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Archive for ecology

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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New video reveals how blood work can be used to identify sick sea stars

Posted by: | June 1, 2017 Comments Off on New video reveals how blood work can be used to identify sick sea stars |

A new video from Oregon Sea Grant (OSG), Sea Star Health: Using Blood Work to Identify Sick Sea Stars, reveals how OSG and Oregon State University created the first-ever blood panel for ochre sea stars to use as a baseline for detecting sick ones. The tool could help aquarists treat them before they succumb to Sea Star Wasting Syndrome, which causes their limbs to fall off.

The cause of the syndrome, which was first seen in the Pacific Northwest in 2013, is unknown. OSU veterinary student Heather Renee Srch-Thaden created the blood panel under the guidance of Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan, an aquatic veterinarian with OSG Extension, and Dr. Susan Tornquist, dean of OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

The video was filmed at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, where the public can touch and learn about sea stars in a tidepool exhibit at the HMSC Visitor Center. It was filmed and edited by OSG videographer Vanessa Cholewczynski, with photos by Tim Miller-Morgan and Heather Renee Srch-Thaden.

You can watch the four-minute video on OSG’s YouTube channel, here.

Opening frame from the video, "Sea Star Health: Using Blood Work to Detect Sick Sea Stars"

This new video from Oregon Sea Grant reveals how researchers are using blood samples from sea stars to detect signs of disease.

under: ecology, environment, Extension, HMSC Visitor Center, marine animals, marine science, news, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, people, research, videos
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A parasitic isopod known as Orthione griffenis is decimating mud shrimp populations in coastal estuaries ranging from British Columbia to northern California. Most surviving mud shrimp populations are heavily infested with the parasite, threatening their existence.

“From Bamfield, Canada, down to Morro Bay, California, the native mud shrimp, Upogebia pugettensis, are either gone or the populations are severely depressed,” said John Chapman, an Oregon State University invasive species specialist who works out of OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

Mud shrimp are valuable prey for birds, fish and other animals in estuaries, and some ecologists believe they have provided a steady food source for ocean-bound juvenile coho and Chinook. Mud shrimp are also important to the ecology of estuaries: each day during their feeding, they may filter as much as 80 percent of the estuary’s intertidal water.

Studying the shrimp, which can burrow to depths of two meters, involves extracting them with quantitative sampling devices. These devices traditionally have been either handheld cores and shovels, which can damage the shrimp beds, or a “yabby” pump, which sucks up only medium-sized and large shrimp and is not quantitative. Neither method is reliable for quantifying the most important reproductive sizes, and both often damage shrimp in the process of collecting them.

The solution? Create a new device that’s not only long enough to reach the deepest shrimp, but gentle enough to bring them to the surface unharmed — and also simple enough to allow for rapid, inexpensive sampling by just a few researchers.

Engineering student Cade Burch demonstrates the "portable deep core."

Engineering student Cade Burch demonstrates his team’s “portable deep core.” (Photo by Rick Cooper)

To develop the device — a “portable deep core” — Chapman enlisted the assistance of OSU Engineering professors John Parmigiani and Sharon LaRoux, who would oversee the student design teams* and participate in the field testing and implementation. Chapman and Parmigiani also secured $9,000 in funding from Oregon Sea Grant, to help defray materials costs and other expenses.

Between January and May 2017, three student teams, each working on a different design, researched, planned, designed, built and tested the components of their respective devices, and on May 19 they unveiled the working prototypes at OSU’s Undergraduate Engineering Expo. “Each of the three designs will be evaluated and combined over the summer by a graduate student into a single, final prototype,” said Parmigiani.

According to Chapman, the newly designed deep core “will, for the first time, give us access to the entire range of burrowing shrimp populations, and let us gather the information we need to help slow or reverse the mud shrimp’s decline.”

*Design teams
205a: Cade Burch, Eric Beebe, Omar Alkhaldi
205b: Patrick Finn, Jacob Garrison, Connor Churchill
205c: Zachary Gerard, Evan Leal, Derrick Purcell

Additional reporting by Mark Floyd, OSU News and Research Communications

 

 

under: ecology, engineering, environment, fisheries, grants, marine animals, marine science, news, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, salmon, shellfish
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New publication is designed to help teachers conduct meaningful, field-based lessons

Posted by: | May 4, 2017 Comments Off on New publication is designed to help teachers conduct meaningful, field-based lessons |
A new publication from Oregon Sea Grant, “StreamWebs Field and Classroom Watershed Investigation Curriculum,” is designed to help formal and nonformal educators use StreamWebs as a platform to conduct meaningful, field-based, student-driven investigations that continue in the classroom. The desired outcomes are to provide science inquiry-based opportunities for students to work collaboratively in the

field in ways similar to scientists; to understand that science doesn’t only happen in a lab or classroom; to design their own investigative question and research plan; to collect data; to learn how to look for patterns and changes in their data; to make logical conclusions based upon their data; to answer or refine their investigative question and/or research plan; and to understand what the data indicate for their stream over time.

The curriculum is designed for 6th through 9th grade but may be adapted for older or younger grade levels.
 You may download a free PDF of the 42-page publication here.
 Photo: Renee O’Neill teaches students how to collect aquatic insects along the South Santiam River near Sweet Home. (Photo by Vanessa Cholewczynski)
under: ecology, environment, k-12 teachers, kids, marine education, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, publications, water quality, water quality & conservation, watersheds
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New edition of Confluence now available

Posted by: | October 11, 2016 Comments Off on New edition of Confluence now available |

The fall/winter 2016 edition of Oregon Sea Grant’s semiannual newsletter, Confluence, is now available online. Articles you’ll find in this issue:

  • Guidelines help boaters enjoy watching whales without disturbing them;
  • University of Oregon study reveals why hypoxia hasn’t affected Coos Bay;
  • Simulator helps coastal residents prepare tsunami evacuation strategy;
  • Students get their feet wet in watershed science with StreamWebs;
  • Oregon Sea Grant helps prepare coastal kids for high-tech jobs; and
  • When human health affects environmental health.

You can download a free PDF here.

Oregon Sea Grant's semiannual newsletter

under: citizen science, climate, coastal hazards, Columbia River, Confluence, courses, classes and workshops, earthquake, ecology, engineering, environment, HMSC Visitor Center, k-12 teachers, kids, marine animals, marine education, marine mammals, ocean literacy, Oregon Sea Grant, outreach and engagement, people, public communication, publications, science education, Sea Grant Scholars, social science, STEM education, tsunami, whales
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New Sea Grant videos demonstrate how to use StreamWebs kits

Posted by: | September 30, 2016 Comments Off on New Sea Grant videos demonstrate how to use StreamWebs kits |

Two new videos from Oregon Sea Grant demonstrate how to collect and identify aquatic insects and test water quality using kits available from StreamWebs.girl-with-dipnet

One of the videos, How to use StreamWebs’ macroinvertebrate kit, shows educators how to teach students to collect and identify aquatic insects using the macroinvertebrate kit and data sheets. The other, How to use StreamWebs’ LaMotte water quality kit, shows how to teach students to test water quality using a kit with equipment made by LaMotte.

The kits are among several that educators can borrow from StreamWebs, a program administered by Oregon Sea Grant. StreamWebs provides educators with field equipment, data sheets, lesson plans and training so they can teach students how to collect data about the health of waterways. It also provides an online database where students can enter and analyze the information they gathered.

Both videos were produced by Oregon Sea Grant’s Renee O’Neill and Vanessa Cholewczynski and shot and edited by Cholewczynski. Special thanks to Angela Clegg with the South Santiam Watershed Council; students from Foster Elementary School in Sweet Home, Oregon; Grayson Johnston; and Zethan Brandenburger.

under: citizen science, ecology, environment, kids, Oregon Sea Grant, science education, videos, water quality, water quality & conservation
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New curriculum explores microplastics in the sea

Posted by: | June 28, 2016 Comments Off on New curriculum explores microplastics in the sea |

Microplastics on a Hawaiian beachA new middle school science curriculum from Oregon Sea Grant guides teachers and their 6th- through 8th-grade students through the growing threat to our oceans posed by microplastics – tiny particles of plastic which wind up in the sea.

Microplastics – particles less than five millimeters in size that deteriorate from larger plastic pieces, as well as plastic “microbeads” used in personal care products such as face and body scrubs – have emerged as a growing ocean pollution concern due to their small size and persistence in the environment.

A 2015 study published in Environmental Science & Technology estimated that eight trillion microbeads were entering aquatic environments throughout the United States every day. When consumed by crustaceans, shellfish and other marine animals, the plastics can affect reproduction, growth and survival.

The new, 70-page curriculum, compiled by Marie Kowalski, a recent graduate of OSU’s Marine Resource Management program in collaboration with Oregon Sea Grant’s marine program manager, Tracy Crews, includes three lessons designed to engage students with the issue by analyzing the problem and investigating possible solutions.

The lessons include opportunities for student inquiry, as well as collaboration and engagement with real data collected by researchers working in the field. Each lesson includes an estimated length, which will vary by classroom. The entire curriculum is designed to take about one week, but may be extended by including a project at the end of the curriculum.

The curriculum is available, free of charge, as an accessible .pdf download from the Oregon Sea Grant Website.

Learn more:

under: ecology, environment

New Sea Grant publication encourages collaborative engagement

Posted by: | April 8, 2016 Comments Off on New Sea Grant publication encourages collaborative engagement |

A new publication from Oregon Sea Grant, Collaborative Science-Stakeholder Engagement, encourages collaboration among scientific disciplines and extending that collaboration to include participants outside the academic world.

The 20-page publication outlines various types of collaboration, both among researchers of diverse disciplines and among reseh16001-coverarchers and stakeholders. It explores collaborations seeking to achieve different goals in natural-resource research and management (sustainability, climate change adaptive management, decision-making tool development, alternative futures exploration). In also provides examples of stakeholder engagement in these contexts for the understanding and management of various natural resources, and summarizes literature from other research on science-stakeholder engagement elements.

Finally, the guide lists the lessons learned, necessary elements and impacts from these case studies.

The guide is intended as a resource for anyone interested in connecting science producers and science users. It summarizes literature from a broad swatch of research with science-stakeholder engagement elements.

The research was conducted and text written by Laura Ferguson, Oregon State University Marine Resource Management program, with review and contributions by Samuel Chan, Mary Santelmann and Maria Wright.

Collaborative Science-Stakeholder Engagement is available as a free, downloadable PDF here.

under: citizen science, ecology, environment, fisheries, invasive species, marine policy, marine science, news, Oregon Sea Grant, outreach and engagement, publications, research, science communication, social science

Corvallis Science Pub examines consequences of Pacific warming

Posted by: | March 11, 2016 Comments Off on Corvallis Science Pub examines consequences of Pacific warming |

Laurie Weitkamp, a fisheries biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will discuss the consequences of Pacific Ocean warming at the Corvallis Science Pub on Monday, March 14

Weitkamp, of NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Newport, specializes in the estuarine and marine ecology of Pacific salmon and the factors that affect their survival.

Science Pub is free and open to the public. It begins at 6 p.m. at the Old World Deli, 341 S.W. 2nd St., in Corvallis. The events are sponsored by OSU’s Terra magazine, the Downtown Corvallis Association and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

In the spring of 2014, a body of water several degrees warmer than the surrounding ocean appeared in the Pacific off the Oregon coast. A year later, one of the largest El Niños in recorded history began forming at the equator and has been changing weather around the world.

Weitkamp will describe these two phenomena and their physical effects at sea and on land in the Pacific Northwest. She will also highlight the many changes observed in marine ecosystems from Alaska to Mexico during the last year.

under: climate, ecology, environment, events, fisheries, NOAA, Science Pub

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