Emily Callahan and Amber Jackson
“There comes a time when the useful life of an oil platform comes to an end, at least when it comes to drilling for oil, and that’s when we dive in – We are marine scientists on a mission to unite science, policy, and economics to create innovative solutions for the complex ecological challenges associated with offshore structures.”
About Blue Latitudes:
The ecosystems found on oil and gas platforms are unique microcosms of life. Found offshore, in a blue ocean setting, these structures offer shelter to passing seal lions and dolphins, a nursery ground for threatened species of rockfish and a permanent residence to electric pink anemones and scallops the size of tennis balls. Each beam and column provides a habitat for life, and completely removing just one of these structures would result in the death of an ecosystem, home to hundreds of species and thousands of individuals.
“Our research is a comprehensive study of the ecological, socio-economic, and advocacy issues surrounding the Rigs-to-Reefs program. Through our fiscal sponsorship with Dr. Sylvia Earle’s non-profit organization, Mission Blue, we engage key players to find sustainable and long-term solutions for these unique ecosystems thriving below the controversial oil and gas platforms.By interpreting the essential principles and fundamental concepts of the Rigs-to-Reefs program, we strive to help the public make informed and responsible decisions regarding the ocean and its resources.
Blue Latitudes is on a mission to research, develop and implement an international protocol for the Rigs-to-Reefs decommissioning option. We unite science, communication and design to solve complex ecological challenges associated with re-purposing offshore oil and gas platforms as reefs.
Rigs-to-Reefs (R2R) provides an alternative to complete rig removal in which an oil company chooses to modify a platform so that it can continue to support marine life as an artificial reef. Through this decommissioning process, the oil well is capped and the upper 85 feet of the platform is either towed, toppled in place, or removed. California’s horizon has been speckled by oil and gas platforms since the 1950’s. Although these towering, distant objects bring in over 2 billion dollars in annual oil revenue to the state of California, many local residents complain that their very existence is a brutal eyesore and an extreme liability should there be an oil spill. These legitimate grievances may soon receive retribution as the oil wells dry up and offshore production slows to a halt. With the potential to be decommissioned in the next decade, California stands at an important policy crossroads: safely eliminating the eye sore and liability of the oil and gas platforms while still protecting the valuable and fragile ecosystems that have formed on and around these structures.”
Emily Callahan, Co-Founder
Ms. Callahan has a B.A. in Environmental Science and an M.A.S degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She has worked in the field of environmental consulting for over 4 years and conducted both international and domestic environmental impact assessments for governmental agencies and private sector clients, her key industry of expertise is in offshore oil and gas development and decommissioning.
Ms. Callahan has had diverse marine and terrestrial field sampling as well as monitoring program experience including over 400 miles of contiguous sediment core and biota sampling in support of sediment and biological investigations for British Petroleum. During her time at Scripps she conducted a rarity analysis of fish survey data for the REEF volunteer survey project- this analysis was used to present a comprehensive picture of the rarity and distribution of select species in the tropical Western Atlantic. Prior to her graduate studies at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, she worked as a field technician on the BP 252 Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This is where she witnessed first hand the destruction and devastation wrought by an oil spill. However, it is also where she learned of a unique silver lining to the reality of offshore oil and gas development, the Rigs to Reefs program – a program that worked to preserve the ecosystems thriving beneath the surface. She is a PADI certified Dive Master and an AAUS Scientific Diver with over 1000 hours of logged dives.
Amber Jackson, Co-Founder
Ms. Jackson has a B.S. in Marine Science from UC Berkeley and a M.A.S in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her expertise is unique, using technology to facilitate to intersection of science and communication. A former Ocean Curator at Google in partnership with the Sylvia Earle Alliance, she engineered and launched intelligent map layers in Google Maps that distill and relate complex concepts in ocean science for a variety of audiences, ranging from school children to politicians. She also assisted in the construction of the virtual seafloor found in Google Earth by collecting, analyzing and editing multi-beam bathymetry and acoustic backscatter data from NOAA’s National Geophysics Data Center (NGDC).
Ms. Jackson has established a solid foundation as an entrepreneur as a Program Manager for an entrepreneurship development program at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. During this time, she also sharpened her skills in the sciences as a researcher at the California Academy of Sciences. Her work on marine invertebrate phylogeny, both molecular and morphological, was funded by the National Science Foundation.
Website – rig2reefexploration.org
Twitter – @Rig2ReefExplore
Facebook – Rig2Reef Exploration
Instagram – @rig2reefexplorers
Youtube - ScienceSeaTV