header image

Archive for conferences

‘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 |


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
Tags: , , ,

Register now for State of the Coast, this year in Coos Bay

Posted by: | September 1, 2015 Comments Off on Register now for State of the Coast, this year in Coos Bay |

Registration is open for Oregon Sea Grant’s annual State of the Coast conference, taking place Oct. 24 at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay.

Noted author and marine biologist Dr. Wallace “J” Nichols will deliver this year’s keynote address: “What happens when our most complex organ — the brain — meets the planets largest feature — water?” Nichols will discuss the research behind his book, Blue Mind.

Registration, which includes lunch, snacks and a reception, is $35.00, $25 for students. To register, and for more information, visit www.stateofthecoast.com.

After years in Florence (where it began as the Heceta Head Coastal Conference), organizers decided to move this year to Coos Bay in response to requests to bring the event to other Oregon coast communities.

State of the Coast brings scientists, students, industry and everyday citizens together to learn, network and engage in conversations about the current and future state of Oregon’s ocean and coastal environment.

This year’s morning plenary session will provide quick updates on coastal issues including new DEQ water quality rules, marine reserves, Oregon’s shellfish initiative, changing ocean conditions, an overview of 2014 fisheries and the threat of a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake. Afternoon break-out sessions allow participants to choose a topic to explore in more depth: Forage fish, Cascadia Earthquake, “The Blob”, Innovations in Fishing, Citizen Science Opportunities, Aquatic Invasive Species, and more.

The popular student research poster session will give participants an opportunity to interact with some of the state’s brightest university students and learn about current ocean and coastal research at Oregon universities.


under: conferences

Call for abstracts: Ocean acidification, hypoxia and decision-making

Posted by: | March 27, 2015 Comments Off on Call for abstracts: Ocean acidification, hypoxia and decision-making |

The Coastal and Estuarine Research Foundation (CERF) invites abstracts for presentations as part of an oral session at CERF 2015 this November, highlighting opportunities for linking scientists and natural resource managers to promote effective, science-based decision making on ocean acidification and hypoxia.

Convened by the Ocean Science Trust, the Institute for Natural Resources and Oregon Sea Grant, the session is planned to include talks about ocean acidification and hypoxia in two areas:

  • Social or natural science, focusing on connecting science to ocean and coastal policy, regulation, industry and/or management
  • Decision-making in natural resource management

CERF 2015, the organization’s 23rd biennial conference, takes place in Portland, OR Nov. 8-12. For more information about the conference and registration, visit http://www.erf.org/.

under: conferences, environment, marine policy, marine science, ocean acidification

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

State of the Coast Draws 200 Coastal Stakeholders

Posted by: | October 27, 2014 Comments Off on State of the Coast Draws 200 Coastal Stakeholders |

Sea Grant director Shelby Walker opens 2014 State of the Coast FLORENCE – Roughly 200 people from around Oregon came together on Saturday at Oregon Sea Grant’s State of the Coast conference to discuss ocean change and adaption. The conference, at the Florence Events Center, began with a welcome from Oregon Sea Grant’s director, Shelby Walker, and 9th District State Representative, Caddy McKeown. The keynote speaker was author Paul Greenberg, who informed the “fishy crowd” about the inspiration behind his best-selling books, “Four Fish” and “American Catch.” Among the audience were students from Oregon State University and University of Oregon, along with professors, scientists, representatives from NOAA, Oregon Parks and Recreation. the Nature Conservancy, and legislators. This year’s conference was the 10th annual of what used to be called the Heceta Head Coastal Conference. Unlike previous years, multiple break-out sessions characterized State of the Coast, a change that was met with positive feedback from participants. The morning was filled with “stage-setting talks” focused on changes the coast has experienced in the past several decades. A new component of the conference focused on food concerns, a theme reflected in a presentation by Newport’s Local Ocean restaurant owner Laura Anderson as well as in break-out sessions. The event offered students an opportunity to share their marine-related research. Student researchers from the OSU Marine Resource Management and the U of O School of Law programs presented their poster projects to attendees who helped judge the content. The categories were effectiveness in communicating research, accessibility of the information presented, and overall design for reaching a general and diverse audience. Keynote speaker Paul Greenberg speaks with State of the Coast attendee The afternoon allowed attendees to choose break-out sessions based on their interests. These included seafood cooking demos, a student debate on wave and wind energy by the OSU Fisheries and Wildlife department, a hands-on educational session on oysters, and a discussion of the sea star wasting syndrome that is sweeping the west coast, among others. State of the Coast was filled with multi-faceted learning, networking, and cooperative exchange between Oregon’s coastal stakeholders. The one-day conference was concluded by 5th District State Senator Arnie Roblan, whose remarks highlighted the importance of addressing coastal change. “We have a major need to better understand the environment we live in,” Roblan said. “This is a place where local people and the entire coast can come to learn about coastal issues.”

under: conferences, Oregon Sea Grant

State of the Coast conference coming Oct. 25

Posted by: | October 1, 2014 Comments Off on State of the Coast conference coming Oct. 25 |

State of the CoastStudents in the marine sciences and related fields have until Oct. 10 to submit posters for the 2014 State of the Coast conference, taking place Oct. 25 at the Florence Events Center in Florence, on the southern Oregon coast.

State of the Coast – formerly known as the Heceta Head Coastal Conference – invites everyone from scientists to students to industry to citizens to learn, network, and engage in the current and future state of Oregon’s marine environment. The one day conference, organized by Oregon Sea Grant, includes informative talks on current marine science and policy: El Niño, Sea Star Wasting Syndrome, Coastal Energy, Local Food on the Coast, Hazards, and more.

Join us for seafood cooking demos, hands-on learning, and fun.

The student poster session is a dedicated time when conference participants can view posters and interact with student scientists as they explain their marine-related research and results. This is a chance for students to showcase their research, gain professional experience, and network.

Oregon Sea Grant invites posters from advanced undergraduates (juniors or seniors), recent graduates and graduate students. Poster submissions are welcomed in any discipline related to issues and opportunities facing the marine environment: biology, anthropology, law, engineering, policy, chemistry, business, ecology, environmental science, management, and more!

Posters will be judged by conference participants on their effectiveness in communicating research, accessibility of the information presented, and overall design for reaching a general and diverse audience. Prizes will be awarded to the top posters.

For more information on poster submissions: http://www.stateofthecoast.com/student-posters/

Registration is $35, $25 for students and includes lunch. For more information and registration visit http://www.stateofthecoast.com/

under: conferences, Oregon Sea Grant

Environmental Drivers May be Adding to Loss of Sea Stars

Posted by: | July 24, 2014 Comments Off on Environmental Drivers May be Adding to Loss of Sea Stars |

Sea Star in advanced stage of SSWSNEWPORT – The rapid loss of sea stars along the US west coast may be caused in part by environmental changes, and not solely by a specific pathogen as many had previously thought.

This new hypothesis emerged from a recent symposium on sea star wasting syndrome (SSWS) hosted at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. Oregon Sea Grant enlisted the Center’s support to bring together 40 top researchers from as far north as Alaska and as far south as Santa Barbara, California. The goal was to clarify the science and develop recommendations for further research, monitoring and possible responses to SSWS.

“I think we can all agree that this is one of the biggest epidemics ever in the ocean in terms of range and the number of species,” said Drew Harvell, a researcher from Cornell who is on sabbatical at Friday Harbor Labs in Washington.

SSWS is the name for a series of symptoms exhibited as a sea star “wastes” away and ultimately dies. Other outbreaks have been observed in the 1970s and 1990s, but despite similar symptoms there are some key differences. The current outbreak—which began in 2013—continued throughout the winter, which has never before been observed, in addition to occurring on a much larger geographic scale.

Through the symposium, researchers from different fields—ecologists, pathologists, veterinarians, and more—joined forces to piece together what is known about the disappearing stars. New evidence has failed to show consistent signs of either bacterial or viral infections, leading scientists to question whether a single pathogen is the culprit. In addition, they noticed correlations between warmer average water temperatures and the syndrome’s appearance.

“Increases in temperature lead to a cascade of oceanographic changes, ultimately leading to lower pH,” said Bruce Menge, an OSU researcher who studies the intertidal zone.

Under this hypothesis, the lower pH would deteriorate the protective outer layers of the sea star. The stars would then struggle to balance their internal concentration of salt and water and would slowly waste away. The increased acidity could also cause calcified bone-like support structures—called ossicles—to erode once exposed.

A similar idea is that the warming temperatures and lower pH could stress the animal and weaken its immune system. After that, any number of pathogens could be responsible for causing the animals to waste and die.

“It’s possible that sea stars only have a limited suite of ways to show they are stressed,” said Mike Murray, a veterinarian from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

A number of ocean conditions – upwelling, for instance – can cause pockets of warmer or cooler water. This variation could explain why a few areas of the west coast have thus far escaped the outbreaks for the most part.

Symposium participants agreed that the exact cause of the outbreak remains a mystery. While environmental drivers are getting new attention, the idea of an infectious disease is still prominent. Harvell and her colleagues are working to identify exactly which pathogen could cause SSWS. All of these potential hypotheses provide testable research questions for future studies.

Going forward, attendees are writing group documents to summarize both what is known and what further actions need to be taken to investigate these and other hypotheses. The papers are expected to be completed in August, and to include suggestions for how to best locate and compare existing environmental data, in addition to encouraging more directed monitoring.

Learn more

To find out more about SSWS, or to get involved in the monitoring, visit these sites with information on citizen science programs near you:


Sea Star Wasting Syndrome Timeline:

  • 1976-79: A devastating SSWS event took out large numbers of sea stars along the west coast. It was believed to be a bacterial event due to the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment.
  • 1983-84: SSWS was found in areas with warmer waters as a result of an intense El Nino event. The outbreak spread to other echinoderms  such as sea urchins. Cold winter temperatures halted the spread.
  • 1997-98: Another round of SSWS hit, also spurred by an intense El Nino, but subsided in the winter like previous events.
  • June 2013: The current bout of SSWS was discovered in Olympic National Park in Washington.
  • October/November 2013: Sea stars began dying in large numbers in Monterey, CA.
  • December 2013: SSWS was detected at sites ranging from Alaska to San Diego. Oregon seemed immune at this point for unknown reasons.
  • January 2014: Despite the fact that previous SSWS events subsided during the winter,  the current outbreak continued to spread, especially in southern California.
  • April 2014: While SSWS spread widely along the California and Washington coasts, less than 1% of Oregon stars exhibited signs of the disease.
  • May 2014: About halfway through the month, the percentage of stars exhibiting SSWS skyrocketed in Oregon to between 40 and 60 percent of the populations surveyed.
  • June 2014: Researchers convened at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, OR, to discuss what is known and what should be done about SSWS.
under: climate, conferences, ecology, environment, marine animals, Oregon State University, research

Heceta Head registration open

Posted by: | September 18, 2013 Comments Off on Heceta Head registration open |

Registration is open for this year’s Heceta Head Coastal Conference, Oct. 25 and 26 at the Florence Events Center.

With a theme of “Oregon’s Oceans: So Many Fish In the Sea!”, the conference features a keynote by Kerry Coughlin of the Marine Stewardship Council, panels exploring what “sustainability” means for fish and fishermen, and a poster session highlighting the research of graduate and undergraduate marine scientists.

Full program details and registration information can be found on our Website.

under: conferences, fisheries

Boating access advocates to convene in Portland

Posted by: | July 31, 2013 Comments Off on Boating access advocates to convene in Portland |

Marina, Coos BayPORTLAND – “New Dimensions in Boating Access,” the national conference of the States Organization for Boating Access, comes to Portland Sept. 30-Oct. 3, bringing speakers and workshops on topics ranging from reducing conflicts between public boating access and commercialk shipping to the implications of sea level rise on recreational boating.

Registration is open now, at a significant discount for those who register by Aug. 30.

SOBA is a nonprofit organization that advocates for recreational boating; its membership is drawn from state and territorial agencies, boating groups, consulting firms and boating-related businesses. The annual conference brings members together to discuss issues related to recreational boating access, technology, and environmental/legislative issues.

Among the speakers at this year’s conference are Oregon Sea Grant Extension specialists Sam Chan, discussing invasive species; Megan Kleibacker, talking about Oregon’s implementation of the Clean Vessel Act; and Jamie Doyle, with updates on the National Working Waterfronts Network.

under: conferences, Extension, Oregon Sea Grant, people, water quality & conservation, waterfronts

Early-bird deadline looms for Wild Seafood Exchange

Posted by: | February 26, 2013 Comments Off on Early-bird deadline looms for Wild Seafood Exchange |

NEWPORT – Fishermen, restaurants and seafood retailers have until March 4 to take advantage of early-bird registration prices for the 11th annual West Coast Wild Seafood Exchange, coming to Newport on March 20.

Originally a direct-marketing conference for independent coastal and Columbia River fishermen, the exchange has evolved into a broad discussion of branding and distribution of wild seafood,  with an additional focus on legislative and regulatory issues.

Registration through March 4 is $70; after that it is $90. On-site registration at the conference is $120.

The 2013 Exchange features:

  • Restaurant chefs talking about what they look for in seafood products, from fish quality and variety to volume and delivery
  • Discussion of processing and distribution, with an emphasis on maintaining product safety and quality
  • Fisheries policy and regulatory policy, featuring
  • Successful direct-marketing The future of direct marketing

Panelists include Laura Anderson, owner-operator of Local Ocean seafood restaurant/market in Newport; Oregon Sea Grant’s Jeff Feldner, past member of the Oregon Salmon Commission and Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, and Mark Whitham, seafood safety specialist; and Gil Sylvia, a resource economist who directs the Oregon State University’s Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station.

under: conferences, fisheries, seafood

Older Posts »