HMSC Currents

OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center Staff Newsletter

HMSC Currents

Science in service to society – The Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station

April 4th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

This article by Nancy Steinberg appeared in the the Newport News Times on April 4, 2014 

Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station celebrates 25 years

By Nancy Steinberg for the News-Times

SOUTH BEACH — Thanks to its designation as Oregon’s Land Grant University, Oregon State University has 11 agricultural experiment stations located throughout the state. At these scattered facilities, scientists and students conduct applied research to improve agricultural techniques, conserve natural resources and assist agricultural communities economically. These outposts, often located on former farms with large acreages of land surrounding them, support collaborative research where scientists respond to issues important to the local community.

One of these stations, the first one of its kind in the country, is not like the others. The Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station (COMES), headquartered at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in South Beach and the Seafood Lab in Astoria, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. COMES conducts research on Oregon’s marine resources and coastal ecosystems with the goal of guiding sustainable use of these resources to benefit coastal communities and the whole state, region, and nation.

Gil Sylvia, the director of COMES, explained that, like the other agricultural experiment stations, COMES’ mission is threefold: “We focus on research that will help provide economic benefits, social support, and resource conservation to coastal communities.”

COMES was the brainchild of members of Newport’s fishing industry, who saw how traditional agricultural experiment stations benefitted agrarian communities elsewhere in the state. In the mid-1980s, Newport fisherman Barry Fisher and others approached the director of the Hatfield Marine Science Center, Lavern Weber, about whether a coastal equivalent could be established here, with a focus on fisheries. In 1989, Fisher, Weber, and others got the green light from the university, and ultimately from the state legislature – experiment stations are funded as a line item in the state budget rather than via the university’s budget.

Critical element of early success

Sylvia credits the leadership and vision of both Weber and Fisher for establishing COMES. He recalls Fisher’s larger-than-life persona as being critical to COMES’ early success. “He was intelligent, and he had a vision and a strategy to get things done,” Sylvia said. “When he came into a room, that room changed. He was the commander.”

Once approved, OSU staffed the new station by folding in a few existing faculty positions already located at HMSC, and hiring a few more – Sylvia, an economist, among them. Weber, already the HMSC Director, was also the COMES director at first, before it became clear that a separate COMES director was necessary.

First major project

COMES hit the ground running. Its first major project was working with the Oregon Coastal Zone Management Association (OCZMA), the seafood industry, and other partners to develop a shoreside quota allocation for Oregon’s whiting fishery. Prior to their successful initiative, whiting was largely captured and processed at sea by large domestic catcher/processor boats (and before that, by West Coast fishermen who delivered their catch to offshore Soviet processing boats, in a unique joint venture). Oregon fishermen wanted to build processing plants on shore and have the National Marine Fisheries Service give the “first cut” of the whiting quota to vessels who would deliver their catch to these shore-based processors.

Sylvia recalled the very first meeting, facilitated by OCZMA, about this issue. “Barry Fisher said we needed a plan to show that we could process whiting on shore, and the effort needed funding. He put a personal check for $25,000 on the table. We walked out with $150,000. I called it the ‘Fisher Multiplier Effect.’”

That first pot of funding supported multiple projects on whiting marketing and quality, market research, and plans for infrastructure development that, within one year, had laid the groundwork for the shoreside allocation. Whiting is now the largest fishery by volume in Oregon.

Other COMES success stories followed. The experiment station used its mix of expertise and its collaborative approach to develop the albacore fishery in Oregon. Prior to COMES’s focus on albacore, almost all of this delectable species was exported out of the U.S. whole and unprocessed, canned abroad, and then sold back to American markets. COMES conducted research on how to handle the fish properly once it was landed, and conducted extensive market research to establish a local market for the tuna.

Where it’s at today

Today, COMES researchers study salmon genetics, oyster propagation, fish population dynamics, and marine mammal ecology. The Astoria Seafood Lab is a national and international epicenter of research on surimi, the fish protein from which artificial crab and other products are made. COMES researcher Jessica Miller continues to lead the efforts to study the potentially invasive species on the large Japanese dock freed from its moorings by the 2011 tsunami that washed ashore in Newport. All told, COMES includes about a dozen faculty, 40 graduate students, and about 15 staff. More details about COMES research projects can be found on their web site,

“The key to COMES’ success is its interdisciplinary work,” Sylvia said. “The problems themselves are interdisciplinary, and so I don’t know another way to approach them.”

Gil Sylvia, director of the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, is pictured on the Newport Bayfront. The Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, conducts research on Oregon’s marine resources and coastal ecosystems with the goal of guiding sustainable use of these resources to beneÿ t coastal communities. (Courtesy photo)

Gil Sylvia, director of the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, is pictured on the Newport Bayfront. The Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, conducts research on Oregon’s marine resources and coastal ecosystems with the goal of guiding sustainable use of these resources to beneÿ t coastal communities. (Courtesy photo)

The total budget of COMES is about $1 million annually while it brings in about $4 million in grants each year. “The economic impact we’ve had based on our work supporting Oregon fisheries, is probably about $50 million per year,” Sylvia said.

Celebrating 25 years

COMES’ silver anniversary will be celebrated at this year’s Marine Science Day, the annual open house held at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. A room will be dedicated to displays about COMES research, and visitors will be able to take self-guided tours of the salmon genetics laboratory. In addition, the plenary talk of the event will feature Sylvia, fisherman and Lincoln County Commissioner Terry Thompson, and Michael Morrissey, former director of the Astoria Seafood Lab and current director of OSU’s Food Innovation Center in Portland. Their presentation, entitled “A Food Chain of Fisheries Research,” will tell the story of the marine experiment station. The presentation, which will introduced by State Sen. Arnie Roblan, will be at 3 p.m. in the HMSC Visitor Center auditorium.

Marine Science Day will be Saturday, April 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. The event will also feature interactive exhibits, presentations, and tours throughout the day. For more information about Marine Science Day, go to


Marine Science Day at Hatfield: An opportunity to explore behind-the-scenes

April 3rd, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

NEWPORT, Ore. – Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center will host its popular Marine Science Day on Saturday, April 12, offering the public an opportunity to meet many of the scientists working at the research facility, as well as take tours and explore the exhibits.

The center also will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station (COMES), which is the nation’s first Experiment Station dedicated to marine sciences.

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The activities are free and open to the public, running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hatfield Center, located at 2030 S.E.Marine Science Drive in Newport, just south of the Highway 101 bridge over Yaquina Bay. An online schedule of events is available at:

The event will feature scientists and educators from OSU, federal and state agencies, Oregon Coast Aquarium, and the NOAA Marine Operations Center-Pacific. It is a chance for the public to explore one of the nation’s leading marine science and education centers.

Visitors can tour the research facilities of the Hatfield Marine Science Center, and see genetics laboratories, animal husbandry areas, and get a close-up view of ongoing research projects. Interactive research exhibits will feature larval fish ecology, bioacoustics of whales, volcanoes and deep ocean vents, and oceanographic tools such as a glider to study low-oxygen on the West Coast. Activities for children include a Bird Beak Buffet from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Mystery Fossil Dig by Oregon Sea Grant. Scheduled events include:

  • 10 a.m. – The open house begins, lasting until 4 p.m.Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 8.48.03 PM
  • 11 a.m. – “Pumped up for Pinnipeds: Seals and Sea Lions of the Oregon Coast,” a presentation by Oregon CoastAquarium staff, Hennings Auditorium (repeated at 2 p.m.);
  • 1:30 p.m. – Octopus feeding in the Visitor’s Center;
  • 3 p.m. – “A Food Chain of Fisheries Research: The Amazing Story of Oregon’s Marine Experiment Station,” a presentation by Gil Sylvia, director of COMES; Terry Thompson, a commercial fisherman, county commissioner and COMES board member; and Michael Morrissey, director of the Food Innovation Center in Portland. State Sen. Arnie Roblan will introduce the speakers.

The Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station is located in both Newport and Astoria. Researchers in Newport focus on fishery policy and management, marketing, fish stock assessment, aquaculture, ecology, genetics and marine mammal conservation. Astoria researchers at the OSU Seafood Laboratory work on seafood science, processing, safety and innovation.

By Mark Floyd, 541-737-0788;

Source: Maryann Bozza, 541-867-0234;

This release is available online at:

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OCCC Williams Lecture Series – “Mind the Gaps: How Gender Shapes Our Lives”

April 2nd, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized


The April 17, 2014 Williams Lecture Series is in partnership of Oregon Humanities’ statewide Conversation Project.

Newport, Ore. – From the moment we are born, gender shapes every aspect of our lives: our interests, opportunities, and how we move through the world. In the twenty-first century, disparities among the genders still prevail, especially the intersections of race, class, immigration status, and geography. What can these disparities tell us about society’s values and priorities? How can we better understand the complexities of gender’s effects on our daily lives and identities?

This is the focus of “Mind the Gaps: How Gender Shapes Our Lives,” a free conversation with Jade Aguilar on Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 7:00pm at OCCC Central Campus’ Community Room in Newport. This program is part of the Williams Lecture Series, hosted by the Oregon Coast Community College Foundation and sponsored by Oregon Humanities.

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Aguilar is an assistant professor of sociology and women’s and gender studies at Willamette University. Her broad areas

of study are gender, sexuality, and family, and her main area of focus is the study of intentional communities.

Through the Conversation Project, Oregon Humanities offers free programs that engage community members in thoughtful, challenging conversations about ideas critical to our daily lives and our state’s future. For more information about this free community discussion, please contact Bryn Huntpalmer at 541-867-8531 or

Oregon Humanities (813 SW Alder St, #702; Portland, OR 97205) connects Oregonians to ideas to change lives and transform communities. More information about Oregon Humanities’ programs and publications, which include the Conversation Project, Think & Drink, Humanity in Perspective, Idea Lab, Public Program Grants, and Oregon Humanities magazine, can be found at Oregon Humanities is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and a partner of the Oregon Cultural Trust.


NOAA and partners release first federal ocean acidification strategic research plan

March 29th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Today, NOAA and its partners released the first federal strategic plan to guide research and monitoring investments that will improve our understanding of ocean acidification, its potential impacts on marine species and ecosystems, and adaptation and mitigation strategies.

“Maintaining healthy marine ecosystems in the face of ocean acidification is one of the top natural resource challenges of this century,” said Robert Detrick, assistant administrator of the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.  “As today’s strategic research plan demonstrates, NOAA and our federal partners are collaborating to meet the challenge of ocean acidification with coordinated and comprehensive research programs.”

The plan was developed by the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification, which brings together scientists from NOAA, the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Department of Agriculture, Department of State, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and U.S. Navy. Congress called for the Interagency Working Group and charged it with developing a strategic plan to guide research and monitoring of ocean acidification as part of the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act of 2009 (FOARAM Act).  The plan is also a nec­essary early step towards successful implementation of theNational Ocean Policy.

Some highlights of the plan’s research goals include:Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 10.23.16 AM

  • Improve existing observing systems that monitor chemical and biological effects of ocean acidification and document trends.
  • Undertake laboratory and field research to examine the physiological, behavioral, and evolutionary adaptive capacities of selected species and complexes of species.
  • Develop comprehensive models to predict changes in the ocean carbon cycle and effects on marine ecosystems and organisms.
  • Develop vulnerability assessments for various CO2 emissions scenarios.
  • Assess the cultural, subsistence, and economic effects of ocean acidification.

Ocean acidification is an increase in the acidity of the ocean, which is happening because the ocean is absorbing increasing amounts carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the release of carbon dioxide from industrial and agricultural activities has increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The ocean absorbs about a quarter of the carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere each year, so as atmospheric levels have increased so have levels in the ocean. Laboratory and field research has found that many marine organisms respond negatively to ocean acidification, especially those species that make shells or skeletons from calcium carbonate, such as oysters and corals. These negative effects include decreased growth and survival, as well as changes in physiology and metabolism. Ocean acidification is likely to affect not only these species, but also the industries, such as fisheries, aquaculture, and tourism, that depend on them.

“Scientific study of ocean acidification is young enough that researchers are making surprising major discoveries every year,” said Dr. Libby Jewett, director of NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program. “Federal investment in basic research, long-term monitoring, and multi-disciplinary, applied research, will allow U.S. scientists to develop the knowledge needed to inform policy and help prepare society for rapid shifts in ocean chemistry.”

The strategic plan is available online. More information about the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification and federal agencies’ activities on ocean acidification can be found at the interagency website.

For more information, please contact Monica Allen, director of public affairs at NOAA Research, at 301-734-1123 or by email at

The article is available online on NOAA’s website at:


Get There! Now is a good time to try

March 27th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

From the Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments:

Don’t miss the “Get There” campaign, May 5-16! Track your trips by bike, bus, walking, carpool/vanpool and teleworking at to win prizes like an iPad Air, and dozens of local gift cards to favorites like McMenamins and Szabo’s Steakhouse.

Get active, save money, and WIN PRIZES! Transportation options have benefits for your health, your wallet and the planet. Last year’s “Get There” participants tracked enough alternative-transportation miles to go around the Earth 5 times! Let’s do even better this year!r-ad-driveless

How to track your trips to win prizes:

  • Create your profile at by clicking “Register Now.” (Or sign in if you’re already a member).
  • Click on “Ridematch” in the top blue bar to create a trip, and “Calendar” to track your trips. Track any trips May 5-16 to be eligible for prizes!
  • Questions? Contact Tarah Campi at

    Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments,,


HMSC PhD student Marisa Litz selected for NOAA award

March 22nd, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

PhD student Marisa Litz is one of two students selected as the first cohort for a new graduate pilot program with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Educational Partnership Program (EPP). The two students are the first to be awarded the EPP – Graduate Research and Training Scholar (GRTS) award, which is designed to support graduate students during extensive research opportunities at NOAA facilities and other research institutions.epp_cohort

Marisa is a PhD student in Fisheries Science at Oregon State University (OSU), a partner of the Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center (LMRCSC). The LMRCSC was established at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore to support the research priorities of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the goals of EPP through cutting edge research and training of students for careers in fisheries.

Marisa will spend her internship conducting research at the Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC), a facility located on the Oregon coast approximately 50 miles from OSU’s main campus. Marisa will work with NOAA senior scientist Dr. Richard Brodeur of the Northwest Fisheries Science Center’s Estuarine and Ocean Ecology Program on a bioenergetics model to better understand how juvenile salmon growth rates respond to climate change. To accomplish this goal, Marisa will rely on a data-rich NOAA time series of juvenile salmon diet and environmental variables collected between 1980-1985 and 1998-2012. The model will be developed with input from additional NOAA sponsors from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center Salmon Team. Marisa’s research contributes to the overall goal of better understanding some key relationships between climate, oceanography, and biology that largely determine the fate of salmon entering the ocean during specific years.

Science and research training opportunities such as the EPP-GRTS pilot program that Marisa and Daryl Sibble, a Ph.D. candidate majoring in Environmental Science at Florida A&M University (FAMU), participate in are critical to enhancing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) experiences for students, particularly from underrepresented communities. Training opportunities such as the GRTS are essential to increasing the number of students who successfully select and pursue STEM degrees and careers.

For more, see


OSU’s Hatfield Center to host regional STEM hub

March 20th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

This release is available online at:

NEWPORT, Ore. – One of six regional “STEM” hubs funded by the Oregon Department of Education and serving the Oregon coast from Astoria to Coos Bay will be headquartered at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

A series of meetings will begin next month along the coast to help launch the initiative. 2013HMSC_Aerial_Photo_Forinash_lo_rez

The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, or STEM hubs are designed to boost the proficiency of K-14 students in these areas.

The Lincoln County School District was awarded a grant of $664,000 to coordinate the effort, partnering with OSU, Oregon Sea Grant, the Tillamook School District, and the Oregon Coast Aquarium. The new regional STEM hub will expand an existing program called the Oregon Coast Regional STEM Center, according to Tracy Crews, project manager for the newly formed coastal hub.

“Lincoln and Tillamook counties, along with 23 other partners, have been offering STEM support under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education,” Crews said. “What this new grant will do is allow us to expand the program up and down the coast, and enlist new partners and offer more resources for STEM-related instruction.”

In the first phase of the project, Crews and other hub coordinators will host a series of meetings along the coast to conduct a needs assessment and engage new partners. These meeting are scheduled as follows:

  • Newport: April 17, at Oregon Coast Community College;
  • Astoria: May 1 at Clatsop Community College;
  • Tillamook: May 7 at Tillamook Bay Community College;
  • Coos Bay: May 15, at Southwestern Oregon Community College.

Times and location will be set later, with information available by contact Tracy Crews at 541-867-0329, A website is being be developed for the coast STEM hub.

“We hope to engage not only the K-12 schools and community colleges, but industry, local government, scientific agencies, community leaders and parents,” Crews said. “Once we determine some of the needs, we can begin connecting people with the appropriate resources.”

By Mark Floyd, 541-737-0788;;

Source: Tracy Crews, 541-867-0329;



Your Land, My Land – Using and Preserving Oregon’s Natural Resources

March 18th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Friday, March 28 at 6pm in the HMSC Guin Library.

Your Land, My Land: Using and Preserving Oregon’s Natural Resources - A conversation  with Portland State University professor Veronica Dujon. 

Hosted by League of Women Voters of Lincoln County, this event is part of Oregon Humanities’ statewide Conversation Project, with support from the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center. Free and open to the public – all are welcome. At the HMSC Guin Library, 2030 Marine Science Drive in Newport. Contact Ruth for more information at or 541-574-8145.Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 9.42.25 AM


Oregonians are known for a fierce sense of independence and a rugged individuality, qualities long associated with natural resource vocations such as logging, fishing, farming, and ranching. The state is also known for its progressive environmental policies. Our sense of connection to a place informs our values and approaches to conflict over resource and land use in our communities.

This is the focus of “Your Land, My Land: Using and Preserving Oregon’s Natural Resources,” a free conversation with Portland State University professor Veronica Dujon on Friday, March 28 at 6pm in the HMSC Guin Library, 2030 Marine Science Drive in Newport This program is hosted by League of Women Voters of Lincoln County and sponsored by Oregon Humanities.

Dujon is associate dean of curriculum development and enrollment management at Portland State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She has published widely and is coeditor of the book Understanding the Social Dimension of Sustainability.  Dujon received her bachelor’s degree from the University of the West Indies, Barbados, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in land resources/sociology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information about this free community discussion, or to learn more about the League of Women Voters of Lincoln County please contact Ruth Kistler at 541-574-8145 or

Oregon Humanities (813 SW Alder St, #702; Portland, OR 97205) connects Oregonians to ideas to change lives and transform communities. Through the Conversation Project, Oregon Humanities offers free programs that engage community members in thoughtful, challenging conversations about ideas critical to our daily lives and our state’s future. More information about Oregon Humanities’ programs and publications, which include the Conversation Project, Think & Drink, Humanity in Perspective, Idea Lab, Public Program Grants, and Oregon Humanities  magazine, can be found at Oregon Humanities is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and a partner of the Oregon Cultural Trust.


Marine Science Day is Saturday, April 12!

March 14th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Marine Science Day at the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon

Saturday, April 12, 10am-4pm

Join the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) in Newport for Marine Science Day! HMSC will open its doors for a behind-the-scenes peek at the cutting-edge research, education and outreach in marine sciences that makes this marine laboratory unique. Meet researchers from Oregon State University and six government agency partners (see below). Explore with interactive science displays presented by marine scientists and special family-friendly activities by Oregon Sea Grant, the Oregon Coast Aquarium and US Fish and Wildlife. Learn about the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, celebrating its 25th year with research and historical displays. And don’t miss the Marine Technology Showcase to be held on Friday, April 11 at the Best Western in Newport.

Come learn what’s new on the Oregon Coast’s most dynamic Marine Science campus.

For more information, see
TO VOLUNTEER – please go to our volunteer sign-up link: Volunteers serve as greeters and guides, and shifts are two hours – parent/child teams welcome!
For accommodation requests related to a disability, or for other questions, email or call 541-867-0234.

Note: Most Marine Science Day exhibits and activities will be indoors, although visitors are advised to dress for the weather as portions of tours, paths between buildings and some exhibits will be outdoors. The OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center is located at 2030 SE Marine Science Drive in Newport, Oregon.

MSD2014GraphicMarine Science Day partners:

Oregon State University

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

US Environmental Protection Agency

US Fish and Wildlife Service

US Geological Survey

US Department of Agriculture

Oregon Coast Aquarium


Spring Whale Watch Week at HMSC

March 13th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

March 23-29 at the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center

During Whale Watch Week, thousands of Oregonians and visitors from all over flock to the Oregon Coast to look for gray whales making their annual northward migration. Gray whales leave the calving grounds off Baja California and head past Oregon on their way up to the Arctic. Be sure to come take a look; trained volunteers are stationed at state parks up and down the coast to offer tips on spotting the big mammals.
The HMSC Visitor Center will have special programming every day during Whale Watch Week. At 1:30pm, attend a marine mammal program in Hennings Auditorium featuring hands-on whale biofacts such as baleen and skulls. Visit the marine mammal displays and exhibits, see a marine mammal video in the auditorium, and keep up with local gray whale sightings by checking our posted lists. The Hatfield Marine Science Visitor Center will be open daily from 10 am – 5 pm for this special Whale Watch Week event.


Volunteers to Monitor for Sea Star Wasting Syndrome

March 12th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

New Citizen Science Project Opportunity – Sea Star Wasting Syndrome Monitoring
Sea stars along much of the Pacific coast of North America are experiencing a mass mortality called sea star wasting syndrome. Although similar sea star wasting events have occurred previously, a mortality event of this magnitude, with such broad geographic reach has never before been documented. Field surveys are being done by the Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network (MARINe) at long-term monitoring sites along the entire west coast. Now you can help here in Oregon. Melissa Miner, Research Associate at UC Santa Cruz, will be at the Hatfield Marine Science Center to tell us about the sea star wasting syndrome and monitoring protocols. For more information on the monitoring project read below.
Monitoring for Sea Star Wasting Syndrome along the Oregon Coast
MARINe is a partnership of agencies, universities and private groups committed to determining the health of the rocky intertidal habitat and providing this information to the public -

MARINe is a partnership of agencies, universities and private groups committed to determining the health of the rocky intertidal habitat and providing this information to the public –

Sea star wasting syndrome is a general description of a set of symptoms that are found in many species of sea stars. Lesions appear in the ectoderm, which are easily seen by closely inspecting an individual. Typically, these lesions expand, leading to arm loss and eventual death, sometimes after just a few days. Widespread observations of sea stars with signs of wasting syndrome have been made by the MARINe group (Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network, and others, at sites ranging from Alaska to southern California, and indicate that we are in the middle of a major sea-star disease event.

Because wasting syndrome can lead to rapid declines in sea star numbers, it is essential that we survey as many areas as possible prior to or during the wasting event. These “pre-decline” surveys will allow us to estimate impacts of wasting syndrome on sea star populations, and document recovery over time. To more effectively survey the vast amount of unsampled coastline in OR, we are enlisting the help of established citizen science programs. Observations of sea star wasting disease from citizen scientists will be utilized in two ways: 1) they will be displayed on the MARINe Sea Star Wasting Syndrome Map (, 2) sea star population data collected using MARINe sampling methods will be incorporated into our database, along with other long-term, west coast-wide monitoring data. The methods used for counting and measuring sea stars and assessing condition in terms of wasting disease are relatively simple, but in order to ensure repeatability of sampling effort within a group and standardize methods among groups, some initial training will be required.  

All are invited to attend a two-hour informational session on Tuesday, April 8th from 2 pm to 4 pm in the Hennings Auditorium at the Hatfield Marine Science Center , 2030 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport OR 97365.

For questions contact: Melissa Miner, Research Associate UC Santa Cruz, Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network (MARINe), Database Manager and WA Regional coordinator:; (831) 431-3866 or (360) 756-6107 More information is available at and





Gone fishin’ – volunteer to fish for science

March 11th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Do you like to go fishing?

Would you like to participate in an 8 hour day out on the ocean where you will be catching and releasing bottomfish?

If your answer is yes to these questions, then please become a volunteer angler for the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife Marine Reserves Program’s 2014 Hook-and-Line survey and fish for science.

Hook and line survey trips are completely free of charge to you. ODFW will provide the rods, reels and terminal gear.While on the survey with us a fishing license is not necessary.

This year we will be fishing out of Port Orford, Newport, Depoe Bay, and Garibaldi during the spring and fall months.  To join our volunteer list, we need your name, phone number, e-mail, which port(s) you might want to go out of, and the best way to contact you (email or phone).  As fishing dates near, we will contact all volunteers on the list in a first come, first serve manner to fill a given day’s fishing trip.

Sign up now to be on the volunteer list by e-mailing: or call 541-867-7701 ext. 241.


Fishing Film Fridays at HMSC!

March 10th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Noelle Yochum, HMSC graduate student, has put together a lunchtime film series for HMSC! Contact Noelle for more info.

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Marine Technology Showcase to be Held in Newport

March 7th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized


The Pacific Northwest boasts an impressive number of marine research institutions and commercial enterprises, including leading research universities, major ports, state and federal research facilities, interest groups with a strong connection to the marine environment, and a concentration of marine sector innovators. The Marine Technology Showcase being held April 11 in Newport will display the region’s notable contributions to marine technology and provide a forum for dialogue between the producers, promoters, and consumers of marine technology.

Marine Technology Society (MTS) Presidentelect Rick Spinrad, Vice President of Research at Oregon State University, comments, image001“Newport and the central Oregon coast are quickly becoming a critical center for marine technology developments. This showcase provides a unique and exciting look into some of the most innovative capabilities emerging from regional marine industries.”

The showcase is being sponsored by the Oregon Chapter of the MTS, comprised of marine science professionals from throughout the state. “The Marine Technology Society is a leader in convening and demonstrating new technologies around the world. We are pleased to provide this first ever opportunity for sharing these technologies with a broad Oregon audience.” explained Jeremy Childress, chair of MTS Oregon and Manager/Designer at The Sexton Corporation, a manufacturer of custom underwater products in Salem. The Marine Technology Showcase will take place April 11 from 4 to 7 pm at the Agate Beach Best Western in Newport, OR and provide opportunities for 30 plus companies and organizations, as well as students from the Pacific Northwest, to showcase their contributions to marine science and technology.

Members of the press will be admitted 30 minutes prior to the opening of the showcase for an exclusive preview. The event coincides with Marine Science Day at Hatfield Marine Science Center which will be held on Saturday, April 12th.

Conference sponsorships and exhibiting opportunities are currently available. Contact Amy Clark ( or visit the MTS Oregon web site for more information.



March 4th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

March 6, 2014, 4:30pm- 7:30pm  at the Hatfield Marine Science Center

 This year, 30 Newport public K-5th grade classrooms are participating in the Science Fair.  For the past two months, ~800 students attending Sam Case Primary School and Newport Intermediate School have been engaged in focused science activities at school with their teachers and volunteer science mentors.  These students have been making observations, asking questions, and testing ideas, and they are now ready to share some of their findings with the community.

Since January, 40 scientists and engineers from the community have been serving as “science mentors”, volunteering in elementary classrooms weekly help students with their projects. This unique partnership gives students a chance to learn from and be inspired by local adults working in science fields, and it gives the mentors an opportunity to share their love for science with the next generation. Perhaps one of your colleagues is a Science Fair mentor?  This year’s mentors hail from NOAA (AFSC, MOC-P, NWFSC, PMEL, and the NOAA Ship Fairweather), OSU (including CIMRS, MMI, and OSG), EPAUSDAODFWHMSC, OCAq, OPRD, OCCCand DOGAMI.  Thank you, mentors!

The Newport Schools Science Fair receives coordination support from Oregon Sea Grant, materials support from school academic Booster groups, and is one of several partnership projects connecting HMSC with the Lincoln County School District.

Volunteers are needed to help with the Science Fair on March 6.  If you would like to help, or if you have any questions about Science Fair, please contact Cait Goodwin at


Update on Sea Star Wasting Disease

March 4th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

From the Thank You Ocean Report:

Why are sea stars growing sores, losing their arms, and dying within a few days? Sea stars along much of the Pacific coast of North America are experiencing a mass mortality event called sea star wasting syndrome. We talk to Dr. Pete Raimondi of the University of California, Santa Cruz about the coast-wide effort to track the extent and cause of the syndrome and its impacts on sea star populations:

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 8.32.33 AM


LCSD Awarded $664,000 Grant to Expand Coastal STEM Education

February 28th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Lincoln County School District has been awarded a $664,000 state grant to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education from kindergarten through community college along the Oregon Coast, the Oregon Department of Education announced on Feb. 25.

LCSD, along with Oregon State University’s Sea Grant program, Tillamook School District, and the Oregon CoastYaquina Bay Bridge at Sunrise Aquarium, will lead one of six regional STEM Hubs across Oregon. The STEM Hubs will foster 21st Century STEM career skills and provide for student populations that have historically been underserved and underrepresented throughout the state. The new Oregon Coast Regional STEM Hub will ensure that coastal schools and educators have the tools and support necessary to deliver world-class STEM instruction to rural students.

“This is awesome news. What a great acknowledgment of the work all the partners have been doing over the last five years,” says LCSD Superintendent Tom Rinearson.

The grant will help expand the Oregon Coast Regional STEM Center, which is a U.S. Department of Education Math Science Partnership project that currently involves 23 partners and Tillamook and Lincoln County School Districts.

The Oregon Coast Regional STEM Hub will serve coastal school districts from Astoria to Coos Bay, and involves more than 40 organizations including OSU, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon Health & Science University, Near Space Corporation, Georgia-Pacific, Central Oregon Coast National Organization for Women, and the Marine Technology Society–Oregon Chapter. The new hub will be centered in space provided by OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

During the first phase of the project from March through June, meetings will be held along the Oregon Coast to engage new partners and conduct a needs assessment. Once the hub’s operational plan is formalized, Phase 2 will begin, and will support training educators and providing student STEM learning experiences.

In the past 10 years, STEM jobs have grown three times faster than non-STEM jobs, and this pace is expected to continue throughout the next decade, according to the state education department. Meanwhile, more than half of African American and Latino eighth graders do not meet state benchmarks in math, and about half of students of color do not meet benchmarks in science.

“Literacy in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics holds tremendous opportunity for our students,” said Oregon Chief Education Officer Dr. Nancy Golden. “This is especially true for students from communities of color.”

The Oregon Education Investment Board awarded a total of $2.8 million to six regional STEM hubs as a key strategic investment to support Oregon’s 40-40-20 goal. The state wants 40 percent of its adult residents to earn a bachelor’s or advanced degree, 40 percent to have an associate’s degree or postsecondary certificate, and 20 percent to hold a high school diploma by 2025.

The other five regional STEM hubs are:

  • Central Oregon STEM Hub, led by the High Desert Museum serving Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties.
  • GO STEM Collaborative led by Eastern Oregon University serving Wallowa, Union, Umatilla, Morrow, Baker, Grant, Harney and Malheur counties.
  • Portland Metro STEM Center led by Portland State University, serving Portland, Beaverton and Hillsboro and Forest Grove school districts.
  • South Metro Salem STEM Partnership led by Oregon Tech serving Multnomah, Clackamas, Marion, Washington and Polk counties.
  • Umpqua Valley Regional STEAM Hub led by Umpqua Community College serving Douglas County.

For more information, contact Tracy Crews, Program Manager, at or Ruth McDonald, LCSD Community Curriculum Resource Liaison, at



Oceanscape Network for teens from the Oregon Coast Aquarium

February 26th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

The Oceanscape Network has launched! The Aquarium’s web-based program for pre-teens, teens and educators is now online. Take a look at the Oregon Coast and the world ocean in a brand new way, through young eyes and in the spirit of adventure and exploration. Click here to visit the Oceanscape Network.



Pacific Estuarine Research Society (PERS) announces 2014 Annual Meeting in Newport

February 15th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

April 3-5, 2014 – 37th Annual PERS Meeting – Newport, Oregon

PERS: Serving Scientists, Professionals, and Students in the United States and Canada 

Registration and Abstract Submission is now open!
The Pacific Estuarine Research Society will hold its 37th Annual Meeting in Newport, OR on April 3-5, 2014.  Planning is underway to make the PERS 2014 Meeting an engaging, informative, and effective forum for academic and agency investigators, NGOs, private consultants, graduate students, and citizen scientists to present the findings of their ongoing research activities and to share ideas about new issues.  The conference will include an exciting mix of keynote speakers, oral presentations, poster sessions, and opportunities for PERSians to get together informally during social events and a banquet.

PERS logoImportant Dates:

March 7, 2014 – Abstract submission deadline
March 3. 2014 – Hallmark Resort room cut-off date
March 19, 2014 – Early registration cut-off date

The annual PERS Meeting is the premiere regional event in the Pacific Northwest where our tight-knit group of scientists, resource managers, students, and stakeholders converge to deliver exciting presentations, engage in vigorous discussions, and express their views on a diverse portfolio of research issues in the estuarine and coastal environments ofSea Grant logo SCALEABLE Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and northern California.  The PERS Meeting is typically an energetic and lively conference that is regularly attended by about 100-150 dedicated practitioners who are anxious to congregate with their friends and colleagues to reconnect, exchange ideas, and revitalize the collective research community. PERS operates as an affiliate society of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation, which is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that is dedicated to advancing the understanding and stewardship of estuaries and coastal ecosystems worldwide.

Details about the meeting, the abstract submission guidelines, registration information and more are available at:  Please contact Tony D’Andrea ( with questions or for more information.

Yaquina Bay Bridge at Sunrise


HMSC’s Science on Tap – Wed Feb 19 in Toledo

February 13th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Dr. Tom Quinn of the University of Washington will present at the Hatfield Marine Science Center’s “Science on Tap” series on Wednesday, February 19th. The event will take place at Twisted Snout Brewery/Pigfeathers BBQ in Toledo. Doors open at 5:00pm, and the presentation will begin at 6pm. The family-friendly event is free and open to the public. Food and beverage will be available for purchase from the regular menu.

In his talk, “Predation by bears on salmon: Behavior, ecology, and evolution”, Quinn will introduce work on brown bears in Alaska, and their role as predators of adult salmon during the upriver migration and spawning periods.  Although many animals feed on migrating salmon, brown and black bears are typically the most important, and can play a key role as they transfer salmon carcasses to the stream’s edge where smaller scavengers can feed on them.  A professor in the School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington, Quinn will review work spanning over two decades on brown bears preying on sockeye salmon in Alaska, emphasizing both bear and salmon perspectives, considering behavioral, ecological and evolutionary aspects of the relationship.

The OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) is an interagency campus in Newport, Oregon with a mission of research, education and outreach in marine sciences through collaborative partnerships. For more information on the event, call 541-867-0234 or visit the HMSC website at