Last week, COL convened our third annual industry forum, bringing together more than 100 cross-sector stakeholders invested in this year’s topic, Rigs to Reality: Determining the Fate of Offshore Oil Platforms. While participants represented a wide spectrum of interests, from oil companies to government agencies to environmental organizations to academic institutions, all had a shared desire to use science and technology to inform wise decision-making around the future of decommissioned oil platforms, which carries an estimated collective price tag in the tens of billions of dollars. After hearing from a variety of experts on the topic, there was a robust discussion to identify knowledge gaps and to determine how best to move forward to fill them. Over the coming weeks, we will be developing a proceedings document that will be made widely available and will identify steps needed to resolve knowledge gaps and advance the science and technology essential to sound decision-making – across all ocean sectors.
The industry forum was followed by our semiannual board and members meeting. I was happy to continue the discussion of ocean security, which encompasses our national, homeland, food, water, energy, and economic security, as well as human health, all of which rely upon a solid ocean science foundation. I was also pleased to join our board chair – Jackie Dixon (Dean of the USF College of Marine Sciences) – to present one of COL’s board members, Hank Lobe, with the Graham Shimmield Leadership Award (see photo). Hank, of Severn Marine Technologies, is the inaugural recipient of this award and has worked tirelessly to advance COL’s engagement with ocean industry and to nurture their active inclusion in COL and our activities. We are grateful to him for his inspirational leadership, just as we are eternally grateful to Graham Shimmield for his selfless dedication and leadership in the ocean sciences.
RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.)
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Environmental disturbances such as El Niño shake up the marine food web off Southern California, new research shows, countering conventional thinking that the hierarchy of who-eats-who in the ocean remains largely constant over time. Many scientists have long considered the length of the food chain in the open sea to be relatively stable, with roughly the same animal species feeding on each other through time. But the chemical signatures in the skin of Southern California dolphins collected over two decades now show otherwise, report scientists from NOAA Fisheries, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.