Markham symposium highlights work of HMSC graduate researchers

Hatfield Marine Science CenterNEWPORT – The 19th annual Markham Symposium, a celebration of graduate student research and scholarship, will be held at the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center  in Newport on June 19. This year’s symposium will feature student research presentations in an exciting, fast-paced format.  Poster presentations and an informal reception will give attendees a chance to meet students and their mentors. The event, from 10 am-12:30 pm in the Visitor Center auditorium, is free and open to the public.

Read more about the Symposium in Currents, the HMSC newsletter – now available via RSS feed – and while you’re at it, check out the redesigned HMSC Website.

The  HMSC is celebrating its 47th year as a leading marine laboratory distinguished by its many collaborative research partnerships. Originally established as a marine laboratory for OSU, the center currently hosts research and education programs from seven OSU colleges and six state and federal agencies on a 49-acre campus. on the south shore of Yaquina Bay. The facility is also home to the HMSC Visitor Center, managed by Oregon Sea Grant as a public and K-12 education facility and a social laboratory for OSU’s  Free-Choice Learning Lab.

TERRA: Scientists and Engineers Plan for the Big One

Terra Magazine cover“The last great earthquake to strike the Pacific Northwest occurred on January 26, 1700, at about 9 p.m. Parts of the coastline dropped three to six feet in an instant. It set off landslides throughout the Oregon Coast Range. Some of them are still moving. If you could hear soil, rocks and trees creep inch-by-inch downhill, some of those sounds would echo that massive jolt. At sea, it generated tsunamis that reshaped the Northwest coastline, traveled across the Pacific and swept through bays and coastal communities in Japan. …”

The latest issue of Terra, Oregon State University’s research magazine, delves into the ways in which OSU scientists and engineers are helping the state prepare for the next big Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, which a growing number of researchers calculate could happen within the next 50-100 years. Learn how such a powerful near-short “megathrust” quake could affect the state and region, and what’s being done to plan for, and mitigate against, such disasters.

The spring edition also looks at how people like Oregon Sea Grant’s Tim Miller-Morgan care for the fish and other aquatic animals that make up more than 80 percent of the animals used in the university’s research labs and the public exhibits at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. The past few decades have witnessed great changes in how institutions like OSU treat the animals in their care; as Miller-Morgan puts it, ““Now we understand that we shouldn’t look at these animals as disposable. We brought them into captivity, and we have an obligation to keep them as long as we can, as close to their natural lifespan as possible — or even longer.”

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Register now for the Free-Choice Learning Professional Certificate

Registration is now open for the Free-Choice Learning Professional Certificate, an online program offered by Oregon State University.

The program helps museum, zoo, aquarium, and science outreach professionals and volunteers discover more about free-choice learning, the study of what, where, and how we choose to learn over the course of our lifetimes.

Courses are taught by experienced Oregon State faculty and researchers Lynn Dierking, Sea Grant professor and interim associate dean for research in the OSU College of Education; John H. Falk, Sea Grant professor and interim director of the Center for Research in Lifelong STEM Learning; Shawn Rowe, marine education and learning specialist at Oregon Sea Grant Extension; and Jennifer Bachman, instructor and Free-Choice Learning program coordinator.

To learn more about this and other OSU Professional and Noncredit Education certificate programs, visit

New marine mammal position open

Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute are jointly seeking to fill a new, full-time assistant- or associate-level professorship in marine mammal behavioral ecology.

The new faculty member will be based at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, and will also serve as Sea Grant Extension marine mammal specialist. Duties include a combination of research, teaching and public outreach.

This is a fulltime, tenure-track position, with tenure offered at .50 FTE. A PhD. is required. Rank will depend on qualifications.

The selected candidate will be expected to conduct original research and provide statewide, national and international expertise on marine mammals with an emphasis on cetacean ecology. He or she will conduct programs on appropriate basic science, conservation, wildlife management and natural resources issues, and will be expected to raise funds for annual research objectives and to help build the OSU marine mammal endowment.

The full position description and application is available on the OSU Jobs site. For full consideration, applications must be submitted by Dec. 15, 2012.

Learn more:


Study guide available for Ocean Frontiers film

A new university-level discussion guide, developed by the National Sea Grant Law Center, is now available for the  documentary film, Ocean Frontiers: The Dawn of a New Era in Ocean Stewardship.

The film features a profile of Port Orford, Oregon, where commercial fishermen and other community members are teaming with scientists to understand and protect the region’s marine fisheries.

The Sea Grant Law Center describes Ocean Frontiers as “an ideal communication tool to help audiences understand key principles of ecosystem-based management and coastal and marine spatial planning. These complex topics come to life and are easy to grasp through the stories and people featured in Ocean Frontiers.”

This discussion guide was produced for Green Fire Productions by the National Sea Grant Law Center with the assistance of the Ocean and Coastal Law Committee of Vermont Law School’s Environmental Law Society to help professors incorpo­rate Ocean Frontiers into the classroom. The guide is available for download here:

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OSU grad student wins NMFS fellowship

Susan PiacenzaSusan Hilber Piacenza, an Oregon State University PhD candidate, has been awarded a prestigious National Marine Fisheries Service fellowship to study population dynamics of threatened and endangered sea turtles.

The fellowship, will provide $115,000 over the next  three years to support Piacenza’s work on the green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas. The turtle, considered threatened or endangered in most US and Mexican waters, appears to be recovering in other parts of the world.  “Not only is this good news for green sea turtles,” Piacenza said, “but it also represents an invaluable opportunity to study what happens to a large vertebrate population as it recovers from serious population decline.”

So far, signs of positive population growth among C. mydas colonies in Hawaii and Florida has been inferred from nesting beach surveys. What’s missing – and what Piacenza plans to study – is broader data on what happens to the animals after they hatch, and throughout their lives, and how that information fits into population estimates and trends.

The research could be useful to biologists and managers seeking to understand how populations of other threatened and endangered animals change over time, and as a population comes back from the brink. Solid, data-driven forecasting could also help scientists and the public understand how different conservation and management strategies might affect threatened animal populations.

Piacenza is working with researchers at the Southeast Fisheries Science Center Turtle Program in Miami, FL, and the Pacific Island Fisheries’ Marine Turtle Research Group in Honolulu, HI. Her PhD adviser in the OSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife  is Dr. Selina Heppell.

The award is one of five population dynamics fellowships nationwide by NOAA/NMFS this year, and the first ever to an OSU graduate student. Piacenza’s application was sponsored by Oregon Sea Grant.

Learn more about the NOAA/NMFS Fellowships

Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholars program

2011 Summer Scholar Sara Duncan samples water in the Yaquina estuaryApplications due April 17, 2012 for the Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholar program for undergraduates. The program will place students in a natural resource management agency 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.

Sea Grant’s Sam Chan to teach at new OSU academy

CORVALLIS – Sam Chan, Oregon Sea Grant’s invasive species expert, will be among the instructors for Oregon State University’s first-ever Natural Resources Leadership Academy this summer.

NRLA – Applying Risk Analysis to Invasive Species and Sustainable Natural Resources with Sam Chan from Oregon State University – PNE on Vimeo.

The academy, June 15-29, is aimed at natural resources professionals and graduate students who want to enhance their leadership skills,  gain knowledge and connect with others in their fields. The courses, available with or without academic credit, also satisfy curriculum requirements for several OSU degrees.

Participants may choose up to two courses, offered in week-long, all-day sessions, in natural resources conflict management, communication, leadership and sustainability. A $50 fee covers registration for both weeks; additional course fees vary for credit and non-credit registration, and depending on the number of credits taken. Academy pre-registration is required by April 18; course registration runs from April 15-May 7.

Fees do not cover textbooks or lodging; discount lodging is available in OSU dorms and local motels.

For complete information visit the OSU Natural Resources Leadership Academy on the Web.


OSU merges ocean, geoscience programs to create new Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences college

CORVALLIS – A new College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences has been formed with the merger of Oregon State University’s College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences and Department of Geosciences.

The new college, dubbed CEOAS, will focus on the basic sciences of the Earth system. “The new name captures both the existing strengths of Geo and COAS and opens the door for new programs in research and education regarding our home planet,” wrote Rebecca Warner, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, in an email formally announcing the merger to the campus community on Friday.

CEOAS will house OSU undergraduate programs in Earth Science, Geography, Geology, and Environmental Sciences, as well as a new BS in Earth Sciences  with options in Earth Systems, Geology, and Geography, replacing the existing degrees in Earth Science, Geology and Geography.

Remaining unchanged are graduate programs in oceanic, earth and atmospheric sciences, geology, geography, and Marine Resource Management, as well as bachelor’s degree programs in environmental sciences.

Several Oregon Sea Grant faculty are affiliated with oceanic and atmospheric sciences, and Extension Sea Grant  Community Outreach specialist Flaxen Conway was recently named director of the Marine Resource Management program.

Summer Scholars’ Experiences Profiled

This summer a group of nine recent graduates and undergraduate students  participated in the Oregon Sea Grant Scholars Program. The program provides student fellows with a meaningful opportunity to work side-by-side with mentors who are marine scientists, policy makers, and resource managers. One mentor, Steve Rumrill (South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve), highlighted all the students and their experiences in the September newsletter of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF). Read: CERF_SEPT_11_OSG_Summer_Scholars