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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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Now available: New issue of Oregon Sea Grant’s newsletter

Posted by: | October 24, 2017 Comments Off on Now available: New issue of Oregon Sea Grant’s newsletter |

October 24, 2017

The fall/winter 2017 issue of Confluence, a newsletter about Oregon Sea Grant’s research, outreach and educational programs, is now available for download. Inside this eight-page issue, you’ll find the following stories:

Gooseneck barnacles grow on top of thatched barnacles. (Photo by Julia Bingham)

Want to receive the next issue of Confluence in your email? Click here.

under: aquaculture, Confluence, crab, ecology, environment, Extension, fisheries, fishermen, internships, marine animals, marine science, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, outreach and engagement, people, publications, recreational boating, research, Sea Grant Scholars, seafood, shellfish, sustainability
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UO study moves seafood industry closer to farming gooseneck barnacles

Posted by: | October 13, 2017 Comments Off on UO study moves seafood industry closer to farming gooseneck barnacles |

10/13/17

By Tiffany Woods

A study led by a University of Oregon marine biologist has moved the seafood industry one step closer to farming gooseneck barnacles, which are a pricey delicacy in Spain and a common sight on the West Coast.

Gooseneck barnacles grow on top of adult thatched barnacles. (Photo by Julia Bingham)

Funded by Oregon Sea Grant, researchers found that juvenile gooseneck barnacles in a lab grew at rates comparable to those of their counterparts in the wild.

Led by Alan Shanks, a professor with the UO’s Charleston-based Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB), the researchers glued juveniles to textured, acrylic plates hung vertically inside 12 plastic tubes that were about twice the height and diameter of a can of tennis balls. Unfiltered seawater was pumped in, vigorously aerated and allowed to overflow. After a week, the barnacles began secreting their own cement.

Twice a day for eight weeks, the researchers fed the barnacles either micro-algal paste or brine shrimp eggs; a third group of barnacles was not fed anything but was left to filter food out of the seawater. Once a week the researchers measured the barnacles’ growth. Those that were fed the brine shrimp eggs outgrew the other barnacles.

Seawater is pumped into plastic tubes containing juvenile gooseneck barnacles in a lab at the University of Oregon as part of a research project funded by Oregon Sea Grant. Researchers glued the juveniles to textured, acrylic plates hung vertically inside the tubes. (Photo by Mike Thomas)

“The experiment has demonstrated that feeding is not dependent on high water velocities, and barnacles can be stimulated to feed using aeration and will survive and grow readily in mariculture,” Shanks said.

He added that unlike high-flow systems, his low-flow “barnacle nursery” doesn’t use as much energy or have expensive pumps to maintain, so it has the potential to decrease operating costs.

Despite the findings, the researchers are cautiously optimistic.

“While our experiment showed promise, there is still a great deal of research which needs to be done to solve some of the barriers to successful and profitable mariculture,” said research assistant Mike Thomas. “For example, inducing settlement of gooseneck barnacle larvae onto artificial surfaces has historically proven difficult and this makes the implantation of barnacles a laborious task. There are other methods of mariculture which need to be explored further for their efficacy before deciding on the best method.”

Another part of Shanks’ project involved conducting field research to see if there are enough gooseneck barnacles in southern Oregon to sustain commercial harvesting. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife allows commercial harvesting of gooseneck barnacles on jetties but not on natural rock formations. Shanks hopes the agency will be able use the results of his work when regulating their harvesting.

A juvenile gooseneck barnacle grows on an acrylic plate in a research project funded by Oregon Sea Grant. Researchers at the University of Oregon found that juvenile gooseneck barnacles in their lab grew at rates comparable to or greater than those for species in the wild. (Photo by Mike Thomas)

Researchers used photographs and transects to estimate the barnacle populations on eight jetties in Winchester Bay, Coos Bay, Bandon, Port Orford, Gold Beach and Brookings. They estimated that there are roughly 1 billion adult and juvenile gooseneck barnacles attached to these eight jetties but only about 2 percent are of commercially harvestable size.

“Our surveys suggest that wild populations are unlikely to sustain long-term commercial harvest should the market significantly expand beyond its current size,” researcher Julia Bingham wrote in a report about the project.

She added that with the exception of jetties in Coos Bay and Winchester Bay, the other six jetties had such limited numbers of barnacles that even a “very small-scale harvest” – about 500 pounds per year per jetty – could wipe out harvestable-sized goosenecks on them in five years.

With a second round of funding from Oregon Sea Grant that was awarded in 2017, Shanks and Aaron Galloway, an aquatic ecologist at the OIMB, are continuing the research. Their new work includes:

  • studying how long it takes for a population to return to pre-harvest densities
  • testing different glues and surfaces to see if harvested barnacles that are too small for market can be reattached to plates and returned to the ocean
  • testing out bigger tubes for rearing barnacles in the lab to make them feasible for larger-scale aquaculture
  • testing other diets, including finely minced fish waste from a seafood processing plant

Additional reporting by Rick Cooper.

under: aquaculture, fisheries, marine animals, news, Oregon Sea Grant, research, seafood, shellfish, sustainability
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Video: Studying the relationship between seagrass, nutrients, algae and herbivores

Posted by: | August 29, 2017 Comments Off on Video: Studying the relationship between seagrass, nutrients, algae and herbivores |

Aug. 29, 2017

A new video from Oregon Sea Grant shows how researchers are studying how nutrients from agricultural runoff and oceanic upwelling impact the growth of light-blocking algae on eelgrass in bays along the Oregon coast.

With funding from Oregon Sea Grant, they’re also studying how tiny herbivores, such as sea slugs and centipede-like isopods, might prevent eelgrass from being snuffed out by this algae. Additionally, they’re investigating whether these herbivores prefer to eat the native or invasive eelgrass in the bays.

In the six-minute video, Fiona Tomas Nash, a marine ecologist in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University, explains that eelgrass is important because it produces oxygen, reduces the impacts of waves, and provides habitat and food for waterfowl, baby fish and crabs.

“Nutrient pollution is one of the main causes of seagrass loss worldwide,” Tomas Nash said in the video. “And so we’re trying to understand if this is a problem in Oregon.”

She said the results of her research may benefit state and federal agencies that deal with food production, fisheries and water quality.

The research is taking place in four estuaries – Coos Bay, Yaquina, Netarts and Tillamook – to quantify how much seagrass there is and determine what aquatic grazers are present, Tomas Nash said.

“We’re doing experiments, both in the field and in the lab,” she said in the video, “where we add nutrients, and we also manipulate the presence or absence of these animals to see how these combinations of more nutrients and different animals can affect the amount of algae that there is and, therefore, the seagrass health.”

Partners in the project include the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Environmental Protection Agency and the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. 

The video was produced by Tiffany Woods and filmed and edited by Gustavo Garcia.

Photos of Tomas Nash and her work can be downloaded from this album on Oregon Sea Grant’s Flickr page.

More information about the research is on Oregon Sea Grant’s website.

 

under: crab, ecology, environment, fisheries, marine animals, marine science, news, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, research, shellfish, videos, water quality & conservation
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Video: Summer internships prepare undergrads for marine science careers

Posted by: | August 24, 2017 Comments Off on Video: Summer internships prepare undergrads for marine science careers |

This new video shows how Oregon Sea Grant’s Summer Scholars program helps prepare high-caliber junior and senior undergraduates from around the U.S. for careers in the marine sciences or the management of coastal resources. The program places students with Oregon-based federal and state agencies and nongovernmental organizations for paid, 10-week internships.

Students are assigned to a specific project under a mentor. They may assist their mentors with field work, lab work, analysis, research, policy development or public engagement efforts.

The video, produced by Oregon Sea Grant (OSG), also highlights some of this summer’s activities and includes interviews with students and mentors.

Ten students from seven different states participated in this year’s program, interning with agencies such as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), the USDA, the OSU Extension Tourism Program, the EPA and the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. Students worked on topics ranging from monitoring recovering sea star populations to spreading awareness about marine reserves to testing unmanned aircraft systems’ viability in shellfish surveys.

Students also participated in a professional-development workshop on science communication and outreach and engagement. The workshop was followed by a hiking and camping trip, allowing students both to explore more of Oregon’s scenic beauty and spend some quality time with their cohort.

The program culminated with a symposium that was open to the public. Friends, family, mentors and coworkers came to watch the scholars present on their summer’s work.

“The skills I’ve gained this summer as a scholar seem a little difficult to quantify because it feels like there’s a lot,” student Catie Michel said in the video. “But I’ve especially appreciated learning about successful collaboration with people and effective communication, especially in terms of science and research.”

In addition to aligning with OSG’s vision, mission and values, the goals of the Summer Scholars program are to

  • prepare students for graduate school and/or careers in marine science, policy, management, and outreach through funding support and hands-on experience;
  • support host organization program initiatives and facilitate scholars’ understanding of their work’s importance in accomplishing the broader host organization goals; and
  • promote integration of diverse perspectives into problem solving for coastal Oregon to provide richer and more inclusive solutions.

The program also strives to encourage student success during and after their internships through cultivating an inclusive environment, creating a broad professional network in the marine field, offering professional development opportunities with an emphasis on science communication, and fostering a supportive mentor/mentee relationship.

“What I enjoy about mentoring a Sea Grant scholar is watching the students enjoy the learning experience,” Tommy Swearingen, a researcher with the ODFW, said in the video. “As an agency scientist, it is a huge benefit to our program to have the contribution that students make.”

Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholars Program was filmed and edited by Haley Epperly.

More information about the Summer Scholars program can be found here.

under: ecology, ecosystem-based-management, environment, Extension, higher education, internships, marine animals, marine education, marine policy, marine reserves, marine science, marine spatial planning, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, public communication, research, scholarships, science communication, science education, Sea Grant Scholars, summer activities, videos, water quality & conservation, watersheds
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New video reveals how blood work can be used to identify sick sea stars

Posted by: | June 1, 2017 Comments Off on New video reveals how blood work can be used to identify sick sea stars |

A new video from Oregon Sea Grant (OSG), Sea Star Health: Using Blood Work to Identify Sick Sea Stars, reveals how OSG and Oregon State University created the first-ever blood panel for ochre sea stars to use as a baseline for detecting sick ones. The tool could help aquarists treat them before they succumb to Sea Star Wasting Syndrome, which causes their limbs to fall off.

The cause of the syndrome, which was first seen in the Pacific Northwest in 2013, is unknown. OSU veterinary student Heather Renee Srch-Thaden created the blood panel under the guidance of Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan, an aquatic veterinarian with OSG Extension, and Dr. Susan Tornquist, dean of OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

The video was filmed at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, where the public can touch and learn about sea stars in a tidepool exhibit at the HMSC Visitor Center. It was filmed and edited by OSG videographer Vanessa Cholewczynski, with photos by Tim Miller-Morgan and Heather Renee Srch-Thaden.

You can watch the four-minute video on OSG’s YouTube channel, here.

Opening frame from the video, "Sea Star Health: Using Blood Work to Detect Sick Sea Stars"

This new video from Oregon Sea Grant reveals how researchers are using blood samples from sea stars to detect signs of disease.

under: ecology, environment, Extension, HMSC Visitor Center, marine animals, marine science, news, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, people, research, videos
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Oregon residents: Take the Oregon Coastal Values survey

Posted by: | August 5, 2016 Comments Off on Oregon residents: Take the Oregon Coastal Values survey |

Photo of Oregon coast

A research team at Portland State University is conducting a survey of Oregonians to find out how Oregon residents use and value the coast and ocean. The survey asks for your opinions on marine management activities and your preferences for future management. It also includes an online mapping activity, allowing you to indicate places on the coast that are important to you and to recommend changes in the management of areas.

The goal of the survey is to reach a broad set of adult residents who have lived in Oregon for a year or more. The research team also wants to make sure they hear from people across the state, including eastern and southern Oregon. Please feel free to share this link with others via e-mail, social media, or any other way you feel comfortable.

This project is funded by Oregon Sea Grant, and findings will be shared in a final report to managers, researchers, and the public. All responses will be anonymous, and only summaries of findings will be shared.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Paul Manson, a Ph.D. student researcher at Portland State University: mansonp@pdx.edu. You may also contact the project’s principal investigator, Elise Granek, at graneke@pdx.eduThe research team is also on Twitter.

under: marine policy, ocean law and policy, Oregon Sea Grant, research, social science, surveys
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Barnacles for dinner? Could be!

Posted by: | August 4, 2016 Comments Off on Barnacles for dinner? Could be! |

gooseneck barnaclesIn Spain, a plate of gooseneck barnacles will set you back more than the cost of a lobster dinner. Known as percebes, goosenecks “set the palate in ecstasy,” a Barcelona chef recently told a reporter. Nevertheless, Julia Bingham winced a little last spring when asked if she had ever tried the tube-shaped delicacies while she was studying them as an undergraduate at Oregon State University.

“I get that question a lot, and it kills me to say ‘no,’” said Bingham, who had gingerly navigated the wave-tossed shore of Cape Perpetua to collect barnacle samples for her University Honors College thesis. “It’s supposed to be sweeter than crab or lobster and taste like the ocean.”

Read the whole story about Bingham’s Oregon Sea Grant-funded research in Terra.

under: Oregon Sea Grant, research, seafood

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

New Sea Grant publication encourages collaborative engagement

Posted by: | April 8, 2016 Comments Off on New Sea Grant publication encourages collaborative engagement |

A new publication from Oregon Sea Grant, Collaborative Science-Stakeholder Engagement, encourages collaboration among scientific disciplines and extending that collaboration to include participants outside the academic world.

The 20-page publication outlines various types of collaboration, both among researchers of diverse disciplines and among reseh16001-coverarchers and stakeholders. It explores collaborations seeking to achieve different goals in natural-resource research and management (sustainability, climate change adaptive management, decision-making tool development, alternative futures exploration). In also provides examples of stakeholder engagement in these contexts for the understanding and management of various natural resources, and summarizes literature from other research on science-stakeholder engagement elements.

Finally, the guide lists the lessons learned, necessary elements and impacts from these case studies.

The guide is intended as a resource for anyone interested in connecting science producers and science users. It summarizes literature from a broad swatch of research with science-stakeholder engagement elements.

The research was conducted and text written by Laura Ferguson, Oregon State University Marine Resource Management program, with review and contributions by Samuel Chan, Mary Santelmann and Maria Wright.

Collaborative Science-Stakeholder Engagement is available as a free, downloadable PDF here.

under: citizen science, ecology, environment, fisheries, invasive species, marine policy, marine science, news, Oregon Sea Grant, outreach and engagement, publications, research, science communication, social science

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