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  • Latinas in Ocean Exploration

    Photo Credit: Erin Ranney This month is Hispanic Heritage month, and it provides an interesting moment to reflect on what it means to me to be a sea-going Latina in ocean exploration. When I started working at sea seven years ago, I was the only female, let alone the only Latina, on an entire ROV engineering team. This sensation was not necessarily new to me, as this was a similar reality that I experienced throughout university up through my doctorate. However, this familiar sensation did not imply that there were no moments in which I felt isolated (which is only compounded when you factor in that I was in the middle of the ocean). Luckily, I have been fortunate during my time at sea to be a part of ROV and engineering teams that have been very accepting, supportive, and open to change. Being a part of a supportive team makes a world of difference in shaping one’s sea-going experience. It is not uncommon to hear stories of “old boys clubs,” as ocean engineering groups that are dominated by white male figures are sometimes referred to. But now, it feels like we are at a precipice. A new wave of ocean engineers and explorers has brought with it fresh new perspectives, backgrounds, and identities. I now have the distinct privilege of working with many incredible engineers, navigators, visionaries, and explorers of diverse backgrounds and identities, rejuvenating my spirits by seeing a more balanced representation in ocean exploration. I feel encouraged to see how far we have come in the sea-going community in the past few years. There is much work left to do, and we must push for more balanced representation; however, the strides forward feel significant. It is my hope that by broadening participation coupled with increasing advocacy, more Latinas will see themselves reflected in the field of ocean exploration and join the new wave of sea-going engineers, scientists, seafarers, and explorers. Photo Credit: Ed McNichol Dr. Jessica Sandoval is the Systems R&D Lead Engineer for Ocean Discovery League and an accomplished ocean explorer, engineer, and scientist. She specializes in the fields of bioinspired robotics and deep-sea exploration technologies and is a contracted pilot of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs). In 2022, she was named by the Explorers Club as one of "50 Explorers to Know."

  • IF/THEN Statues on the National Mall

    In celebration of Women's Futures Month, the Smithsonian Institution hosted #IfThenSheCan – The Exhibit, the largest number of women statues ever assembled in one location, at one time. This exhibit is part of the AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador initiative because "a 2016 study led by former US Treasurer Rosie Rios found that the ten largest US cities publicly displayed fewer than six statues of real women." I was honored to be included as one of the 122 3-D printed statues of contemporary female STEM professionals and role models from various industries, including exploration, entertainment, sports, business, and academia. In March, my family road-tripped to Washington, DC, to see my statue at the National Museum of Natural History. I expected it to be a cool experience, but it isn't easy to articulate how powerful it was to see so many women honored in a place that generally has few (if any) statues of women. My first trip to DC was with my Dad when I was 11 years old. If someone had told me 30 years ago when I went to the Smithsonian for the first time that a statue of *me* would be standing in those hallowed halls, I probably wouldn't have believed it. Many of the other statues are holding symbols of their work–microscope, globe, shovel, and brain to name a few. I couldn’t bring a ship or big ROV with me so I went small–on one wrist is a felt bracelet that my then-4yr old daughter made for me and my MIT Brass Rat…and on the other is my Vostok Amphibia, the same watch that Steve Zissou wears in The Life Aquatic, which was a gift from my husband (with advice from my brother). The most incredible part of the trip, however, was the impact of the exhibition on others, particularly my daughter, who hugged big orange me as soon as we arrived. She could have spent a week finding and learning about women in STEM, many of whom I have the pleasure of knowing and working with throughout my career (Allison Fundis, Jess Cramp, and many more!). We met a lovely family from Austin with three young children who were in awe that they met one of the orange statues in real life!! I also overheard many, many people reading about the statues throughout the city and commenting on how amazing the exhibit was. I can’t wait for my baby son to not even know what a huge deal this exhibit is–because, hopefully, he will just think that gender representation like this is normal.

  • Welcome to the Ocean Discovery League Blog

    Featuring stories of ocean exploration and innovation from around the globe. For the past two years, Ocean Discovery League has been partnering with individuals around the world focused on one key goal: the acceleration of ocean exploration. Want to Share Your Ocean Story? The Ocean Discovery Blog will feature stories from around the world, including first-hand perspectives from our teams in the field. We're interested in guest bloggers with an ocean story to tell! If you would like to contribute, please reach out to

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  • Ocean Exploration Day | Ocean Discovery League

    OCEAN EXPLORATION DAY January 23 #oceanexplorationday On this day, January 23, in 1960, Jacques Piccard and US Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh reached a record depth of approximately 10,911 meters (35,797 ft) in the research bathyscaphe Trieste in the Challenger Deep of the Mariana Trench near Guam in the Pacific. Their dive fueled public interest in the deep ocean and opened the door to possibilities never before available. Today, worldwide, we celebrate the wonder of and need for deep-sea research and exploration. ​ From 200 to nearly 11,000 meters (600 to 33,000 feet) below sea level, the deep sea encompasses the single largest—and arguably the most critical—habitat on Earth. The deep sea is the planet's life-support system. It feeds the upper ocean, which provides more than half the oxygen we breathe, supplies 20% of humanity's protein needs, and supports a $1.5T global ocean economy. The deep sea is responsible for Earth's habitability because it moderates the surface temperature for the entire biosphere. ​ Despite its indisputable role in shaping Earth's habitable zones, the deep sea is poorly explored, and many details of how it supports our biosphere are not understood. Today, human activities, from overfishing to carbon dioxide emissions, are impacting the deep sea, which will most certainly affect our planet's living space. Dr. Peter Girguis of Harvard University has been studying the deep sea for two decades and notes, "The deep sea is a lot like the basement of your home: It holds all the utilities that keep your house running. If you don't know what's down there, or if you let it go derelict, you have no chance of keeping your home running." Humanity has long been fascinated with the deep sea, from the Polynesian explorers from millennia past to the first humans to visit the deepest spot in the ocean. Those pioneers remind us of our inextricable connection to the ocean and how important it is that we understand our world's life support system. We all have a role to play in exploring—and protecting—this critical biosphere. Deep Ocean Quick Facts: The average depth of the ocean is about 2.65 miles (14,000 ft) deep. [4,000 m] The life forms living near hydrothermal vents, unlike any other life forms on Earth, do not rely on photosynthesis and the sun for their energy but on chemicals coming from beneath the surface of the earth. Of the estimated 500,000 to 10 million species living in the deep sea, the majority are yet to be discovered. Approximately 98% of the ocean’ species live in, on, or just above the floor of the sea. The estimated number of seamounts ranges from 30,000 to 100,000. Seamounts are home to a breathtaking array of species (for example, over 850 species were found on seamounts in the Tasman and Coral Seas). Two-thirds of all known coral species live in waters that are deep, dark, and cold — some live three miles deep and are able to survive in -2°C. Some cold-water corals are 5,000–8,500 years old or more, and some grow into beautiful structures that rise up to 35 meters high. Deep-sea corals, sponges and other habitat-forming organisms provide protection from currents and predators, nurseries for young fish, and feeding, breeding, and spawning areas for hundreds of thousands of species. Because deep-sea species live in rarely disturbed environments and tend to be slow growing, late maturing and endemic, they are exceptionally vulnerable to extinction. Many deep-water fish species live 30 years or more. Some, such as orange roughy, can live up to 150 years. Ancient deep-sea corals provide valuable records of climate conditions that may assist our understanding of global climate change. (Source: ​ How You Can Celebrate Ocean Exploration Day: – Celebrate! Share facts and imagery about the wonder of the deep ocean and why it's so important. – Raise awareness. Post updates on your work in the deep sea and how it is critical to the planet. – Host an event! From online events and workshops to in-person meet-ups, we will share a full calendar of events here. Send any events you are hosting to . – Learn/Teach. Conduct a deep-sea activity in your classroom or your community. – Share. Share to raise awareness of the importance of the deep ocean worldwide! ​ More resources, suggestions, and opportunities will be listed here in the weeks to come. ​ Ocean Exploration Activities for Your Classroom: Stem Works, Deep-Sea Exploration Activities: National Geographic Education: ​​ Deep Ocean Education Project: Schmidt Ocean Institute Education Resources:

  • Opportunities | Ocean Discovery League

    Opportunities We highlight as many opportunities in the ocean exploration space as possible including job opportunities, workshops, grant opportunities, and more. If you have an event or opportunity you would like us to highlight, please email us at . Opportunities at Ocean Discovery League Fellowship Strategist and Manager View Job This job has since been retitled. See below for new job description. Contract Remote Professional Development Education Consultant View Job This consultancy will help design and develop the Ocean Discovery Fellowship, our flagship equity program to identify, train, and support ocean explorers and researchers from historically excluded backgrounds around the world. Contract Remote Ocean Solutions Fund 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 these projects and apply for your own project funds now at the Ocean Solutions website . Other Opportunities For Public Comment: Draft 5th National Climate Assessment The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) announce the release of the draft Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5) for public comment . Public review of the draft assessment is an essential step in the development of the assessment. Comments can help strengthen the science, provide important feedback, and ensure the authors are clearly communicating the report’s findings. To review the draft report and submit comments, reviewers will need to register with the USGCRP Review and Comment system at . Deadline: January 27, 2023

  • Fellowship Strategist and Manager

    < Back Fellowship Strategist and Manager Apply Now Ocean Discovery Fellowship Location: Remote Job Type: Contract Extension: See new job description This job description has been retitled, please see the new job description at: This job description has been retitled, please see the new job description at: Compensation: See new job description Benefits Eligibility: None ​ ​ About Ocean Discovery League The Ocean Discovery League aims to remove barriers to equity in deep-sea exploration by developing low-cost deep-sea technologies, creating AI-driven data analysis tools, and building capacity with historically excluded communities. With a growing global population and increasing anthropogenic pressures on earth, the time for innovative initiatives to explore, understand, and share the full depths of the oceans is now. We need to invest in new technologies, research methods, and social systems to transform what it means to explore and discover in the 21st century. By creating a suite of low-cost, distributed tools and supporting a community of explorers around the globe, we will make significantly more progress in understanding our planet than ever before. How to Apply To apply, click "Apply Now" and attach your resume and a cover letter, or email them to . Please place the job title you are applying for in the Subject line of the email. Deadline: ​ Apply Now

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