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 Emily Callahan and Amber Jackson, co-founders of Blue Latitudes, dive in. They are marine scientists on a mission to re-purpose offshore oil and gas platforms as artificial reefs around the world. The oil platforms found in their home state of California, like most offshore oil platforms around the world, are home to some of the most productive ecosystems on the planet. As the world’s natural reefs are overfished, over-trawled and polluted, Amber and Emily believe that re-purposing these structures, some the size of the empire state building, as artificial reefs, may be the best decision for the future of our oceans. It’s time to think creatively about the resources we have, and proceed forward boldly with radical new tactics for ocean management. Callahan and Jackson explain how Rig2Reef Exploration has successfully conducted research expeditions in the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico and California, investigating the ecological, economic and cultural benefits of re-purposing these offshore platforms in a variety of ways, from eco-tourism hot spots, to national marine sanctuaries.
BIO: Emily Callahan
Emily Callahan is a marine conservation biologist, oil and gas consultant and explorer. She 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 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 experience. 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.
BIO: Amber Jackson
Amber Jackson is an oceanographer, environmental scientist and entrepreneur. She has a B.A. 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 layers in Google Maps that distill and relate complex concepts in ocean science for a variety of audiences. Ms. Jackson also contributed to the construction of the virtual seafloor found in Google Earth by collecting, analyzing and editing multi-beam bathymetry and acoustic backscatter data from vessels and satellites. Ms. Jackson has extensive experience as an project manager specializing in ecological impact assessments, marine biological monitoring and habitat restoration through the Rigs to Reefs program.