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10/13/17

By Tiffany Woods

A study led by a University of Oregon marine biologist has moved the seafood industry one step closer to farming gooseneck barnacles, which are a pricey delicacy in Spain and a common sight on the West Coast.

Gooseneck barnacles grow on top of adult thatched barnacles. (Photo by Julia Bingham)

Funded by Oregon Sea Grant, researchers found that juvenile gooseneck barnacles in a lab grew at rates comparable to those of their counterparts in the wild.

Led by Alan Shanks, a professor with the UO’s Charleston-based Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB), the researchers glued juveniles to textured, acrylic plates hung vertically inside 12 plastic tubes that were about twice the height and diameter of a can of tennis balls. Unfiltered seawater was pumped in, vigorously aerated and allowed to overflow. After a week, the barnacles began secreting their own cement.

Twice a day for eight weeks, the researchers fed the barnacles either micro-algal paste or brine shrimp eggs; a third group of barnacles was not fed anything but was left to filter food out of the seawater. Once a week the researchers measured the barnacles’ growth. Those that were fed the brine shrimp eggs outgrew the other barnacles.

Seawater is pumped into plastic tubes containing juvenile gooseneck barnacles in a lab at the University of Oregon as part of a research project funded by Oregon Sea Grant. Researchers glued the juveniles to textured, acrylic plates hung vertically inside the tubes. (Photo by Mike Thomas)

“The experiment has demonstrated that feeding is not dependent on high water velocities, and barnacles can be stimulated to feed using aeration and will survive and grow readily in mariculture,” Shanks said.

He added that unlike high-flow systems, his low-flow “barnacle nursery” doesn’t use as much energy or have expensive pumps to maintain, so it has the potential to decrease operating costs.

Despite the findings, the researchers are cautiously optimistic.

“While our experiment showed promise, there is still a great deal of research which needs to be done to solve some of the barriers to successful and profitable mariculture,” said research assistant Mike Thomas. “For example, inducing settlement of gooseneck barnacle larvae onto artificial surfaces has historically proven difficult and this makes the implantation of barnacles a laborious task. There are other methods of mariculture which need to be explored further for their efficacy before deciding on the best method.”

Another part of Shanks’ project involved conducting field research to see if there are enough gooseneck barnacles in southern Oregon to sustain commercial harvesting. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife allows commercial harvesting of gooseneck barnacles on jetties but not on natural rock formations. Shanks hopes the agency will be able use the results of his work when regulating their harvesting.

A juvenile gooseneck barnacle grows on an acrylic plate in a research project funded by Oregon Sea Grant. Researchers at the University of Oregon found that juvenile gooseneck barnacles in their lab grew at rates comparable to or greater than those for species in the wild. (Photo by Mike Thomas)

Researchers used photographs and transects to estimate the barnacle populations on eight jetties in Winchester Bay, Coos Bay, Bandon, Port Orford, Gold Beach and Brookings. They estimated that there are roughly 1 billion adult and juvenile gooseneck barnacles attached to these eight jetties but only about 2 percent are of commercially harvestable size.

“Our surveys suggest that wild populations are unlikely to sustain long-term commercial harvest should the market significantly expand beyond its current size,” researcher Julia Bingham wrote in a report about the project.

She added that with the exception of jetties in Coos Bay and Winchester Bay, the other six jetties had such limited numbers of barnacles that even a “very small-scale harvest” – about 500 pounds per year per jetty – could wipe out harvestable-sized goosenecks on them in five years.

With a second round of funding from Oregon Sea Grant that was awarded in 2017, Shanks and Aaron Galloway, an aquatic ecologist at the OIMB, are continuing the research. Their new work includes:

  • studying how long it takes for a population to return to pre-harvest densities
  • testing different glues and surfaces to see if harvested barnacles that are too small for market can be reattached to plates and returned to the ocean
  • testing out bigger tubes for rearing barnacles in the lab to make them feasible for larger-scale aquaculture
  • testing other diets, including finely minced fish waste from a seafood processing plant

Additional reporting by Rick Cooper.

under: aquaculture, fisheries, marine animals, news, Oregon Sea Grant, research, seafood, shellfish, sustainability
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10-13-17

By Tiffany Woods

Registration has opened for Oregon Sea Grant’s annual State of the Coast conference, which will be held Oct. 28 in Florence.

Shelby Walker addresses the audience at Oregon Sea Grant’s State of the Coast Conference at Gleneden Beach in 2016. She is the director of Oregon Sea Grant. (Photo by Charles Robinson)

Billed as Oregon’s coastal conference for everyone, the event aims to bring together the public, scientists, fishermen, resource managers, teachers, students and conservationists. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn, network and talk about the current status and future of Oregon’s marine environment.

The keynote speaker will be Rick Spinrad, the chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 2014 to January 2017. He was also the vice president of research at Oregon State University from 2010 to 2014.

Under this year’s theme of “innovation,” presentations and hands-on activities will include the following topics:

  • invasive European green crabs
  • pyrosomes, the jelly-like, tube-shaped organisms that were seen off the Oregon coast in unusually large numbers this year
  • coastal governance and coastal-related legislation
  • the science behind fresh and frozen seafood
  • innovations in observing marine mammals
  • marine gear and technology
  • engaging communities in art
  • tracking local and global seafood across the supply chain
  • forecasting ocean conditions for recreation, profit and safety
  • managing estuaries for everyone

Marie Kowalski, a former master’s student at Oregon State University, talks about her research on mitigating microplastics at Oregon Sea Grant’s State of the Coast Conference in Coos Bay in 2015. (Photo by Anne Farrell-Matthews)

Additionally, students from various universities in Oregon will talk about their coastal research. Also, a coastal chef will demonstrate how to prepare various types of seafood.

Registration in advance is recommended as space is limited. Cost is $35 for the public and $25 for students. It includes refreshments, lunch and a raffle ticket. The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. and concludes with a reception that starts at 4 p.m. For more information and to register, visit www.stateofthecoast.com. The event will take place at the Florence Events Center at 715 Quince St.

under: beach safety, citizen science, ecology, environment, events, fisheries, fishermen, invasive species, lectures, marine animals, marine education, marine mammals, marine science, news, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, people, science education, seafood, Seafood preparation, seafood safety, waterfronts
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Video: Searching for microplastics in razor clams and oysters

Posted by: | September 13, 2017 Comments Off on Video: Searching for microplastics in razor clams and oysters |
Britta Baechler looks at harvested razor clams.

Britta Baechler (right) looks at harvested razor clams.

Sept. 13, 2017

A new video from Oregon Sea Grant shows how researchers at Portland State University are inspecting the guts and tissues of razor clams and oysters along the Oregon coast for microplastics, which can come from foams, tiny beads in facial creams, synthetic fibers from clothing, and disintegrating plastic bags.

Shucked oyster in lab

An oyster is shucked at a lab at Portland State University.

“Our goal is to figure out if we have them in our oysters and clams, and if so, are they at problematic levels?” said Britta Baechler, a PSU master’s student who is working on the Oregon Sea Grant-funded project under the guidance of PSU marine ecologist Elise Granek.

Oysters and clams, Baechler explained in the four-minute video, are indiscriminate filter feeders and so they may ingest a piece of plastic and not be able to get rid of it. Microplastics, which are defined as less than 5 mm, are of concern because they can attract chemicals, which might harm animals if eaten.

dissolved razor clam in Petri dish

Britta Baechler shows a dissolved razor clam in a Petri dish.

With help from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Baechler dug up razor clams at nine sites along the Oregon coast and bought oysters at five locations to see if there are areas where microplastics are more prevalent. She collected the shellfish in the spring of 2017 and again this summer to see if microplastics are more common during certain times of the year.

Once the oysters and clams were gathered, they were taken to Granek’s lab at PSU where they were measured, weighed, shucked and frozen so they could later be dissolved in potassium hydroxide. This process leaves a clear liquid that contains only sand and any plastics that may be present. The researchers hope to have dissolved all of the bivalves by the end of September. For the ones that have already been dissolved, they’ve been analyzing the liquefied remains under a microscope to see if they find microplastics, but results are not in yet.

“Ultimately, we’re hoping that this study brings awareness to Oregonians and even visitors to the state of Oregon that plastics that we use in our daily lives make their way into the environment,” Baechler said in the video. “We’re also hoping that our partners, like Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and other state agencies, might take this information to learn about hot spots for microplastics to address the problem.”

Photos of Baechler and her work can be downloaded from this album on Oregon Sea Grant’s Flickr page.

The video was produced by Tiffany Woods and filmed and edited by Gustavo Garcia.

under: ecology, environment, fisheries, marine animals, marine debris, Oregon Sea Grant, shellfish, videos
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Video: Studying the relationship between seagrass, nutrients, algae and herbivores

Posted by: | August 29, 2017 Comments Off on Video: Studying the relationship between seagrass, nutrients, algae and herbivores |

Aug. 29, 2017

A new video from Oregon Sea Grant shows how researchers are studying how nutrients from agricultural runoff and oceanic upwelling impact the growth of light-blocking algae on eelgrass in bays along the Oregon coast.

With funding from Oregon Sea Grant, they’re also studying how tiny herbivores, such as sea slugs and centipede-like isopods, might prevent eelgrass from being snuffed out by this algae. Additionally, they’re investigating whether these herbivores prefer to eat the native or invasive eelgrass in the bays.

In the six-minute video, Fiona Tomas Nash, a marine ecologist in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University, explains that eelgrass is important because it produces oxygen, reduces the impacts of waves, and provides habitat and food for waterfowl, baby fish and crabs.

“Nutrient pollution is one of the main causes of seagrass loss worldwide,” Tomas Nash said in the video. “And so we’re trying to understand if this is a problem in Oregon.”

She said the results of her research may benefit state and federal agencies that deal with food production, fisheries and water quality.

The research is taking place in four estuaries – Coos Bay, Yaquina, Netarts and Tillamook – to quantify how much seagrass there is and determine what aquatic grazers are present, Tomas Nash said.

“We’re doing experiments, both in the field and in the lab,” she said in the video, “where we add nutrients, and we also manipulate the presence or absence of these animals to see how these combinations of more nutrients and different animals can affect the amount of algae that there is and, therefore, the seagrass health.”

Partners in the project include the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Environmental Protection Agency and the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. 

The video was produced by Tiffany Woods and filmed and edited by Gustavo Garcia.

Photos of Tomas Nash and her work can be downloaded from this album on Oregon Sea Grant’s Flickr page.

More information about the research is on Oregon Sea Grant’s website.

 

under: crab, ecology, environment, fisheries, marine animals, marine science, news, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, research, shellfish, videos, water quality & conservation
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Video: Summer internships prepare undergrads for marine science careers

Posted by: | August 24, 2017 Comments Off on Video: Summer internships prepare undergrads for marine science careers |

This new video shows how Oregon Sea Grant’s Summer Scholars program helps prepare high-caliber junior and senior undergraduates from around the U.S. for careers in the marine sciences or the management of coastal resources. The program places students with Oregon-based federal and state agencies and nongovernmental organizations for paid, 10-week internships.

Students are assigned to a specific project under a mentor. They may assist their mentors with field work, lab work, analysis, research, policy development or public engagement efforts.

The video, produced by Oregon Sea Grant (OSG), also highlights some of this summer’s activities and includes interviews with students and mentors.

Ten students from seven different states participated in this year’s program, interning with agencies such as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), the USDA, the OSU Extension Tourism Program, the EPA and the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. Students worked on topics ranging from monitoring recovering sea star populations to spreading awareness about marine reserves to testing unmanned aircraft systems’ viability in shellfish surveys.

Students also participated in a professional-development workshop on science communication and outreach and engagement. The workshop was followed by a hiking and camping trip, allowing students both to explore more of Oregon’s scenic beauty and spend some quality time with their cohort.

The program culminated with a symposium that was open to the public. Friends, family, mentors and coworkers came to watch the scholars present on their summer’s work.

“The skills I’ve gained this summer as a scholar seem a little difficult to quantify because it feels like there’s a lot,” student Catie Michel said in the video. “But I’ve especially appreciated learning about successful collaboration with people and effective communication, especially in terms of science and research.”

In addition to aligning with OSG’s vision, mission and values, the goals of the Summer Scholars program are to

  • prepare students for graduate school and/or careers in marine science, policy, management, and outreach through funding support and hands-on experience;
  • support host organization program initiatives and facilitate scholars’ understanding of their work’s importance in accomplishing the broader host organization goals; and
  • promote integration of diverse perspectives into problem solving for coastal Oregon to provide richer and more inclusive solutions.

The program also strives to encourage student success during and after their internships through cultivating an inclusive environment, creating a broad professional network in the marine field, offering professional development opportunities with an emphasis on science communication, and fostering a supportive mentor/mentee relationship.

“What I enjoy about mentoring a Sea Grant scholar is watching the students enjoy the learning experience,” Tommy Swearingen, a researcher with the ODFW, said in the video. “As an agency scientist, it is a huge benefit to our program to have the contribution that students make.”

Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholars Program was filmed and edited by Haley Epperly.

More information about the Summer Scholars program can be found here.

under: ecology, ecosystem-based-management, environment, Extension, higher education, internships, marine animals, marine education, marine policy, marine reserves, marine science, marine spatial planning, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, public communication, research, scholarships, science communication, science education, Sea Grant Scholars, summer activities, videos, water quality & conservation, watersheds
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New video shows how underwater robotics contest prepares kids for technical jobs

Posted by: | July 25, 2017 Comments Off on New video shows how underwater robotics contest prepares kids for technical jobs |

July 25, 2017

A new video shows how Oregon students are preparing for technical careers by building underwater robots for an annual competition in which they demonstrate their skills in front of engineers and scientists.

Contestants in MATE ROV competition learn engineering and problem solving skills. (photo by Daniel Cespedes)

The video, which was produced by Oregon State University with funding from Oregon Sea Grant, was filmed during the 2017 Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition, which Oregon Sea Grant coordinates. It is one of about 30 regional contests around the world in which students qualify for an annual international competition.

Contestants operate their underwater devices remotely, and sometimes with a video monitor. (photo by Daniel Cespedes)

“Our goal is to really get students interested in science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — and connect them with marine technicians and engineers and marine scientists that utilize remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs,” Tracy Crews, the manager of Oregon Sea Grant’s marine education program, said in the video.

Contestants often have to troubleshoot in real time. (photo by Daniel Cespedes)

Thirty-one teams from Oregon participated in this year’s competition, which was held in April at the pool at the Lincoln City Community Center. More than 200 students from elementary school through college demonstrated devices they built.

“For students who struggle with conventional school, it’s a chance for them to really shine,” Melissa Steinman, a teacher at Waldport High School, said in the video.

A new theme is chosen each year. This year’s theme highlighted the role of remotely operated vehicles in monitoring the environment and supporting industries in port cities. Like port managers and marine researchers, the students guided their robots through tasks that simulated identifying cargo containers that fell overboard, repairing equipment, and taking samples of hypothetically contaminated sediment and shellfish. Students also presented marketing materials they created and gave engineering presentations.

“A couple of teams, they just nailed it,” Ken Sexton, one of the judges and owner of The Sexton Corp., said in the video.

Students were also tasked with creating mock companies, thinking like entrepreneurs and working together to “manufacture, market, and sell” their robots. The students gained project management and communication skills as they managed a budget, worked as a team, brainstormed solutions and delivered presentations.

“Some of my team members are really, really good at programming, now,” Natalie DeWitt, a senior at Newport High School, said in the video. “And we have one kid who is really good at using CAD software design, now. And they actually had internships over the summer … those experiences we had in robotics gave us qualifications for jobs that we wouldn’t have had before.”

“It’s really good problem-solving, teamwork, just everything all together. It really helps … you have better skills for the future,” said Kyle Brown, a junior at Bandon High School.

Photos from the 2017 contest in Oregon are on Oregon Sea Grant’s Flickr page at c.kr/s/aHskYZdMiF

Volunteer scuba divers helped out at Oregon’s 6th annual Marine Advanced Technology Education Remotely Operated Vehicle competition at the pool at the Lincoln City Community Center. (photo by Daniel Cespedes)

under: engineering, environment, events, kids, marine education, marine science, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, science education, technology, videos
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Summer 2017 “Shop at the Dock” tours in Newport and Warrenton show consumers how to buy in-season seafood

Posted by: | July 17, 2017 Comments Off on Summer 2017 “Shop at the Dock” tours in Newport and Warrenton show consumers how to buy in-season seafood |

Have you ever wanted to buy seafood right from the boat, but weren’t sure what questions to ask or what to look for? Have you ever stood at a seafood market staring at all the choices but not been sure what was local or in season?

If so, this summer is your chance to learn more about buying seafood. Experts with Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon State University Extension Service will demystify the process during free, guided dockside tours in Newport and Warrenton that connect seafood lovers with commercial fishermen.

Oregon Sea Grant and Extension have been offering the tours – called Shop at the Dock – every summer in Newport since 2014, but this is the first year the event has expanded to Warrenton. During the tours, participants learn what seafood is in season, how it’s caught, whether it’s sustainable, and how to identify and buy high-quality fish and shellfish. Last year, the tours drew more than 350 people, said Kaety Jacobson, an Oregon Sea Grant marine fisheries specialist with Oregon State University’s Extension Service.

Dates for the remaining Newport tours are July 21 and 28, and Aug. 4, 11 and 18, 2017 with groups departing from dock 5 at 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. each day. The 90-minute tours are free and on a first-come, first-served basis. In Newport, registration is required only for groups of five or more by calling 541-574-6534 ext. 57427.

In Warrenton, the remaining tours will take place Sept. 15, 2017, at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. and will include a tour of the Skipanon Brand Seafood cannery. Participants will also learn where they can find locally caught fish in local markets. Tours will start at the Warrenton Marina near the harbormaster’s office at 550 N.E. Harbor Place. For the Warrenton event, registration by phone is required for everyone and is on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, call 503-325-8573.

At both sites, participants are advised to wear comfortable walking shoes with traction, arrive 15 minutes early, and bring cash and a cooler with ice. For disability accommodations, please call the numbers above.

Joe Phillips, of fishing vessel Triggerfish, shows off an albacore tuna during the 2016 Shop at the Dock tours, which were organized by Oregon Sea Grant and Oregon State University’s Extension Service. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum, OSU)

under: crab, Extension, fisheries, fishermen, news, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, outreach and engagement, salmon, seafood, summer activities, waterfronts
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A new publication from Oregon Sea Grant, “Transient Lodging Taxes on the Oregon Coast,” provides information about such taxes. The document is intended for operators of hotels, restaurants, and tours, as well as resource managers, county commissioners, city councils, chambers of commerce, visitor centers and elected officials.

Transient lodging taxes are one form of local revenue generated through the tourism industry that can be used to invest in related community-development efforts and promote quality management and further growth in the tourism sector in communities large and small.

The publication was written by Oregon Sea Grant Extension Coastal Tourism Specialist Miles Phillips, and co-written by Graduate Research Assistant Courtney Flathers. It’s the second in a series of three planned publications on coastal tourism; the first was “Agritourism in Oregon’s Coastal Counties: Land Use Policy and Permitting Requirements,” and the third will be about coastal tourism’s economic impacts and wages.

You can download “Transient Lodging Taxes on the Oregon Coast” for free here.

 

 

under: economics, Extension, Oregon Sea Grant, public communication, publications
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Meet Oregon Sea Grant’s 2018-19 Knauss Fellowship finalists

Posted by: | July 12, 2017 Comments Off on Meet Oregon Sea Grant’s 2018-19 Knauss Fellowship finalists |

Oregon Sea Grant is pleased and proud to announce that five of its nominees for the 2018-19 John D. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program have been selected as finalists: Reuben Biel, of Oregon State University; Sabra Tallchief Comet, of Portland State University; Chanté Davis, of Oregon State University; Janan Evans-Wilent, of Oregon State University; and Kathryn McIntosh, of the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College. Congratulations to all!

Reuben Biel

Sabra Tallchief Comet

Chanté Davis

Janan Evans-Wilent

Kathryn McIntosh

 

 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about the Knauss Fellowship program, including how finalists are selected and where they may be placed, read the full news release from NOAA Sea Grant. 

Placement of 2018 Knauss finalists as fellows is contingent on adequate funding in Fiscal Year 2018.

under: fellowships, marine policy, news, NOAA, ocean law and policy, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, people
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Are you ready? Let’s go on a Quest!

Posted by: | July 12, 2017 Comments Off on Are you ready? Let’s go on a Quest! |

The 2017-18 edition of Oregon Sea Grant’s popular “Oregon Coast Quests Book” is now available, featuring 24 Quests in English (three of which are brand new) and one in Spanish. The directions for virtually all of the previous Quests included in the new edition have been updated to reflect changes in site terrain, landmarks, signage and other details, making this book a must-have for avid Questers!

The price for the 222-page book is just $10, and you can buy copies from the retailers listed here.

What is a Quest?

Quests are fun and educational clue-directed hunts that encourage exploration of natural areas. In this self-guided activity, Questers follow a map and find a series of clues to reach a hidden box. The box contains a small guest book, a stamp pad, a unique rubber stamp and additional information about the Quest site. Participants sign the guest book to record their find, and make an imprint of the Quest Box stamp in the back of their clue book as proof of accomplishment. Then the box is re-hidden for the next person to find. The location of the clues and box remain a secret so others can share the fun. Oregon Coast Quest clues and boxes stay in place year-round.

Questing is an ideal place-based activity for individuals, small groups and families. By turning a walk into a treasure hunt, children often race ahead of their parents instead of lagging behind. Through Quests, important areas of natural, cultural and/or historical significance are shared. Furthermore, both those who go on Quests and those who create Quests for others gain pride and a sense of stewardship for their community’s special places.

Production of the Oregon Coast Quests Book 2017-18 was coordinated by Cait Goodwin of Oregon Sea Grant.

under: ecology, environment, free-choice learning, kids, marine education, news, Oregon Sea Grant, publications, summer activities, watersheds
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