Sea Grant’s Hunter honored by OSU

Award recipient Nancee Hunter, right, with fiancee George WinklerCORVALLIS – Nancee Hunter, Oregon Sea Grant Education Programs Director for the past four years, was honored with the  Oregon State University Professional Faculty Excellence Award at last week’s OSU University Day 2011.

Hunter, who has managed Sea Grant’s education programs and the Visitor Center at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, was recognized for exceptional service in a non-academic unit and beyond the traditional academic categories of  teaching, research and extension.

In her time with Oregon Sea Grant, Hunter ledd major changes within the Visitor Center, building networks and partnerships, examining new approaches to marine and public education, nurturing ideas and leveraging nearly  $3.5 million in funding for marine and public education programs and research.

OSU President Ed Ray presented the award at the Sept. 21 University Day Awards Dinner,  and Hunter was also recognized during the following day’s campus-wide University Day event.

Hunter has left full-time Sea Grant employment to pursue a PhD.,  but continues to work part-time in an advisory capacity with interim program director Shawn Rowe until a new director is named.

Register now for Heceta Head Coastal Conference

Registrations are being accepted now for the Heceta Head Coastal Conference, October 28 & 29 at the Florence Events Center.

The theme of this year’s conference  is “Oregon’s Ocean: Catching the Next Wave of Discoveries.”

Angela Haseltine Pozzi of the Washed Ashore Project will talk at Friday’s dinner about her work of turning marine debris into art.  Saturday’s program features opening remarks by Representative Jean Cowan (Chair of the Coastal Caucus), current research in Oregon’s ocean, a panel on the Role of Research, Student Posters and the keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Costanza, the new Director of PSU’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions and a leader in the field of environmental economics, will share his vision for Oregon’s ocean.

The conference is co-sponsored by Oregon Sea Grant. Full program and registration information is available from

Volcanic vents offer peek at acidic future

The underwater volcanoes off a tiny Italian island are helping scientists peer into the future of a world altered by increasing amounts of carbon dioxide emitted into the air and absorbed into the oceans.

The waters just off the island of Ischia mirror the projected conditions of the Earth’s oceans at the beginning of the next century because the volcanic vents found there infuse the water with large helpings of carbon dioxide, or CO2, which turns seawater acidic.

Research has shown that the growing acidic conditions are harmful to some sea creatures — those that build their protective shells with calcium are increasingly prevented from doing so the more acidic waters become.

The fates of these creatures and the stability of the ocean food chain are a major concern over the next century and beyond because of the carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere by humans, as the oceans absorb about 30 percent of this carbon dioxide.

“One part of climate change that is indisputable is that CO2 is rising in the atmosphere — it’s easy to measure,” said Bill Chadwick, an Oregon State University geologist. “And it’s indisputable that it is making the oceans more acidic — we can measure it.”

(Oregon Sea Grant has supported previous deep-sea research projects by Dr. Chadwick).

September 17 Proclaimed “Oregon Sea Grant Day” by Governor Kitzhaber

Oregon Sea Grant chartering, 1971

Oregon Sea Grant, the coastal and marine research and education program based at Oregon State University (OSU), celebrates its fortieth anniversary September 17, and Governor John Kitzhaber has proclaimed the date “Oregon Sea Grant Day.”

(Read the proclamation – .pdf format)

The proclamation recognizes the program for forging a “dynamic partnership” with the Oregon University System, the State of Oregon, Oregon coastal communities, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) since September 1971.

“Oregon Sea Grant funds top-quality research with high relevance to society,” the proclamation reads, “as part of an integrated program of research, education, Extension, and public science communication.”

Many Oregonians come in contact with the program at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, through the public education and free-choice learning activities which  Sea Grant leads.  Over the last 40 years these programs have engaged more than 11 million visitors and hundreds of thousands of Oregon school children.

Still others are familiar with Sea Grant from contact with its OSU Extension faculty, many of them located in coastal communities. The program also produces publications, videos, and Web-based media on a wide range of ocean and coastal topics, from tsunamis to fisheries and from healthy ecosystems to the effects of climate change.

“Everything we do is intended to help Oregonians understand, conserve, and wisely use ocean and coastal resources,” said Stephen Brandt, Sea Grant director. “That mission has been a constant.”

OSU President Ed Ray acknowledged the Governor’s day, offering Brandt his congratulations “for this most appropriate recognition of such an important and accomplished program.”

Although Sea Grant had begun in Oregon in 1968, in 1971, when the program was officially designated a “college program” under NOAA, OSU President Robert MacVicar journeyed to Washington, D.C. to meet personally with federal officials, among them Robert Abel, then director of the national office of Sea Grant. Abel lauded Oregon Sea Grant for the “highest degree of effectiveness in its program.”

Oregon’s federal funding was the largest of the four programs designated in 1971 (others were in Washington, Texas, and Rhode Island.) Today Sea Grant programs are found in every coastal state; and Oregon’s is still widely considered one of the very top programs.

View a slideshow of historic Sea Grant photos on Flickr

NOAA’s Ark comes to HMSC

Treasures of NOAA's ArkNEWPORT – The Treasures of NOAA’s Ark, an exhibit of historic artifacts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its predecessor agencies, is on display at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center through January 2, 2012.

Featuring 19th century maps and charts, early scientific instruments and text about the history and science behind the nation’s ocean charting and exploration efforts, the exhibit got a sneak preview at the recent grand opening of NOAA’s new Marine Operations Center here, and then moved across the street to the HMSC Visitor Center.

The history of NOAA and the nation are intertwined. It is difficult to talk about weather, water, climate, and commerce without discussing the agency and its ancestors: the U.S. Coast Survey, the U.S. Weather Bureau, and the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries.

NOAA has custody of a wealth of resources that recall the agency’s history and service to the nation: Maps, nautical charts, photographs, books, scientific instruments and other artifacts. In 2005, many of the items were assembled in an exhibit at NOAA headquarters in Silver Spring, MD as part of the  agency’s 100th anniversary celebration. Since then, they have been on tour at science museums across the US.

They can be viewed at the HMSC Visitor Center from 10 am – 4 pm Thursdays through Mondays. The Center is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Take a virtual tour of NOAA’s Ark

West Coast Sea Grant Fellows Launch Blog

Four West Coast Governors’ Agreement (WCGA) Sea Grant Fellows, hired in the spring of 2011 for two-year assignments, have launched a blog at to share their perspectives and relevant news about the region’s coastline and marine resources. The blog launches with several articles, ranging from coastal and marine spatial planning to the WCGA meeting held in Seattle in June of 2011 to a National Ocean Council listening session held in the state of Washington.

Outside magazine profiles Sea Grant’s Pat Corcoran

PITY POOR CASSANDRA, blessed by Apollo with the power of prophecy, cursed with the fate of ­disbelief. She tells the people what’s coming. She suffers their laughter, absorbs their scorn. Then she watches her prediction come true. Yeah, you told us so, they’ll say as they bury the dead. Congratulations, jerk.

Patrick Corcoran feels her pain. It’s his job. Every day, he rises at dawn and goes out into the world to tell people to prepare to meet their doom. Or, rather, to prepare to escape it.

Corcoran is a professional geographer in Astoria, Oregon, a misty fishing port where the Columbia River meets the ­Pacific Ocean. He’s a high-energy guy, 50, with a little ­Billy Bob Thornton to his look. Loves his job and loves his coffee. Drives around in his ­Toyota ­Tacoma all day with an 11.5-foot-long Taka­yama paddleboard strapped to the rack. He’s a coastal natural-hazards specialist with Ore­gon Sea Grant, a marine version of an agri­cul­tural extension service affiliated with ­Oregon State University. Cor­coran prophesies earthquakes and tsunamis five days a week. …

(Read the whole article at Outside Online...)