Surfers swallow 10x more water than swimmers, divers, study shows

surfers on the Oregon coastCORVALLIS, Ore. (Dec. 22, 2008) – In the first study of its kind, scientists at Oregon State University (OSU) and the Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality have found that surfers unintentionally ingest 10 times more water than swimmers or divers, putting them at higher risk of contracting gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses when surfing in contaminated waters.

The study also suggests that because the water quality at Oregon beaches is significantly better than more popular surfing destinations, such as California, Hawaii, or Florida, the risk of GI illness is lower for people surfing the frigid waters of the Oregon coast.

“While the risk for Oregon surfers is not high for GI illness, our findings suggest that surfers who spend longer periods of time in recreational waters, or who surf in more contaminated locations, are likely to be at higher risk of contracting GI illnesses,” said David Stone, an assistant professor in the OSU Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology.

The study, funded by Oregon Sea Grant, used a Web-based survey to collect voluntary responses from 520 of the estimated 12,000 surfers in Oregon. Participants estimated the amount of water they ingest during a typical recreational day, and the researchers used historic water quality data collected at six popular surfing beaches to calculate the risk of infection from fecal bacteria using enterococci as an indicator organism.

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High school students investigate marine science careers at the HMSC

Registration is now being accepted for the April 17 Career Days at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

Open to all high school students, this year’s event – “CSI – Careers in Science Investigation” – will focus on some of the mysteries scientists attempt to unravel: What’s causing marine “dead zones”? What do whales do when no one is looking? How does a scientist determine why a marine animal died?
Students will have the opportunity to meet working scientists and learn what their jobs are really like, to explore the high-tech equipment and techniques researchers use to investigate the ocean, and to tour  labs and research facilities at the HMSC.

Registration is $15 per student, and preregistration is required by April 3. For more information visit Oregon Sea Grant’s marine education program on the HMSC Web site.

Learning and fun for homeschoolers at the HMSC

Registration is open for the annual Home School Days program at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.  Conducted by Oregon Sea Grant’s marine education program, the March 20 event offers age-appropriate classes and activities for home-schooled children from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, with activities ranging from ocean-themed crafts to hands-on animal labs and  guided tours of the HMSC.

The fee $20 per child, and pre-registration is required; classes typically fill quickly, so home school parents are encouraged to register early. For a full schedule of classes and registration information, visit the HMSC Education Web site.

West Coast research planning document up for public comment

A draft report on ocean and coastal research and information needs on the West Coast is available for public review and comment from the Oregon Sea Grant Web site.  The deadline for comments is Jan. 16, 2009

The report, developed by Sea Grant programs in Oregon, Washington and California after extensive public involvement,  is available for download in .pdf format, along with background documents including more than 5,000 marine research and information recommendations made by stakeholders in public meetings and on line.

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HMSC bookstore launches on-line marketplace

NEWPORT, Ore.  – Looking for the perfect holiday gift for your favorite beachcomber, birder or budding marine biologist? The Visitor Center Bookstore at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center may have just what you’re looking for in its new e-commerce store.

Part of the OSU Marketplace, the new outlet offers convenient, secure, on-line ordering for a selection of the bookstore’s most popular titles, including children’s books, field guides to ocean plants and animals, and marine science curriculum resources for teachers and home schoolers.

Bookstore manager Lynne Wright is adding additional product lines, from DVDs and posters to apparel, as time permits. “We see this as an additional way to serve our visitors and other long-time customers, as well as a means of reaching out to those who may not yet have had a chance to visit the Oregon coast,” Wright said.

The on-line store accepts orders from anywhere within the continental United States. Customers from Alaska or Hawaii, and those who wish to make bulk orders, should call the bookstore at (541) 867-0126 to arrange for the best shipping rates.

Proceeds from the bookstore help support public and k-12 marine education programs conducted at the HMSC Visitor Center by Oregon Sea Grant.

Oregon Sea Grant calls for research proposals

Oregon Sea Grant invites preliminary proposals for research on important marine and coastal issues from researchers affiliated with any institution of higher education in Oregon. Proposals will be entered into a highly competitive review and selection process. Proposed work may begin on either February 1, 2010, or February 1, 2011.

The deadline for submitting preliminary proposals is 5 p.m. February 6, 2009.

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