Ocean Visions and Running Tide Convene an Independent Scientific Advisory Board

Brad Rochlin
2022-11-18
minute read

As a science-based organization, Running Tide maintains an ongoing and open dialogue with leaders in the oceanographic, scientific, and academic community. 

Our mission is simple: restore ocean health. At its core, the ocean is a global commons; it is made up of vast, fragile, intricate, and intertwined ecosystems, and utilized and cared for by communities across the globe. No single entity has a claim to the ocean, and the decisions that impact it require buy-in and support from a diverse range of stakeholders. 

The worst impacts of climate change are tangible and apparent in the ocean. The ocean has been subject to warming, acidification, and deoxygenation at a global scale, threatening coastal communities and food security, and putting the natural processes that regulate our climate systems at extreme risk of collapse. Without positive interventions, the capacity of the ocean to sequester and store atmospheric CO₂ through photosynthesis will likely continue to diminish, accelerating the increase in atmospheric CO₂ and the resulting acidification of surface seawater. Simply put, there is no path to effectively fixing the planet that does not include partnering with the ocean.

To date, there has been a lack of applied research of Ocean CDR techniques conducted in the ocean, and as a result, much of the peer-reviewed research available on the impacts of climate interventions has been theoretical and lacks specificity. There are real uncertainties around all prospective ocean carbon climate solutions, and additional research, development, testing, and evaluation is needed to determine which will be most effective in meaningfully improving ocean health.

The only way to fully understand the efficacy and impacts of ocean carbon removal systems is to responsibly research and test them, and to do so via staged progressions towards scale. Collaboration with the scientific and oceanographic community around the design, implementation, and sharing of results from this research will be critical in advancing our collective understanding of the ocean and determining which ocean-based interventions should be prioritized. In addition to driving this collaboration, Running Tide advocates for effective governance structures for carbon removal writ large, and for the implementation of positive interventions in the global commons of the ocean, including collective research guidelines and an Ocean CDR Code of Conduct for practitioners. 

As part of this mission, along with our internal, growing team of 12 Ph.D. scientists, Running Tide has partnered with Ocean Visions, a leading ocean nonprofit organization, to convene and manage our independent Scientific Advisory Board. This board, which was first announced on World Oceans Day this year, guides the development of our work and enables a direct mechanism for collaboration and oversight from leaders in the scientific community.

The Board and Running Tide leadership have been meeting regularly and discussing research and operational plans since June 2022. The initial announcement and details on the board are below: 

From June 8, 2022

Ocean Visions and Running Tide are proud to announce the formation of an independent Scientific Advisory Board convened and managed by Ocean Visions to guide the development of Running Tide’s carbon removal system. 

Ocean Visions, a nonprofit organization, works to develop innovative and durable solutions to the complex challenges facing our ocean. Running Tide, a company headquartered in Portland, Maine, designs and builds technology that amplifies the natural power of the ocean to durably remove carbon, reverse ocean acidification, and restore ocean health. Ocean Visions will oversee the independent Scientific Advisory Board, and will recruit appropriate experts to advise on various aspects related to Running Tide’s foundational science, quantification methods, and approach.

Included in this expert group will be:

  • Dr. Jim Barry, Senior Scientist and Benthic Ecologist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and a leading expert in benthic marine environments.
  • Dr. Andreas Oschlies, Head of the Biogeochemical Modelling research unit at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research and a leading expert in oceanic carbon uptake. 
  • Richard Donovan, a co-founder of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and independent forest advisor with 45+ years’ experience in community forest enterprises, rural development, forest certification, community forestry, watershed management, and biomass energy. 
  • David Bannon, Board Member and Founder of Headwall Photonics, a leading designer and manufacturer of imaging sensors and spectral instrumentation and an expert in the deployment of advanced instrumentation for remote sensing and machine vision.

Justin Ries, Senior Scientific Advisor at Running Tide, stated the following about the formation of the Board: “The Scientific Advisory Board convened by Ocean Visions comprises some of the world’s experts in the fields of global carbon cycling, oceanography, marine ecology, forestry, carbon sequestration, environmental economics and policy, and systems engineering. These experts will provide critical guidance, perspective, and insight into all aspects of Running Tide’s environmental and climate services. This engagement is exemplary of the collaboration between industry, policy, science, and engineering that is needed to tackle the CO2 problem at the requisite Earth system scale.”

The experts comprising this Board are selected based on their understanding of the key systems underlying and impacted by Running Tide’s foundational science and carbon removals accounting approach. The guidance and recommendations produced by this Board will be considered in all aspects of Running Tide’s methodologies and operations, including quantifying the removal of carbon, conducting environmental impact assessments (EIAs), and responsibly scaling Running Tide’s processes globally. Additional experts across a diverse range of fields will also join the Board in the near future. 

According to Board Member Jim Barry, “Stabilizing the climate system through reduced emissions and carbon removal is likely to be the most important challenge facing society this century and beyond. Developing realistic carbon removal solutions and implementing them at climate-relevant scales will depend upon partnerships involving a wide range of stakeholders including engineering, science, industry and social sciences. As one of the Scientific Advisors for Running Tide’s efforts to develop a kelp-sinking approach for ocean carbon sequestration, I’ll provide expert advice in marine biology and ecology, and will help identify resources for scientific information relevant for any issues related to their carbon removal efforts.”

Marty Odlin, the founder and CEO of Running Tide, said of the announcement, “We are immensely pleased that Ocean Visions will be convening this distinguished Scientific Board. This is a critical opportunity to leverage our collective expertise toward solving the climate crisis, restoring ocean health, and delivering positive co-benefits to ecosystems and human communities, while setting a standard for responsible innovation within the carbon removal space.” 

If you are a scientist or researcher who is passionate about the ocean, or an academic, oceanographic or scientific institution interested in contributing to research around ocean based CDR or acidification, we would love to work with you! Please reach out to our team at contact@runningtide.com.

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