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OSU gets two NOAA aquaculture grants to help oyster industry and marine fish hatcheries

Posted by: | November 7, 2017 Comments Off on OSU gets two NOAA aquaculture grants to help oyster industry and marine fish hatcheries |

11/7/17

by Tiffany Woods

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded scientists at Oregon State University two aquaculture grants that aim to make oysters safer to eat and help hatcheries feed certain marine fish more efficiently.

Tongs pulling an oyster out of a water tank

Oysters filter water in a depuration tank, thus expelling potential contaminants from their tissues. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum)

The first project, funded at $150,000, aims to reduce bacteria known as Vibrio parahaemolyticus in oysters without altering their texture and consistency. Researchers plan to add naturally occurring marine probiotics, which are live or freeze-dried microbial supplements, to the seawater in depuration tanks. Depuration tanks are where oysters are sometimes held to flush out contaminants that may be in their tissues. Researchers have already isolated various marine probiotics that inhibit the growth of pathogens.

The researchers also aim to develop a dipstick containing antibodies to quickly screen adult oysters for V. parahaemolyticus. The idea is that people would not need special training or equipment to use this diagnostic tool.

Oysters

Researchers aim to use marine probiotics to decrease bacteria in oysters. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum)

The leader of this two-year project is Shelby Walker, the director of Oregon Sea Grant, although the actual research will be conducted by the lab of Claudia Hase, a professor with OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Partners include mAbDx, an immunodiagnostics company in Eugene, Ore.; and Reed Mariculture near San Francisco.

The other grant, worth $629,000, aims to improve the nutritional value of live prey fed to California halibut, California yellowtail and southern flounder. When they’re still in their larval stage, farmed saltwater fish are typically fed tiny rotifers and brine shrimp. However, these organisms are less nutritious than copepods, which are the natural prey of many marine fish in the wild. Given this, the researchers plan to feed rotifers and brine shrimp vitamin C and taurine, an amino acid. To make sure these nutrients don’t dissolve in the seawater, the researchers will encapsulate them in bubble-like liposomes, which can have impermeable membranes.

Oregon State University’s Chris Langdon received a grant to make prey that are fed to certain farmed fish more nutritious. (Photo by Stephen Ward)

The researchers plan to:

  • determine the optimal concentrations that should be used for taurine and vitamin C,
  • evaluate how these nutrients affect the growth, survival and stress resistance of the fish,
  • develop methods to produce the liposomes on a larger scale instead of just at the laboratory level,
  • study how long-term storage affects how the liposomes retain the nutrients, and
  • determine how much it would cost to produce and store liposomes and how many liposomes would be needed to feed a certain amount of prey.

Walker will lead the three-year project, but the research will be conducted by the lab of Chris Langdon, a professor with OSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and well as by staff at the subcontracted Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute in San Diego. Partners include the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Reed Mariculture. Bill Hanshumaker, a marine educator with Oregon Sea Grant Extension, will be involved with outreach activities.

Oregon Sea Grant will administer the funding for both projects. They are part of 32 grants totaling $9.3 million awarded by NOAA last week to further develop the nation’s marine aquaculture industry.

“This country, with its abundant coastline, should not have to import billions of pounds of seafood each year,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These grants will promote aquaculture projects that will help us reduce our trade deficit in this key industry.”

All projects include public-private partnerships and will be led by university-based Sea Grant programs.

“Industry is working alongside researchers on each of these projects, which will help expand businesses, create new jobs and provide economic benefits to coastal communities,” said Jonathan Pennock, the director of NOAA Sea Grant.

NOAA received 126 proposals requesting about $58 million in federal funds.

under: aquaculture, environment, fisheries, grants, marine animals, marine science, National Sea Grant Program, news, NOAA, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, people, research, seafood, seafood safety, shellfish, technology
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‘State of the Coast’ conference draws 250 people to Florence

Posted by: | November 3, 2017 Comments Off on ‘State of the Coast’ conference draws 250 people to Florence |

11-3-17

About 250 people attended Oregon Sea Grant’s annual State of the Coast conference, which was held this year in Florence on Oct. 28.

Sarah Seabrook explains her research to Leigh Torres during the State of the Coast conference.

Sarah Seabrook (left) explains her research to Leigh Torres during the State of the Coast conference. (Photo: Tiffany Woods)

That figure includes 40 speakers, 35 students who explained their research in a poster session, and eight exhibiting artists, said Jamie Doyle, an Oregon Sea Grant faculty member who helped organize the event. The students came from Oregon State University, Portland State University and the University of Oregon.

Rick Spinrad, a former chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a former vice president for research at OSU, gave the keynote address.

To see photos, visit Oregon Sea Grant’s Flickr page.

under: conferences, ecosystem-based-management, environment, events, fisheries, lectures, marine animals, marine education, marine mammals, marine policy, marine science, marine spatial planning, NOAA, ocean law and policy, ocean literacy, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, outreach and engagement, science education, seafood
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Now available: New issue of Oregon Sea Grant’s newsletter

Posted by: | October 24, 2017 Comments Off on Now available: New issue of Oregon Sea Grant’s newsletter |

October 24, 2017

The fall/winter 2017 issue of Confluence, a newsletter about Oregon Sea Grant’s research, outreach and educational programs, is now available for download. Inside this eight-page issue, you’ll find the following stories:

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

Want to receive the next issue of Confluence in your email? Click here.

under: aquaculture, Confluence, crab, ecology, environment, Extension, fisheries, fishermen, internships, marine animals, marine science, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, outreach and engagement, people, publications, recreational boating, research, Sea Grant Scholars, seafood, shellfish, sustainability
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‘State of the Coast’ conference set for Oct. 28 in Florence

Posted by: | October 13, 2017 Comments Off on ‘State of the Coast’ conference set for Oct. 28 in Florence |

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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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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New videos encourage boaters to help keep waterways clean

Posted by: | July 5, 2017 Comments Off on New videos encourage boaters to help keep waterways clean |

Two new videos from Oregon Sea Grant encourage boaters to help keep our waterways clean by emptying their portable toilets and holding tanks at designated facilities at marinas and short-term tie-up docks.

The videos, “Where to Empty Onboard Portable Toilets in Oregon” and “Where to Empty Onboard Holding Tanks in Oregon,” feature Jenny East, boater outreach coordinator with Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon State University Extension Service. They are part of her ongoing efforts to educate recreational boaters about the availability of facilities at marinas for disposing of onboard sewage.

Jenny East empties an onboard portable toilet.

The new videos join a dozen others on the subject, available on a YouTube playlist here.

Photos of East and some of the facilities she demonstrates in the videos are available for download from our “Boater Outreach” album on Flickr.

The videos were filmed and edited by Oregon Sea Grant videographer Vanessa Cholewczynski in collaboration with the Oregon State Marine Board.

under: Columbia River, ecology, environment, fisheries, fishermen, marine debris, news, Oregon Sea Grant, public communication, recreational boating, videos, water quality
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