Hi Reddit!

On October 18-19, 2019 Ocean Planet Conference will convene world leaders in ocean exploration, discovery, innovation, business and technology together with ocean enthusiasts and life-long learners.

Event speakers include luminaries such as:

Astronaut, aquanaut & artist, NICOLE STOTT 

Provost of the US Naval War College, LEWIS DUNCAN

Scientist, Explorer & International Voice for the Ocean, SYLVIA EARLE.

More info on https://oceanplanetconference.com

Dr. Armin Ellis, a former JPL engineer and creator of several entrepreneurial ventures in both the US and his native UK is here with Dr. Dominic D’Agostino a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. He is also a Research Scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC).  His laboratory develops and tests nutritional strategies and metabolic-based therapies for neurological disorders, seizures, cancer and metabolic wellness. He was a research investigator and crew member on NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operation (NEEMO 22) and has a personal interest in environmental medicine and methods to enhance safety and physiological resilience of military personnel in extreme environments.

Proof: https://imgur.com/RnKvnUl

They are here to answer questions about the Ocean Planet Conference, environmental health, their favorite food, and anything else you'd like to ask.

They will be answering questions from 3:00 PM EST to 4:00 PM.

EDIT: Thank you all for your questions, That is all the time we have for this AMA.

The Complete AMA session can be replayed here: https://oceanscienceradio.simplecast.com/episodes/live-reddit-ama-with-ocean-planet-conference

We will post a podcast recording of us answering the vast majority of the questions you've submitted so stay tuned for the link.

To continue the discussion please sign up for our mailing list, or connect with us over social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and feel free to join r/oceanplanet

Follow Armin and Dom on Twitter.

For those interested in purchasing tickets to the event, we will be donating 20% of every ticket sold using the code "AMAOPC" TO Sylvia Earle's foundation. The promo code also provides an additional 10% discount on checkout! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ocean-planet-conference-2019-tickets-56733782270?discount=AMAOPC

Looking forward to answering your questions.

Comments: 154 • Responses: 39  • Date: 

LivingSanely38 karma

Out of curiosity - how do you believe we stop plastic pollution from occurring?

MoistPockets32 karma

Disincentivize single use plastics with a tax. Encourage biodegradable replacements with a subsidy. Use a global treaty to get other countries to do the same, perhaps offering financial help to 3rd world countries.

jskoker3 karma

Disincentivize single use plastics with a tax.

There will always be a need for single use plastics imo. Mostly in the medical and food industries, which is where I'm sure a lot of our plastic waste comes from in the first place.

I'd rather see incentives for recycling, like how some states will do a deposit. It would encourage recycling and cleanup of land more. But not just have it be a deposit, more of a scrap metal system where you get paid by the pound and not getting money back that you were forced to pay. That way it can apply to all plastics and not just what is generated by the food industries.

OceanPlanetFIE11 karma

Armin: I completely agree. We cannot discontinue single use packaging completely, but we can aim for innovation and adopt a water dissolvable materials to be used instead of single use plastics

OceanPlanetFIE15 karma

Armin: Our friend Ben Lecomte just completed an expedition that was focused on discovering the way we pollute the oceans. We need to find a substitute to limit the use of plastic in our everyday lives. We must find the source of where is that plastic coming from, and offer different water solvable materials for the same use so instead of pollution we will end up introducing products that can be dissolved in the oceans.

It's not down to pointing fingers it's about having the discussion and coming up with a solution together

CodeCum14 karma

What can a 13 year old do, to prevent further melting of the polar ice and stop rising sea levels? -Brendan

OceanPlanetFIE11 karma

Armin: What a wonderful question. As a young person, I would advise not to worry and panic, but to study and learn. We live in a complicated world. I would definitely encourage you to study science and look for a way on how to solve things later in the future. It is pleasing to see young people engaging with world problems.

TimHV10 karma

If all nations worked together could we make significant strides towards removing existing plastics from the ocean, or is it a lost cause?

OceanPlanetFIE8 karma

Armin: We initially need to stop producing new plastic waste, followed by activities of concentrating and removing the plastic waste. That's what the action plan should look like if we got all countries to put their efforts into saving our planet.

diab0lus4 karma

Eating less fish means less plastic nets in the water. I think plastic nets are the leading source of plastic pollution in the ocean.

Edit: Added sources (I couldn't find the source to support what I said about nets being a leading source of plastic pollution, but they are still a huge problem to the environment and threaten the lives of marine life):

If you have additional sources, please share.

TimHV1 karma

I was more interested in cleaning up what is already there, like these giant floating garbage patches. Of course much can and needs to be done to prevent further damage, but I wonder how much we could reverse the damage already done.

akornblatt2 karma

these giant floating garbage patches

Yeah, just to stop it right there, if you are envisioning a floating island of trash (like you may have seen in American Dad or Family Guy), that is not what it is like. Think more like miles upon miles of thick plasticy soup up and down the watercolumn.

OceanPlanetFIE2 karma

That is exactly what it looks like. Just check out Ben Lacomte's portfolio from the Vortex Swim and you'll see the exact situation from up close

olismith0510 karma

What is your weirdest ocean encounter?

OceanPlanetFIE10 karma

Dom: Me and my wife did a night dive with manta rays. It's interesting that these species have the largest brains of all sea life. It's a surreal experience

Armin: Bioluminescence makes you feel connected to something that we never knew existed.

Dom; The cancer cells we study in the lab have bioluminescence.

Shameful_Orgy5 karma

Long time and avid fisherman here, how bad have the estuaries in South Florida become, really, since Rick Scott's "agricultural initiative?" What is the status of the fisheries?

OceanPlanetFIE1 karma

Armin: Sylvia Earle, Florida Native and the panelist at this years OPC will be sharing her opinions on the Florida Ecosystem so I invite you to attend the OPC: we will be donating 20% of every ticket sold using the code "AMAOPC" TO Sylvia Earle's foundation. The promo code also provides an additional 10% discount on checkout! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ocean-planet-conference-2019-tickets-56733782270?discount=AMAOPC

LivingSanely5 karma

What is working for NASA like?

OceanPlanetFIE3 karma

Armin: I was working with an ocean of creative people at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, working on NASA programs.

Dom: Can't wait for my next call

AustinLanceButler5 karma

Hey Dr. D'Agostino,

Huge fan/follower!

A few years ago, caught the Keto/LCHF, resistance training, endocrinology, biochemistry, organic chemistry, research methodology and statistics passion; unfortunately, I'm a few years removed from academia and college.

How would you recommend a passionate, hard working, willing to learn non-STEM individual get moving towards a goal of helping spread and discover more about these emerging bio-techs? Go back to school for endocrinology? Sign up to be a research subject? Keep learning and personally applying these concepts?

Thanks for all the knowledge you put out into the public sphere!! Also, good luck with your farm!!!

OceanPlanetFIE3 karma

Dom: Keep Learning, the more you learn the more you excited you can become. It's a field where your every knowledge advances you to a bigger goal.

bubsonian5 karma

Have known of Dr Dom D'Agostino for years and just learned about Dr. Ellis - fangirling a bit over this, to be honest!

My question: Towards which of the STEM fields would you nudge your kids/loved ones if their goal is to contribute towards the greater good of humanity and all living organisms? What advice would you give them to help them establish their career path?

OceanPlanetFIE2 karma

Armin: Go with the field that you are most excited about. Every field is currently expanded and go with the one you are most passionate about allowing you to the most energy into it.

Dom: Extreme Environments, Space exploration, radiation biology, but you can start with biology or plain chemistry and expand into a more techy field as your career prgresses.

sneakycrown5 karma

With the ocean being as vast as it is, is it possible there is still a giant sea creature (say, a large eel or prehistoric plesiosaur) that could still be roaming out there? What do you think the chances are that we'll eventually have all of the deep blue explored, if ever?

OceanPlanetFIE9 karma

Armin: The chances of that are pretty substantial. Our Tech keeps getting better and allows us to see stuff that was not available to see ever before. It's a pretty exciting time to dive into the exploration of our blue frontier.

throwmeawaypoopy4 karma

Hey Armin -- we know each other in real life (I'm K.G.'s brother-in-law). Hope you're doing well!

Acidification of the oceans strikes me as a tremendous problem that is rarely talked about. Aside from reducing CO2 in the atmosphere, is there anything that can be done to affect pH levels in the Ocean? The scale just seems impossibly huge.


OceanPlanetFIE2 karma

Armin: I would like to refer you to https://essp.nasa.gov/essp/files/2018/02/2017-Earth-Science-Decadal-Survey.pdf These surveys are pretty comprehensive and focus on discovering the culprits behind the ocean acidification which will give us a better idea on what could be the most suitable counter measure.

matteeguy4 karma

Hi Dom, I visited your lab from Purdue a while back. How's the hyperbaric AFM work going?

OceanPlanetFIE3 karma

Dom: In 2005 department of defense supported our AFM project to Microscan changes in a membrane and cells. The equipment in our lab is still present and used till this day to give us insights regarding hyperbaric microscopy to detect cancer cells.

LivingSanely3 karma

Is this the conference page? https://www.oceanplanetconference.com/

OceanPlanetFIE4 karma

Yes, it is. This is the promo code with the special AMA discount https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ocean-planet-conference-2019-tickets-56733782270?discount=AMAOPC

20% of all tickets sold through this link will be donated to Sylvia Earle's mission.

Slommyhouse3 karma

What’s the problem with having too much protein on a keto diet?

OceanPlanetFIE7 karma

Dom: Exceeding the limit of the concentration of protein in calories can trigger a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis. Trying to balance this out by including more fat rather than protein focused diet leads to another consequence of keto-related weight changes can be a loss of muscle mass, says Kizer—especially if you’re eating much more fat than protein

DrHivesPHD3 karma

What would be the most interesting find in your research that you know about?

OceanPlanetFIE5 karma

Dom: That manta rays are the species that has the biggest brain of all sea critters.

master_menace2 karma

Are you still on the ketogenic diet? Are you still researching the ketogenic diet and its affects on the brain?

OceanPlanetFIE2 karma

Dom: Still researching the high protein concentrations and the effects of high protein levels to the nervous system

olismith052 karma

Why do you think the Navy holds the key for ocean well-being?

OceanPlanetFIE2 karma

Armin: One of the topics that we will cover during the conference is the role of the Navy in the Ocean EcoSystem

olismith052 karma

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your 20-year-old selves?

OceanPlanetFIE1 karma

Dom: You're going to do great buddy

Vnecktrev092 karma

Any relation the the Octonauts?

OceanPlanetFIE1 karma

Armin: No as far as I am concerned.

tiggyqt2 karma

Hi Dr. Dominic D'agostino and Dr. Armin Ellis,

What are your thoughts on the future of environmental medicine? Also, is there still progress to be made/much more undiscovered therapeutic potential in places like the ocean?

OceanPlanetFIE4 karma

Dom: Absolutely! If we continue to do Ocean and Space Exploration it is important to advance our knowledge of the extreme environments body behavior. We have to understand the impact of extensive breathing of CO2 under controlled circumstances and be sure to apply the findings into real case scenarios. We need to understand certain situations and the effects they have on the human body to be able to figure out a remedy.

akornblatt2 karma

Dominic - What are you going to be talking about at the conference?

OceanPlanetFIE2 karma

Dom: There's numerous things that I will be focusing on. From stuff that I do in our lab, developing various hyperbaric scenarios, moving cell biology into chamber studies, my path from biology to becoming a NASA research scientist that studied the affect of the extreme environment on aquanauts and astronauts; and much much more

hermano_desperto2 karma

What's so special about hexagonal water?

OceanPlanetFIE2 karma

Dom: What makes it so fun is that liquid water forms all sorts of temporary polymers, but a hexamer is indeed detectable but it has no more memory than six molecules. It is special because you can visually see the water molecules.

bestminipc2 karma

is this conference on youtube like with other conferences?

OceanPlanetFIE2 karma

We will be recording the presentations but we won't have live broadcasts available during the show.

wkrjjram2 karma

** Question on energy: **

Why has no one exploited hydro thermal vents for power Generation? Its a free heat source all we need is an energy converter and transport cables.

OceanPlanetFIE2 karma

Armin: It's a great opportunity for producing a green/blue energy. I think that we lack the technology to make this a reality. It would cost way too much to built together even a small scale system that would convey power from this type of thermal converters.

CmdrNorthpaw2 karma

Have you ever been to NEEMO or somewhere like it?

olismith052 karma

Is the conference biased towards industrialization rather than the environment?

OceanPlanetFIE2 karma

Armin: OPC is about looking about the Big Picture and think about the complete ecosystem, the energy industry produces power, fisheries provide food, pharmacies provide drugs. What we are trying to do is to solve the problems on a more systematic level. I believe that innovation can solve problems. We need to consider the importance of the oceans as a source of survival for millions of human beings and we need to find a balance between the environmental impact and the industrial users of the ocean.

Wtfthrow0231 karma

With the number of ocean science and conservation conferences already happening these days, what sets yours apart?

OceanPlanetFIE1 karma

Armin: This is not a technical conference, it's a lot smaller than the other conference that emerged recently. This conference features an exceptional program that includes incredible speakers from a variety of disciplines including ocean commerce, science, advocacy, sports, military and much more. We are not your typical environmental conference nor the conventional corporate trade show

fsanchez10271 karma

What's the most technologically advanced ocean crawler we currently have or is in development? I'm curious as to what we're doing to expand our understanding of what lies in the deep. Is it possible that prehistoric creatures still exist at depths currently unexplored?

OceanPlanetFIE1 karma

Armin: We are no experts in this field but at the conference, we'll have representatives from MATE ROV, whose knowledge is far too advanced in this area.

SmittyWerbenJagerMon1 karma

Any advice on how we can keep our oceans cleaner? And also WHATS the coolest thing you saw while exploring the ocean

OceanPlanetFIE2 karma

Dom: We need to stop the way we behave and be more responsible for our actions. The coolest thing ever is the night dive experience with Manta rays

born_to_fart1 karma

What do you think is the next big discovery or hurdle in our oceans (ie moon base or humans landing on mars)?

OceanPlanetFIE1 karma

Armin: I feel we're close to a major breakthrough in the Industrial use of our oceans, in terms of going greener and more efficient. But I cannot really predict something at the scale of the moon landing.

Lifeisdamning1 karma

Is it true we know more about the surface of the moon than the bottom of our oceans?

OceanPlanetFIE1 karma

Armin: That is true my friend, but we intend to change that in the near future.

bestminipc1 karma

for everyone, what is your life goal, and why does your currently do lead to that goal better than all the other possible things that could be done in life?

OceanPlanetFIE2 karma

Dom: Be able to discover something that can make the Human body more prepared to sustain and survive extreme situations and environments

bestminipc1 karma

if you could do anything else in the life starting tomorrow aside from your current job, what would that be, and why?

OceanPlanetFIE1 karma

Dom: Arts, I just love to express the unexplainable

bestminipc1 karma

what hobbies or things do you enjoy in life and makes you happy?

OceanPlanetFIE1 karma

Dom: Diving, Swimming and snorkeling.

Armin: Airplane and Spaceship model collector

jax_q_is_bugged1 karma

I did a diving course at the Great Barrier Reef a while ago. I loved it and would like to try it again. What parts of the ocean are the most interesting to explore?

OceanPlanetFIE1 karma

Dom: The floor. It has so many species living in the depths.

fondofowls1 karma

Do you have any recommendations for someone interested in pursuing a career as an oceanographer?

OceanPlanetFIE1 karma

Armin: At the Ocean Planet Conference you can meet lot of people that have taken that same career path like Prof. Ruth Blake of Yale that would be more than happy to share her experience with anyone interested in learning.


Thanks so much for all the work you both do. Huge follower of the ketogenic research and talks you’ve been sharing Dom.

What are some of the biggest points nutrition aids in being underwater?

OceanPlanetFIE2 karma

Dom: The most important diet is consuming foods that lower co2. Low carbs diet for instance.

tritisan1 karma

Are you related to Dan D’Agostino, the great audio amplifier designer? I have one of his Aragon monoblock amps and just love it.

OceanPlanetFIE2 karma

Dom: We are not related