Panel: Pipeline for Marine Technology Development and Testing

Pipeline for Marine Technology Development and Testing

Wednesday, October 7

The shared goals behind Schmidt Marine Technology Partner’s mission to support the development of ocean technologies in order to help them achieve their full potential and availability and Schmidt Ocean Institute’s vision to see the world’s ocean understood through technological advancement, intelligent observation and open sharing of information provide opportunity to the research and development community that is unique and substantial. The offerings of the two organizations present innovators, scientists, and researchers working in the ocean with the possibility of identifying financial and resource assistance to help their work move across the dreaded “Valley of Death” and take their developments to sea for trials and testing. The organizations share an expectation that there is potential for oceanographic technology to explore and understand the world ocean in innovative ways and address complex ocean health issues. Together these philanthropic enterprises have found success in moving investigator’s work forward for the betterment of research, technology and human knowledge and, looking forward, hope to find new partners and collaborators.

Schmidt Ocean Institute and Schmidt Marine Technology Partners will bring together past recipients of support from both organizations to share their work, how it fits within these organizations, and what opportunities they see for future endeavors. Panelists will discuss the landscape for technology creation, testing and commercialization. The panel will present their perspective on how researchers, developers, and entrepreneurs can navigate the complexities of managing their project growth, funding, and how they demonstrate the unique utility of their innovation.

In order to achieve the goals of the UN Decade of Ocean Sciences, Seabed 2030, and other such programs in the next decade, and as new technologies are brought into the marine realm, there will be an increasing need for both financial support and the ability to test these novel technologies at sea. We hope to stimulate like-minded members of the ocean research and development community to attend the panel to hear and participate in a conversation on how oceanographic technology development can advance through philanthropic avenues.

Moderator: Dr. Erika Montague
Chief Technologist, Schmidt Marine Technology Partners

Erika is the Chief Technologist at Schmidt Marine Technology Partners (SMTP). She is an oceanographer, explorer and evangelist of technology for a healthier ocean, with a Ph.D. in oceanography from Johns Hopkins University. She was an SOI fellow in 2009 and advised SMTP for 5 years before joining the team last year. Her past research has involved work with submersibles and unmanned vehicles with a focus on the development of novel, nondestructive methods for studying extreme and remote marine environments. Erika has led cruises to study bioluminescent life forms, and marine debris, and to test underwater technologies for use at the surface and down to the deepest parts of the ocean, including work on the land and submersible teams for James Cameron’s DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition. She aims to bridge the gap between diverse stakeholders to create more sustainable technologies, and works on outreach efforts that leverages the technology driven culture of today to empower the next generation.

Moderator: Leonard Pace
Science Program Manager, Schmidt Ocean Institute

Leonard has managed Schmidt Ocean Institute’s (SOI) selection process for identifying science operations aboard the foundation’s global class research vessel Falkor for the past seven years. Prior to joining the SOI he worked with the National Science Foundation’s Division of Geoscience and coordinated grant competitions and managed budgets for the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, as well as supporting Earthcube, the Ocean Acidification program and numerous other initiatives. While working for IODP he served as a Communications Officer aboard the JOIDES Resolution during a School of Rock cruise from Curacao to Bermuda. He managed activities for NOAA’s Aquatic Invasive Species program including annual grant competitions and external outreach, and he wrote a Report to Congress on ballast water technology. He worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA in a joint Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship where he supported the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force in its efforts to preserve and protect coral reef habitats. He received his master of science in Fisheries Biology from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science studying elasmobranch physiology.

Panelist: Dr. Allan Adams 
MIT (Cambridge, MA)
PI, Future Ocean Lab
Lecturer, Dept. of Physics
Research Scientist, CMS/W

Allan Adams is a physicist and PI of the Future Ocean Lab at MIT and Founder of the recently created Station C, an ocean technology skunkworks dedicated to creating radically scalable tools for ocean monitoring and conservation. Adams earned degrees in physics from Harvard, Berkeley, and Stanford, and spent three years in the Harvard Society of Fellows, before joining the faculty of the MIT Dept of Physics in 2008. Along the way, Adams developed a passion for ocean conservation and opened the Future Ocean Lab, devoted to developing low-cost, low-power sensors and imaging technologies for marine research, and to using those technologies to document the world’s changing oceans. Adams is also a dedicated educator and public speaker — his 2016 TED talk about the LIGO discovery of Gravitational Waves was chosen as one of the top 10 TED Talks of 2016. Adams was recently awarded funding through Schmidt Marine’s Coast Pollution Challenge to develop a low-cost nutrient sensor out of Station C.

Panelist: Dr. Anna Michel
Associate Scientist, Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering (Woods Hole, MA)

Dr. Anna Michel is an Associate Scientist in the Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering. Anna’s research focuses on the development of new in situ chemical sensors and sensing platforms. Committed to educating the next generation of ocean engineers, Anna teaches a joint class between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Ocean Instrumentation and she runs a 4 day summer program for middle school girls, GOES: Girls in Ocean Engineering and Science. She led a multidisciplinary cruise aboard R/V Falkor entitled, “Hunting Bubbles: Understanding Plumes of Seafloor Methane” that utilized novel instruments and techniques to better understand the processes responsible for the transfer of methane from the seafloor. She was also supported by Schmidt Marine Technology Partners to build low-powered sensors to monitor dissolved gases that were deployed during this expedition.

Panelist: Dr. Brian Glazer
Professor, University of Hawai’i at Manoa (Honolulu, HI)

Dr. Brian Glazer is a professor at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa with 21 years of experience in ocean observing science, both at deep-sea volcanoes and the coastal zone. Dr. Glazer’s research involves autonomous samplers, chemical analyzers, and assets from the National Deep Submergence Facility, including the human-occupied submersible Alvin, ROV Jason-II, and AUV Sentry. He has sailed on two dozen research expeditions over the past 20 years and led the, “Iron Eaters of Loihi Seamount” expedition aboard R/V Falkor exploring the cellular, chemical, and geological features of Loihi seamount, an area known for low oxygen with iron oxidizing bacterial communities. For the past three years, his focus has shifted to the interface between chemistry and biology within coastal Hawaii, especially within loko i’a (traditional Hawaiian fishponds). His group has recently developed affordable sensors, instruments, and a web-based data platform while maintaining over 130 real-time sensors in five states with support from Schmidt Marine Technology Partners.

Panelist: Dr. David Kline
Staff Scientist, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panama)

Dr. David I. Kline is a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. David grew up in Southern California and received his BS from Carleton College in Minnesota and his PhD from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego. He did a postdoctoral fellowships at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and at the University of Queensland, Australia. He was a research biologist at SIO, UCSD from 2011-2019. He has led or co-authored over 50 high impact peer-reviewed publications with over 5200 citations. David is a coral reef ecologist who studies the fate of coral reefs in a rapidly changing world. He studies the ecology of corals and reef communities, and how reefs will change under the plethora of stresses they face, both local (e.g. pollution and disease) and global (warming and ocean acidification). He regularly collaborates with engineers, computer scientists, chemists, and physiologists to find new and ingenious ways to protect the future of coral reefs by developing new and innovative conservation technologies. Kline has Schmidt Marine Technology Partners funding for the development of new sensor networks to monitor climate change in marine ecosystems.

Panelist: Dr. Barbara A. Block
Charles and Elizabeth Prothro Professorship, Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA)

Dr. Barbara A. Block holds the Charles and Elizabeth Prothro Professorship at Stanford University. Her research is focused on how large pelagic fish utilize the open ocean spanning from genomics to biologging. She and her team have pioneered the successful development and deployment of electronic tags on tunas, billfishes and sharks. As Chief Scientist for the Tagging of Pacific Predators program, she succeeded in placing 4000 electronic tags on 23 predators in the North Pacific to understand how pelagic animals use the North Pacific ecosystem. Dr. Block received support from Schmidt Marine Technology Partners to develop Fin Alert Shark Tags (FAST) that help enable regulation against poaching in MPA environments and allow the animals to be tracked. She also led a multidisciplinary team of oceanographers, marine ecologists, and molecular biologists to the White Shark Café aboard the R/V Falkor with the objective of locating satellite and acoustic tagged white sharks and studying their surrounding oceanographic environment.

Panelist: Dr. Colleen Hansel
Associate Scientist, Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Woods Hole, MA)

Dr. Colleen Hansel is an associate scientist in the Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Her multidisciplinary research is broadly based in biogeochemistry and geomicrobiology with a focus on the interactions between microorganisms, metals, and minerals. Her lab’s work has revealed the importance of microbial metabolites (e.g., reactive oxygen species) and reactive intermediates (e.g., elemental sulfur) in the redox cycling and mineralization of metals, specifically iron, manganese and mercury. Dr. Hansel received support from Schmidt Marine Technology Partners to collaborate with other WHOI scientists to develop the world’s first portable Diver operated Submersible Chemiluminescent SensOr, or DISCO. With it, they have been able to measure superoxide, a reactive oxygen species that is both detrimental and beneficial for life and produced by all respiring and photosynthesizing organisms, in real time on coral reefs.