Waitt Foundation Press
Press Releases, News Articles & More
Listed below are links to a sampling of press releases, news articles and other interesting items regarding the Waitt Foundation and our many grantees and projects. All links are listed in reverse chronological order by year, with the most recent items first. Press releases issued directly by the Waitt Foundation are indicated with a double asterisk (**) before the name of the article.
2013 ARTICLES & PRESS
Baby Sea Lion Crisis Worsens, Waitt Foundation Provides Emergency Funding
The National Marine Mammal Foundation today announced that the Waitt Foundation, in partnership with the San Diego Foundation, has issued a challenge grant to fund an emergency response to the increasing number of sick and starving sea lion pups stranding in record numbers along the southern California coast.
Waitt Institute: Little sub makes big waves
Bright red and topped with two clear acrylic domes, a submarine not much bigger than a golf cart made a big splash Thursday at Jarrett Bay Marine Industrial Park.
Two New MPAs Created on Argentina’s Southern Coasts
The new marine parks-Isla Pingüino Coastal Marine Park and Makenke Coastal Marine Park-were recently established by the National Congress in Argentina and will safeguard sea lions, penguins, dolphins, and other marine and coastal species.
Scientists and Politicians Celebrate a Successful Expedition in the Bahamas
Offered the opportunity to use the Waitt research vessel, TNC pulled together a great team of scientists and organized an expedition in record time. They conducted an ecological assessment of several areas that have been proposed for protection, but were virtually unexplored scientifically.
2012 ARTICLES & PRESS
First AUV Expedition to Explore Deepsea Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts
Using the Waitt Institute’s AUVs (autonomous underwater vehicles), which are devices that can reach a depth of nearly 20,000 feet, the two-week expedition will explore and catalogue marine life in these untouched ecosystems far below the ocean’s surface.
The Bering Sea: Studying and Exploring the Seafloor Communities and the Largest Underwater Canyons in the World
Using the Waitt Institute’s Dual DeepWorker submarine to explore the largest underwater canyons in the world, on the Bering Sea shelf break.
The Essence of Luminosity
Dr. Fabio Esteban Amador visits a new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The exhibit, Creatures of Light, features organisms that produce their own biofluorescence and bioluminescence. Scientists: David Gruber and John Sparks, both National Geographic Society/Waitt Foundation grant recipients.
2011 ARTICLES & PRESS
Announcing the release of MPAtlas.org
In celebration of World Oceans Day, the Waitt Foundation and the Marine Conservation Institute announced the launch of a new online tool at http://www.mpatlas.org/, dedicated to bringing the importance of ocean parks in the the public eye.
Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention sponsored “Bully Project” selected for Tribeca Film Festival
More than 18 million young people in the U.S. will be bullied this year. This alarming documentary takes us into a disquieting year in the life of several students joining this staggering statistic. As teachers and parents struggle to find the answers, the students do what they can to survive a school day.
Flagship Expedition to Easter Island and Salas y Gómez Island as part of Mission Blue
National Geographic Society and Oceana, together with the Chilean Navy, began a scientific expedition today to the marine ecosystems that surround the Chilean island Salas y Gómez (Motu Motiro Hiva) and Easter Island. This expedition is part of Mission Blue, an action-oriented marine conservation initiative founded by National Geographic, the Waitt Foundation and the SEAlliance.
Cannons From the Lost Ships of Famed Privateer Captain Morgan Recovered
Coordinated by the Waitt Institute and in collaboration with the Instituto Nacional de Cultura, the results from the first-ever archaeological survey of the submerged cultural resources at the mouth of the Chagres River yielded a vast array of archaeological artifacts from more than 500 years of maritime activity at the mouth of the river, including the cannons.
Skull in Underwater Cave May Be Earliest Trace of First Americans
Waitt Institute archaeologist and New World cave expert, Dominique Rissolo, offers a compelling argument for the importance of this site and similar discoveries. NGS Waitt Grantee, Sam Meacham, teams with explorers.
Salk Institute Celebrates Grand Opening of the Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Center
Launched with a landmark $20 million gift from the Waitt Foundation, the Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Center serves as a state-of-the-art research hub, driving the development of next-generation imaging and visualization tools and enabling investigators from across many biological disciplines to take advantage of the latest imaging technology.
Mission Blue: Tracking Whale Shark Wanderings
Ecophysiologist Eric Hoffmayer received a National Geographic Society/Waitt grant to tag and track whale sharks in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Hoffmayer witnessed roughly 100 of the sharks, the largest gathering ever recorded of this, at Ewing Bank off the Louisiana coast.
Aussie Divers Map Cave Depths
Funded by an NGS/Waitt Grant, Australian cave divers have set new records. A group of divers spent two weeks mapping and exploring caves in the Pearse River resurgence in Kahurangi National Park that also included taking samples of invertebrates in the cave.
Hard to Find Fish Reveals Shared Development Toolbox of Evolution
NGS/Waitt Grant recipient, Andrew Gillis, explores new developmental similarities between fish and mammals. Elephant fish, a relative of sharks, utilize the same genetic process for forming skeletal gill covers that lizards and mammals use to form fingers and toes. The precise timing of when and where that gene is expressed during embryonic development produces dramatic anatomical differences between elephant fish and their close relatives, the dogfish.
Mission Blue: Moments from Deployment
Joe Lepore from the Waitt Institute and Ian Griffith manage the dive operations and make the go/no-go deployments of the Waitt Insitute’s dual Deepworker sub. They work in concert to size up the state of the ocean and the readiness of all the equipment, pilot, and passenger. If all the green lights come on, we go. If even one of them is red, we put on the brakes.
Mission Blue: The Land of Oz
On the Survivors of the Spill expedition, the Waitt Institute’s dual Deepworker sub was successfully deployed in relatively shallow waters near the Florida coast. Moments after their safe return to the research vessel Brooks McCall, oceanographer and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle and ecologist Thomas Shirley describe the green “blizzard of life” that enveloped them.
Mission Blue: Test Drive at Roughtongue Reef
National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle and Harte Research Institute ecologist Thomas Shirley describe plans for their first dive of the expedition in the Waitt Institute’s two-person Deepworker sub at Roughtongue Reef, part of the “string of pearls in the top of the northern Gulf.”
Mission Blue: Medusa Drops to the Bottom of the Gulf
At Roughtongue Reef in the Gulf of Mexico, some 80 miles east of the BP Deepwater Horizon spill site, Dr. Edie Widder of the Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA) deploys the Medusa–a sophisticated deep sea observatory that can film and test seawater conditions–for the first time in the open ocean.
Mission Blue: Next Stop, the Ocean
As the research vessel Brooks McCall prepares to embark from Pensacola’s city dock for destinations near the BP Deepwater Horizon spill site, expedition co-leaders Thomas Shirley and Sylvia Earle discuss their goals for the week ahead.
2010 ARTICLES & PRESS
Father and Son Document Perilous Journey Across the Himalayas
Alton Byers, mountain geographer and National Geographic Society/Waitt program grantee, was in the forbidding region to make a scientific assessment of glacial lakes and the potential threat they pose to populations downstream. If warming global temperatures weaken and cause the natural ice dams to burst, catastrophic floods could be unleashed down mountain slopes.
Great Migrations: March of the Crabs
Tens of millions of red crabs inhabit Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. The first hour of Great Migrations, “Born to Move,” relates the crabs’ surprising and perilous migration from the island’s interior to the sea. Fourth-year Princeton doctoral student Allison K. Shaw traveled to Christmas Island to study the crabs with a National Geographic Society/Waitt research grant.
Chile Creates Large Marine Reserve at Sala y Gómez Island
The new park expands Chile’s total marine protected area more than 100 times, from the previous 0.03 percent to 4.41 percent of the country’s territorial waters. The Waitt Foundation, Oceana, and National Geographic mounted a March 2010 expedition to document marine diversity in waters surrounding the island.
Whale Sharks Killed, Displaced Due to Gulf Oil?
“We’ve seen aerial photos with animals within a few miles of the wellhead and swimming in thick oil,” said Hoffmayer, a National Geographic Society/Waitt grantee.
AUVs, ROVs Key to Bringing Back new Titanic Images and Data
Last week the RMS Titanic, Inc. finally finished up an unprecedented photography expedition at the site of the sunken Titanic off the coast of Newfoundland. The team obtained high-definition and even 3D images which surpassed any photos taken of the wreck site to date.
2010 Titanic Mission Completed as REsearchers Begin Titanic Map
The ship has returned safe to the harbor. The purpose was to “create the most detailed portrait of Titanic’s wreck site to date” and that there was no salvaging or any diving on this trip.
China Tops World in Catch, Consumption of Fish
The National Geographic Society, the Waitt Foundation and the SEAlliance, along with strategic government, private, academic and conservation partners including the TEDPrize, Google and IUCN, are beginning an action-oriented marine conservation initiative under the banner of “Mission Blue” that will increase global awareness of the urgent ocean crisis and help to reverse the decline in ocean health by inspiring people to care and act; reducing the impact of fishing; and promoting the creation of marine protected areas.
Gulf Oil Spill: Photos You Haven’t Seen; Stories You Haven’t Heard
The National Geographic Society, the Waitt Foundation, Sylvia Earle’s SEAlliance along with strategic government, private, scientific and conservation partners including the TEDPrize, Google and IUCN, are beginning an action-oriented marine conservation initiative under the banner of “Mission Blue” that will increase global awareness of the urgent ocean crisis and help to reverse the decline in ocean health by inspiring people to care and act; reducing the impact of fishing; and promoting the creation of marine protected areas.
Gifts are a Big Plus for UCSD Future
In the last several months of the 2010 fiscal year, UCSD received pledges of more than $80 million from the Jacobs Family, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, Pauline Foster, the Seibel Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Waitt Family Foundation, and Adele and Theodore Shank.
At Sea: Researcher on Jean Charcot Doing Titanic Mapping Work
“We will make a photo mosaic comprised of images taken by the AUV’s Electronic Still Camera but the dramatic imagery will most certainly come from Bill Lange’s cameras mounted on the Remora,” Dessner says.
Titanic Research Vessel Returns to Titanic After Hurricane Earl
The Jean Charcot is back in Atlantic waters at the resting place of the sunken RMS Titanic. While the 50 ship’s crew members and researchers onboard would have preferred not to have interrupted their work, Michael Dessner, the Director of Operations for the non-profit Waitt Institute who are a part of the expedition, said it was a choice they had to make.
Titanic Storm Forces Ship Exploring Titanic Wreckage Site Back
The Atlantic is raging and the Jean Charcot, the ship on a mission to create a detailed map of the wreckage area of the Titanic, has returned to harbor in the Canadian city of St. John’s to wait out the gale force winds of Hurricane Earl.
Bad weather forces Titanic research ship to return to St. John’s
“The weather was picking up when we left the site,” said Dessner. “The mission leaders got together with the captain of the ship, and they checked the weather, and the plot of the storm, Danielle was the storm we were looking at, and basically we made the decision to leave the site before things got too hairy out there.”
New images of the legendary Titanic
Through the research vessel Jean Charcot, Woods Hole Oceanographic institutes and Waitt, are conducting this project that landed in the area of the Titanic sinking ten days ago.
First new images of Titanic debris field emerge
Woods Hole Oceanographic teams working with the Waitt Institute, which owns the AUV’s, have now downloaded the side-scan sonar.
Deep sea subs will likely find missing Air France black boxes
Fifteen months after an Air France jumbo jet inexplicably dropped out of the sky over the Atlantic Ocean, underwater expert Mike Dessner says the world should not give up hope — the aircraft’s two missing “black boxes” will almost certainly be found. Dessner is director of operations for the Waitt Institute, a private, California-based … The Waitt Institute owns two of the world’s most advanced robotic submarines.
Underwater equipment launched in Titanic search
The AUV, owned by the Waitt Institute, and operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, is a technical marvel.
Project will ‘virtually raise’ the Titanic with 3D map
Robot cameras will film sonar and video images of the ship and the debris field surrounding it, starting next month. When the imaging is complete, a 3D map will be created.
Mission will ‘virtually raise’ Titanic, gauge deterioration
Heralding the mission as “the most technologically advanced scientific expedition ever,” Davino said the public will have access to videos and photos, and will be able to interact with some crew members on www.expeditiontitanic.com, which launches Aug. 3.
Premiere Exhibitions to Begin Titanic Exploration
The 20-day exploration of Titanic’s three square miles of debris 2.5 miles beneath the surface begins August 18, 2010.
25 Years After Titanic’s Discovery, New Expedition Seeks to Virtually Raise the Wreck
RMS Titanic, Inc., in partnership with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Waitt Institute, will conduct a ground-breaking expedition to Titanic 25 years after its discovery, to do what no one has ever attempted before: take innovative measures to virtually raise Titanic, preserving the legacy of the Ship for all time. Launching from St. John’s Newfoundland on Wednesday, August 18, 2010, this 20-plus day expedition will also allow Titanic enthusiasts to experience the journey’s excitement and explore the wreck site in real time, with ongoing video feeds and photo postings, and interaction with key crew members.
Waitt Foundation Grantee, Blue Ocean Institute, Partners with Brancott® Vineyards to Create iPhone Application for Sustainable Seafood Pairings
The new iPhone application is a great addition to Blue Ocean’s FishPhone text messaging service, which provides fish rating information and also sends users alternatives to fish with significant environmental concerns. In addition to the application now available on iTunes, users without an iPhone can text the message FISH along with the name of the species in question, to the number 30644. Blue Ocean Institute replies instantly with an assessment. Users of the texting service can opt-in to receive ocean-friendly updates by texting BLUE to 30644. The text service was developed with the support of the Waitt Foundation.
NGS/Waitt Grantee, Dr. Amy Gusick, Receives $100,000 Grant from NOAA to continue Archaeological Research
The NOAA grant, combined with funding from the National Geographic Society/Waitt Foundation, has made it possible to expand the research project that started in 2006. Amy and her colleagues are searching underwater landscapes off the coast of Isla Espiritu Santo in the Sea of Cortez, hoping to find sites that provide proof of human coastal migrations to the New World some 15,000 years ago.
Ocean Hope at Mission Blue: A collaboration experiment comes good
“A Galapagos sea-voyage of 100 people (including Sylvia Earle, Leonardo DiCaprio, Edward Norton, Glenn Close, Elizabeth Banks, Steve Case, Ted Waitt, Bill Joy, Jackson Browne, Damien Rice, Chevy Chase, Jean-Michel Cousteau and 30 of the world’s leading marine scientists) turned into an epic event that may have significant impact on global efforts to save our oceans.” Chris Anderson, TED curator
My fight for fish (Charles Clover, author of The End of the Line)
“Now I mainly remember the redeeming moments, such as the day when we had run out of money with only half the film shot and George Duffield, our co-producer and fundraiser, rang up and asked which country I was in. He had been offered $600,000 by the foundation of Ted Waitt, the Gateway computer founder…” Charles Clover
NGS/Waitt Grantee, Dr. Albert Lin, Chosen as National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year
Explorer-engineer Albert Yu-Min Lin organized a high-risk expedition into Mongolia’s “Forbidden Zone” to search for the lost tomb of Genghis Khan using state-of-the-art mapping technology. “For me, it’s about being part of a team that is the Adventurers of the Year. A whole group of people made a huge effort towards this project, people from University of California, San Diego, local Mongolians, the Mongolian Academy of Science,” said Lin, whose team will return to northern Mongolia this summer to continue their ground-breaking exploration.