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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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Science Pub takes on coral reef decline

Posted by: | May 5, 2016 Comments Off on Science Pub takes on coral reef decline |

CORVALLIS – Research on the worldwide decline in coral reefs will take center stage at the Corvallis Science Pub on Monday, May 9.

Rebecca Vega-Thurber investigates the microbial ecology of reefs in the Red Sea, the Caribbean and the Pacific and will describe what she has learned about how microbes influence reef health.

“Coral species differ in their susceptibility to bleaching and disease, but these differences are only partially explained by the evolutionary history of corals,” said Vega-Thurber, an assistant professor of microbiology at Oregon State University.

Science Pub is free and open to the public. It begins at 6 p.m. at the Old World Deli, 341 S.W. Second St. in Corvallis.

Learn more:

under: climate, marine science, research, Science Pub

Confluence: Helping the Oregon coast adapt to a changing climate

Posted by: | April 18, 2016 Comments Off on Confluence: Helping the Oregon coast adapt to a changing climate |

The spring/summer issue of our Confluence newsletter is online, with stories about Oregon Sea Grant faculty and funded researchers who are working to understand how a changing climate will affect the region, and what coastal communities can do to adapt.

Shore Acres State Park, Cape Arago

Shore Acres State Park, Cape Arago

This  issue explores:

  • How coastal communities can tap into existing laws to manage their resources on a local level
  • Water conservation and restoration strategies that might mitigate the effects of drought on agriculture, fisheries and recreation
  • What those in the west coast shellfish industry understand about ocean acidification, how it affects their multimillion-dollar industry, and what they can do to adapt
  • The role stakeholders can play in complex research, including a regional assessment of future water availability in the Willamette River basin
  • Computer modeling efforts to predict rising sea levels will affect Oregon’s coastal estuaries

Download the .pdf of Confluence

under: climate, climate adaptation, coastal hazards, Confluence, ocean acidification, publications, sea level rise, water quality & conservation

West coast science panel issues report, call for action on ocean acidification, hypoxia

Posted by: | April 4, 2016 Comments Off on West coast science panel issues report, call for action on ocean acidification, hypoxia |

P2 - Logo 1Although ocean acidification and hypoxia are global phenomena, the US-Canada West Coast will face some of the most severe changes, with impacts extending through marine food webs and threatening ocean-dependent industries and coastal communities.

So says a report released today by a panel of 20 scientific experts from Oregon, California, Washington and British Columbia charged with summarizing what’s known about the problem and what options the region has for coping with it.

Major findings:

  • Acidification and hypoxia will have severe environmental, ecological and economic consequences for the West Coast, and will require a concerted regional focus.
  • Global carbon emissions are the dominant cause of acidification
  • There are actions that can be taken to lessen exposure to acidification, and to enhance the ability of ecosystems and organisms to cope.
  • Investing in acidification science will expand the available management options.
  • Inaction now will reduce those options and impose higher costs later.

Among the panelists are Oregon State University researchers Frances Chan, who co-chaired the group, George Waldbusser, Burke Hales and Jack Barth, all of whom have received research funding support from Oregon Sea Grant.

The panel’s report provides a comprehensive analysis, along with technical guidance for ocean program managers and a summary of foundational science about how acidification and hypoxia affect individual species, populations and ecosystems, the science needs of managers and challenges and opportunities in the realm of water quality.

Learn more:

under: climate, climate adaptation, environment, fisheries, ocean acidification

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

Willamette Valley water future: Mostly bright, with some gaps

Posted by: | December 4, 2015 Comments Off on Willamette Valley water future: Mostly bright, with some gaps |

Over the next 85 years, temperatures in Oregon’s Willamette River basin are expected to rise significantly, mountain snowpack levels will shrink dramatically, and the population of the region and urban water use may double – but there should be enough water to meet human needs, a new report concludes.

Fish may not be so lucky. Although ample water may be available throughout most of the year, the Willamette Valley and its tributaries likely will become sufficiently warm as to threaten cold-water fish species, including salmon and steelhead, the scientists say.

These are among the key findings of the Willamette Water 2100 Project, a five-year, $4.3 million study funded by the National Science Foundation and led by Oregon State University, in partnership with researchers from the University of Oregon, Portland State University and University of California at Santa Barbara.

Oregon Sea Grant’s Sam Chan, who specializes in watershed health and invasive species, led the “broader impacts” outreach effort for the project.

Learn more

under: climate adaptation, environment, water quality & conservation, watersheds

Photographers sought for King Tides documentation project

Posted by: | October 19, 2015 Comments Off on Photographers sought for King Tides documentation project |

How might a changing climate and rising sea levels affect the Oregon coast? For the sixth straight year, Oregonians are invited to bring their cameras and smartphones to the coast and join in an international effort to document unusually high “King Tides” to help answer these questions.

This year the project focuses on three sets of extreme tides: Oct. 27-29, Nov. 24-27 and Dec. 23-25. Organized in Oregon by CoastWatch, the project invites anyone who can get to the coast during these tides to take shots at the highest reach of the tide on those days. Photos can focus on any feature, but the most useful show the tide near the built environment – roads, seawalls, bridges, buildings, etc.. Ideal photos would allow the photographer to return later, during an ordinary tide, to get comparison shots.

CoastWatch is making a special effort this year to document King Tides near Oregon’s four marine reserves (Cape Falcon, Cascade Head, Otter Rock, Cape Perpetua and Redfish Rocks.) Participants will be able to share their photos on Flickr and should be prepared to include the date, description and direction of the photo. The Oregon King Tides Photo Initiative website will include an interactive map to help photographers determine the latitude and longitude of their shots.

For information about the project, and about the special effort to document King Tides in the marine reserve areas, contact Fawn Custer, CoastWatch volunteer coordinator (and an Oregon Sea Grant marine educator) at (541) 270-0027, fawn@oregonshores.org

 

under: citizen science, climate, sea level rise

Ocean acidification: Oyster industry thinks it’s doing harm

Posted by: | August 26, 2015 Comments Off on Ocean acidification: Oyster industry thinks it’s doing harm |

The public may not be convinced that ocean acidification is a problem, but a growing number of those who make their living off the ocean have become believers.

Becky Mabardy (foreground) and Iria Gimenez working in Waldbusser lab, 2013A new Oregon Sea Grant-funded survey, being published this week in the Journal of Shellfish Research, found that more than 80% of respondents from the US West Coast shellfish industry are convinced that acidification is having consequences – a figure more than four times higher than found among the broader public, researchers say. And about half the industry people surveyed reported having experienced some impact from acidification.

“The shellfish industry recognizes the consequences of ocean acidification for people today, people in this lifetime, and for future generations – to a far greater extent than the U.S. public,” said Rebecca Mabardy, a former OSU graduate student and lead author on the study.”The good news is that more than half of the respondents expressed optimism – at least, guarded optimism – for the industry’s ability to adapt to acidification.

George Waldbusser and Burke Hales inspect oysters at Whiskey Creek HatcheryThe mechanisms causing ocean acidification are complex, and few in the shellfish industry initially understood the science behind the issue, said OSU marine ecologist George Waldbusser,  who has worked with Northwest oyster growers on mitigating the effects of ocean acidification. However, he added, many have developed a rather sophisticated understanding of the basic concepts of carbon dioxide impacts on the ocean and understand the risks to their enterprise.

“Many have seen the negative effects of acidified water on the survival of their juvenile oysters — and those who have experienced a direct impact obviously have a higher degree of concern about the issue,” Waldbusser pointed out. “Others are anticipating the effects of acidification and want to know just what will happen, and how long the impacts may last.

Learn more

under: aquaculture, climate, ocean acidification, Oregon Sea Grant, research, shellfish

Corvallis Science Pub: An acidic ocean?

Posted by: | May 5, 2015 Comments Off on Corvallis Science Pub: An acidic ocean? |

It’s been called the “evil twin” of climate change. As the oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and surface waters become more acidic, changes to marine ecosystems are likely to follow. Coral reefs, shell-forming organisms and the fish and marine mammals that depend on them are at risk.

At the May 11 Corvallis Science Pub, George Waldbusser will describe what scientists know about the biological effects of ocean acidification. The Science Pub presentation 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.

On average, the oceans are about 30 percent more acidic today than they were a century ago, and impacts are already being seen along the West Coast. Waldbusser and his students have turned their attention to the region’s oyster industry, which had $73 million in sales in 2009.

Oyster larvae are sensitive to acidification and Waldbusser, an assistant professor in Oregon State’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, is working to understand why.

“With larval oysters, what we see are developmental issues,” he said. “From the time eggs are fertilized, Pacific oyster larvae will precipitate roughly 90 percent of their body weight as a calcium carbonate shell within 48 hours.”

His research has been supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Oregon Sea Grant and other agencies.

Learn more:

 

under: aquaculture, climate, ocean acidification, research, Science Pub, shellfish

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

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