This September, a 6-person team dubbed the “Ocean Riders” are taking on the challenge of Climate Ride Northeast, pedaling 390 miles from Bar Harbor, Maine to Boston. Their efforts will support an ocean-focused organization, Marine Applied Research and Exploration (MARE). MARE has been a Climate Ride beneficiary since 2013 and is led by Founder and Executive Director Dirk Rosen, who is a soon to be 4-time Climate Rider.

We connected with Dirk to learn more about the organization, their current projects and how Climate Ride funding has impacted their work. Here’s what Dirk had to say:

The Marine Applied Research & Exploration (MARE) mission and vision is probably best described by: Explore. Discover. Protect.  We deploy deepsea robotic technology to explore, discover and document the communities of fish and invertebrate species living there.  We use what we learn to guide the efforts of others, including policy makers and scientists, who are working to protect our vulnerable ocean resources as human activities change the oceans.  This August we’re embarking on “Expedition Climate Change”, as we begin a series of projects that will help us understand how our ocean is responding to climate change – warming temperatures and increasing acidity.

ROV Beagle can dive to 3,000 feet deep

 

Climate Ride has helped MARE raise awareness, generate resources, meet new funders and make new friends.  Grant money from Climate Ride has directly supported our work in the Channel Islands, helping us cover the considerable expense of mounting a field expedition. The information we’ve gathered from our work there over the last two years has direct bearing on understanding climate adaptation — sometimes dramatic— in marine communities likely related to warming temperatures.

We’re also working with scientists to better understand the nature of warmer, more acidic oceans and to prepare resource managers for those conditions. Most people think of the tropics when they hear coral, but California has several species, including black coral, that thrive in cold deep water.  In August, we’ll explore and map colonies of sponges and deepwater coral in the Channel Islands persisting in the second most acidic waters in the world! How is it that these species can do as well as they do in those conditions? We don’t know yet, but Climate Ride funds are helping us find out. 

Black coral ~350 years old and DNA sampling manipulator

 

Climate Ride is a unique way to get our non-profit’s message out while raising consciousness and support for the larger goal we all share, protecting our planet (72% of which is covered by ocean that produces half our oxygen and sequesters 30% of our CO2).  I first formed the Climate Ride team because at the time, there was no ocean representation on the rides. Climate Ride Founders Geraldine and Caeli embraced the idea.  The Ocean Riders fill a gap, just as MARE fills a deepwater data gap.  In 2003, I realized that nobody was surveying the deep oceans when California implemented its first set of networked Marine Protected Areas.

It’s wonderful to see how many other groups have come on board since my first Climate Ride in 2013.  I can’t wait for the Ocean Riders to form new friendships on the East Coast this September. 

 

Team Ocean Riders on Climate Ride California North Coast 2015

 

We may talk about the world’s “oceans” but in reality, there is one ocean and “we all live upstream”. That’s why this year, our ambitious goal is to raise $20,000.  We’re putting the word out on social media and through our informal networks of cycling enthusiasts, and hope to entice team mates with the promise of good company and an awesome jersey.

The Ocean Rider bike jersey for 2016

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