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It’s National Invasive Species Awareness Week, and Oregon Sea Grant has resources to help you take action against non-native animals and plants that can wreck native habitats and out-compete the local fauna and flora.

Fossil Fest

Marine fossilsNEWPORT – Do you like agates? Have a fossil from the beach you can’t identify? Curious about the woolly mammoth bones unearthed recently at an OSU construction site? Head to Newport this Saturday for Fossil Fest at the Hatfield Marine Science Center’s Visitor Center, from 10 am to 4 pm.

The annual event features special displays, lectures and activities, and a chance to swap stories with other fossil fans.

Special guest lecturer Dr. William Orr, an emeritus anthropologist from the University of Oregon, will speak at 1:30 pm on “Lagerstatten: World Class Fossil Sites,” in the Hennings auditorium. The lecture will focus on what makes certain fossil sites so valuable, both in the United States and abroad. He also will sign copies of his books, Oregon Fossils and Geology of Oregon.

A lecture by Guy “The Oregon Fossil Guy” DiTorrice will focus on “Douglas Emlong – Fossil Pioneer, Fossil Dreamer,” starting at 11:30 am in the auditorium.

And special guests Loren Davis and Dave Ellison of OSU will speak at 3 pm  about the recent discovery of fossilized mammoth bones at OSU’s Reser Stadium, complete with photos of the massive bones.

Also included: Fossil displays and hands-on activities by the North American Research Group, fossil displays from Lincoln County presented by Kent Gibson, and information for participants on great coastal spots for finding fossils.

“We’d also encourage any visitors to bring in their own fossil specimens for identification help,” said Bill Hanshumaker, an OSU marine educator and outreach specialist with the Hatfield center.

Learn more:

Leigh Torres: Racing whales

“… Our task was to find them, pace them, and let them continue their remarkable behavior without disturbance, while also documenting the behavior and collecting our photos and biopsy samples. Tricky. With a truly team effort, and help from the whales when they slowed down occasionally, we succeeded.

We paced the whales nearby, watching them explode through the water side by side. So close they could have been touching each other.”

— Dr. Leigh Torres, featured in National Geographic’s Explorers Journal blog

Leigh Torres holds a joint position with OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute and Oregon Sea Grant Extension. Her research focuses on 50 blue whales in the South Taranaki Bight, some of New Zealand’s busiest and most industrialized waters, seeking to learn how many whales are there, how important it is as a feeding area for them, and to what population of whales  they belong.

Follow Dr. Torres’ work in the MMI’s blog, complete with video of the racing whales.