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Archive for marine science

Sea Grant-funded grad student to help Oregon Legislature with coastal issues

Posted by: | November 30, 2018 Comments Off on Sea Grant-funded grad student to help Oregon Legislature with coastal issues |

11-30-18

By Rick Cooper

When Oregon’s legislative session kicks off in January, a doctoral student in environmental science will be providing lawmakers with information on marine and coastal issues, thanks to funding from Oregon Sea Grant.

As a recipient of Oregon Sea Grant’s 2019 Legislative Fellowship, Valerie Stephan-LeBoeuf will be assigned to the office of Rep. David Brock Smith, the incoming chair of the Coastal Caucus.

Among her duties, she will organize weekly meetings of the Caucus, research legislation that affects marine resources and the Oregon coast, and report on the progress and outcomes of marine and coastal issues addressed during the session.

Science educator Valerie Stephan-LeBoeuf is Oregon Sea Grant's 2019 Legislative Fellow.

Science educator Valerie Stephan-LeBoeuf is Oregon Sea Grant’s 2019 Legislative Fellow. (Photo by Michaela LeBoeuf)

The Idaho native started her fellowship on Nov. 1 and is based in Salem. She plans to continue her studies during the fellowship, which runs through June 30 when the legislative session ends. She is pursuing a doctorate at the University of Idaho, where she is studying restoration efforts for sea otters along the Oregon coast.

“This fellowship opportunity will not only enhance my understanding of the legislative process in Oregon, but will also provide valuable networking opportunities that will enrich my future graduate studies and professional career,” Stephan-LeBoeuf said.

A former zookeeper, Stephan-LeBoeuf also spent 10 years rehabilitating and releasing wildlife, including bears and cougars. She has also worked as an educator and facilitator for human-wildlife conflict resolution, focusing on humane and sustainable solutions to environmental issues. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in paralegal studies from Boise State University, a master’s in education from Concordia University, and a master’s in environmental science from the University of Idaho.

“I am specifically interested in the management of marine mammals, and in the use of methods that integrate collaboration with stakeholders during policy development and review,” Stephan-LeBoeuf said.

“Valerie’s strong interpersonal skills complement her experience with navigating key natural resource issues,” said Sarah Kolesar, the leader of Oregon Sea Grant’s research and scholars program. “Working with coastal lawmakers will provide her additional experience with marine and ocean topics. Her excellent work ethic makes her a valuable asset for the Caucus.”

Each legislative session, Oregon Sea Grant sponsors one Fellow. The goal is not only to help lawmakers but to help the recipient understand the legislative process and develop skills for collaborating with government and other organizations. Fellows receive a competitive monthly stipend. They do not assume a political position or lobby on any issue.

The next application deadline will be in August 2019 (date TBA). Applicants must be enrolled in a master’s, doctorate, or professional degree program (e.g., law school) in any discipline at an institution of higher education with work physically located in Oregon, or have completed their degree after December 2017. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

under: environment, fellowships, higher education, marine animals, marine mammals, marine policy, marine science, news, ocean law and policy, Oregon Sea Grant, people, science education, Sea Grant Scholars
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‘State of the Coast’ conference draws 250 people to Coos Bay

Posted by: | October 31, 2018 Comments Off on ‘State of the Coast’ conference draws 250 people to Coos Bay |

10-31-18

By Rick Cooper

Author Sam Kean gives the keynote address during Oregon Sea Grant's 2018 State of the Coast conference in Coos Bay.

Author Sam Kean gives the keynote address during Oregon Sea Grant’s 2018 State of the Coast conference in Coos Bay. (Photo by Hannah O’Leary)

About 250 people attended Oregon Sea Grant’s annual State of the Coast conference, which was held this year in Coos Bay on Oct. 27.

That figure includes 35 speakers, 27 students who explained their research in a poster session, and 14 exhibiting artists, said Jamie Doyle, an Oregon Sea Grant faculty member who helped organize the event. The students came from Oregon State University, the University of Oregon and Oregon Health & Science University.

“There is such a positive energy from participants at State of the Coast,” Doyle said. “They are excited to learn and connect with others around coastal topics.” Doyle added that she sees enthusiasm for the Oregon coast, the marine environment and coastal communities as a key piece of the future. “We are thrilled to provide a space that can help to cultivate this passion.”

Sam Kean, author of The New York Times bestseller The Disappearing Spoon and three other popular science books, gave the keynote address.

To see photos, visit Oregon Sea Grant’s Flickr page.

under: conferences, ecology, economics, environment, events, fishermen, marine animals, marine education, marine policy, marine science, marine spatial planning, ocean acidification, ocean law and policy, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, people, science communication, science education, seafood, sustainability, wave energy
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‘State of the Coast’ conference set for Oct. 27 in Coos Bay

Posted by: | October 11, 2018 Comments Off on ‘State of the Coast’ conference set for Oct. 27 in Coos Bay |

10-11-18

By Rick Cooper

(from left to right) Lincoln County Commissioner Terry Thompson, 2017 Sea Grant legislative scholar Annie Montgomery, and Amanda Gladics, an Oregon Sea Grant Extension specialist, chat during Oregon Sea Grant's State of the Coast conference in Florence, Ore., in 2017.

(from left to right) Lincoln County Commissioner Terry Thompson, 2017 Sea Grant legislative scholar Annie Montgomery, and Amanda Gladics, an Oregon Sea Grant Extension specialist, chat during Oregon Sea Grant’s State of the Coast conference in Florence, Ore., in 2017. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)

COOS BAY, Ore. – Registration has opened for Oregon Sea Grant’s annual State of the Coast conference, which will be held Oct. 27 in Coos Bay.

Billed as Oregon’s coastal conference for everyone, the event aims to bring together the public, scientists, fishermen, resource managers, artists, teachers, students and conservationists. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn, network and talk about the current status and future of Oregon’s marine environment.

The keynote speaker will be science writer Sam Kean, who authored The New York Times bestseller “The Disappearing Spoon” and three other popular science books. His work has been featured on several public radio shows, including “Science Friday” and “Fresh Air.”

Elizabeth Lee, a graduate student at Oregon State University, talks about her research on Dungeness crab genetics, during Oregon Sea Grant's State of the Coast conference in Florence, Ore., in 2017.

Elizabeth Lee, a graduate student at Oregon State University, talks about her research on Dungeness crab genetics, during Oregon Sea Grant’s State of the Coast conference in Florence, Ore., in 2017. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)

Kean’s talk is titled “A Sense of Wellbeing or Danger: How the brain perceives and creates a coastal scene.” He will unpackage how the brain works, using examples from the natural world to demonstrate how our senses work together and how memory is processed in the brain.

Under this year’s theme, “The Coast Through Your Senses,” presenters will address a variety of topics, including:

  • oil and gas off Oregon’s coast
  • what it’s like spending time aboard a vessel on the sea
  • how fishing families in Charleston, Ore., help each other
  • coastal dunes: past, present and future
  • the Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Council, which provides recommendations on how to respond to these issues
  • research on crabs and climate
  • the decline of eelgrass, a plant in coastal waters and estuaries
  • campaigns to ban plastic straws and bags
  • an overview of Oregon’s seaweeds
  • former Gov. Tom McCall’s famous Beach Bill speech, reenacted by Marion Rossi Jr., the associate dean of Oregon State University’s College of Liberal Arts
  • an effort to build a wave energy test facility off the coast of Newport, Ore.
  • communicating science to lay audiences
  • must-have coastal photos for science stories
(from left to right) Amy Isler Gibson, an art student at Oregon State University; OSU art instructor Michael Boonstra; and OSU employee Charles Robinson listen to OSU art student Hunter Keller talk about her art during Oregon Sea Grant's State of the Coast conference in Florence, Ore., in 2017.

(from left to right) Amy Isler Gibson, an art student at Oregon State University; OSU art instructor Michael Boonstra; and OSU employee Charles Robinson listen to OSU art student Hunter Keller talk about her art during Oregon Sea Grant’s State of the Coast conference in Florence, Ore., in 2017. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)

Presenters will include state Sen. Arnie Roblan; wildlife photographer Jaymi Heimbuch, and Doug Helton, an emergency response supervisor with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Additionally, students from OSU and other universities in Oregon will talk about their coastal research. Coastal-themed artwork created by university students will also be displayed during the conference.

Registration in advance is recommended as space is limited. Cost is $40 for the public and $25 for students. It includes snacks, lunch and a reception. The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. and concludes with a reception that starts at 3:50 p.m. For more information and to register, visit www.stateofthecoast.com.

The event will take place at the Hales Center for the Performing Arts (Empire Hall) on the campus of Southwestern Oregon Community College at 1988 Newmark Ave.

under: citizen science, climate, climate adaptation, coastal hazards, conferences, crab, ecology, environment, events, Extension, fishermen, invasive species, k-12 teachers, lectures, marine animals, marine debris, marine education, marine policy, marine science, news, ocean acidification, ocean law and policy, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, outreach and engagement, people, Posters, public communication, regional projects, science communication, science education, Sea Grant Scholars, sea level rise, seafood, social science, sustainability, water quality & conservation, waterfronts, wave energy
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Newport to host Sept. 28-30 conference for volunteers at aquariums, museums and zoos

Posted by: | September 26, 2018 Comments Off on Newport to host Sept. 28-30 conference for volunteers at aquariums, museums and zoos |

9-26-18

By Tiffany Woods

Tim Miller-Morgan, an aquatic veterinarian with Oregon Sea Grant, will be one of the presenters at the PNDVA conference.

Tim Miller-Morgan, an aquatic veterinarian with Oregon Sea Grant, will be one of the presenters at the PNDVA conference. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)

NEWPORT, Ore. – Fifty people who volunteer at museums, aquariums, zoos and science centers will gather in Newport Sept. 28-30 for a conference to network and learn from each other.

The attendees are members of the Pacific Northwest Docent and Volunteer Association (PNDVA). They’ll meet at the Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) on Sept. 28 and at the Oregon Coast Aquarium the following day.

On the first day, participants will:

  • walk along the Yaquina Bay and learn about the animals and plants there
  • build small, remote-controlled underwater devices
  • assemble a 16-foot whale skeleton
  • tour a behind-the-scenes wing of Hatfield to see how aquarists with Oregon Sea Grant care for animals there
  • tour the system that transports water from the ocean to Hatfield
  • listen to a talk on marine mammals by Bill Hanshumaker, a marine science educator with Oregon Sea Grant and Oregon State University
  • listen to a talk by Tim Miller-Morgan, an aquatic veterinarian with Oregon Sea Grant and the OSU Extension Service
During the PNDVA conference, attendees will have the opportunity to explore the public education wing at Hatfield.

During the PNDVA conference, attendees will have the opportunity to explore the public education wing at Hatfield. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)

On the second day, attendees will:

  • tour the Oregon Coast Aquarium
  • learn about sea otters and the more than 150 native plant species growing on the aquarium’s grounds
  • listen to a talk on the importance of zoos and aquariums by Kerry Carlin-Morgan, the aquarium’s director of education and volunteer services
  • learn how the aquarium cares for its sharks and rehabilitates coastal wildlife
  • listen to keynote speaker Shea Steingass, who studied harbor seals as a doctoral student at OSU

On Sept. 30, attendees will have the opportunity to partake in various excursions in Newport, Depoe Bay, Seal Rock and Otis.

Jacqueline Brandt (right) talks about sea star wasting disease with Aliya Jamil. Brandt is one of more than 60 people who volunteer at the public education wing of the Hatfield Marine Science Center.

Jacqueline Brandt (right) talks about sea star wasting disease with Aliya Jamil. Brandt is one of more than 60 people who volunteer at the public education wing of the Hatfield Marine Science Center. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)

Employees with Oregon Sea Grant, which operates the public education wing – also known at the Visitor Center – at Hatfield, will lead some of the sessions at HMSC. More than 60 people volunteer at the Visitor Center, some of whom will attend the conference.

under: aquaculture, conferences, events, HMSC Visitor Center, marine education, marine science, ocean literacy, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, ornamental fish
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Community college and high school students to spend four days on OSU research vessel

Posted by: | September 14, 2018 Comments Off on Community college and high school students to spend four days on OSU research vessel |

September 14, 2018

By Sean Nealon

Students and teachers will join OSU scientists on the R/V Oceanus this month to gain at-sea research experience.

Students and teachers will join OSU scientists on the R/V Oceanus this month to gain at-sea research experience. (Photo by Pat Kight)

Oregon high school and community college students and teachers will join Oregon State University scientists on the research vessel Oceanus this month to gain at-sea research experience as part of a project to enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills.

The cruise, scheduled from Sept. 23 to 26, will depart from Newport, travel south along the Oregon coast to Stonewall and Heceta Banks, before veering northward to the Astoria Canyon, then into the Columbia River to Portland before returning to Newport. The research vessel will dock for two days in Portland, where there will be a series of activities, including tours for Portland area K-12 students.

Students on last year's cruise help retrieve the "Sonde," an instrument used to measure the conductivity, temperature and pressure of seawater.

Students on a 2016 cruise help retrieve the “Sonde,” an instrument used to measure the conductivity, temperature and pressure of seawater. (Photo by Tracy Crews)

The students and teachers participating in the cruise are from high schools in Bandon, Lincoln City and Warrenton, as well as Southwestern Oregon Community College and Oregon Coast Community College.

“This project will provide a transformational educational experience for high school and community college students and their teachers,” said Tracy Crews, marine education manager for Oregon Sea Grant. “By immersing students and teachers in at-sea research, we hope to increase the STEM-related skills of all participants and encourage students to seek out STEM careers.”

During the cruise, participants will conduct marine mammal and seabird surveys and correlate the presence and absence with oceanographic data. They will also conduct plankton tows where marine mammals are located to determine prey availability. Photo-identification of whales will be conducted to describe individual movement patterns, and the team will fly drones over whales to document behavior and assess body condition.

The project is a collaborative effort from Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State’s College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences and the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, which serves educators, students and communities along the Oregon coast and is located at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. The research vessel Oceanus is operated by Oregon State University and owned by the National Science Foundation.

Leigh Torres, an assistant professor at Oregon State and a member of the university’s Marine Mammal Institute, and Kim Bernard, an assistant professor at Oregon State who leads the Zooplankton Ecology Lab, will be the chief scientists on the excursion.

under: Columbia River, engineering, kids, marine education, marine science, news, ocean literacy, oceanography, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, science education, STEM education, technology
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Oregon Sea Grant funds two OSU students, PSU alumna

Posted by: | September 12, 2018 Comments Off on Oregon Sea Grant funds two OSU students, PSU alumna |
OSU grad student Emily Mazur will be working with NOAA.

OSU grad student Emily Mazur will be working with NOAA on conveying important info to scientists. (Photo by George Mazur)

September 13, 2018

By Rick Cooper

Oregon Sea Grant has awarded $54,000 to two graduate students at Oregon State University and a Portland State University alumna to assist them with their research and environmental management work.

OSU graduate students Emily Mazur and Erin Peck are recipients of the 2018-19 Robert E. Malouf Marine Studies Scholarships, and PSU graduate Bryn Hudson has been awarded a 2018-19 Natural Resource Policy Fellowship.

Mazur completed a bachelor’s degree in marine science and biology at the University of Miami, where she also minored in marine policy. She is working toward a master’s degree in marine resource management at OSU. She will be working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to better understand how agencies can convey important weather, ocean and climate information to Oregon scientists.

OSU doctoral candidate is studying environmental and human factors affecting Oregon's salt marshes.

OSU doctoral candidate Erin Peck is studying environmental and human factors affecting Oregon’s salt marshes. (Photo by Kristina Montville)

Peck earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and her master’s from OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, where she is working toward a doctorate in ocean ecology and biochemistry. Her research aims to identify the main factors affecting sediment accumulation and carbon burial in Oregon’s salt marshes and to determine the marshes’ resilience to sea-level rise and human-caused land-use changes.

Hudson holds a bachelor’s degree in aquatic biology with a minor in educational studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a master’s degree in environmental science and management from Portland State University. She will work with the Governor’s Natural Resource Office, helping to implement and advance the governor’s natural resource and environmental agenda. In addition, she will assist state departments in managing issues and advancing their budget requests and legislative proposals. The position also involves providing critical support on coastal issues such as water quality, ocean acidification and hypoxia, sea-level rise, marine renewable energy, planning for rocky shores, invasive species and marine fisheries.

PSU grad Bryn Hudson will work with the Governor's Natural Resource Office on a variety of tasks and issues.

PSU grad Bryn Hudson will work with the Governor’s Natural Resource Office on a variety of tasks and issues.

The Malouf Scholarship is awarded to graduate students who combine societally relevant research with education or public engagement. The students may be enrolled at any college or university in Oregon while working toward a degree in any field compatible with Oregon Sea Grant’s strategic plan. The yearlong scholarship is named for Robert E. Malouf, who was the director of Oregon Sea Grant from 1991 until his retirement in 2008. The 2018-19 award is $10,800. The scholarship begins October 1, 2018, and ends September 30, 2019.

The Natural Resource Policy Fellowship, also a year in length, is intended to give a graduate student first-hand, full-time experience in natural resource policy at the state level. In so doing, the student contributes to policies that benefit natural-resource managers, coastal community members, and user groups such as fishermen. The fellowship pays $32,400 for the year, which also begins October 1, 2018, and ends September 30, 2019.

The fellowship and scholarships are all funded and administered by Oregon Sea Grant.

under: awards, climate, climate adaptation, ecology, environment, fellowships, fisheries, fishermen, higher education, marine animals, marine education, marine policy, marine reserves, marine science, marine spatial planning, news, NOAA, ocean acidification, ocean law and policy, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, scholarships, science education, Sea Grant Scholars, sea level rise, seafood, social science, sustainability, water quality
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Now available: New issue of Oregon Sea Grant’s newsletter

Posted by: | June 21, 2018 Comments Off on Now available: New issue of Oregon Sea Grant’s newsletter |

June 21, 2018

The spring/summer 2018 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:

Cover of the spring/summer 2018 issue of Oregon Sea Grant's newsletter, Confluence

The spring/summer 2018 issue of Oregon Sea Grant’s newsletter, Confluence, is now available for free download.

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

under: Confluence, crab, ecology, environment, events, Extension, fellowships, fisheries, fishermen, free-choice learning, HMSC Visitor Center, internships, kids, marine animals, marine education, marine mammals, marine science, news, ocean literacy, oceanography, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, outreach and engagement, people, research, scholarships, science education, Sea Grant Scholars, seafood, social science, STEM education, tsunami, whales
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Report: HMSC Visitor Center generates an estimated $7.6 million in statewide income annually

Posted by: | February 16, 2018 Comments Off on Report: HMSC Visitor Center generates an estimated $7.6 million in statewide income annually |

2-16-18

by Rick Cooper

The Visitor Center at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon, generates more than 10 times as much as it costs to operate, according to a new report by Bruce Sorte, an Extension economist with Oregon State University’s Department of Applied Economics.

The total annual cost to operate the Visitor Center is $460,000 in 2017 dollars. As estimated in this report, that $460,000 generates more than 10 times as much in economic effects, with $5.4 million in income, $9.7 million in sales, and 133 jobs for Lincoln County. Statewide, the Visitor Center generates $7.6 million in income, $13.2 million in sales, and 156 jobs.

HMSC Visitor Center entrance

The Oregon Sea Grant-operated Visitor Center at HMSC. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)

Sorte said in the report that he used data from two types of surveys and the IMPLAN (IMpact analysis for PLANning) input-output model to estimate the annual economic contributions.

The Visitor Center, which is operated by Oregon Sea Grant, is supported primarily with federal and OSU funds, along with some donations from the approximately 150,000 visitors it attracts annually. Thirty-nine percent of visitors surveyed indicated that half or more of their reason for coming to the Oregon coast was to visit the Visitor Center. The percentage of visitors citing the Visitor Center as their reason for traveling to Lincoln County was the same.

The report, Economic Linkages and Impact Analysis for the Oregon Sea Grant-Operated Visitor Center at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, is available for free download here.

The Visitor Center has been undergoing extensive remodeling since early December and will partially reopen for the OSU150 Sea Grant Festival on Saturday, Feb. 17., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Its regular hours after that will be 10 to 4 Thursday-Monday.

 

under: events, Extension, free-choice learning, HMSC Visitor Center, jobs, marine education, marine science, news, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, publications
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February events to showcase OSU’s and Oregon Sea Grant’s marine research and outreach

Posted by: | January 22, 2018 Comments Off on February events to showcase OSU’s and Oregon Sea Grant’s marine research and outreach |

1/22/18

By Tiffany Woods

CORVALLIS, Ore. – As part of its 150th anniversary, Oregon State University will highlight its decades of marine-related research and public outreach Feb. 12-24 with a variety of free tours and talks on campus and along the coast.

The southern view from Heceta Head.

The Sea Grant Festival will showcase OSU’s and Oregon Sea Grant’s marine research and outreach. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)

The OSU150 Sea Grant Festival will take place in Corvallis, Portland, Newport, Port Orford, Coos Bay and Astoria. It will include presentations by scientists, tours of the Hatfield Marine Science Center, a taste test of fresh versus frozen fish, and screenings of an OSU-produced documentary about coral reefs. Information about the events is online. Some have limited capacity and require registration.

Some of the talks and tours will be offered by people who either work for Oregon Sea Grant or whose work has been funded by the program, which has been based at OSU since 1971.

“Oregon Sea Grant works on many issues facing our coast, from engaging with the fishing industry to helping communities prepare for hazards,” said the program’s director, Shelby Walker. “We serve as a neutral third party, bringing people together and providing the science and information they need to make informed decisions. We also fund marine-related research at universities throughout Oregon, have more than a dozen Extension specialists along the coast and in Corvallis, and operate the public education wing of the Hatfield Marine Science Center.”

under: events, lectures, marine science, news, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University
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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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