HMSC Currents

OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center Staff Newsletter

HMSC Currents

Environmental Drivers May Be Adding to Loss of Sea Stars

August 15th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

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Purple ochre sea star affected by Sea Star Wasting Syndrome. Photo by Elizabeth Cerny-Chipman, a doctoral student in OSU Department of Integrated Biology

The Hatfield Marine Science Center recently hosted a symposium,Sea Star Wasting Syndrome: Status of the Science and Identification of Response Actions. A panel of national experts was gathered for the 2-day event. Stay tuned to HMSC Currents as more information regarding the symposium and Sea Star Wasting Syndrome becomes available.

Posted by: Dylan McDowell, July 24, 2014 on Oregon Sea Grant’s Breaking Waves

NEWPORT – The rapid loss of sea stars along the US west coast may be caused in part by environmental changes, and not solely by a specific pathogen as many had previously thought.

This new hypothesis emerged from a recent symposium on sea star wasting syndrome (SSWS) hosted at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. Oregon Sea Grant enlisted the Center’s support to bring together 40 top researchers from as far north as Alaska and as far south as Santa Barbara, California. The goal was to clarify the science and develop recommendations for further research, monitoring and possible responses to SSWS.

Read the full story on Oregon Sea Grant’s “Breaking Waves” blog…

Learn more

To find out more about SSWS, or to get involved in the monitoring, visit these sites with information on citizen science programs near you:

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The Marine Field Methods Course – HMSC Summer 2014

August 12th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

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Nozomi Sasaki holding a juvenile rockfish caught in the seine during the Marine Field Methods course.

During the summer at HMSC, it’s not only the Visitors Center that gets busy! Summer term Hatfield Marine Science Center students from the FW 499 course, “Marine Field Methods” spent their days learning practical field and sampling techniques before taking their knowledge out into the environment.

The Marine Field Methods is an intensive review of common practices for sampling in the marine environment with real world applications. Students learn to critically evaluate methods for strengths and weaknesses before attempting a field project and to assess functionality for obtaining quality accurate data in order to properly answer a question. Safety, permitting, reporting, data analysis, and plenty of field experiences are all a part of the course!

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Marine Field Methods students prep to snorkel (From left: Zoe Wiggers, Tayler Nichols, and Katie Crooks)

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HMSC Meets OIMB

August 5th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

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Hatfield Marine Science Center’s summer COSEE (Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence) Pacific Partnerships PRIME (Promoting Research Investigations in the Marine Environment) interns participated in an Exchange Day last Thursday (31/7) with fellow COSEE students working at OIMB (Oregon Institute of Marine Biology) in Charleston, Oregon. Earlier this month, OIMB COSEE interns were given a similar chance to explore Hatfield Marine Science Center.

 Despite the three-hour drive to reach OIMB, the six COSEE interns who participated in the trip were energized and ready to learn as soon as they hit the campus. The day began with a trip out to a nearby intertidal field site: the morning weather was beautiful and while learning about the phytoplankton research that OIMB personnel Peter and Leyia were doing, the students were given a chance to explore the nearby tide-pools.

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 That afternoon, the interns were given the chance to tour OIMB, including their housing and dining facilities, wet-and-dry classrooms as well as individual research labs. There the interns were quizzed about an assortment of deep sea vertebrate and invertebrate specimens on display in a lab, given the chance to interact with a resident experimental sea cucumber and given background on developing research within OIMB. Many COSEE interns asked questions about graduate student research and the academic sphere, including grant writing and opportunities to develop their own resumes.

 COSEE students remarked that they were extremely grateful to have the chance to explore other research facilities within their field, and would hope to visit the Institute again before the end of their stay at Hatfield Marine Science Center this summer.

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COSEE Interns investigate an OIMB wet-lab containing corals and other organisms brought back from research trips.

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15-year analysis of blue whale range off California finds conflict with shipping lanes

July 25th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

NEWPORT, Ore. – A comprehensive 15-year analysis of the movements of satellite-tagged blue whales off the West Coast of the United States found that their favored feeding areas are bisected by heavily used shipping lanes, increasing the threat of injury and mortality

The researchers note that moving the shipping lanes off Los Angeles and San Francisco to slightly different areas – at least, during summer and fall when blue whales are most abundant – could significantly decrease the probability of ships striking the whales. A similar relocation of shipping lanes in the Bay of Fundy off eastern Canada lowered the likelihood of vessels striking endangered right whales an estimated 80 percent.

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A map showing an area heavily used by the tagged blue whales off southern California, bisected by shipping lanes. (image by Ladd Irvine, OSU Marine Mammal Institute).

Results of the study – which was supported by the Office of Naval Research, the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, private gifts to the Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute and others – are being published this week in the journal PLOS ONE.

The analysis is the most comprehensive study of blue whales movements ever conducted. It was led by researchers at Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute, who tracked the movement of blue whales off the West Coast to identify important habitat areas and environmental correlates, and subsequently to understand the timing of their presence near major ports and shipping traffic.

“The main areas that attract blue whales are highly productive, strong upwelling zones that produce large amounts of krill – which is pretty much all that they eat,” said Ladd Irvine, a researcher with OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute and lead author on the PLOS ONE study. “The whales have to maximize their food intake during the summer before they migrate south for the winter, typically starting in mid-October to mid-November.”

“It appears that two of their main foraging areas are coincidentally crossed by shipping lanes,” Irvine added.

In their study, the researchers attached transmitters to 171 blue whales off California at different times between 1993 and 2008 and tracked their movements via satellite. Their study looked at seasonal as well as individual differences in whale distribution, documenting a high degree of variability – but also a strong fidelity to the upwelling zones that coincide with ship traffic to and from the major ports of Los Angeles and San Francisco._Bluewhale

Blue whales can grow to the length of a basketball court, weigh as much as 25 large elephants combined, and their mouths could hold 100 people, though their diet is primarily krill – tiny shrimp-like creatures less than two inches in length. The blue whale is the largest creature to ever inhabit the Earth, yet little was known about their range or where they went to breed until Oregon State’s Bruce Mate led a series of tracking studies featured in the popular 2009 National Geographic documentary, “Kingdom of the Blue Whale.”

An estimated 2,500 of the world’s 10,000 blue whales spend time in the waters off the West Coast of the Americas and are known as the eastern North Pacific population. The huge whales can travel from the Gulf of Alaska all the way down to an area near the equator known as the Costa Rica Dome.

The majority of the population spends the summer and fall in the waters off the U.S. West Coast, with the areas most heavily used by the tagged whales occurring off California’s Santa Barbara and San Francisco, which puts them in constant peril from ship strikes.

“During one year, while we were filming the documentary, five blue whales were hit off of southern California during a seven-week period,” said Mate, who directs the Marine Mammal Institute at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Ore. “Blue whales may not be as acoustically aware as species that rely on echolocation to find prey and there is some evidence that the location of the engines in the rear of the ship creates something of an acoustic shadow in front of them, making it hard for whales to hear the ship coming.

“Putting some kind of noise deterrent on the ships isn’t really an option, however,” Mate added. “You don’t really want to drive endangered whales out of their prime habitat and best feeding locations.”Size_Bluewhale

Moving the shipping lanes would not be unprecedented, the researchers note. Scientists brought concerns about right whale ship strikes in the Bay of Fundy to the International Maritime Organization, and the industry led the effort to modify shipping lanes in the North Atlantic more than a decade ago.

Daniel Palacios, also a co-author on the paper and a principal investigator with OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute, said vessel traffic between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles moved south of its current location in the past to comply with the California Clear Air Act, but shifted back to its current location after getting an exemption to the legislation.

“It is not often that research results are so applicable to a policy decision.” Palacios said, “It’s not really our place to make management decisions, but we can inform policy-makers and in this case it is pretty straightforward. You will eliminate many of the ship strikes on blue whales by moving the shipping lanes south of the northern Channel Islands.”

The solution for the San Francisco area is similar, the researchers note, though not quite as simple. Three separate shipping lanes are used in the region and all cross through the home range and core areas of blue whales tagged in this study.

“We did find that the northernmost shipping lanes crossed the area that was most heavily used by tagged whales,” Irvine noted. “Restricting use of the northern lane during the summer and fall when more whales are present is one option; another would be to extend one lane further offshore before separating it into different trajectories, minimizing the overlap of the shipping lanes with the areas used by blue whales.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is planning a review of shipping lanes in the southern California area, which will be informed by this study. A variety of stakeholders must be consulted, however, before any changes are implemented.

Other funding sources for this study over the years including the TOPP Program (Tagging of Pacific Pelagics), the OSU Marine Mammal Institute Endowment, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Packard Foundation, NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Smithsonian Institution.

By Mark Floyd, 541-737-0788; mark.floyd@oregonstate.edu

Sources: Ladd Irvine, 541-867-0394, ladd.irvine@oregonstate.edu; Bruce Mate, 541-867-0202, bruce.mate@oregonstate.edu; Daniel Palacios, 541-990-2750,Daniel.Palacios@oregonstate.edu

This story is available online at: http://bit.ly/1x1UGd5

 

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Celebration of Life for Dr. Lavern Weber

July 18th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

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All are welcome to attend a Celebration of Life for Dr. Lavern Weber, who served as HMSC director for over 25 years.
When: 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 26

Where: Hatfield Marine Science Visitor Center in Newport, OR. ( Map to HMSC )

Condolences and memories may be sent to Lavern’s family via the email address: Lavernmemories@peak.org

For more information about Dr. Weber’s life, see http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/lavern-weber.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to the OSU Foundation for the Lavern Weber Visiting Scientist Fund (http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/visiting-scientists) or for the COMES Founders’ Scholarship Fund http://marineresearch.oregonstate.edu ). 

 Please note: If you would like to volunteer to help at this event, please email maryann.bozza@oregonstate.edu

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Summer Kickoff BBQ

July 15th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

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Last Thursday, Hatfield Marine Science Center’s newest group of summer session students and interns joined grad students and faculty for HsO’s (Hatfield Student Organization) “Summer Kickoff Barbecue”. HsO functions as a resource for all students at Hatfield to provide better communication between students and staff, include opportunities for research and professional development as well as acting as an advocate for student needs.

The BBQ, held in the HMSC Housing Pavilion outside of HMSC’s dormitory area, provided plenty of great food, games and opportunities for students and interns to get to know one another. Many grad students brought information with them on the projects they were working on at Hatfield, as well as contact information for interested interns and students. The accessibility of the graduate students for questions and creating connections was commented on by interns and students alike as “invaluable”, especially regarding research experiences and advice for undergraduates.

Once the brats and burgers were cooked, the group enjoyed a variety of cooperative games including relay races and “cheetoh face”, and a good time was had by all.

In addition to the Summer Kickoff BBQ and other seasonal events, Hatfield Student Organization also regularly holds an “HMSC Donut Break” social for staff and students to mingle and enjoy donuts and coffee.

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Left: Students line up to try and successfully catch Cheetohs on their whipped cream-covered faces during “Cheetoh Face”.
Right: A group eagerly awaits the signal to begin their relay race.

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Where Have All the Sea Stars Gone?

July 2nd, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

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Purple ochre sea star affected by Sea Star Wasting Syndrome. Photo by Elizabeth
Cerny-Chipman, a doctoral student in OSU Department of Integrative Biology.

The Hatfield Marine Science Center recently hosted a symposium, Sea Star Wasting Syndrome: Status of the Science and Identification of Response Actions. A panel of national experts was gathered for the 2-day event. Stay tuned to HMSC Currents as more information regarding the symposium and Sea Star Wasting Syndrome becomes available.

 Where have all the sea stars gone? The haunting and evocative Peter, Paul, and Mary melody from the sixties about the flowers, is playing in my head. We just returned from walk on our beach and were looking for sea stars in a place called Fishing Rock. We usually could find dozens, sometimes hundreds, always too numerous to count, and I loved taking pictures of them, their arms unfurled and sometimes extended in the most amusing and almost human like manner. Their arms were sometimes akimbo and some looked like they were dear friends or lovers holding hands, intertwined in almost passionate appearing embrace. They were like charming old friends, the kind who are always at home when you might happen to drop in for a visit. Like seeing sea gulls, pieces of kelp, agates, and bits of driftwood, the sea stars greeted us without fail. Although their scientific value is yet to be determined, their value as treasured friends and as an intrinsic part of our coastal ecosystem is incalculable in its loss; their charming and ubiquitous presence provided an aesthetic balance to the seascape and tide pool environment. To gaze at rocks with a wide empty swath, like a blackboard partially erased is unsettling, not unlike seeing a painting of a sunset that suddenly and inexplicably has lost its color. Their disappearance is disturbing, distressing, and a disequilibrium of both science and spirit.

 Sea stars are disappearing by the thousands, up and down the Pacific coast, from a syndrome called sea star wasting syndrome. First, there is development of lesions, then entire limbs of the stars fall off, rendering the star incapable of sustenance and unable to sustain life. There are  numerous theories about possible cause from bacterial to viral infection, to toxic food sources, and high water temperatures, though none has been confirmed. So far there are no known cures or interventions, though there are a few protocols begin practiced in some aquariums with some limited success. What this means to the rest of the Pacific ecosystem is unknown. There have been other die offs in the past, but none apparently with the scope and magnitude of the current disaster. Much is being done to study, research, and document this astonishing loss. It is hoped something will be learned that will prove useful as an intervention, yet little is known at this point as the sudden onset and speed of population decimation is unprecedented.
 I  have always believed in the notion that we all can make a difference for the better, and when I was an instructor, I used to share the following essay with my students…
 “Walking along a deserted beach, she saw a man in the distance. He was leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out into the ocean. Upon closer inspection she realized that the native was picking up starfish that had been washed up onto the beach, and one at a time, he was throwing them back into the water. Standing amongst thousands of stars she asked him why he was doing this. “I’m throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see, it’s low tide and if I don’t throw them back into the sea they’ll die from lack of oxygen.” She responded by telling him that it was a futile task, that there was no possible way he could save all of them and and that the situation was probably happening on hundreds of beaches up and down the coast. “Can’t you see that you can’t possibly make a difference?” Bending down and hurling yet another starfish into the sea, he replied, “Made a difference to that one.” (from “One at a Time” by Jack Canfield and Mark V. Hansen)
 This story, and its optimism, fill me with emotion with its poignancy as sea star wasting syndrome seems unrelenting in its ability to erase the entire population of sea stars all along the Pacific coast from Canada to southern California. We are stymied at how to make a difference for the sea stars and as this is being written, the oceanographic science community from aquariums and universities around the country are convening to share what is known, hypothesize what might be done, and develop effective treatment protocols to preserve and save the few remaining intact sea stars we have in captivity.
 I find comfort in the shared concern among science and lay community alike and am heartened  to hear of research and protocols that may help preserve the remaining sea star community housed in aquariums. Our finest scientists are doing their best to make a difference and we will learn more in the coming weeks. The Hatfield Marine Science Center, in Newport, Oregon is among many education and research institutes involved in the most current research. If they can make a difference to one of the sea stars, perhaps the popular refrain, “when will they ever learn?”, from the Peter, Paul, and Mary song, will take on a new and inspired significance.
Annie Thorp, Intrepid Volunteer, HMSC
June 25, 2014
Photo courtesy of Oregon State University Flickr:
https://flic.kr/p/nzd81S

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Zostera Marina: The Tomas-Nash Lab Work at Hatfield Marine Science Center

June 26th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

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 The Tomas-Nash lab at OSU has been setting up some mesocosms at HMSC to grow eelgrass (Zostera marina) as part of the work they are conducting to study the impacts of different anthropogenic stressors and the role of diversity (genetic, taxonomical and functional) on ecosystem processes (such as herbivory and predation) on eelgrass beds.

 The lab (OSU Faculty Fiona Tomas-Nash, lab manager Jeremy Henderson and MRM student Jen Motley), with the help of OSU Prof. Sally Hacker and Dr. Jim Kaldy (EPA), is conducting field measurements in the field (in Yaquina Bay and other estuaries of the Oregon coast) in order to identify the main species of grazers and predators in OR eelgrass beds and is also carrying out grazing and predation experiments both in the field and in the lab to quantify the influence of consumers on eelgrass ecosystem functioning.

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 Part of this research is performed within the framework of the Zostera Experimental Network project (ZEN; http://zenscience.org/), which is a collaborative partnership among ecologists in N America, Europe and Asia to conduct coordinated experimental research to understand the functioning of eelgrass (Zostera marina) ecosystems across the globe.

 If you see Fiona, Jeremy or Jen around the HMSC campus or at their ‘outdoor lab’ near the east wing, stop by to say hello!

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From top left to bottom right:
Fiona Tomas-Nast (OSU), Jeremy Henderson (Lab Manager), Jen Motley (MRM Student)

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Mixed Compostables – If it Grows, it Goes!

June 23rd, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Two informational sessions about curbside composting in Lincoln County will be held at HMSC.

 Note different locations. Both are free and open to the public. Sponsored by the HMSC Sustainability Committee.

Wednesday, June 25, 6pm in the HMSC Visitor Center Auditorium. 
Thursday, June 26, 12-1pm, in the HMSC Guin Library.
Come learn about the new Mixed Compostables program and get your questions
answered at this informative presentation and question-answer session.
Thompson¹s Sanitary and the City of Newport are preparing to bring you a
new service, designed to help our community decrease waste going to the
Landfill. Preparing for a July roll out, Newport Residents will be able to
compost their Yard Debris (lawn clippings, leaves and small branches),
Kitchen Food Scraps, and Food-Soiled Paper all in one cart. Combined with
your Comingled recycling container, much less waste should be going into
your garbage cart destined for the landfill. The State of Oregon has
adopted waste reduction goals for each County in the State and Thompson¹s
Sanitary is proud to assist the City of Newport and Lincoln County in
trying to reach this goal.
Customers of Thompson¹s Sanitary will receive a new, 95 gallon cart
specifically for Organic, Compostable waste as described above when the
program begins (July). Customers will be notified of the actual
distribution of carts.

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Explore Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge by Canoe or Kayak

June 23rd, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service invites you to explore Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge with a series of twelve guided canoe and kayak trips during June, July, and August 2014.  During these trips visitors will spend about two hours paddling through the heart of Siletz Bay Refuge while learning about its wildlife and natural history.

Participants must provide their own canoe or kayak for each trip. If you don’t have one available, they can be rented from the Siletz Moorage or other venues in the Lincoln City area. During the summer, the area of Siletz River nearest the mouth of the bay often has unpredictable winds and waves.  For this reason we do not recommend this paddle trip for beginners, experience is strongly recommended. For your safety please dress appropriately for paddling in all weather conditions. Wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) is mandatory.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can provide binoculars, field guides, and PFD’s to use during the trip if needed.  Trips are limited in size, and scheduled on a first-come first-serve basis; therefore, you must call or e-mail ahead to make a reservation. Please include the amount of boats in your party when making the reservation. Once you are registered, we will send out additional information regarding the trips.  All trips will launch within 15 minutes of the time listed. Visit our website for updates and space availability www.fws.gov/oregoncoast/calendar.

Paddle trips will take place on the following dates:

Thursday, July 3rd: 5:30-7:30 PM

Monday, July 7th: 8:45-10:45 AM

Friday, July 18th: 6:00-8:00 PM

Monday, August 4th: 7:00-9:00 AM

Tuesday, August 5th: 8:00-10:00 AM

Wednesday, August 6th: 9:30-11:30 AM

Saturday, August 16th: 5:30-7:30 PM

Siletz Bay is one of the estuaries located along the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway. On either side of Highway 101, starched skeleton trees jut forth from the estuary and are reminiscent of a time when the salt marsh was diked for pasture. Osprey, Red-tailed Hawk, and occasionally Bald Eagle can be seen roosting at the top of these snags.  A variety of estuarine dependent birds including Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, and some species of waterfowl can be seen foraging in the tidally influenced waters.  The refuge also provides nursery grounds for Coho and Chinook salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat trout. Don’t miss your chance to participate in our interpretive paddle tour of Siletz Bay Refuge!

To make a reservation contact Meagan Campbell at 541-270-0610 or Meagan_Campbell@fws.gov.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/oregoncoast.

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Premiere of Documentary Film Greenland’s Glaciers

June 9th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Greenland’s Glaciers, a documentary film by Saskia Madlener, will premiere at the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center on Wednesday, June 18 at 6pm in the Visitor Center Auditorium. The premiere is the evening of the Markham Symposium, as the film is funded in part by the Curtis and Isabella Holt Education Fund - intended to foster education in the marine sciences by providing financial support to undergraduate or graduate students pursuing marine science studies.

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The film follows a team of physical oceanographers as they conduct groundbreaking research on how the ocean interacts with two neighboring glaciers in Western Greenland. Madlener, a master’s student in Marine Resource Management at Oregon State University, will introduce the film and answer questions following the premiere.

Greenland’s Glaciers, which is 20 minutes in length, draws on the filmmaker’s background in environmental science and film production, and was created as part of her research on the role of film in science communication and broader impacts.

Madlener, who had never been to sea before, joined the scientists to document their research expedition in 2013. She funded her equipment and travel expenses through several sources, including traditional ones such as scholarships as well as an innovative online fundraising campaign (http://www.gofundme.com/GreenlandsGlaciers).

The team of scientists she accompanied, who hailed from Oregon State University, University of Oregon, University of Washington, and The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, gathered in early September of 2013 to embark on a 2-week expedition to study ice-ocean interactions along the coast of Western Greenland. Funded by NASA, the researchers proposed that although there are very apparent climatic influences on the Greenland ice sheet, the ocean may play a more significant role on glacier melting.

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 12.17.36 PMThrough Madlener’s lens the audience gets a first-hand account of how these scientists prepare for and conduct their research comparing two adjacent fjords in which the glaciers are experiencing differential melting—one is melting and receding while the other is holding steady. More importantly, we learn more about who they are, what makes them tick, and what motivates them to devote their lives to challenging research on these complex issues. Data from the expedition will allow them to compare the dynamics in these two fjords to determine what ocean processes may contribute to glacier melting.

The documentary film serves both as a vehicle to conduct her research and as an experimental platform to launch the genre of human-driven narrative in science film. Madlener strongly believes in the importance of developing trust between the viewer and the informant when communicating complex concepts, especially when those concepts are societally relevant such as glacier melt and global sea level rise. “I really want people to feel connected to the three scientists I have chosen to document, but also to life on the boat, to the research, and of course the place – the fjords, the town of Uummannaq, the icebergs, and the glaciers,” said Madlener. “We get an intimate view of this in just 20 minutes, and hopefully that will have a small but poignant impact on people’s understanding of the Greenland ice sheet.”

The film premiere, which is free and open to the public, is part of the Markham Symposium, HMSC’s annual celebration of graduate student research. The Symposium agenda can be found here. The OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center is located at 2030 SE Marine Science Drive in Newport, Oregon. For more information, call 541-867-0234 or go to hmsc.oregonstate.edu.

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MARKHAM RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM – Wednesday, June 18

June 6th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

All are invited to attend the 20th annual Markham Research Symposium. The Symposium starts at 10am to 12:30pm in the Hatfield Marine Science Visitor Center’s Hennings Auditorium.  The agenda includes a poster session at 10:55am in the hallway behind the Visitor Center, with refreshments served in the Staff Lounge.

The Markham Symposium celebrates OSU student research made possible by donor-funded scholarships. To learn more about scholarships provided by our generous donors, please see: http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/financial-aid

To contribute to the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center’s scholarship or other funds, go to http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/friends or call Maryann Bozza at 541-867-0234.

Learn about the latest research being conducted by our talented students at the Markham Symposium!

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Blue on Tour Ocean Film Festival Comes to Newport on August 1

June 6th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

The Blue on Tour Ocean Film Festival will come to Oregon for the first time to showcase a collection of world-class marine-themed cinematography this summer.

The Festival opens with a reception hosted at the Oregon Coast Aquarium on Friday, August 1, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. This soirée will include introductions of the films and sustainably sourced seafood appetizers.

Film showings will be hosted at the Newport Performing Arts Center (PAC) in Nye Beach on Saturday, August 2 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with a one and one half hour intermission for lunch.

Tickets for the entire Festival, including refreshments at Friday night’s reception, are $25 per person. Tickets are available at http://bit.ly/RxPQGf or by calling (541) 867-3474 x5401 between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

The Aquarium organized the festival in partnership with Westwind Stewardship Group (WSG) in hopes that viewers will, in the words of Aquarium President/CEO Carrie Lewis, “Walk away feeling renewed, optimistic and connected to the ocean.”

The Festival’s compilation of cinematography, and discussion panels are designed to change the way guests think about their relationship with the ocean.

The event will be followed by a beach clean-up effort hosted by the Newport Chapter of the SurfRider Foundation on Sunday, August 3 from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. People interested in participating should meet at the Moolack Beach Parking Area with water to stay hydrated, reusable gloves and sturdy footwear. Surfrider will provide participants with refreshments, information and bags to use for the clean-up.

image001Program Timeline:

Friday – Evening

  • Appetizers and refreshments
  • Introduction to films
  • Viewing of Oregon Coast Aquarium facility
  • Visit with exhibitors from Ocean related agencies and organizations; find out what they are doing to support the ocean!

Saturday – Full Day

  • Films
  • Presentation from Sisbro Studios, award winning children’s film producers
  • Discussion Panel
  • Door Prizes

Sunday – Morning (Optional)

  • Beach Clean-up

Registration Information:

Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available online here or by calling (541) 867-3474 x5401 between 9:00a.m. and 6:00p.m.

You may also purchase tickets at the Oregon Coast Aquarium admissions desk during regular business hours.

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New! Video of OSTRICH Research Cruise, Day One

June 3rd, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Check out the new video of Day One of the OSTRICH Research Cruise, currently underway in the Florida straits!ostrich-logo

The video highlights marine scientists – including HMSC’s Bob Cowen and Su Sponaugle -sampling larvae and plankton and launching ISIIS from aboard the R/V Walton Smith. Scientists are sampling with both ISIIS (In Situ Ichthyoplankton Imaging System) and MOCNESS (Multiple Opening Closing Net and Environmental Sampling System), on an 18-day cruise titled OSTRICH (Observations on Subtropical TRophodynamics of ICHthyoplankton).

Learn more about the science – and how YOU can help as a citizen scientist- at: http://blog.planktonportal.org or connect with the team on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/PlanktonPortal

Thank you to videographer Christopher Muina.

See video at: vimeo.com/96962486

Video by Christopher Muina: vimeo.com/96962486

 

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May issue of Upwelling now available!

June 3rd, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

The May issue of HMSC’s newsletter, Upwelling has just been posted. In it we honor Dr. Lavern Weber, our esteemed  and beloved past HMSC Director and Professor Emeritus. We also catch you up on other happenings around HMSC, including recent publications from students, photos from Marine Science Day, Academic Program and Sea Grant news and profiles of volunteers and awardees.

 

Upwelling is the newsletter of the Friends of the Hatfield Marine Science Center. To become a member, contact HMSC Program Manager Maryann Bozza or go to http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/friends.

http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/upwelling-newsletters

http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/upwelling-newsletters

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Study finds wild coho may seek genetic diversity in mate choice

May 28th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new study by researchers at Oregon State University suggests that wild coho salmon that choose mates with disease-resistant genes different from their own are more likely to produce greater numbers of adult offspring returning to the river some three years later.

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Genetic sampling – Researchers trap and fin clip this coho salmon on Calapooya Creek, a tributary of the Umpqua River in Oregon, as part of their study of hatchery and wid fish. (Photo courtesy of Oregon State University)

The researchers also found that hatchery-reared coho – for some unknown reason – do not appear to have the same ability to select mates that are genetically diverse, which may, in part, explain their comparative lower reproductive success.

Results of the study have been published in this month’s Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Funding was provided by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, The Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, Oregon Sea Grant, and the Oregon legislature.

“This is the first study to examine mate choice among wild-spawning fish of both hatchery and wild origin, and the results suggest that greater diversity of immune genes between wild-born pairs of coho salmon may increase offspring survival,” said Amelia Whitcomb, who did the research as a master’s student at OSU and is lead author on the publication.

“These findings, along with future research, may have important implications for hatchery supplementation programs,” added Whitcomb, who now works for the Washington Department of Fish &Wildlife.The key appears to be a suite of genes that include the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), which initiates immune response and ultimately provides disease resistance. Other factors, including size and timing of return to fresh water, also determined mate pair reproductive success. MHC genes are well-studied in many organisms, including humans, and have been shown to play a role in how individuals choose mates.

The researchers used genetic parentage analysis to study mating events among adult coho salmon – both wild-born and hatchery-reared – that returned and spawned in a natural context in the Umpqua River in southern Oregon. Adult coho salmon were fin-clipped for genetic identification so they could be linked to their offspring, which returned as adults three years later.

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Coho salmon spawn in an Oregon river. (Photo courtesy of Oregon State University)

The researchers then compared reproductive success, defined as the number of adult offspring returns, from three different categories of naturally spawning mate pairs: two wild parents, two hatchery-reared parents, and a hatchery-reared/wild parent pair.

The study found that wild fish that bred with other wild fish that had dissimilar MHC profiles had an increased success rate compared to wild fish pairings of similar MHC diversity. In addition, wild fish that mated with hatchery fish that had intermediate rates of dissimilarity also had greater reproductive success than wild fish mated with hatchery fish that had little MHC diversity, or the greatest MHC diversity.

However, the mate selection of hatchery-raised fish with other hatchery-raised fish appeared to be totally random, according to Michael Banks, director of the Cooperative Institute for Marine Resource Studies at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, and co-author on the study. In other words, hatchery-raised fish didn’t appear to select mates based on any kind of genetic profile, “an indiscretion that may ultimately be lowering their reproduction success.”

“Evidence that the MHC is associated with mate choice is common in many species through chemical cues detected by olfaction,” Banks said, “so it isn’t necessarily surprising that selecting for MHC diversity would increase reproductive success in salmon as well. What is puzzling is why hatchery-raised fish appear to have lost that ability.”

Kathleen O’Malley, an assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife at OSU and co-author on the study, cautioned that genetic diversity is just one factor in mate selection and reproductive success.

“The ocean is like a black box for salmon and many factors can play a role in their survival,” said O’Malley, a geneticist with the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station at OSU’s Hatfield Center. “But the strength of this study is that it looks at the bottom line, which is what creates the best chance of success for salmon to produce offspring that survive to return as adults.”

O’Malley said the next logical step in the research is to develop selective breeding strategies that better emulate mating strategies that occur in the wild and to learn whether new strategies can reduce the difference in reproductive success among hatchery-raised and wild fish.This research was funded by an Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board grant awarded to M.A. Banks, the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, and a Hatfield Marine Science Center scholarship awarded to A.C. Whitcomb. Partial support was also provided by Oregon Sea Grant under award number NA10OAR4170059 (project number R/RCF-25) from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program, U.S. Department of Commerce, and by appropriations made by the Oregon State Legislature to K.G. O’Malley. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of these funders.

2013HMSC_Aerial_Photo_Forinash_lo_rez About OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center: The center is a research and teaching facility located in Newport, Ore., on the Yaquina Bay estuary, about one mile from the open waters of the Pacific Ocean. It plays an integral role in programs of marine and estuarine research and instruction, as a laboratory serving resident scientists, as a base for far-ranging oceanographic studies and as a classroom for students. Its campus includes research activities and facilities from six different state and federal agencies.

 

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Drawing on Our History – Sunday June 1

May 24th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Drawing on Our History: Talk & Presentation by Author & Artist James A. Cole

Sunday, June 1st 5pm at the Pacific Maritime & Heritage CenterJames Cole Portrait

Fishing vessel historian, author and artist, James A. Cole, will share the story behind his recently published book, Drawing on Our History: Fishing Vessels of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska on Sunday, June 1st, 5pm, at the Pacific Maritime and Heritage Center. In addition, a selection of original paintings from the book will be on exhibit.

A copy of Drawing on our History, Fishing Vessels of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska could be at home on a coffee table or on a school of naval architecture bookshelf.  The 208 lavishly illustrated pages in Cole’s coffee table style book range from Native American carved cedar canoes to today’s commercial vessels.

Originally from Tacoma, Washington, Jim Cole grew up hearing his uncle’s sea stories. His uncle who had sailed the world and was part owner of a Scottish steam trawler, illustrated his stories with pencil sketches. This might explain Jim’s passion for producing art depicting vessels being built, or at work.img005

After graduating from the University of Washington and serving in the Coast Guard during the Korean War, Jim was a marine designer at Philip F. Spaulding & Associates, Naval Architects and Marine Engineers in Seattle. In his 56-year career, Jim has been employed at the offices of four naval architecture firms and in the engineering departments of four Puget Sound area shipyards.

Admission to this talk and book signing is free for members, and $5 for non-members. For more information, call 541-265-7509.

The Lincoln County Historical Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and sharing Lincoln County’s history. Visit the Burrows House Museum, 545 SW Ninth Street in Newport, and the Pacific Maritime & Heritage Center, 333 SE Bay Blvd. in Newport. Burrows House admission is by donation. Pacific Maritime & Heritage Center is $5 for adults, $3 for children 3 through 12. Members admitted free with tickets. Both museums are open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

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Public urged to refrain from touching seal pups

May 22nd, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

NEWPORT, Ore. – Numerous young seal pups are venturing onto Oregon beaches, where they are at-risk from well-meaning coastal visitors who mistakenly try to rescue them.

Oregon State University marine mammal biologist Jim Rice is urging the public to refrain from touching or approaching the seal pups, which in most cases are not orphaned or abandoned, he pointed out. They frequently are left on the beach by their mothers, who are out looking for food.

“It is perfectly normal for seal pups to be left alone on the beach in the spring,” said Rice, who coordinates the statewide Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network headquartered at OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. “Newborn pups typically spend several hours each day waiting for their mothers to reunite with them.”

“Adult female seals spend most of their time in the water, hunting for food, and only come ashore periodically to nurse their pups,” Rice said. “But the mothers are wary of people and unlikely to rejoin a pup if there is activity nearby.”

3728085510_7a19954dd3_zRice said concerned but uninformed beach-goers will sometimes interfere, picking up seal pups and taking them away from the beaches – and their mothers. A more common threat is hovering by curious onlookers, which can cause stress to the pups and prevents their mothers from returning to them.

“It’s tempting for some people to attempt to ‘rescue’ these seemingly hapless pups,” Rice said, “but a pup’s best chance for survival is to be left alone. A dependent pup that’s taken away from its mother will certainly die.”

Even with the best of intentions, Rice said, people can do a great deal of harm. And additionally, persons who disturb seal pups – even those who are just trying to help – risk being fined under laws intended to protect marine mammals from harassment. The Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits interference with seal pups and other marine mammals on the beach.

Bystanders should stay at least 50 yards away and keep their dogs leashed, Rice said.

“After suckling for about four weeks, weaned pups are abandoned by their mothers, left to fend for themselves,” Rice added. “They will continue to come onto beaches periodically to rest as they grow and learn how to catch their own food.”

The harbor seal pupping season on the Oregon coast is generally March through June, with a peak in mid-May. Anyone who observes incidents of seal pup harassment, or animals in distress, should call the Oregon State Police at 1-800-452-7888, Rice said.

The Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network is an organization comprised of state agencies, universities, and volunteers, working together to investigate the causes of marine mammal strandings, provide for the welfare of live stranded animals, and advance public education about marine mammal strandings.

You can visit the Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network online at http://mmi.oregonstate.edu/ommsn

By Mark Floyd, 541-737-0788; mark.floyd@oregonstate.edu

Source: Jim Rice, 541-867-0446; jim.rice@oregonstate.edu;

This release is available online at: http://bit.ly/1m9Nk4g

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Thirty Years of Vents Program Discoveries – A presentation by Dr. Steve Hammond

May 16th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Explore thirty years of research on hydrothermal vents in the deep sea and the fascinating organisms that thrive on them. The story begins in 1977, when the first hydrothermal vent along with an associated community of blind crabs, giant clams and mouthless tubeworms – ultimately found to be powered by chemicals released from the earth rather than the power of the sun – were discovered in the deep ocean where life was never before imagined. Dr. Steve Hammond, scientist and recently retired Program Director for NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research will these and other exciting discoveries in ocean exploration in a presentation for the public on May 21, 6pm in the Hatfield Marine Science Visitor Center auditorium.

Giant clams up to 1 foot long thrive in the crevices around seafloor pillow lava, which vent hydrothermal fluids with chemical nutrients. This vent site on the Galápagos Rift, discovered in 2002, is called “Calyfield” after the clam (Calyptogena magnifica). Image courtesy of Tim Shank, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. From the NOAA Explorer website: oceanexplorer.noaa.gov

Giant clams up to 1 foot long thrive in the crevices around seafloor pillow lava, which vent hydrothermal fluids with chemical nutrients. This vent site on the Galápagos Rift, discovered in 2002, is called “Calyfield” after the clam (Calyptogena magnifica). Image courtesy of Tim Shank, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. From the NOAA Explorer website: oceanexplorer.noaa.gov

Discovery of deep-sea hydrothermal vents and associated biological communities on the Galápagos Rift in 1977 revolutionized the oceanographic and earth sciences. Very shortly after the spectacular and completely unexpected discoveries of hydrothermal venting and its associated Rose Garden chemosynthetic animal community on the Galápagos Rift, NOAA installed a high-resolution, multibeam sonar system on the NOAA Ship SURVEYOR.  It was the first of its kind on a US civilian research vessel.  Immediately, an interdisciplinary team of ocean scientists from NOAA, Oregon State University, the University of Washington began to use the new sonar to systematically map the seafloor spreading centers off the N. California, Oregon, and Washington coasts and to explore for vents.  What followed was three decades of spectacular discoveries and research that remain at the forefront of efforts to understand how deep volcanic and hydrothermal activity impact the physical, chemical, and biological environments of the global ocean.

Dr. Steve Hammond, scientist and recently retired Program Director for NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. Courtesy photo.

Dr. Steve Hammond’s career in ocean exploration and research began at the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and, for the past nearly 40 years, he has been an active scientist and program Director for NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. Trained as a marine geologist and geophysicist, his principle scientific interests are focused on discovering and understanding how the Earth’s oceans and the marine ecosystems within it are influenced by submarine volcanic eruptions.  Dr. Hammond is also engaged in efforts at local and national levels to raise awareness of the critical importance of ocean exploration and research during a time of changing ocean and climate conditions.

Free and open to the public. For more information, call 541-867-0234.

Photo right: Dr. Steve Hammond, scientist and recently retired Program Director for NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research.

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Remembering Dr. Lavern John Weber, 1933-2014

May 15th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

June 7, 1933 — May 5, 2014

Lavern John Weber of South Beach, who was Director of the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport for a quarter-century, died May 5, 2014, in Corvallis, at age 80.LavernWeber

The first resident director of the center, his leadership ensured that the institution rose to prominence to become an internationally recognized center of excellence in marine research and education.

One of six siblings, he was born to Jacob and Irene Weber on June 7, 1933, in Isabel, South Dakota. The family moved to a small dairy farm in Sultan, Washington, when he was a child.

After graduating from Sultan High School, he began his advanced education at Everett Community College, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree from Pacific Lutheran University in 1958; and a Master of Science degree (1962) and a doctorate in pharmacology (1964) from the University of Washington. He served on the UW medical school faculty from 1964 to 1969, and was the acting Washington State Toxicologist in 1969.

Later that year, he joined the faculties of the OSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and of the College of Pharmacy, where his research changed focus from mammalian systems to physiology and toxicology in fishes. Dr. Weber’s initial experience with administration was as Assistant Dean of the Graduate School.

In 1977, he was appointed Director of the Marine Science Center; he was Director until his retirement in 2002. He also simultaneously served for a number of years as Director of the Cooperative Institute of Marine Resources Studies and as the first superintendent of the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, the first experiment station in the United States to focus on marine issues.

Lavern enjoyed teaching graduate students, and his mentoring included many evening gatherings of serious, and sometimes not so serious, scientific discussions. He maintained an open-door policy which extended to everyone at the HMSC and community members visiting the center. Every member of the faculty and staff experienced individual time with Lavern as he took each of them out for casual conversations on his muffin breaks.

He encouraged faculty, staff members and students to develop their own strengths, stretching beyond their comfort zones. As a professor, researcher, director and, also in his last few years before retirement, as associate dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, he could see many points of view, and always was willing to listen. He cultivated an atmosphere of conviviality and cooperation that grew into the institution’s key strength: collaborative research.

Under his leadership, the center grew as a number of federal agencies joined OSU departments and Oregon Fish and Wildlife at the center. Lavern also oversaw the remodeling of the Visitor’s Center, expanded ship operations, an expanded seawater system, the addition of several buildings, and the expansion of student and faculty housing with the associated offering of academic courses based at the center.

Lavern received many honors, including the OSU Alumni Association’s Distinguished Professor Award in 1992, and membership in the College of Agriculture’s Diamond Pioneer Agricultural Career Achievement Registry in 2009. Of all, his favorite award was the OSU Office Professionals Association’s Boss of the Year Award in 1989.

Community and university activities blended and were acknowledged with his receiving of the Oregon Friend of Extension recognition and Oregon Sea Grant Partnership Award. In 2006, he was named a Lincoln County Community Legend. He was an active member of Rotary, and served on the Board of Trustees of the Newport Public Library, and the boards of directors of the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Lincoln County Historical Society.

He was a founding member of the Yaquina Bay Economic Foundation, and had time as chair of Oregon Coast Council for the Arts. Lavern advocated for the training of aquarists, and in 2003 saw the start of the Aquarium Science Program at Oregon Coast Community College.LavernAtBayCrop

Above all, Lavern was a man of integrity and humility combined with vision and perseverance. His interests spanned topics from philosophy to woodworking (he built each of his children a grandmother or mantel clock). He loved travel and gardening (he planted hundreds of daffodils around the HMSC). He was proud of his children, who all have traveled very different roads with success.

He loved his grandchildren and would hang out with them whenever the chance arose. The annual Christmas gathering of the whole family was a highlight.

He is survived by brothers Edwin and Harlan; sisters Agnes and Natalie; his first wife, Shirley, and second wife, Pat; his four children, Tim (Lisa), Peter (Anne), Pamela (Ron) and Elizabeth; and four grandchildren, Jacob, Natalie, Wyatt and Talia.

A celebration of life will take place at 6 p.m. July 26 at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. In lieu of flowers, donations can be given to the OSU Foundation for the Lavern Weber Visiting Scientist Fund or for the COMES Founders’ Scholarship Fund.

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