Live Chats

Past Live Chats (Recordings)

Live Chat with Dr. Clarissa Anderson

“Meet the Executive Director of SCOOS (Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System”

Recorded Friday, February 26, 2021 at 12:00pm

Dr. Clarissa Anderson is a biological oceanographer with expertise in ecological forecasting and remote sensing. After receiving a B.A. in Biology and Art History at UC Berkeley and a Marine Science Ph.D. at UC Santa Barbara, she completed several postdoctoral appointments before transitioning into a professional research position at UC Santa Cruz. The majority of her research has focused on the prediction of harmful algal blooms and toxins in estuarine and coastal ecosystems as well as the fate and transport of harmful toxins to deeper waters and sediments. During her time as research faculty at UC Santa Cruz, she worked to establish the California Harmful Algae Risk Mapping (C-HARM) system with NASA Applied Science support.

She is now at Scripps Institution of Oceanography directing the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS) and continuing to conduct research on phytoplankton ecology in coastal California. She is an elected member of the UNESCO SCOR GlobalHAB Scientific Steering Committee, the Science Advisory Team for the CA Ocean Protection Council (OPC), the U.S. National HAB Committee (NHC), and the Steering Committee for the Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring and Alert Program (Cal-HABMAP).

Live Chat with Amber Becerra

“How Does Pollution Affect Our Oceans?: A deep dive into trash, animal entanglement, and what you can do about it.”

Recorded Friday, November 20, 2020 at 12:00pm

Amber Becerra joined the Board of the Marine Mammal Care Center (MMCC) in November of 2019 with the intention of helping with fundraising because she has a passion for animals. Little did she know what was in store for her in just a few short weeks. Once elected as President in December of 2019, Amber threw herself headfirst into learning everything there is to know about MMCC and reorganizing and fine-tuning the center with an eye toward long term sustainability.

Amber’s background in environmental programs in law school and as the Executive Director and Founder of a Berkeley Law alumni organization has proved to be an invaluable experience that paved the way for her success in this role. Her experience with a multitude of organizations as an attorney and now as the CEO of a real estate development company gives her the business acumen that is necessary to make appropriate budget cuts and financial projections to extend the viability of MMCC until stability can be achieved.

She is thrilled to be on this adventure with her fellow Board members as they strive to take MMCC to new heights.

The Women of Boeing: Innovation In The Deep Sea

Recorded Friday, March 26, 2021 at 12:00pm

Featuring Boeings’ Meghan Guerrero, Cheryl Hussong, and Pryscila Verduzco

Meghan Guerrero is a Boeing Systems and Integration Engineer for the Extra-Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (XLUUV) program in Huntington Beach, CA. She began her career as a support diver for Echo Voyager At-Sea Testing and currently serves as their vehicle operator, mission planner, and at sea Test Director. Meghan attended both Esperanza and Yorba Linda High School and continued her education at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado studying Engineering. She participated in various humanitarian projects in southeast Asia’s Myanmar implementing gravity fed water systems to rural communities lacking safe drinking water and concluded her undergraduate degree leading an independent trip to Myanmar with a team of community partners and senior engineering students. After graduating college, Meghan earned her Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver Certifications through Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI). Meghan’s field work with Boeing involves several continuous weeks of living and working aboard a 120ft support ship in remote areas off the coast of California. A team of 12-15 crew members eat, sleep, and work together to monitor and maintain their XLUUV while it operates under the ocean surface twenty-four hours per day.

Cheryl Hussong is a Senior Engineering Manager at the Boeing Company, supporting the Boeing Defense Systems (BDS) Autonomous Systems division.  Cheryl has a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Computer Science from the University of California at Irvine (UCI) and a Master of Science (MS) degree in Computer Science from the University of Southern California (USC).  Cheryl started her career as a software engineer at Hughes Aircraft Company, now Raytheon Company, working on several Air Traffic Control systems.  After 10 years at the Raytheon Company, she moved to Rockwell Collins and managed In-flight Entertainment systems for several airlines.  Cheryl left Rockwell Collins after 5 years and has been working at the Boeing Company as an Engineering Manager supporting military communication programs and currently unmanned underwater vehicle programs.  Cheryl has been married to her husband, Matthew, for 28 years and they have 2 sons in college.

Pryscila Verduzco is Test & Evaluation Engineer at the Boeing Company. Holding a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Cal Poly Pomona, I have worked in the defense industry working on projects that help protect our nation since 2012. I started my career at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and was there for 5.5yrs assessing, calibrating, designing, and testing various weapons systems and the bigger structures they support. I then transitioned to my current position at Boeing, where I design, integrate, and test the next generation of unmanned underwater vehicles. I’ve also been fortunate enough to collaborate with Boeing and Discovery Education on the FutureU program, which brings hands-on and virtual STEM activities to K12 schools (including an Echo Voyager VR experience!).

Live Chat with Megan Cook

Recorded May 8, 2020

Megan Cook is Manager of Education Partnerships and Programs at Ocean Exploration Trust. She has worked for Dr. Bob Ballard, the man who discovered the Titanic wreck, for 6 years including countless expeditions at sea aboard the E/V Nautilus. Join Megan on Friday as she recounts her favorite discoveries on the seafloor, such as, the octopus garden in the Monterey Bay where thousands of octopods sat brooding over their eggs in a nursery atmosphere. Megan’s role at OET is planning and executing outreach to global audiences and creating education programs like the Nautilus Ambassador Program, Science Communication Fellowship, Science & Engineering Internship Program, professional development training workshops, and Community STEM Program year-round. Megan has a Bachelor of Science in biology and chemistry from Oregon State University with an emphasis in marine biology. She also was an International Scholar studying tropical ecology at James Cook University in Australia and studied oceanography with Sea Education Association.

Ocean Exploration Trust and the Nautilus Exploration Program seek out new discoveries in geology, biology, and archaeology while conducting scientific exploration of the seafloor. Their expeditions launch aboard Exploration Vessel Nautilus — a 64-meter research ship equipped with live-streaming underwater vehicles for scientists, students, and the public to explore the deep sea from anywhere in the world. They embed educators and interns in their expeditions who share their hands-on experiences via ship-to-shore connections with the next generation. Even while we are not at sea, explorers can dive into Nautilus Live to learn more about their expeditions, find educational resources, and marvel at new discoveries.

Live Chat with Dr. Linda Duguay

“USC’s Wrigley Marine Science Center on Santa Catalina Island: a brief history and overview of current research and education programs”

Recorded Friday, August 28, 2020 at 12:00pm

Dr. Linda Duguay is the Director of the University of Southern California (USC) Sea Grant Program and Director of Research for the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies at USC.  She was also elected as President of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography in 2014 and will serve as President-Elect from 2014-2016, President 2016-2018, and Past President s2018-2020. She served as the Executive Director of the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement from 2000 to 2008 as well as Chair of the Environmental Studies Program at USC from September 2000 to September 2002. She is an Associate Research Professor in the Marine Environmental Biology Section of the Biological Sciences  Department in the Dornsife College of Letters Arts and Sciences at USC. Linda received her BA in Biology from the University of Rhode Island (URI) and her MS and PhD in Biological Oceanography from the University of Miami (UM), Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.

Dr. Duguay has held research faculty positions at the Marine Sciences Research Center of the State University of New York at Stony Brook (SUNYSB) and at the Center for Environmental Sciences of the University of Maryland (UMD), and has also held teaching positions at Southampton College of Long Island University (LIU) and St. Mary’s College, Maryland. Dr. Duguay served as a program manager at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the Biological Oceanography Program and the Office of Polar Programs in both the Antarctic and Arctic Sciences Programs.

Dr. Duguay’s research interests are in plankton ecology of ctenophores, algal invertebrate symbioses, benthic ecology with a focus on disturbance in dredge material sites and problems of the urban ocean such as water quality and changing climate effects on ecosystems.  She served as Chair of the NSF supported Centers of Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) Network. She served two terms as the Biological Oceanography Section secretary of the Ocean Sciences (OS) section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), co-chaired the AGU/ASLO Ocean Sciences meeting in 1998, 2000 and 2002 and served on the OS section leadership team and chaired the OS nominations committee. She has served as Treasurer of the Sea Grant Association (SGA) and served on the SGA Board. She has served on the meetings committee of the American Society of Limnology (ASLO) and is has been a longtime  member of the ASLO informal science education committee.

Live Chat with Dr. Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins

Recorded May 22, 2020

Marcus Eriksen is Chief Science Officer & Co-Founder of 5Gyres, an organization dedicated to empowering action against the global health crisis of plastic pollution through science, education, and adventure.  He has led expeditions around the world to research plastic marine pollution, co-publishing the first global estimate and the discovery of plastic microbeads in the Great Lakes, which led to the federal Microbead-free Waters Act of 2015.  He and his wife, Anna Cummins, began 5 Gyres with an 88-day journey from California to Hawaii on the Junk Raft, built from 15,000 plastic bottles. Earlier, Marcus had rafted the Mississippi River, writing about the river and his experience as a Marine in the 1991 Gulf War in the book, My River Home (Beacon 2008). His second book, Junk Raft: An ocean voyage and a rising tide of activism to fight plastic pollution (Beacon 2017) recalls the rise of the plastic pollution movement, growing steadily today. He received his Ph.D from USC.

Anna Cummins has over 25 years of experience in environmental non-profit work, education, writing, and campaign development. She has worked in marine conservation, coastal watershed management, sustainability education, and high school ecology instruction. Anna received her undergraduate in History from Stanford University, and her Masters in International Environmental Policy from the Monterey Institute for International Studies. In 2001, Anna received a fellowship from the Sustainable Communities Leadership Program, to work with Santa Cruz based non-profit Save Our Shores, coordinating bilingual outreach education and community relations around marine conservation initiatives.

In 2007 Anna joined the Algalita Marine Research Foundation as education adviser, conducting school outreach and giving public presentations on plastic marine pollution. In 2008, Anna completed a month long, 4,000-mile research expedition studying plastic debris in the North Pacific Gyre, during which her now husband Dr. Marcus Eriksen proposed. The two married during a 2,000 mile cycling/speaking tour from Vancouver to Mexico, giving talks about plastic pollution. In 2009, Anna and Marcus co-founded The 5 Gyres Institute, to eliminate plastic pollution in the world’s oceans through research, education, and community engagement.

In 2014, 5 Gyres published the first global estimate on macro and micro plastics in the world’s oceans, the culmination of over 40,000 miles of scientific research across all 5 subtropical gyres. In 2013, 5 Gyres published the first scientific paper on plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. These findings served as the basis of a successful campaign to eliminate plastic microbeads from personal care products, culminating in President Obama’s passing of the Microbeads Free Waters Act.

Anna was elected a fellow of the Wings World Quest in 2011, received a Golden Goody Award in 2013, and serves on the Advisory Network of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (HLP).

Live Chat with Briana Fodor

“White Abalone Restoration Project Aquarium of the Pacific”

Recorded: Friday, December 11, 2020 at 12:00pm

Briana Fodor is a Senior Aquarist at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA.  Briana received her Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from UCLA.  As a college student, she received her AAUS Scientific SCUBA diving certification and began assisting with underwater field research, further solidifying her love for the ocean and desire to help protect the underwater environment and animals.

Briana started her aquarium career as an aquarist intern at Aquarium of the Pacific in 2009 and has worked there ever since.  Over the years she has spent time working with tropical pacific corals and fish, but currently is working primarily with local Southern California species of marine animals.

In early 2020 Briana became the lead aquarist on the abalone program at Aquarium of the Pacific.  This is a partnership between a few California aquariums, the UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab, NOAA, and Fish and Wildlife.  The ultimate goal of this program is to restore wild population numbers of the White Abalone, a critically endangered species found off of the California coast.  Briana looks forward to spending more time with this program and the coming years and further helping to increase wild abalone populations.

Live Chat with Dr. Jonathan Fram

Eyes on the Sea: The Instruments we use to Observe our Oceans (Even During a Pandemic)

Recorded July 10, 2020

Jonathan Fram is a coastal physical oceanographer. His focus is on building an oceanographic research community that shares quality field data as soon as they are collected. He is an Associate Professor Senior Research in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. Since fall 2018, Jon has been the project manager for the Coastal Endurance Array portion of the Ocean Observatories Initiative, a long-term interdisciplinary oceanography program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. He was a systems engineer for OOI from 2011 to 2018.  He received his Master’s and PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley, and he received his undergraduate degree in physics from Pomona College.

Live Chat with Mike Getscher

“Lost at Sea: The Museum Aboard Battleship IOWA”

Recorded Friday, September 25, 2020 at 12:00pm

Mike Getscher, Battleship IOWA’s Executive Vice President and COO and the Lost at Sea Museum’s Project Manager will describe the steps in curating a modern exhibit inside an 75 year old battleship. He will give insight to Dr. Robert Ballard’s aspirations for the museum and explain how the design, themes and content were determined as well as the challenges to preserving the ship during construction. Mike will even share few of Dr. Ballard’s stories of his expeditions leading to his renown discoveries.

Live Chat with Melodie Grubbs

“Beaches as Buffers – Sea Level Rise Science to Adaptation?”

Recorded Friday, August 14, 2020 at 12:00pm

Melodie Grubbs, M.S., is a Science, Research & Policy Specialist at USC Sea Grant. As a coastal scientist, Ms. Grubbs is focused on helping communities prepare for and adapt to changing climate conditions, coastal hazards, and sea level rise. Ms. Grubbs specializes in physical coastal processes and dynamics, remote sensing, and geospatial analysis. Previously she served as the Director of Watershed Programs at The Bay Foundation where she developed, led, and implemented coastal habitat restoration and living shoreline projects. Ms. Grubbs also has experience at sea, serving as a scientist and chief mate on board an oceanographic research vessel.

Ms. Grubbs holds a M.S. in Geographic Information Science and Technology from USC and a B.S. in Meteorology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. At USC, her research focused on using remote sensing data to detect beach sediment changes associated with El Nino periods in Southern California.

Live Chat with Dr. Burke Hales

Ocean Carbon Cycles

Recorded June 19, 2020

Dr. Burke Hales is a professor of ocean ecology and biogeochemistry at Oregon State University. He earned degrees in chemical engineering and chemical oceanography at the University of Washington and served as a Department of Energy Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in Climate Change at Columbia University before joining the faculty at Oregon State. His research focuses on the ocean’s carbon cycles at its boundaries: The seafloor, the air-sea interface, and the land-ocean margins. As a testament to his technical innovation in ocean science research, Hales is the inventor of the “Burke-o-Lator,” a system that has revolutionized shore-based ocean acidification monitoring. More recently, he is the principal investigator of PacWave, a grid-connected wave energy test facility.

Live Chat with Dr. Geraldine Knatz

A Century of Marine Science at the Port of Los Angeles

Recorded July 17, 2020

Dr. Geraldine Knatz is Professor of the Practice of Policy and Engineering, a joint appointment between the University of Southern California Price School of Public Policy and the Viterbi School of  Engineering.  She previously served as the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles from 2006 to January 2014. She was the first woman to serve in this role and made a significant impact through the creation and implementation of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan, an aggressive plan that reduced air emissions by combined port operations of over 70% over five years.  She was also the managing director of the Port of Long Beach where she led a number of environmental initiatives, including the Green Port Policy and Truck Trip Reduction Program.

She is corporate director at Bank of the West, past president of the American Association of Port Authorities and past president of the International Association of Ports and Harbors.  She served for 10 years (2007-2017)  on California’s  Ocean Protection Council from 2007 to 2017, first appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and reappointed by Governor Brown. In 2014, she was named a member of the National Academy of Engineering in recognition of her international leadership in the engineering and development of environmentally clean urban seaports.

Live Chat with Dr. Chris Lowe

Recorded April 27, 2020

Dr. Chris Lowe is a professor in marine biology and director of the Shark Lab at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), where he and his students work with acoustic and satellite telemetry techniques to study the movement, behavior and physiology of sharks, rays and gamefishes.

Dr. Lowe earned his Bachelor of Arts in marine biology at Barrington College in Rhode Island and a Master of Science degree in biology at CSULB. In 1998, he achieved a doctorate in zoology, studying bioenergetics of juvenile hammerhead sharks, at the University of Hawaii.

Live Chat with Dr. Roberta Marinelli

“The Future of Ocean Science: Where are the Frontiers?”

Recorded July 31, 2020

Dr. Roberta Marinelli is Dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. As dean she leads one of the strongest Earth sciences programs in the nation, with nationally recognized teaching and research expertise in oceanography, atmospheric sciences, geology, geography, and coastal studies.

Previously, Marinelli served as executive director of the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Southern California, a post she held since 2011. There, she played a leadership role in planning and implementing an expansion of academic and research programs in environmental studies at USC’s University Park Campus, and directed the Philip K. Wrigley Marine Science Center on Santa Catalina Island. Marinelli also oversaw the George and Mary Lou Boone Center for Science and Environmental Leadership, a nexus where scientists and policy makers can meet to resolve environmental challenges.

Prior to her arrival at USC, Marinelli was the Director of the Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Program in the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Sciences section, where she helped to lead the development of collaborative, interdisciplinary programs across the Foundation, including the International Polar Year, Climate Research Investments, and SEES (Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability). She was a tenured associate professor on the faculty at the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science, and an assistant professor at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography.

Marinelli received her master’s and doctoral degrees in marine science from the University of South Carolina, and her bachelor’s degree from Brown University. She is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, and The Oceanography Society.

Live Chat with The Ocean Opportunity Lab

“The Ocean Opportunity Lab – Mapping and connecting the world of ocean & energy startups”

Recorded Friday, June 4, 2021 at 12:00 pm


Birgit Liodden

Birgit is the Founder & CEO of The Ocean Opportunity Lab (TOOL). She’s a self-made entrepreneur who has worked to push sustainability, entrepreneurship, next generation & diversity across the maritime industry for almost 15 years. She is one of the most visible young female leaders within the global maritime industry, and the first leader fronting MeToo in global shipping. She started her first company at 28, and became the first female Director of a global leading shipping expo at the age of 32. In 2020, Birgit was named a Top100 global maritime female profile, chaired NASDAQ ESG Summit, UN Environmental Assembly #ActForNature, and spoke at the official IMO World Maritime Day global panel.

Tor Østervold 

ECOsubsea was established by the Norwegian brothers Tor M. Østervold and Klaus Østervold in 2008. Their vision was from the very beginning to address the problem of biofouling and to safely transform a pressing environmental problem into a business profit for shipowners and ports, by making shipping greener. Tor is a winner of the Orcelle Award.
With head-office based in Austevoll, they have been operating in the Port of Southampton since 2014, and in 2018 their international Centre of excellence was opened. For over a decade, they have fine-tuned their innovative and advanced technology for preventing the spread of invasive species, reduction of fuel consumption, and they have earned licenses for operating in ports with strong environmental benchmarks.

Kristin Skofteland

CCO & Legal Counsel of Beyonder. Board member of Norwegian Solar. Executive MBA and lawyer with more than 20 years experience form the oil and gas industry. Kristin loves sports and new challenges and is thrilled to have moved from big oil to a high-tech start-up company with green ambitions and appetite for growth.

Beyonder designs and manufactures safer battery solutions based on Norwegian sawdust, with high power, fast charging and a long lifetime. Produced with clean energy and energy-efficient methods, our batteries have the smallest environmental footprint possible. Beyonder’s batteries are produced without cobalt or nickel.  Beyonder´s supercapacitor cells can be fully charged and discharged in just a few seconds. Our hybrid LIC are also designed for ultra fast charging and power storage for renewable energy grids, heavy transportation and offshore energy infrastructure.

Live Chat with the Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans

“THE MAP® of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla honoring Walter Munk’s legacy”

Recorded Friday, October 23, 2020 at 1:00pm

Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans has designed, funded, and overseen construction of over $2M worth of improvements in La Jollas’s Kellogg Park, including a 2,200 square foot lithomosaic plaza depicting “THE MAP® of the La Jolla Underwater Park & Ecological Reserves;” a life-sized bronze sculpture by D. Lynn Reeves of “J.J. the Orphaned Baby Gray Whale;” and a Junior Lifeguard themed playground, all focused on educating the park’s millions of visitors to become better stewards of their environment.


Mary Coakley Munk is a founding Board Member of the Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans. She has been active in the local community and served on numerous boards and committees since she moved to La Jolla Shores in 2000. She is the founder and President of Friends of La Jolla Shores, a non-profit whose mission is to enhance and preserve our public parks, beaches, unique coastal community, and marine environment while promoting related educational experiences and recreational activities.

Mary has shared the better part of the last decade with Walter and wishes to honor his lifetime of daring exploration and discovery by supporting scientific research, education, and ocean conservation through the Foundation.

Cynthia Matzke is the Director of Education and Outreach for WMFO, with a background in journalism, marine biology, and video production. She graduated from SIO with a Masters in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation and continues to work with Scripps Marine Physical Lab on special projects. Her passion for scuba diving along with filming remote ocean ecosystems has brought her eye to eye with rare species in some unusual places and, as a trained injured wildlife responder, she has assisted with many rescues. She is an Adjunct Professor at NewSchool of Architecture + Design, creating STEAM curricula for learners of all ages. Ms.Matzke is an Explorers Club Fellow who has sailed over 10,000 miles to study plastic pollution, dives in Arctic sea-ice for fun, and loves to bring marine ecology lessons from the field into the classroom.

Beth Besom is a worldly and adventurous soul who has enjoyed a variety of exciting careers in her lifetime. By the age of 20, she had already lived in eight countries. Out of college, she designed and fabricated costumes for the theater in NYC. She became a mounted sergeant in the NYC Parks, combining her love for animals and the outdoors, while educating the public. After a moving encounter with a baby gray whale in Baja California, Beth returned to NYC and joined the NY Aquarium Dive Team. Soon after, she moved to the British Virgin Islands to work as a licensed PADI scuba instructor, where she created and led dynamic environmental programs for children ages 7-14 years old. She relocated to California in 2018 to work for Walter Munk. Beth is currently using her talents as a scientific communicator, as a producer for the Splash! educational video series. She became an Advisor for the Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans in 2019 and teaches programs for underserved youth in San Diego. Beth recently returned from Upolu, Samoa, where she taught diving and introduced a STEM underwater robotics program in the local villages.

Live Chat with Artists Mason Rothschild and Annie Sperling

“Ocean Inspiration Through Art”

Recorded Friday, September 11, 2020 at 12:00pm.

Join us for a discussion with Mason Rothschild and Annie Sperling about the art installation they will create for The Blue Hour and the creative inspiration they draw from the ocean. The conversation will be moderated by AltaSea board member Cynthia Hirschhorn.

Mason Rothschild

Mason Rothschild is a multi-sensory installation artist, stage designer, and inventor. He is the founder and creative director of Discordian Design. He has designed spaces and interactive art for many global brands including TikTok, Buzzfeed, Beats, Netflix, and River LA. Mason was the former creative director for Desert Daze Music and Arts Festival.

Annie Sperling

Annie Sperling is an artist, set, and installation designer. She has been a production designer for a
multitude of projects and directors including David LaChapelle, Ellen Von Unwerth, Billy Eilish, Miley Cyrus, Ninja from Die Antwoord, Sophie Muller. Her work can be seen in numerous Art, editorial and commercial projects. Her work is also featured on two Taschen covers for David LaChapelle’s books.

She has painted over 20 inner city murals working with neighborhoods and at-risk youth and was a
substitute teacher in LA Unified for middle school aged students. She has directed 3 music videos and is continually working with photography, drawing, and painting.

Cynthia Hirschhorn (Moderator)

Cynthia is an environmental designer and advocate for healthy civic life who believes in aligning missions to amplify resources for more impact at the civic scale.

Cynthia proudly serves on the boards of AltaSea, RiverLA, and the advisory board of UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation, to which she brings her passions for water resiliency, public art, community gardens and economic opportunity. Cynthia also founded Unycyn Civic Arts through which she’s developed, a resource site promoting civic arts and water resiliency, as well as, a women’s civic leadership network.

Live Chat with Liane Thompson of Aquaai

“How Robot Fish Can Save the Seas”

Recorded Friday, January 15, 2021 at 12:00pm

Join AltaSea as we kick off 2021 with the first Project Blue live chat of the year!

Our guest will be Liane Thompson, CEO of Aquaai. She will be joined by Simeon Pieterkosky, Chief Visionary Officer.

Liane Thompson is the CEO of Aquaai. Prior to starting her positive impact for a Blue Economy company, Liane was a global reporter and New York Times executive creating innovative content with global audience appeal including the premier television series A Cook’s Tour, of the late Anthony Bourdain. Liane met Simeon doing a story on his many innovations. Liane has spearheaded technical and programming firsts in the media industry earning her three time PrimeTime Emmy nominations. Her journey as an entrepreneur includes setting up new businesses in Hungary, Israel, the United States and most recently Norway.

Aquaai Chief Visionary Officer Simeon Pieterkosky drives the product and vision of Aquaai designing robots that help address many of the world’s most pressing marine problems. Simeon has a multi-faceted background in water filtration, zoology, animatronics and robotics. He has more than 20 years of practical experience in mechanical design, successfully merging advertising, robotics and special effects platforms. Simeon has single-handedly created 10 life-size humanoid robots to study human robotic interaction (HRI). A native of Cape Town, South Africa, Simeon has been inventing gadgets since childhood and is on a mission to improve global life quality. Simeon founded Aquaai after his young daughter asked him to stop making land robots and make one to “Save the Seas”.

Aquaai is a marine robotics company that builds robotic fish for the purpose of improving our understanding of ocean and freshwater environments. Aquaai’s camera and sensor equipped underwater fishlike drone Nammu – named after the Goddess of the Sea – uses AI and computer vision to collect and deliver real-time visual and environmental data.

Live Chat with Dr. Andrew Thurber

The Fascinating Landscape of Antarctica’s Methane Seeps

Recorded July 3, 2020

Dr. Andrew Thurber is an Assistant Professor in Oceanography and Microbiology at Oregon State University (OSU).  His research focuses on understanding how the ocean works with particular emphasis on teasing apart how the ocean system – from chemistry to animals – functions as a whole.  His research is largely focused in deep-sea and polar habitats.  He received a BSc in Marine Biology from Hawaii Pacific University, a Masters of Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Labs, and a PhD in Oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  He was also National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow of Polar Regions Research, hosted at (OSU). Andrew has been an OSU faculty member for the past six years. Over his career he has spent 334 days on the ocean, 7 months living in Antarctica, accumulated over a week underwater diving under the ice, and has dove to 2700 meters   depth in submersibles.

Project Blue Live Chat with Dr. Yi Chao, Founder and CEO of Seatrec

“Persistent and Sustainable Ocean Monitoring”

Recorded Friday, October 22, 2021 at 12:00pm.

Dr. Yi Chao is the Founder and CEO of Seatrec. He pioneered the ocean thermal energy harvesting project at NASA JPL in collaboration with his co-Inventors, Jack Jones and Thomas Valdez. Additionally, Yi was the PI for the SOLO-TREC project funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the follow-on project Slocum-TREC.

As an oceanographer prone to seasickness, Yi decided to study the ocean from outer space and was a Project Scientist for the successful Aquarius Satellite Mission (a $300M NASA project that launched the first salinity satellite), where he was responsible for science, technology, and engineering implementation. Yi has worked on numerous projects ranging from ocean science, satellite oceanography, ocean modeling, and underwater technology development. Currently, he is affiliated with the University of California at Los Angeles as an Adjunct Professor.

Yi holds a B.Sc. in Atmospheric Physics from the University of Science and Technology of China, an Geophysical Fluid Dynamics from Princeton University, and a Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from Princeton University.