Scripps Women Pioneer Oceanography Aboard R/V Sally Ride

Recorded Friday, January 29, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Join AltaSea for a webinar with 3 PhD candidates from UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography: Laura Lilly, Camille Pagniello, and Sarah Maher.


Laura Lilly is a 6th-year Ph.D. candidate in Biological Oceanography in Mark Ohman’s lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her research focuses on how El Niño events impact the zooplankton community off California. She is a sea-going oceanographer with a long history of spending time on boats at sea, including several month-long sailing trips across the Equatorial Pacific. Laura is passionate about sustainability and conservation and has served for the past four years as a co-founder and co-leader of the Scripps Sustainability Group, which aims to bring more sustainable practices to Scripps and UCSD. She believes strongly in the value of scientific education and outreach, and has developed and taught short “Introduction to Oceanography” programs for several high schools around San Diego County. In addition to oceanography, Laura loves to play horse polo, surf in Baja California, photograph waves, run, and learn new languages.

Sarah Maher received a BSc. in physics and astronomy at the University of Victoria in Canada and a MS in geology and geophysics at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa where she worked on plate tectonic reconstructions. She is currently a 6th year earth science PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography working with Dr. Jeffrey Gee.

Sarah’s present research focuses on using magnetic techniques to examine how the ocean crust cools. This involved a 35 day cruise to Pito Deep off the coast of Easter Island where she collected magnetic and bathymetry data and rock samples. Sarah also helped to design a 10 day cruise to the Fieberling seamount chain as a co-chief scientist, allowing graduate students to learn geoscience methods at sea.

Camille Pagniello is a sixth-year PhD student majoring in Applied Ocean Sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Pagniello considers herself to be somewhat of an ocean “MacGyver” – part marine biologist, part physicist, part engineer. Her research interests lie at the intersection of acoustics and geophysics, robotics, marine animals, and sustainable management of natural resources. She is currently using passive acoustics and optical imaging to identify the sounds of commercially and recreationally important fish species and to locate their spawning areas.

Camille has spent over 80 days at sea, including time as Chief Scientist of the Kelp Acoustic Propagation Experiment (APE), an experiment that she proposed and designed as a graduate student to study the influence of kelp on low-frequency sound propagation. Her ultimate goal is to contribute to the basic scientific understanding of the biological and physical processes in the ocean to further ocean conservation efforts.

Before attending Scripps, Pagniello completed her BSc Honors Co-op in Marine Biology and Physics with minors in Mathematics and Ocean Sciences at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. You can find Camille on Twitter @FishySounds and Instagram @fishysounds where she posts images of San Diego’s kelp forests every Friday as part of #KelpForestFridays, or check out her website.


Moderating the webinar will be the multi-Emmy award-winning journalist, Val Zavala. Zavala spent 30 years as a broadcast journalist at KCET in Los Angeles, winning numerous journalism awards. During her career, Zavala has covered a broad spectrum of Southern California issues, including politics, the environment, and the economy.

From the Bay to the Border: Three of the Top Scientists in CA talk Ocean Innovation and Climate Change

Recorded November 13, 2020 at 10:00am

Join AltaSea for a webinar with three of the leading scientists in the field of ocean innovation and conservation. The webinar will focus on the impacts that climate change is having on the ocean and marine mammals, and the innovations that are leading the 21st century approach to find solutions.  More information coming soon!


Dr. Jennifer Smith is a professor in marine ecology and conservation in the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.   Smith’s research focuses on understanding the factors that influence community structure in marine ecosystems. Her research often goes beyond basic ecology by integrating conservation, restoration, management, and sustainability.

Dr. Sarah Purkey is an assistant professor of climate and atmospheric science and physical oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. As an oceanographer, her research is focused on quantifying temperature, salinity, and circulation changes in the global ocean, including the deep and abyssal layers – the regions of the ocean that are difficult to access with current technology. Much of her current research is focused on explaining the causes of deep warming, and advancing data collection and measurement in the global ocean.

Dr. Cara Field is the medical director at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, the world’s largest marine mammal hospital. Dr. Field earned the status of Diplomate with a specialization in aquatic marine medicine – one of only 30 veterinarians in the nation to earn that distinction. Her work is focused on managing the care and health of the Center’s marine mammal patients, spearheading numerous research projects, and teaching and mentoring the next generation of veterinarians and marine scientists.


Moderating the November 13 webinar will be the multi-Emmy award-winning journalist, Val Zavala. Zavala spent 30 years as a broadcast journalist at KCET in Los Angeles, winning numerous journalism awards. During her career, Zavala has covered a broad spectrum of Southern California issues, including politics, the environment, and the economy.

Move Over, Aquaman: Three of the World’s Top Female Ocean Explorers Talk Trailblazing in Ocean Discovery and Conservation

Recorded October 9, 2020 at 10:00am

AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles is hosting an upcoming webinar with three of the top female explorers and scientists in the field of ocean exploration and conservation. The webinar will be focused on the role these women played in breaking barriers in their field.


Allison Fundis
Chief Operating Officer @Ocean Exploration Trust
Allison Fundis has spent much of the last 15 years exploring the deep sea, investigating submarine volcanoes, other unique ecosystems, shipwrecks, and even searching for Amelia Earhart’s airplane. Her work has taken her to remote stretches of the world, where she has led or participated in more than 50 expeditions at sea. As the COO for Ocean Exploration Trust, Allison leads a team of talented scientists, engineers, and educators to conduct annual missions aboard exploration vessel Nautilus. She is passionate about making authentic opportunities in STEM available to students, educators, and the public through her work and serves as an IF/THEN Ambassador for the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Carlie Wiener
Director of Communications and Engagement Strategy @Schmidt Ocean Institute. Dr. Carlie Wiener has over thirteen years of experience in marine science communications. Dr. Wiener has taught several courses throughout her career, specializing on communicating oceanography and marine science to the public. She has over twelve publications printed in top scientific research journals across the country.

Dr. Dawn Wright
Chief Scientist @Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri)
Dr. Dawn Wright became the first African American female to dive to the ocean floor early in her career, and never stopped breaking barriers after that. She currently plays a critical role at Esri by strengthening the scientific foundation for their software and services. She also represents the company, a world-leading geographic information system software, research and development company, to the international scientific community. Additionally, Dr. Wright is an active board member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other conservation agencies. A professor of Geography and Oceanography in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University, Dr. Wright was honored as Oregon Professor of the Year in 2007.

AltaSea Presents: Where Economic Development Meets Ocean Sustainability

Recorded August 12, 2020 at 1:00pm

AltaSea will be hosting a dialogue on the convergence of the ocean economy and sustainability from a local, national and global perspective. This discussion will be focused on investing in zero-emissions technology and infrastructure, fighting climate change, and creating good-paying green jobs.

It will also look at how to measure the size and changing nature of economic relationships with the oceans and coasts in order to guide choices and monitor progress including the economics of climate change adaptation in coastal regions.

The “Ocean Economy,” the first new job category designated by the LA County Economic Development Corporation in LA in over 10 years, provides over 660,000 direct jobs and over $143 billion of total economic output in the state.


  • Hon. Nanette Diaz Barragán, US Congressmember, 44th District
  • Tim McOsker, CEO, AltaSea
  • Jason Scorse, Associate Professor; Program Chair, International Environmental Policy; Director, Center for the Blue Economy at Middlebury Institute of International Studies


  • Val Zavala, multi-Emmy award-winning journalist

AltaSea & LAEDC: Latest cutting-edge tech companies are all wet

Recorded Thursday, July 16 at 10:00am

Tim McOsker, AltaSea’s CEO, will be joined by the LAEDC CEO, Bill Allen, for the July 16 webinar. Allen has been active in regional economic development for over 20 years, and as CEO of the LAEDC, he led the effort in February 2020 to designate the Ocean Economy as a new category of jobs in Los Angeles – the first addition in over a decade. The LAEDC and AltaSea’s Economic Report on the Ocean Economy states that this new economic engine will support more than 126,000 direct jobs and pay wages upwards of $37.7 billion by 2023 in LA County alone.

Rounding out the group of panelists on July 16 will be the founders of two of the most innovative ocean tech companies in LA – Holdfast Aquaculture and Blue Robotics.

  • Rusty Jehangir, founder and CEO of Blue Robotics. Blue Robotics has developed the first professional quality underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) at a price point that’s accessible to all users, not just giant oil and gas companies. Blue Robotics currently tests its ROVs and other technological innovations at AltaSea, which provides a rare secure, quiet place to access the water.
  • Kelly Stromberg, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Holdfast Aquaculture. Holdfast produces top-quality seed for bivalves, including mussels, clams, oysters, and seaweeds, which act as nature’s own filtration systems, keeping our oceans clean and providing a healthy, local, and scalable source of food. Holdfast’s products promote sustainable aquaculture, and tap into a growing market for these superfoods.

Moderating the July 16 event will be the multi-Emmy award-winning journalist, Val Zavala. Zavala spent 30 years as a broadcast journalist at KCET in Los Angeles, winning numerous journalism awards. During her career, Zavala has covered a broad spectrum of Southern California issues, including politics, the environment, and the economy.

AltaSea, Milken Institute & Santa Monica College: Mobilizing an Ocean Economy Workforce in California

Recorded Friday, July 17 at 11:00am

Tim McOsker, AltaSea’s CEO, will be joined by:

  • Matt Horton, director of public policy for the Milken Institute. Horton has an extensive history in addressing economic growth and resiliency across Southern California. His current role at the Milken Institute involves interacting with government officials and business leaders in developing and directing statewide programming and policy initiatives.
  • Dr. Patricia Ramos, Dean of Workforce & Economic Development at Santa Monica College. The college has transferred more students to the University of California campuses than any other college in the country for 28 straight years. Additionally, SMC has transferred more LatinX and African Americans to the Cal State schools than any other California community college. Through Patricia’s work, Santa Monica College has transformed into an engine for talent development across critical industries in the Greater Los Angeles area and has shown to have a significant impact in the region’s economy.

The July 17 webinar will be moderated by David Abel, publisher of The Planning Report and chairman of the VerdeXchange. The Planning Report is the preeminent trade publication that engages Southern Californian leaders in substantive debate about urban planning, growth, design, and public infrastructure investment for the past three decades. VerdeXchange hosts an annual conference comprised of green tech and blue economy entrepreneurs and industry leaders to discuss sustainable practice and ways to advance the new energy economy.