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Sea Grant expert featured on National Geographic tsunami special

Posted by: | December 22, 2014 Comments Off |

Pat Corcoran visits Japan to see aftermath of tsunami, 2012Patrick Corcoran, Oregon Sea Grant’s coastal hazards specialist, along with OSU researchers Chris Goldfinger and Tuba Ozkan-Haller are featured in “The Next Mega Tsunami,” a new TV special scheduled for its US premiere on the National Geographic Channel this coming Friday, Dec. 26.

The program is scheduled to air at 9 pm Pacific Time; check local listings for possible changes.

The special commemorates the 1oth anniversary of the 2004 Indian Ocean undersea megathrust earthquake which sent a devastating tsunami hurtling into Indonesia and the south Asian coastlines, killing an estimated 230,000 people in fourteen countries.

Seismic researchers – including OSU’s Goldfinger – say geologic conditions off the Oregon coast make it vulnerable to similar megathrust in the region known as the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The geologic and historic record shows that such “megathrust” quakes have occurred at regular intervals throughout the planet’s history, and scientists say the region is overdue for another.

Corcoran, who is based in Astoria, has worked for years with the state of Oregon and coastal communities to help develop local tsunami inundation maps, community and individual tsunami preparedness plans, and to help communities increase their resilience against such disasters by consider the relocation of hospitals, schools and other critical or vulnerable facilities to higher ground.

Ozkan-Haller, a professor of geology with OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, specializes in predicting how near-shore waves behave along coastlines, a field which has led her into tsunami-related research at OSU’s Hinsdale Wave Research Lab.

Learn more:

 

under: coastal hazards, earthquake, Extension, Oregon Sea Grant, tsunami

Biennial grant competition – call for preliminary proposals

Posted by: | December 19, 2014 Comments Off |

Oregon Sea Grant invites preliminary proposals (pre-proposals) from researchers affiliated with any Oregon institution of higher education for research projects that address cutting-edge socioeconomic and biophysical science related to important marine and coastal issues.

Pre-proposals will be entered into a highly competitive review and selection process. Proposed work may begin on either February 1, 2016, or February 1, 2017. Individual requests for funding are not to exceed $115,000 per year. Available funding is set by the NOAA Sea Grant Program based on congressional appropriations, and is subject to change and rescission.

Pre-proposals are due to the Oregon Sea Grant office by 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, 2105.

For full details, visit our Biennial Grant Competition page.

under: grants, Oregon Sea Grant, research

Graduate fellowship deadlines approach

Posted by: | December 17, 2014 Comments Off |

Oregon Sea Grant is seeking qualified applicants for four graduate and postgraduate fellowships in marine science and policy.

The NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship (deadline Friday, January 23, 2015) provides on-the-job education and training opportunities in coastal resource management and policy for postgraduate students while assisting state coastal zone management programs. The program matches postgraduate students with state coastal zone programs to work on projects proposed by the state and selected by the fellowship sponsor, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal Services Center. This two-year opportunity offers a competitive salary, medical benefits, and travel and relocation expense reimbursement. Any student who will complete a master’s, doctoral, or professional degree program in natural resource management or environmental-related studies at an accredited U.S. university between January 1, 2014, and July 31, 2015, is eligible.

The National Marine Fisheries Service/Sea Grant Graduate Fellowship Program in Marine Resource Economics (deadline Thursday, January 29, 2015) expects to award at least two new PhD Fellowships starting Aug. 1, 2015 to students who are interested in careers related to marine ecosystem and population dynamics. The Fellowships can provide support for up to three years for highly qualified graduate students working toward a PhD in quantitative ecology, ecosystem ecology, population dynamics or related fields of study. Fellows will work on thesis problems of public interest and relevance to NMFS under the guidance of National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) mentors at participating NMFS Science Centers or Offices. Applicants must be United States citizens, and at the time they apply must be admitted to a PhD program in a relevant field of study at a US institution.

The NMFS/Sea Grant Graduate Fellowship Program in Population and Ecosystem Dynamics (deadline  Thursday, January 29, 2015) generally awards two new PhD Fellowships each year to students who are interested in careers related to the development and implementation of quantitative methods for assessing the economics of the conservation and management of living marine resources. Fellows will work on thesis problems of public interest and relevance to NMFS under the guidance of NMFS mentors at participating NMFS Science Centers or Offices. The Fellowship can provide support for up to two years for highly qualified graduate students working towards a Ph.D. in in marine resource economics, natural resource economics, or environmental economics. Applicants admitted to a PhD degree program in resource or environmental economics at a US institution.

Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowships (deadline Friday, February 13, 2015)  provides a unique educational experience to students enrolled in graduate programs in fields related to marine or Great Lakes studies. The program matches highly qualified graduate students with hosts in the legislative branch, the executive branch, or appropriate associations and institutions located in the Washington, D.C. area. Recipients spend one year working on substantive national policy issues related to marine issues; a stipend is provided. The Fellowship is open to any student, regardless of citizenship, who is enrolled toward a degree in a graduate or professional program at an accredited US institution.

For all four opportunities, completed applications must be delivered to the Oregon Sea Grant program office in Suite 350 of the University Plaza Building, 15th and Western in Corvallis,  by 5 pm on the deadline date.

Learn more:

 

under: fellowships, higher education, National Sea Grant Program, NOAA

Hatchery-reared oysters (photo by OSU News & Research Communication)The mortality of larval Pacific oysters in Northwest hatcheries has been linked to ocean acidification, yet the rate of increase in anthropogenic carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the decrease of pH in near-shore waters have been questioned as being severe enough to cause the die-offs.

However, a new study of Pacific oyster and Mediterranean mussel larvae found that the earliest larval stages are directly sensitive to saturation state, not carbon dioxide (CO2) or pH. Saturation state is a measure of how corrosive seawater is to the calcium carbonate shells made by bivalve larvae, and how easy it is for larvae to produce their shells.

It is important to note that increasing CO2 lowers saturation state, the researchers say, and saturation state is very sensitive to CO2; the challenge interpreting previous studies is that saturation state and pH typically vary together with increasing CO2. The scientists utilized unique chemical manipulations of seawater to identify the direct sensitivity of larval bivalves to saturation state.

Results of the study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, are being reported this week in the journal Nature Climate Change.

“Bivalves have been around for a long time and have survived different geologic periods of high carbon dioxide levels in marine environments,” said George Waldbusser , an Oregon State University marine ecologist and biogeochemist and lead author on the study, “The difference is that in the past, alkalinity levels buffered increases in CO2, which kept the saturation state higher relative to pH.”

“The difference in the present ocean is that the processes that contribute buffering to the ocean cannot keep pace with the rate of anthropogenic CO2 increase,” added Waldbusser, who is in Oregon State’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.  “As long as the saturation state is high, the oysters and mussels we tested could tolerate CO2 concentrations almost 10 times what they are today.”

The idea that early bivalve development and growth is not as physiologically linked to CO2 or pH levels as previously thought initially seems positive. However, the reverse is actually true, Waldbusser noted. Larval oysters and mussels are so sensitive to the saturation state (which is lowered by increasing CO2) that the threshold for danger will be crossed “decades to centuries” ahead of when CO2   increases (and pH decreases) alone would pose a threat to these bivalve larvae.

Learn more

under: aquaculture, climate, ecology, ocean acidification, research

Sea Grant’s Ruby Moon featured on new OSU coast video

Posted by: | December 11, 2014 Comments Off |

The CoastOregon: The Coast is a new interactive, multimedia application that’s part of Oregon State University’s Beaver Nation campaign, aiming to document how OSU people and programs connect with the state, the nation – and the world beyond. And it features Sea Grant Extension agent Ruby Moon in a feature about buying fresh seafood off the docks from the people who catch it.

“I was nervous,” says Moon, who worked with David Baker of OSU’s Interactive Communications unit this summer to produce her segment. “But they made me look smart.”

Moon works out of the Lincoln County Extension office in Newport on issues related to fisheries, seafood and marine renewable energy.

Check out Oregon: The Coast and the rest of the growing collection of Beaver Nation Is Everywhere multimedia programs at OSU’s Interactive Communications site.

under: Extension, fisheries, Oregon Sea Grant, outreach and engagement, people, seafood, videos, waterfronts

50 years of Oregon Sea Grant film and video

Posted by: | December 10, 2014 Comments Off |

Marine science, resource conservation, community resilience – and a whole lot of gorgeous Oregon coastal scenery: Check out this new compilation by Communications Director Joe Cone of excerpts from some of the many films and videos produced by Oregon Sea Grant since our program’s start in 1971:

http://vimeo.com/112763821

under: Oregon Sea Grant

Oyster die-offs – a new culprit?

Posted by: | November 18, 2014 Comments Off |
Oysters at Whiskey Creek hatchery

Oysters at Whiskey Creek hatchery

For years, research into West Coast oyster hatchery die-offs has pointed the finger at Vibrio tubiashii. Now Oregon State University researchers believe a different, but related, bacterium – V. coralliilyticus – may be the real culprit.

The findings were published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, by researchers from OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Rutgers University. The research was supported by the USDA.

“These bacteria are very similar, they’re close cousins,” said Claudia Häse, an OSU associate professor and expert in microbial pathogenesis. “V. coralliilyticus was believed to primarily infect warm water corals and contributes to coral bleaching around the world. It shares some gene sequences with V. tubiashii, but when we finally were able to compare the entire genomes, it became apparent that most of what we’re dealing with in the Pacific Northwest is V. coralliilyticus.”

Scientists now say that V. coralliilyticus is not only far more widespread than previously believed, but that it can infect a variety of fish, shellfish and oysters, including rainbow trout and larval brine shrimp. And it appears to be the primary offender in bacterial attacks on Pacific Northwest oyster larvae.

Häse’s previous work with Chris Langdon of OSU’s Molluscan Broodstock Lab has been supported in part by Oregon Sea Grant, which has also worked with Northwest shellfish growers to help them rebound from oyster die-offs. By learning to counter the effects of increasingly acidic seawater, which prevents larval oysters from forming the shells they need to survive, many hatcheries have seen production return.

But while hatchery stocks are recovering, the scientists say bacterial infections remain a real problem for oysters – and other organisms – in the wild.

“Although we’ve largely addressed the problems the hatcheries face, these bacteria continue to pose threats to wild oysters,” Häse said. “And corals are still declining in many places, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is dying at an alarming rate. Better diagnostics might help in all of these situations.”

Learn more

 

under: aquaculture, research, shellfish, water quality

New app will help coastal Oregon prepare for tsunami

Posted by: | November 17, 2014 Comments Off |
Hatfield Marine Science Center employees practice their tsunami evacuation route (photo courtesy of Maryann Bozza, HMSC)

Hatfield Marine Science Center employees practice their tsunami evacuation route (photo courtesy of Maryann Bozza, HMSC)

Tsunami preparedness will soon be coming to a smartphone near you. A team of researchers at Oregon State University is developing an app for coastal residents to plan – and test – evacuation routes to use during an earthquake and tsunami.

Participants will use the app to conduct actual evacuation drills and compare their response time to the speed of an incoming wave.

“People will be able to download the app, plug in their start points and end points, and be able to track that like a GPS,” explained Lori Cramer, a sociologist and principal investigator on the project, which is funded by Oregon Sea Grant. “They will be able to do it themselves to see how quickly they can get to wherever they are going and try alternate routes.”

Social media was underutilized during the Fukushima disaster in Japan, but Cramer hopes that with proper planning this app will help save lives when a disaster does hit Oregon. Studies of seismic risk in the Pacific Northwest have estimated that the Oregon coast has a more than one-in-three chance of experiencing a major, arthquake, capable of generating a dangerous tsunami, within the next 50 years.

Along with the app, the team plans workshops on the coast to discuss evacuation routes and preparedness. After residents practice an evacuation using the app, they will complete an anonymous survey to help the researchers compare trends and disaster preparedness between coastal cities.

“The app can be used to relay evacuation route and time data to a central archive,” explained Haizhong Wang, a civil engineer and collaborator on the project. “These data are used by city managers and the research team to guide future development of evacuation simulation models with thousands of people.”

To use the app, participants create a profile including age, gender and zip code—to distinguish residents from tourists—and head out for high ground. Hitting the “start” button signals an earthquake, and all of their decisions afterwards are of interest to the researchers.

“One thing that we are interested in is ‘milling time,’ or how long it takes a person to decide to evacuate after feeling the earthquake,” Cramer said.

Throughout the dry run, participants will actually be able to monitor how close the imaginary wave is to their current location.

“We have pre-computed tsunami inundation for several areas, and we are working on Newport now,” said Dan Cox, an engineer and professor with OSU’s School of Civil and Construction Engineering who is creating the wave models for the project. “You can use this pre-computed inundation to get an idea of where the water will be at any given time.”

While the app is being developed, the team continues to conduct evacuation drills with various “at-risk” groups—including the elderly, disabled and the poor— along the coast. Cramer says that these trainings can provide hope to people who might not evacuate otherwise.

“There was one elderly lady who hadn’t planned on leaving,” Cramer said. “But she did the drill and she found out that she could make it to the evacuation point in the time period, and that changed her whole outlook on life.”

Once the app is released, the research team plans to create an interactive display at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport for visitors to learn about the technology and provide feedback. Ultimately, the researchers hope to use social media and education to help make coastal communities more resilient and better prepared for future disasters.

Learn more

… about Oregon Sea Grant’s work on tsunami preparedness on the Oregon coast

under: beach safety, coastal hazards, earthquake, mobile applications, technology, tsunami

OSG Scholars Day draws students from all backgrounds

Posted by: | November 14, 2014 Comments Off |
Sea Grant Scholars Day 2014

Scholars discussed effective communication methods during the morning session. (Photo by Dylan McDowell)

CORVALLIS—A little training, a little fellowship and a chance to show off what they’ve learned: That’s what a gathering of graduate and undergraduate university students got Thursday when they gathered at Oregon State University for the second Oregon Sea Grant Scholars Day.

“This is really an opportunity for students we support to come and tell us about their work, and also get a little bit of training,” said Oregon Sea Grant Director Shelby Walker.

The Sea Grant Scholars program combines Oregon Sea Grant’s fellowship, internship and scholarship offerings under an umbrella that not only gives students opportunities to learn and conduct research and public outreach projects, but also provides them with opportunities to grow as professionals. Scholars Day – which is anticipated to take place every other year – is one such opportunity.

This year, 19 participants spent the morning focusing on understanding the changing roles of  science communicators and strategies for more effectively reaching target audiences. Scholars also spent time framing their “mental models,” or preconceived notions that communicators – and others – hold about specific subjects or groups of people.

“Communication is not so much about you talking to someone, but really about two mental models meeting,” explained Shawn Rowe, director of OSG’s Free Choice Learning program and a specialist in communication theory.

Mental models can become barriers in effective communication. Rowe emphasized the need to understand the mindset of audiences and their viewpoints before trying to communicate. Scholars were given a case study on tsunami debris to practice developing an effective outreach plan that considered the mental model of a specific stakeholder.

After lunch with the Oregon Sea Grant Advisory council and program leaders, scholars were joined by an audience of about 30 who came to hear about their research projects. Presentations covered the economic effect of jellyfish blooms, the influence of climate change in coastal communities, creating age models for burrowing shrimp and more.

Two students also presented on their legislative policy fellowships: Zach Penney, a current Sea Grant  Knauss Fellow, talked about his experiences in Washington, D.C., including his work on legislation about Northern California land exchange that has passed the U.S. House of Representatives. Rose Rimler, a Sea Grant Natural Resources Policy Fellow, discussed her work updating environmental action plans for the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership.

The day culminated in a poster session and reception where the scholars had a chance to discuss their research with peers and audience members.

“It’s a nice way for me to ease back into what science is like after completing law school,” said Emi Kondo, a current Knauss Fellowship finalist through Oregon Sea Grant, following the presentations. “I can really appreciate how people explain the science in way that everyone understands. I’m going into policy and it’s great to learn these skills.”

The year’s event drew current and recent Sea Grant Scholars from OSU, the University of Oregon, Lewis and Clark College, Oregon Health Science University and the University of Idaho.

Learn more:

under: fellowships, higher education, internships, ocean law and policy, Oregon Sea Grant, Sea Grant Scholars

Waldport High students help NOAA track ocean currents

Posted by: | November 13, 2014 Comments Off |
R/V Oceanus crew launches Waldport High's drifter (photo by Jeff Crews)

R/V Oceanus crew launches Waldport High’s drifter (photo by Jeff Crews)

WALDPORT – Students at Waldport High School are excited about today’s successful launch of their unmanned sailboat, Phyxius, near the Equator by OSU’s R/V Oceanus, as part of a long-term national  project to better understand ocean currents and transport patterns.

The project, organized by Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, is part of  NOAA’s Educational Passages program, which enlists science, technology, engineering and math classes to build the miniature vessels and set them loose in ocean and coastal waters – and follow them via a NOAA tracking site to see where they go. More than 40 of the drifters have been launched since the program began in 2008.

The unmanned mini-sailboats are self-steering and equipped with GPS tracking devices to study ocean and wind patterns and much more. The five-foot vessels sail directly downwind month after month. As these boats travel the oceans, students can track them via http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/drifter/ and learn and improve their skills in map reading, geography, earth science, oceanography and more.

Waldport’s is just the third drifter to be launched in the Pacific. Most of the others have been launched into the Atlantic, Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico. Drifters have landed in Europe, the Caribbean, Cuba, Bahamas, Panama, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia as well as many other places. Some have left Portugal and closely duplicated Columbus’s route to the new world, and another spent time on display in an Irish pub.

under: kids, marine education, NOAA, ocean literacy, oceanography, STEM education

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