header image

Archive for marine debris

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
Tags: , , , , , ,

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
Tags: , , , , , ,

Oregon Sea Grant publication wins Silver Award of Distinction

Posted by: | April 28, 2016 Comments Off on Oregon Sea Grant publication wins Silver Award of Distinction |

Oregon Sea Grant has won a Silver Award of Distinction in the 2016 Communicator Awards competition, for its field guide Key Aquatic Invasive Species Watch: Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris in the Eastern Pacific.CommSilver1

According to the Communicator Awards’ website, the competition is sanctioned and judged by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, “an invitation-only group consisting of top-tier professionals from acclaimed media, communications, advertising, creative and marketing firms.” The competition, which receives “over 6,000 entries from companies and agencies of all sizes,” honors work that “transcends innovation and craft – work that made a lasting impact.”

The Award of Distinction is presented for “projects that exceed industry standards in quality and achievement.”

You can download a free PDF or order printed copies of Key Aquatic Invasive Species Watch here.

under: awards, brochures, environment, invasive species, marine debris, news, Oregon Sea Grant, publications, tsunami
Tags: , , ,

Oregon Sea Grant video wins APEX Award

Posted by: | June 5, 2015 Comments Off on Oregon Sea Grant video wins APEX Award |
Oregon Sea Grant has won an APEX Award of Excellence in the Electronic 2015 APEX logoMedia-Video category for its online video, Responding to the Risks of Marine Debris: Derelict Fishing Gear.
According to APEX, there were 165 entries in the Electronic Media category, and awards were based on “excellence in graphic design, editorial content and the success of the entry…in achieving overall communication effectiveness and excellence.”
Responding to the Risks of Marine Debris is a production of Oregon Sea Grant in cooperation with NOAA West and the west coast Sea Grant programs. You can view the six-minute video at https://vimeo.com/92878422
under: awards, beach safety, ecology, environment, marine debris, marine safety, NOAA, Oregon Sea Grant, videos, waterfronts
Tags: , , ,

Floating transponders track tsunami debris path

Posted by: | September 29, 2014 Comments Off on Floating transponders track tsunami debris path |

Japanese transponderCORVALLIS, Ore. – Northwest anglers venturing out into the Pacific Ocean in pursuit of salmon and other fish this fall may scoop up something unusual into their nets – instruments known as transponders, released from Japan to track the movement of marine debris in ocean currents.

About the size of a 2-liter soda bottle, the instruments were intentionally set adrift from different ports off Japan in 2011-12 after the massive Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Researchers from Tattori University for Environmental Studies in Japan have been collaborating with Oregon State University, Oregon Sea Grant, and the NOAA Marine Debris Program on the project http://www.kankyo-u.ac.jp/research/sri/field/002/results/trackinginfo.

Their goal is to track the movement of debris via ocean currents and help determine the path and timing of the debris from the 2011 disaster. An estimated 1.5 million tons of debris was washed out to sea and it is expected to continue drifting ashore along the West Coast of the United States for several years, according to Sam Chan, a watershed health specialist with Oregon State University Extension and Oregon Sea Grant who has been working with the Japanese and NOAA on marine debris research and outreach since the 2011 earthquake.

These transponders only have a battery life of about 30 months and then they no longer communicate their location,” Chan said. “So the only way to find out where they end up is to physically find them and report their location. That’s why we need the help of fishermen, beachcombers and other coastal visitors.

These bottles contain transmitters and they are not a hazardous device,” Chan added. “If you find something that looks like an orange soda bottle with a short antenna, we’d certainly like your help in turning it in.”

Persons who find a transponder are asked to photograph it if possible, and report the location of their find to Chan at Samuel.Chan@oregonstate.edu; or to the NOAA Marine Debris Program regional coordinator in their area at http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/contact-us. They will provide shipping instructions to persons who find the transponders so that the instruments can be returned to the research team.

Learn more

under: marine debris, Oregon Sea Grant, research

Groups sought to monitor marine debris on Oregon coast

Posted by: | October 31, 2013 Comments Off on Groups sought to monitor marine debris on Oregon coast |

The Oregon Marine Debris Team is seeking volunteer groups to participate in a community grants program which will support monitoring for marine debris. Up to 10 local groups (either existing organizations or teams that unite for this effort) will be awarded $500 to assist them in regularly monitoring and submitting reports on marine debris that washes up at selected sites on the Oregon coast.

The project is part of an ongoing research program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Participating groups, using NOAA protocols, will be expected to gather data at regular monthly intervals on the types and amounts of marine debris reaching the shore at 10 small monitoring sites from the mouth of the Columbia River south to near the California border.  Once they’ve collected the information, volunteers will be expected to upload it to a website for NOAA analysis.

The team hopes to have one monitoring site within each of 10 regions, spanning the length of the coast; preference will be given to proposals for more remote areas with less human traffic and where it is less likely that litter will be picked up between monitoring sessions.

For information about how to submit a proposal, visit the OMDT blog.

No prior experience is necessary. Training and support will be provided by the OMDT, a partnership among four non-profit organizations—Surfrider, SOLVE, Washed Ashore and the CoastWatch program of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition—with the cooperation of Oregon Sea Grant.

 

 

under: beach safety, coastal hazards, grants, marine debris, tsunami

State bill would require wave energy companies to recover their own gear

Posted by: | May 1, 2013 Comments Off on State bill would require wave energy companies to recover their own gear |

NNMREC Newport test site and buoysSALEM – The Oregon Senate voted Monday to require that companies experimenting with wave energy in Oregon’s territorial waters show they have enough money to recover their equipment when they’re done with it.

The bill’s sponsors say they don’t want the state to be stuck for the cost of removing such gear if it breaks loose, sinks or outlasts its useful life.

The Department of Energy-funded Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC), based at Oregon State University, is operating a testing facility for commercial wave energy devices off the coast of Newport, an area also slated to be home to the nation’s first utility-scale, grid-connected wave energy test site, the Pacific Marine Energy Center.

under: marine debris, regional projects, technology, wave energy

Live fish, crabs, survive post-tsunami trip aboard Japanese boat

Posted by: | April 8, 2013 Comments Off on Live fish, crabs, survive post-tsunami trip aboard Japanese boat |

Oplegnathus-fasciatus-WDFW-photox250Scientists at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center are examining a handful of Japanese fish that may have survived a nearly two-year trip aboard a small fishing boat torn off the Japanese coast by the 2011 tsunami.

The fish – Oplegnathus fasciatus, known as Barred knifejaw or Striped beakperch – were found in the bottom of a Japanese boat that washed ashore at Long Beach, WA on March 22. The vessel is one of a growing number of large items cast to sea by the Japanese tsunami that have made their way across the ocean to Pacific Northwest shores.

Sam Chan, Oregon Sea Grant’s invasive species specialist, said the fish species normally are found only as far east as Hawaii. Scientists aren’t yet sure whether the fish traveled all the way from Japan, or if they somehow got onboard the derelict vessel as it crossed the ocean. “Either way, it’s an interesting case of organisms ‘rafting’ across the ocean,” Chan said.

OSU’s Jessica Miller, a marine fisheries ecologist with the HMSC-based Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, as four of the fish and is examining their stomach contents and otoliths (specialized bones found in the ears of fish and other species) for insight into what the fish had been eating and the environmental conditions they encountered during their transit. The fifth fish is on display at the Seaside Aquarium.

Learn more:

 

under: invasive species, marine debris, marine science, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, tsunami

Japanese journalists cover Oregon tsunami preparations, responses

Posted by: | January 14, 2013 Comments Off on Japanese journalists cover Oregon tsunami preparations, responses |

Two journalists from  one of Japan’s leading newspapers visited Oregon’s central coast recently to report on the gradual arrival of debris from the devastating March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck Aomori prefecture, and how that tragedy has spurred Oregon’s coastal towns to prepare for similar disasters on US shores.

Tomoji Watanabe and Yu Miyaji visited OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, and interviewed dozens of coastal officials and residents about lessons learned from the Japanese tsunami.

The pier in question originated in the Japanese town of Misawa, and after more than a year adrift in the Pacific, washed up on Oregon’s Agate Beach last June. Authorities estimated that the “tsunami dock” attracted more than 13,000 visitors to the beach before state contractors cut it apart and hauled it off for disposal.

OSU scientists, including specialists from Oregon Sea Grant, were particularly interested in the thousands of living plants and marine animals – most of them strangers to US shores –  that survived the trans-Pacific voyage. Fearing that the organisms might become invasive if allowed to get loose in the wild, state environmental agencies scraped, incinerated and buried them after scientists had a chance to retrieve samples.

A small segment of the pier has been on display at the HMSC Visitor Center, and a larger piece is expected to be installed in the Visitor Center’s lobby this March to commemorate the second anniversary of the Japanese disaster.

Additional debris from the tsunami is expected to wash up on Pacific Northwest coasts; the state has set up a special phone number, 211, for reports of suspected debris.

under: coastal hazards, invasive species, marine debris, tsunami

Request for proposals: ocean contaminants, marine debris

Posted by: | October 8, 2012 Comments Off on Request for proposals: ocean contaminants, marine debris |

Oregon Sea Grant is soliciting research proposals for one-year grants on two topics of high priority to Oregon’s ocean and coast: Water contaminants, and tsunami-related marine debris. The submission deadline is 5 pm Nov. 5, 2012.

Sea Grant  and its citizen advisory council have identified contaminants in Oregon waters – both ocean and freshwater – as an important research issue for the state. The recent and anticipated arrival of marine debris from the March 2011 Japanese tsunami also raises timely research and public engagement questions. As a result, Sea Grant has set aside funding for between one and  four single-year grant proposals addressing either of these issues. The total available funding is $80,000.

This special funding call seeks proposals that apply the best science and an innovative approach to address either: 1) a well-defined coastal or watershed research question addressing contaminants, or 2) research related to tsunami marine debris.

All Oregon Sea Grant research grants must include public outreach and engagement components.

For more information, visit our Website.

under: environment, grants, marine debris, Oregon Sea Grant, research, tsunami, water quality & conservation, watersheds

Older Posts »

Categories