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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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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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Oregon Sea Grant director provides update on budget challenge

Posted by: | May 31, 2017 Comments Off on Oregon Sea Grant director provides update on budget challenge |

An open letter from Shelby Walker, director of Oregon Sea Grant, addresses the White House’s proposed elimination of Sea Grant and what it might mean for Oregonians and people in 30 other coastal and Great Lakes states around the country. Below is an excerpt from the one-page letter; you can read the full version at the link provided below.

“Oregon Sea Grant has been a key partner with Oregonians in working towards solutions for complex coastal and ocean issues, including fisheries, hazards, and energy, for over 45 years through research, extension, education, and communication. Nationwide, the Sea Grant program works in 31 states, including Oregon, and two territories to create or sustain more than 20,000 jobs and 2,900 businesses annually. In 2015, the national program’s $67.3 million budget generated an economic impact of $575 million, which was an 854 percent return on investment.”

Here is a PDF of the entire letter: DirectorLetter

under: economics, environment, Extension, fisheries, jobs, marine education, National Sea Grant Program, news, Oregon Sea Grant, outreach and engagement, people, public communication, wave energy
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Newport HS students qualify for international underwater robotics contest

Posted by: | May 3, 2017 Comments Off on Newport HS students qualify for international underwater robotics contest |

Students from Newport High School have qualified for an international underwater robotics competition in California after placing first at a similar contest in Lincoln City that tested their engineering and problem-solving skills.

“The Finnovators” were one of 31 teams from Oregon that participated in the state’s 6th annual Marine Advanced Technology Education Remotely Operated Vehicle competition on April 29 at the pool at the Lincoln City Community Center. More than 200 students from elementary school through college demonstrated devices they built for the competition, which aims to prepare students for technical careers.

Teams hailed from Astoria, Warrenton, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Newport, Toledo, Eddyville, Waldport, Florence, Bandon, Albany, Aloha, Tigard, Beaverton and The Dalles.

The competition, which was coordinated by Oregon Sea Grant and sponsored by the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, was divided into four categories based on skill and grade level. Only two of the categories, Ranger and Explorer, allowed students to advance to the 16th annual international competition, which will be held June 23-25 in Long Beach, Calif., and will feature the top 60 teams from around the globe, including ones from Canada, the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Russia.

“The Finnovators” were in the Ranger level, which requires students to perform all tasks without looking in the pool and instead rely only on the sensors and cameras on their robot. Although they are not required to compete in the regional competition, two Explorer-level teams from Linn-Benton Community College and Clatsop Community College demonstrated their robots. They, along with another Explorer team from Oregon State University, are working on fulfilling requirements to qualify for the international competition.

The Oregon event is one of 30 regional contests around the world that are coordinated by the California-based Marine Advanced Technology Education Center.

Each year a new theme is chosen. This year’s theme highlights the role of remotely operated vehicles – or ROVs – in monitoring the environment and supporting industries in port cities. Like port managers and marine researchers, the students at the Lincoln City contest 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.

Additional support for the event came from the MATE Center, the Marine Technology Society, the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, Oregon State University, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the Georgia-Pacific Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. More than 50 volunteers from these and other organizations ran the competition and served as judges and divers.

Photos of the competition can be downloaded from Oregon Sea Grant’s Flickr page.

Read more about the event in the Newport News Times.

Winners of the Oregon competition are:
RANGER CLASS (intermediate level, 1st place finisher advances to international competition)

1st Place – The Finnovators from Newport High School in Newport

2nd Place – Knight Marine from Valor Christian School International in Beaverton

3rd Place – R.U.W.E. from Taft High School in Lincoln City

NAVIGATOR CLASS (intermediate level, participates only in regional competition)

1st Place – Laveer Enterprise from Life Christian School in Aloha

2nd Place – EROV from Taft High School in Lincoln City

3rd Place – ROV Sharks from Wasco County 4-H in The Dalles

SCOUT CLASS (novice level, participates only in regional competition)

1st Place – Valor Tech from Valor Christian School International in Beaverton

2nd Place – Jet Sky from Siuslaw High School in Florence

3rd Place – Water Warriors from Warrenton Grade School in Warrenton

ADDITIONAL AWARD

Team Spirit Award – Water Warriors from Warrenton Grade School in Warrenton

under: awards, engineering, events, kids, marine education, marine science, news, ocean literacy, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, people, STEM education, technology
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Students to compete in underwater robot contest in Lincoln City

Posted by: | April 21, 2017 Comments Off on Students to compete in underwater robot contest in Lincoln City |

Oregon students from elementary school through community college will compete in Lincoln City on April 29 in an underwater robotics contest that tests their engineering and problem-solving skills.

The students, who hail from 20 schools largely along the coast, will be showing off devices they built for the annual Oregon Regional MATE ROV competition, which is coordinated by Oregon Sea Grant and aims to prepare students for technical careers.

The public is invited to attend the event, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the swimming pool at the Lincoln City Community Center at 2150 N.E. Oar Place.

The event is one of about 30 regional contests around the world that are coordinated by the California-based Marine Advanced Technology Center (MATE). Top teams from Oregon qualify to compete in the International MATE ROV Competition, which will be held June 23-25 in Long Beach, Calif.

Each year a new theme is chosen. This year’s contest highlights the role of remotely operated vehicles — or ROVs — in securing the health and safety of seaports and helping lay the groundwork for “port cities of the future.” Like port managers, the students will guide their ROVs through tasks that simulate finding cargo containers that fell overboard, constructing an underwater tunnel, and cleaning up contaminated sediment. Students will also present posters or marketing displays they created and give engineering presentations.

Students are also tasked with creating mock companies, thinking like entrepreneurs and working together to “manufacture, market, and sell” their ROVs. The students gain project management and communication skills as they manage a budget, work as a team, brainstorm solutions and deliver presentations, all skills transferable to other careers.

Local marine technology professionals, engineers, and scientists from Oregon State University, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency volunteer as judges. Volunteer divers from the Oregon Coast Aquarium and OSU’s Scientific Dive Team also support the competition.

under: engineering, environment, events, jobs, k-12 teachers, kids, marine education, marine science, National Sea Grant Program, news, NOAA, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, science communication, science education, technology
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New app will help coastal Oregon prepare for tsunami

Posted by: | November 17, 2014 Comments Off on New app will help coastal Oregon prepare for tsunami |
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

Students debate wave energy at coastal conference

Posted by: | October 27, 2014 Comments Off on Students debate wave energy at coastal conference |

FLORENCE – Oregon State University Fisheries and Wildlife students exchanged arguments about whether wave energy should be supported in Oregon at last weekend’s State of the Coast conference – and  every statement had to to be backed by a scientific source.

“We are trying to emphasize critical thinking skills,” said professor Scott Heppell,  who taught the debate class. “This is not about memorizing facts, but to learn how to objectively evaluate the evidence available for any given natural resource issue and come to a rational conclusion.”

Fisheries and Wildlife students debate wave energy in Oregon at the State of the Coast Conference.

The eight students were randomly assigned to one side of the issue in class regardless of their personal opinion, and tasked with finding ways to support their arguments. The two teams of four sat at adjacent conference tables on the Florence Events Center theatre stage. Heppell started the session off with an overview of the issue to the audience of about 60 conference attendees.

The debate was part of a new conference format intended to reach a broader audience. Heppell’s wife and fellow professor, Selina, organized the student participation at the conference.

Team Yes hit the ground running with data suggesting that wave energy would significantly reduce Oregon’s reliance on coal and natural gas. Jordan Ellison, one of the undergraduate students on the team, reinforced the science with an economic incentive.

“Wave energy is expected to produce thousands of engineering jobs, as well as business for the coastal communities,” she said.

Following a strong opening by their opponents, Team No retaliated with dollars and cents. Estimates vary, but the cost of one facility would be upwards of $300 million, they said.

Team Yes also made a case for establishing marine reserves  around the devices and asserted that the structure would be beneficial to marine organisms. Team No shot back with concerns about disrupted migration patterns, and an overall lack of knowledge as to how these impacts would actually play out.

“We think the ecological and economic costs of these structures outweighs the benefit,” said Michelle Huppert, a member of Team No, in her closing argument. “Really what we need is more research on the marine environment before we make these costly decisions.”

While there was no clear winner in the debate, Huppert’s view was recently corroborated by Ocean Power Technology’s decision to withdraw its support for wave energy in Oregon, citing the exorbitant cost.

OSU scientists deploy wave energy test device

OSU scientists deploy wave energy test device

Research on the environmental and economic impacts are still ongoing at OSU, however, and organizers hoped the debate would help both students and community members understand the issue as renewable resources continue to gain popularity.

“Most of these questions aren’t science question; they are societal questions,” Heppell said following the debate. “Science can answer the question: ‘if we want to have wave energy, what are the expected outcomes?’”

Both teams said the exercise taught them to look at problems objectively. The future of wave energy on the Oregon coast is uncertain, but critical thinking skills will benefit these students as they tackle other marine issues throughout their careers.

 

under: conferences, Oregon Sea Grant, wave energy

Teachers invited to free wave energy workshop

Posted by: | November 5, 2013 Comments Off on Teachers invited to free wave energy workshop |

Youngsters explore wave energy lab at HMSC

NEWPORT – A free workshop at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center will familiarize Oregon coastal teachers with  current research and developments in wave energy, and how they can use the topic to create lessons where students can learn and apply Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills.

The workshop takes place from 9 am to noon Saturday, Nov. 16 and is open to second- through 12th-grade teachers up and down the Oregon coast. Sponsors are the Oregon Coast Regional STEM center, OSU, Oregon Sea Grant and the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center.

Participants will learn about latest developments in the field of wave energy,   create and test model wave energy devices, and receive a wave energy curriculum and supplies to use in the classroom. They will also learn how they can involve their students in the Oregon Coast Renewable Energy Challenge in March 2014.

For more information, and to download a .pdf flyer and registration form, visit the HMSC Visitor Center’s teacher resources page.

under: courses, classes and workshops, engineering, HMSC Visitor Center, k-12 teachers, Oregon Sea Grant, outreach and engagement, science education, technology, wave energy

New fact sheet describes different types of wave-energy devices

Posted by: | September 27, 2013 Comments Off on New fact sheet describes different types of wave-energy devices |

Wave-Energy-Devices-coverToday about 87 percent of the world’s energy consumption relies on nonrenewable energy sources such as oil, natural gas, and coal. The burning of these fossil fuels releases pollutants into the atmosphere and can result in environmental damage. An abundant and promising source of renewable energy exists in the forms of wave, tidal, marine current, ocean thermal energy conversion, and salinity.

This two-page fact sheet, A Primer on Wave Energy: Wave-Energy Devices, describes nine different types of wave-energy devices currently under development or nearing completion.

You can download the publication for free here.

under: engineering, environment, publications, research, science education, sustainability, technology, wave energy
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Sea Grant seeks renewable energy outreach coordinator, part-time bioscience tech

Posted by: | June 19, 2013 Comments Off on Sea Grant seeks renewable energy outreach coordinator, part-time bioscience tech |

NEWPORT  – Oregon Sea Grant is advertising to fill two Newport-based positions: A full-time marine renewable energy outreach and engagement associate, and a part-time bioscience research technician in our aquatic animal health program.

The marine renewable energy position is grant-funded for one year, with a possible extension. It’s intended to fund a community educator to develop and coordinate educational programs related to the field of marine renewable energy, and more specifically, to the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center.

Full details and online application are available at OSU Jobs
; the position closes July 6, 2013.

The second positition, a BioScience Research Technician 12, is for approximately 18-19 hours per week, and based at Sea Grant’s Aquatic Animal Health Program at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. The position  assists our program lead/Extension veterionarian and our senior aquarist with animal husbandry, facility operration, and ongoinbg research related to the health management of aquatic animals in captivity, and  the use of aquatic animals in public engagement and education. Full details and online application are available at OSU Jobs. This position closes June 25, 2013.

under: free-choice learning, HMSC Visitor Center, marine animals, ocean literacy, position announcements, wave energy

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