2012 Oregon Sea Grant Scholars Day Symposium

Oregon Sea Grant will hold its inaugural Scholars Day Symposium on October 8th, 2012 in the Memorial Union Joyce Powell Leadership Center Journey Room.  The Symposium starts at noon and ends at 5:00.

The agenda and the program abstracts can be downloaded on our Scholars Day website.

Join us for all or part of the afternoon. Thy symposium will feature presentations and posters by some of the brightest young scholars supported by Oregon Sea Grant’s fellowship, scholarship, internship, and research programs.

Besides showcasing undergraduate and graduate student projects and achievements, this interdepartmental, inter-institutional event is an opportunity for dialogue among researchers, decision makers, industry leaders, and the academic community about Oregon’s current ocean and coastal issues.

The Sea Grant Scholars program is intended to recognize and enhance long-term benefits to students who receive academic and research support from Oregon Sea Grant. The goal is to create a community of scholars, help them identify with the program and its mission, and foster professional development, research and outreach within coastal and ocean sciences in the state.

Why attend?

  • Learn more about Oregon Sea Grant and its student programs
  • Interact with Oregon Sea Grant personnel and the university community
  • Talk with researchers, decision makers, industry leaders, stakeholders, and students about Oregon’s current ocean issues

Questions: seagrant.admin@oregonstate.edu

HMSC octopus takes up painting for OCTOber

Octopus painter (photo by Jeffrey Basinger)NEWPORT – October is Octopus Month at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, and to celebrate the occasion – and give the animal mental and physical stimulation – aquarists have taught Squirt, the resident giant Pacific octopus, to paint.

Aquarist Kristen Simmons, Aquarium Science student from Oregon Coast Community College, was the brains behind the mechanism, which allows the octopus to remotely manipulate a number of paint brushes against a canvas sitting outside its tank, while working to open a plastic toy containing food treats. “I did this to combine animal enrichment and public education.” she said, “The art gives people a different way to experience this animal behavior.”

“While a painting octopus is very entertaining and captures our imaginations,” explained Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan, aquatic veterinarian for Oregon Sea Grant and the OSU Veterinary School, “the real purpose behind this activity is to provide behavioral enrichment for these very curious and intelligent animals.”

The giant Pacific octopus exhibit has been a centerpiece at the HMSC Visitor Center since 1965. Generations of visitors have fond remembrances of seeing the octopus for the first time, and for the past few years, thousands more all over the world have enjoyed viewing the animals over a live, streaming OctoCam. “The octopus holds a very special place in the hearts of our visitors” said Becca Schiewe, Volunteer Coordinator for the Visitor Center. “Coming face to face with such an intriguing and intelligent animal opens people up to learning more about the wonder and mystery of the ocean.”

Evidence for octopus intelligence abounds: the leggy invertebrates can use tools, solve problems, and display remarkable curiosity. HMSC Aquarists strive to come up with new ways to challenge the animals during their tenure in the exhibit tank, including toys and puzzles – with a tasty bit of fish tucked inside – the octopuses quickly learn to open and disassemble. The painting mechanism takes the

Squirt’s colorful paintings have already captured the attention of community artists in Newport, and several have volunteered to collaborate with Squirt on shared works. Alex Krupkin, artist and molecular biologist based at HMSC, was the first to collaborate with Squirt. “The octopus’s artistic style is really bold, yet open to interpretation…the opportunity to participate in this collaboration is pretty exciting,” he said.

The octopus will create one painting a week during the month of October. Visitors who make an additional donation to the Visitor Center Octopus Fund will be entered into a weekly drawing for Squirt’s paintings and other prizes, including marine themed art from local artisans, and an “up close and personal” octopus encounter at HMSC.

On Oct. 20, the Visitor Center will celebrate Octopus Day, a showcase of all things octopus, including children’s activities, face painting, special guest speakers, and a 1 pm octopus feeding at 1 pm.

Learn more: