Southall connection to Sustainability in National Parks

SEA Blog,

FYI – below is a link and the first few paragraphs of a recent article featuring some of the fantastic and proactive efforts of another Southall (my brother Joel) who is the Director of Environmental Affairs for Xanterra Parks and Resorts at the Grand Canyon.  SEA, Inc. will continue to expand our interests and focus areas into sustainability issues for both offshore and onshore industries.


Xanterra Parks & Resorts Recognized For Environmental

Commitment At Grand Canyon National Park

Submitted by NPT Staff on June 9, 2012 – 1:47am

We often view national parks as environmentally sensitive areas, and along that line of thinking we expect businesses that operate in the parks to be conscious of that in their operations. At Grand Canyon National Park, the National Park Service has recognized Xanterra Parks & Resorts for its environmental ethics.

The Park Service just honored Xanterra, which also operates in other parks including Yellowstone, Zion, Crater Lake and Death Valley, for operations that produced a significant decrease in water, electricity, petroleum and other resource consumption.

The Park Service recently announced Xanterra’s Environmental Achievement Award in the “Building our Future” category. The award recognized several successful environmental projects, including the company’s sustainable renovation of the historic Bright Angel Lodge. By installing water-saving equipment and implementing other conservation measures, Xanterra significantly reduced water consumption.

“Our long road toward increasingly sustainable operations began many years ago, long before being green was trendy,” said Joel Southall, director of sustainability for Xanterra South Rim. “As our environmental program has evolved, so has the commitment of Xanterra employees to ever-greener operations. Our employees – from housekeeping to engineering staff – are encouraged to recommend ways to reduce Xanterra’s footprint in every aspect of our operations.”

SOCAL-BRS Collaborator Part of Discovery of New Whale Sensory Organ

Dr. Jeremy Goldbogen of Cascadia Research Collective is centrally involved in the SOCAL-BRS research program in collaboration with SEA and other partners.  Jeremy was part of another recent effort that contributed a major new finding to the fields of marine mammal biology, feeding behavior, and sensory biology – the discovery of a new sensory organ in some baleen whale species.  This article (referenced below) was featured as the cover article of the recent issue of Nature.

Pyenson, N. D., Goldbogen, J. A., Vogl, A. W., Szathmary, G., Drake, R. L., Shadwick, R. E. (2012). Discovery of a sensory organ that coordinates lunge feeding in rorqual whales. Nature 485, 498–501

This article rightfully received a large amount of media attention in many sources; a few are identified below and others are linked from the following site which has additional information and publications by Dr. Goldbogen <>.  SEA and the SOCAL-BRS project is extremely grateful for our close collaboration with world-class scientists such as Jeremy and we congratulate him and his colleagues on a truly remarkable discovery.


SEA, Inc. Supports Aptos Little League

Southall Environmental Associates, Inc. is proud to support the Aptos Little League’s Major’s Division Cubs.  Last Saturday, star center fielder Logan Southall made a diving catch for the Cubs in center field and gunned out a runner trying to get to third base!  GO CUBS!!!

Recent press for

A recent article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel features the ground-breaking collaboration lead by our friend and colleague Drew Wharton in  Please check it and all the cool related links and information at:


We would like to let you know that the annual report for our Southern California Behavioral Response Study from 2011 is now available online on the SOCAL-BRS website.  Please go to <> We would like to especially thank all of our team members for their hard work, as well as the support of our research sponsors at U.S. Navy, Chief of Naval Operations, Environmental Readiness Division (OPNAV N45) and the Office of Naval Research.  Thanks also for the efforts of NOAA’s Office of Science and Technology and Office of Protected Resources, the Southwest Regional Marine Mammal Stranding Network, the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, the California Coastal Commission, and the American Cetacean Society..

Additional information regarding our data analysis, publications, and 2012 research plans as we continue to evolve this project will be forthcoming in the next few months.  Thanks for all the interest and comments in this project and stay tuned for some new results and publications coming soon.


New paper published on Assessing Acoustic Impacts in the Arctic

As interest in the rapid changes that are ongoing and forthcoming in the Arctic Ocean have increased, so has the study and assessment of impacts in the critical ecosystems found there.  Several colleagues and I collaborated on a paper that was just published in BioScience.  If you would like a .pdf copy of the paper, kindly send me an email and I will send it to you.

Moore, S.E., Reeves, R.R., Southall, B.L., Ragen, T.J., Suydam, R.S.,
and ClarkC.W.  (2012).  Marine mammals and anthropogenic sound in a rapidly changing Arctic.  BioScience 62, 289-295.



SEA Bloggers,

Our partners at Wharton Media are soon to be launching a new and exciting web-based education and outreach effort called  More information on this forthcoming resource and collaboration is given below.

About is a Wharton Media-led education and outreach initiative dedicated to raising awareness about the critical role scientific research plays in the understanding and conservation of the southern sea otter.  In collaboration with researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and California Department of Fish & Game, will offer an unprecedented look into extraordinary life and world of this endearing and threatened species.
Among the key goals of are to:
  • leverage the strength and reach of digital and social media to educate the
    public about the interconnectedness of land and sea;  that the health of
    sea otters, the nearshore marine ecosystem and humans are inextricably
    linked; that what we do here on land not only impacts us, but also our
    oceans and marine life
  • raise funds to support sea otter research, conservation and education
  • provide a central, comprehensive digital resource center dedicated to sea otter research, education, and conservation
  • educate  the public about the critical role scientific research plays in the
    understanding and conservation of the southern sea otter
  • raise awareness about the natural and anthropogenic factors threatening their population recovery
  • educate the public about the sea otters’ ecological role as a keystone and sentinel species
  • promote environmental and scientific literacy in an engaging and meaningful way
  • aid in the dissemination of sea otter research

Recent press on Ellison et al. (2011) paper in Conservation Biology

A recent article in the online publication Science 2.0 focuses on a recent paper published by Bill Ellison, Chris Clark, Adam Frankel, and myself in the journal Conservation Biology <for a description and link to this article, please see: <>

The recent media piece on the Ellison et al. (2011) paper was written by  Caitlin Kight and is entitled “Rethinking Marine Acoustic Ecology Research: Is It Time For A Change?”  The full article can be found online at: <> and the first few paragraphs are given below:

“Conservationists and managers are always looking to collect more and better data in order to verify that their policies are appropriate and biologically sound. This is particularly true when the policies are applied in environments undergoing rapid or constant change, and when those policies were originally based on relatively small amounts of data–two descriptions that reflect the situation in marine habitats exposed to anthropogenic noise.

According to a team of bioacousticians writing in the most recent issue of Conservation Biology, most current marine regulations assume that the effects of noise are linked, in a dose-dependent manner, to the strength of the sound pressure level received by the animal. As a result, policies are developed using a “zones of influence concept,” in which there are concentric rings centered on a sound source; animals positioned in the inner rings should suffer the most intense damage, while those in increasingly distant rings should suffer less damage. “Damage,” in this case, is usually thought of as being predominantly physical, ranging from death and burst air bladders to permanent or temporary shifts in hearing thresholds (or, in other words, deafness).

But, the authors argue, studies in terrestrial environments have clearly shown that noise can have more subtle, but equally important, effects on wildlife. For instance, abundance and diversity may shift as animals flee from, or learn to avoid, particularly noisy areas; individuals may alter their behaviors in counterproductive or even dangerous ways; and noise may make important acoustic signals difficult to hear, even in the absence of actual deafness. In short, the researchers write, the current marine noise concept “ignores a diverse suite of environmental, biological, and operation factors” that can impact both perception of, and response to, anthropogenic noise. Thus, they argue, it is necessary to overhaul the system and “[incorporate] context into behavioral-response assessment.”

New website on marine bioacoustics and ocean noise

FYI – you may be interested in a new website related to some of the kinds of issues SEA is working on in ocean noise.  Check out:

Also, below is a short description of the site and it’s content and objectives sent in a recent announcement.

“Dear Colleagues and Associates,

Ocean Conservation Research has assembled an informational website focused on issues concerning the impacts of noise on marine life.

The site is intended for an educated lay audience with some scientific literacy. We have included a sound/audiograph library with biological and common anthropogenic sounds, descriptions and discussions of some of the pressing concerns, links to other resources, papers, media, and descriptions of some of our projects.

Very little of the work represented in the website would have been possible
without the work of many of the people on this circulation list. We have
attributed this work as much as we could, but due to the vagaries of
internet “data mining” it is likely that we have missed some sources.
Please let us know where we have not included proper attributions.

Please also let us know of any errors you find so we can correct them.

If you would like to receive occasional newsletters specifically about
ocean noise and marine bioacoustics you may sign up through the website
or through this link.

We intend the site to be dynamic and evolving and hope that you find it informative.”


New advances in digital textbooks for marine science: CACHALOT

SEA Blog,

Thought you might be interested to know of some recent and very interesting developments in the use of digital multimedia in higher education in marine science.  Dr. Dave Johnston from Duke University is spearheading the development and expansion of a remarkable digital texbook called “Cachalot.”  This is a free, open-source interactive software appliation that uses the iPad.  It is regularly updated to integrate new information and provides photo, video, and audio multimedia information to supplement text.

For more information on CACHALOT and to download the app, go to:

To read more about this remarkable new capability, see the recent feature artcle on it in WIRED:


SOCAL-BRS is a study of basic behavior and responses to controlled sound exposures in a variety of marine mammal species.

Southall Environmental Associates, Inc.

Reducing environmental impacts from essential human activities requires unique approaches to meet challenging conservation objectives in the 21st century. SEA, Inc. works globally with diverse scientific teams and cutting-edge technologies to provide real-world solutions. Learn more about SEA