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Ocean Discovery League Newsletter | July 2022

This month, the United Nations Ocean Conference occurred in Lisbon, Portugal. The conference's stated goal was to focus on innovative solutions to the many crises facing the world's oceans.

At Ocean Discovery League, we followed these presentations and activities with great interest but were still surprised to see how few locally-driven initiatives and individuals were represented. Asha DeVos, founder of Oceanswell in Sri Lanka, continuously drew attention to this throughout the conference. Her powerful statement at one event, "Let's face it, talent is evenly distributed; opportunity is not," resonated with many attendees. National Geographic and Schmidt Ocean Institute announced a partnership to advance diversity and access in ocean exploration, a positive sign.

We're looking forward to releasing our UN Decade of Ocean Science activity, the Global Deep-Sea Capacity Assessment, now the most comprehensive study of its kind ever conducted. It has been slow going. Processing data on 186 countries and territories, four times more than any previous study before it, has been far more extensive than we had ever imagined.

However, the very act of including and reaching out to people in locations often under-resourced and overlooked in many global studies has created a community and a sense of inclusion that makes the effort incredibly valuable and worthwhile. We have documented previously underreported details, from available human capacity to possible technology access. 

We look forward to sharing our work with you, and hope the broader ocean community continues to strive for this type of equity and inclusion in all the activities it pursues.

Katy Croff Bell
Founder & President
Ocean Discovery League

Dawn Wright is First African American to Dive to Oceans Deepest Point

Dawn Wright, Chief Scientist at ESRI, has become the first Black person to reach Challenger Deep, the deepest known point in the ocean. Her expedition aboard Limiting Factor with Victor Vescovo continued her work with deep ocean mapping by testing a new side-scan sonar never before used below 6,000 meters. Congratulations, Dawn!

News and Updates

New Study: Decades of Systemic Racial Disparities in Funding Rates at the National Science Foundation
This study "investigated National Science Foundation data on funding rates, award types, and proposal ratings from 1996 to 2019 and find pervasive racialized disparities." Ocean science grants are included in geosciences in the supplemental materials. 

Who gets to use NASA's James Webb Space Telescope? Astronomers work to fight bias
"Webb's selection process was carefully designed to reduce the effect of unconscious biases or prejudices by forcing decision-makers to focus on the scientific merit of a proposal rather than who submitted it."

Ocean Solutions Experiment Fund Projects

We are proud to partner with Experiment on the Ocean Solutions Fund. This fund provides a fundraising platform for local ocean projects worldwide. These projects will not happen without your support! Please consider contributing to the projects highlighted below and apply for your own project funds now at the Ocean Solutions website.

Can we identify spawning events in deepwater snappers and groupers? (Project by Ivy Baremore and Samuel Owen)

Very little is known about the biology of deepwater snappers and groupers in the MesoAmerican region despite increasing fishing pressures. This team is using a novel, low-cost, hand-deployed camera and hydrophone to determine when and where these species are spawning at depths between 100 and 450 meters in Belize and Honduras.
Goal: $10,000
Deadline: August 1, 2022

Using citizen science to gather data to inform sea turtle conservation in Trinidad and Tobago (Project by Michelle Cazabon-Mannette and Ryan Mannette)

Five threatened species of sea turtles are found in Trinidad and Tobago, but there is no nationwide program to collect critical data on offshore habitat use and distribution. This project aims to increase participation in a citizen science program for cost-effective long-term monitoring of sea turtles around Trinidad and Tobago to inform conservation and management efforts.
Goal: $4,600
Deadline: August 4, 2022

What is the known diversity of Somali waters? (Project by Abdirahman Abdi Ali and Sarah Glaser)

Kalluunka Laga Helo Soomaaliya Gacanka Cadmeed" (or "Fish Found in Somalia in the Gulf of Aden") will be the first marine fish identification guide published in the Somali language. Written by Abdirahman Abdi, this field guide will illustrate the profound diversity of marine life in northern Somali waters while providing educational material for Somali students, researchers, and fisheries officials.
Goal: $4,750
Deadline: August 14, 2022

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