PHOTO: Lt. Claude Panis, Marine Safety officer for Huntington Beach Lifeguards, appearing as a guest on 'Ocean-wise' with host Dr. Chris Lowe, CSULB Professor of Marine Biology and Director of the Shark Lab

​Southern Californians depend on the ocean for food, transportation, recreation, and much more. Ensuring the health of marine ecosystems against man-made threats is vital to our well-being, so the Advanced Media Production (AMP) department at CPIE has decided to take action.

“I developed 'Ocean-wise' to explore the challenges and potential solutions facing those committed to preserving the health of our coastal ocean,” said AMP Producer and Beach TV Program Developer Laura Foster, who worked closely with Dr. Chris Lowe to create the new video series.

Dr. Lowe, Professor of Marine Biology and Director of the Shark Lab at CSULB, is well-known for his media appearances and advocacy for marine life. After a discussion with Foster about increasing the visibility of these issues, 'Ocean-wise' was born.

“The goal was to come up with issues that had local relevance, but were also globally relevant, giving the show greater scope,” Lowe explained.

The first three episodes of the series can be viewed on Beach TV’s YouTube channel at bit.ly/32wtOts. “Food Security from the Sea” features a discussion about seafood sources, including commercial fisheries and local fisherman cooperatives; and provides consumer solutions through the Seafood Watch smartphone app. “Problems and Solutions to Ocean Pollution” covers the history, challenges, regulations, and legislation associated with cleaning up the mess that humans have made off the coast.

“Marine pollution and seafood security are big prob-lems that effect the health of marine life, humans, and our economy,” said Lowe.

Many of these same issues are covered in CSULB Marine Biology courses, and students participate in the production of 'Ocean-wise,' providing real-world experience with relevant issues. Faculty members have also contributed valuable expertise, including 'Ocean-wise' guests like CSULB instructors Dr. Erika Holland, Associate Professor of Toxicology; Dr. Gwen Goodmanlowe, Marine Biology lecturer; and Dr. Christine Whitecraft, Associate Professor of Marine Biology.

PHOTO: CSULB’s Advanced Media Production staff including (L-R) Dave Kelly, AMP Department Director; Ed Price, Beach TV Coordinator; Laura Foster, AMP Producer/Program Developer; student assistants Marco Munoz, Adriana Morales, and Hunter Woelfle;and Craig Walker, AMP Digital Systems Administrator.

'Ocean-wise' benefits especially from the hosting duties of Lowe, whose longtime work with sharks not only links him with the university’s new mascot, but also attracts interest due to the public’s perennial fascination with these mysterious sea predators.

“In many ways, sharks are an important part of all these discussions because they are susceptible to fishing, pollution, and interactions with humans,” said Dr. Lowe. “But they are just one group of marine animals effected by these problems.”

Sharks also offer an introduction to issues like beach safety in the third episode of 'Ocean-wise.' With perspectives drawn from local lifeguards and scientists, as well as the Shark Lab’s own state-funded beach safety education initiative, the latest episode provides valuable information on navigating dangers like rip currents, sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, and sick marine mammals. 

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PHOTO: Dr. Chris Lowe tagging a leopard shark at Big Fisherman Cove on Catalina Island in 2015

“All of us at AMP are so pleased to be working with Dr. Lowe on this program,' said Dave Kelley, Director of AMP. 'With his years of experience and extensive knowledge about marine life, he’s the perfect fit to engage with viewers as host of 'Ocean-wise.'”

Future episodes, set to appear every two to three months, will highlight topics such as the ocean as an energy source, medicinal cures from the sea, and the impact of climate change on coastal communities.

“Being able to provide this information to the general public not only helps educate voters to important issues,” said Lowe, “but also functions to help us attract future students eager to help solve these growing problems.”

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