Washington state declares war on ocean acidification

Washington state, the leading US producer of farmed shellfish, this week launched a 42-step plan to reduce ocean acidification. The initiative — detailed in a report by a governor-appointed panel of scientists, policy-makers and shellfish industry representatives — marks the first US state-funded effort to tackle ocean acidification, a growing problem for both the region and the globe.

The state governor Christine Gregoire,  says she will allocate $3.3 million to back the panel’s priority recommendations.

“Washington is clearly in the lead with respect to ocean acidification,” says Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

As growing carbon dioxide gas emissions have dissolved into the world’s oceans, the average acidity of the waters has increased by 30% since 1750. Washington, which produces farmed oysters, clams and mussels, is particularly vulnerable to acidification, for two reasons: seasonal, wind-driven upwelling events bring low-pH waters from the deep ocean towards the shore, and land-based nutrient runoff from farming fuels algal growth, which also lowers pH.

Read the full story in Nature.

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Help document this week’s “king tide” at the coast

If you’re planning to be on the Oregon Coast this week, grab your camera and help document the latest “king” tide.

King tides are natural events, caused by predictable astronomical factors that generate tides higher than most high tides. By understanding which areas are most affected by king tides, scientists, emergency planners and local officials can get a better idea which places might also be susceptible to high water generated by increasing wave heights, winter storms and a rising sea level.

Since 2011, the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development has invited photographers to help visually document how high the water reaches during king tides  -such as the ones forecast daily for the Oregon coast through this Thursday, Nov. 15. Oregon joins Australia, British Columbia, Washington and the San Francisco Bay area in the documentary effort.

To learn more about the King Tide Photo Project – including where, when and how to photograph the tides,  what your photos should show and how to submit them to the project’s photo gallery – visit the Oregon King Tide Photo Project website.

Good king tide photos will show water levels adjacent to a fixed feature like a piling, seawall or bridge abutment. Including such features allow observers to track how the actual water levels vary over time. f Good photos also must include information about the location, the date and time the photo was taken and which direction the photographer was facing. Two photos taken from the same spot, one during the king tide and the other at a typical high tide, are also very helpful in highlighting these water events.

If you’d like to take part, but miss this month’s event, additional king tides are predicted for December 12-14th, 2012 and January 10-12th, 2013.

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Rising stream temperatures could spell trouble for salmon

A newly published study by researchers at Oregon State University and two federal agencies concludes that high temperatures coupled with lower flows in many Northwest streams is creating increasingly extreme conditions that could spell trouble for salmon and other organisms.

The study, published in the professional journal Hydrobiologia, was funded and coordinated by the U.S. Geological Survey and the research branch of the U.S. Forest Service. It points to climate change as the primary cause.

“The highest temperatures for streams generally occur in August, while lowest flows take place in the early fall,” said Ivan Arismendi, a research professor in OSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. “Each period is important because it is a time of potentially high stress on the organisms that live in the stream. If they occur closer in time – or together – they could create double trouble that may be greater than their combined singular effects.”

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Deadlines have been set for a number of fellowships

Check out several new fellowship opportunities, including the newly announced 2014 Knauss Fellowship:  http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/education/fellowships

Current opportunities

Want to find out more what it’s like to be an Oregon Sea Grant Scholar?