Aquarium of the Pacific of Long Beach hosted the inaugural forum of Ocean Explorers and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the development of a U.S. National Exploration Program.
The weekend forum, which began on Friday, July 19 is by invitation-only with over 100 ocean explorers and representatives from federal, state and non-governmental organizations, universities, ocean institutes and industries in attendance at the Aquarium’s Ocean Theater.
The main purpose of the forum is to discuss ways to inspire public interest and awareness in the health and understanding of our oceans and all its inhabitants and the intricate connection they have to the health of our nation’s economy and our future.
It has been mentioned that approximately 95 percent of the oceans remain unexplored, leaving new species, historical artifacts, medicines and other potential resources undiscovered, playing a major importance in our over all well-being and survival.
Guests speakers included Michael T. Jones – Chief Technology Advocate with Google Earth and Jen Austin also with Google, David Lang and Eric Stackpole of OpenROV, Marcia McNutt, David Gallo – Director of Special Projects of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, just to name a few — each guest speaker discussed not only the financial importance in funding ocean science and exploration, but the importance of inspiring students to become future ocean scientists and explorers.
A live internet feed from on board the Okeanos Explorer, the Nautilus, Atlantis and Falkor — scientific research vessels from as far as Vancouver to Nantucket explained the importance for their particular research while days, weeks and months out at sea.
A reaction panel consisting of three leading explorers sets the stage for a national program:
Dr. Larry Mayer – Director of Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire, Bruce Robison – Research Division Chair of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and Jim Kendall – Director of the Alaska Region and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
Each panelist gave their own reaction to what they have heard pertaining to exploration and the focus on undiscovered unknown targets, financial collaborations and alternative solutions to fund explorations, inspiring student interest in ocean science, followed with a Q and A before dispersing into four break-out groups of 30 with one group virtually online as each group is tasked with the assignment, “What should the National Exploration Program be in 2020?” Then later returning to the Ocean Theater for final discussion.
The forum concludes on Sunday, July 21 with an Explorer’s Day, a special event inviting the public to meet ocean explorers at the Aquarium and observe remotely operated vehicles, interact with explorers at sea in real-time, watch live video of the deep ocean and meet the lead characters and creators of the children’s television program ‘Octonauts’.
Explorers Day: Sunday, July 21, 2013, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802
For information on the Aquarium of the Pacific, prices, specials or scheduled events, please visit their website: http://www.aquariumofpacific.org