It’s National Rip Current Awareness Week, and with the start of summer, a good time to remember that Oregon’s beautiful ocean can be a dangerous place if you don’t pay attention. Check out this short Oregon Sea Grant video about rip currents:
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Planning a visit to the Oregon coast? Tuck our “What’s Fresh and When?” flyer into your cooler so you know what kind of seafood you’re likely to find at local markets, restaurants – and on the docks.
Compiled by Oregon Sea Grant’s Newport-based fisheries specialist, Kaety Hildenbrand, the annual guide lists commercial fishing season dates for all major species caught in Oregon waters: chinook and coho salmon, Pacific halibut, Dungeness crab, Albacore tuna, and pink shrimp – as well as a reminder that flounder, sole, rockfish and lingcod are available throughout the year.
Fishermen in Newport and several other Oregon ports sell their catch, iced at sea, right off the boat; local seafood can also be found at fish markets and local groceries, and many coastal restaurants.
Developed last year in collaboration with the Oregon Invasive Species Council, the free application not only educates users about how potentially invasive, forest-damaging species can hitch rides on firewood brought to campsites from outside areas, but also includes links to local firewood vendors on the Oregon coast and in Washington, Idaho and northern California. The app also features tips about the burning characteristics of different kinds of wood, building campfires, camping checklists and other information.
This week, the council announced that the application has migrated to DontMoveFirewood.org for national use and distribution. The state of California and the Bureau of Land Management will soon begin downloading lists of firewood vendors to the application, and plans are to continue expanding the database to cover all regions of the US.
The new national application is expected to be added to the iPhone and Android app stores in time for Memorial Day weekend. The original version covering Oregon, Washington and northern California, meanwhile, remains available (see links below) for free download.
Sam Chan, Oregon Sea Grant’s invasive species specialist, called the expansion timely. “The Memorial Day weekend is typically the start of a busy camping season,” Chan said. “One of the most important things we can do to protect our forests and landscapes from damage caused by invasive pests and diseases that hitchhike on firewood is to not move firewood to new areas.
“It’s really that simple: Don’t move firewood. Buy it local, and burn it local.”
The mobile application resulted from a 2009-11 research and education campaign Sea Grant undertook with invasive species councils in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. A joint “buy it where you burn it” education campaign ensued to encourage people not to buy or gather firewood near their campouts, picnics and other outdoor activities rather than bringing it along from elsewhere. Surveys before and after the campaign showed that, while nearly 40% of campers surveyed said they regularly brought firewood with them from outside the area, two-thirds of those who’d seen the educational material said they would change their behavior, including buying firewood locally. The research and education project was funded by the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the application is being incorporated into a growing set of resources and tools by the Pacific Northwest Economic Region, a public-private partnership covering Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.
An Oregon Sea Grant publication, Mental Models Interviewing for More-Effective Communication, has won a Gold Award in the “Publications/Handbook” category of the 2013 Hermes Creative Awards.
Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing, and design of traditional and emerging media. Administered by the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals (www.amcpros.com), the Hermes Creative Awards were created to recognize outstanding work in the industry. Judges are industry professionals who look for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.
There were about 5,600 entries from the U.S. and throughout the world in this year’s competition, with about 19 percent of entries receiving Gold Awards.
Written by Joe Cone and Kirsten Winters, Mental Models Interviewing is intended to help professionals such as agency officials, university outreach/extension specialists, and social science researchers interview more effectively by answering the questions “What am I listening for?” and “How am I listening?” It’s one of several publications in Oregon Sea Grant Communications’ “Public Science Communication Research & Practice” series. You can find it online here.
The latest issue of Audubon, the magazine of the National Audobon Society, reports that in the 1970s an Alaskan high school science teacher purchased red-legged frogs from a supply house in the Pacific Northwest. Once the amphibians were no longer needed, the educator released them. Four decades later, studies show that frogs that have decimated local Alaskan amphibian populations have genetic ties to those found in Washington’s Columbia Basin. …
Oregon Sea Grant Extension specialist Sam Chan, a biologist who researches invasive species at Oregon State University, is leading a collaborative project with U.S. and Canadian researchers to educate teachers about the dangers of letting aliens loose. In one survey of nearly 2,000 teachers, Chan’s team found that schools had released dozens of well-known invasive species, like crayfish, waterweeds, mosquito fish, and red-eared slider turtles (above).
- Read a short version of the story at Audubon online
- Oregon Sea Grant’s Watersheds and Invasive Species Education program enlists teachers and their classrooms to discover how invasive species and other emerging watershed issues can be used as tools to engage students in science learning and community action
- Subscribe to our new WISE Blog
John Falk and Lynn Dierking, Oregon Sea Grant Professors of Free-choice Learning, are giving an invited lecture April 11 at the National Science Foundation headquarters in Arlington, VA. Their joint lecture, “An Ecological Approach to Understanding Lifelong STEM Learning: A Story in Two Voices” is part of the Distinguished Lecture Series hosted by the NSF Directorate for Education and Human Resources.
Using examples from their own research, Dierking and Falk plan to “discuss how they reframe STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Math] learning research to better acknowledge and describe STEM learning as a cultural activity: a set of activities situated within a complex ecological community that affords myriad opportunities for STEM experiences of widely varying content, depth, quality, and accessibility.”
Falk and Dierking, internationally-known experts in free-choice learning (how people learn in out-of-school settings), serve in other leadership roles at OSU: Falk as director of the Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning; Dierking as Associate Dean for Research in the College of Education. They are professors in the College of Education.
Scientists 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.
- Live tsunami fish take slow boat to Washington (NBC News coverage)
- NOAA’s Japanese tsunami debris page
- Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife Japanese tsunami debris updates and reporting page
- Oregon Sea Grant’s aquatic invasive species program
Applications due April 19, 2013 for the Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholars program for undergraduates. The program places students in natural resource management agencies and is designed to help prepare undergraduate students for graduate school and careers in marine science, policy, management, and outreach.
To learn more about the Summer Scholars experience, visit our Sea Grant Scholars blog.
NEWPORT – When a massive dock drifted across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to the U.S. West Coast after the Great East Japan Earthquake, it brought along more than the invasive “wakame” kelp and mussels that were attached to it. The city of Newport, Oregon, where the docked beached itself last June, noticed the high interest it was generating and put it to good use.
Oregon Sea Grant’s Mark Farley, manager of the Visitor Center at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, describes how a piece of a 20-meter, 100-ton concrete and metal dock, ripped from its moorings in Misawa, Japan by the devasting 2011 earthquake and tsunami and deposited over a year later on the Oregon coast, is serving as a tool to educate visitors and coastal residents about our own risks of disaster.
Science magazine reports on the declining state of the US marine research fleet:
“Fewer scientists are going to sea as a result of a shrinking science fleet, flat budgets, and skyrocketing costs. At the same time, oceanographers are using a growing array of high-tech devices—such as satellites, gliders, and vast networks of sensors tethered to the sea floor—to remotely collect more data than ever before without getting wet.”
The article looks in depth at the state of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) fleet, operated by a consortium of 62 universities and government laboratories including Oregon State University, and finds its vessels aging, being retired and not being replaced.
In January, the National Science Foundation named OSU the lead institution on a project to finalize the design and coordinate the construction of as many as three new coastal research vessels to bolster the marine science research capabilities of the United States.
OSU is slated to receive nearly $3 million to coordinate the design phase of the project – but actual construction of the new ships depends on Congress appropriating funds to build them, at a cost estimated at $290 million over 10 years. The final number constructed, and the geographic positioning of these vessels, will be determined by the National Science Foundation based on geographic scientific requirements and availability of funding.
The Science article, meanwhile, notes that some existing research vessels are spending more time in port, as rising operation costs and funding cutbacks make it difficult for scientists to pay for the at-sea time they need. At the same time, technological advances are providing new tools that allow researchers like OSU’s Kipp Shearman – cited in the article for his pioneering use of remotely controlled robotic “gliders” to gather data that once would have required them to spend weeks at sea.
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