperation to Treasure and Protect the Atlantic Ocean, which was moderated by Sigi Gruber of the European Commission and Craig McLean of NOAA, focused on where this cooperation should go in the coming years; what gaps remain; and how the EU, the U.S., and Canada can continue to work together on issues impacting the Atlantic. I highlighted the need to prioritize research areas and develop consistent messaging across international programs as well as the important role of ocean technology in answering questions. I reminded the audience that ocean science is not just science for science’s sake, but it’s science with survival at stake.

Also last week, our colleagues at the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation hosted another successful Capitol Hill Ocean Week, which focused on our changing ocean, restoration of the ocean and Great Lakes, and working together for sustainable waters.

Over on Capitol Hill, Congress has been keeping busy with several actions impacting ocean science and technology. The House just passed, along party lines, a “minibus” of three spending bills, including the Energy-Water bill, which includes a rider prohibiting funds for further implementation of a National Ocean Policy (despite an effort by Rep. Lowenthal (CA) to have that language removed). You can find more details of legislative activity last week, including the House’s Defense and Interior-Environment spending bills, below. This week, the Senate is set for a committee markup of their Commerce-Justice-Science bill funding NSF, NOAA, and NASA while also continuing Floor debate of the National Defense Authorization Act.

Member Highlight
Research Expeditions: Bringing Scientists Together
Dr. John Lehrter (Dauphin Island Sea Lab) recently wrapped up research expedition number two of 2018. Both delivered different samples to analyze in a quest to answer the larger question: How does the ocean work? The April to May cruise, sponsored by the Naval Research Laboratory, included the Dauphin Island Sea Lab/University of South Alabama, the University of Delaware, Florida International University, and Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Lehrter’s January cruise also included four universities on board: the University of Delaware, Louisiana State University, Louisiana Universities Consortium, and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab/University of South Alabama. Dr. Lehrter said early takeaways from the work are that “acidification is mirroring hypoxia with higher respiration rates in the summer. Respiration is by far the dominant process in the coastal ocean.”

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