OSG experts featured on invasive species program

Oregon Sea Grant’s Sam Chan and Tania Siemens are featured in “Crayfish Invasion,” a recent episode of Oregon Public Broadcasting’s award-winning Oregon Field Guide program.

First aired on Feb. 17, the episode recounts how innocent elementary-school science projects have brought highly invasive crayfish into Oregon’s rivers and streams. Shipped to teachers for biology classes and then “set free” by well-meaning children or teachers, the animals spread quickly in the wild, out-competing native species. According to the series, shipments of live classroom specimens violates state wildlife laws but state authorities have chosen not to aggressively enforce the ban.

Chan, Oregon Sea Grant’s invasive species expert, and research assistant Siemens have been working with Oregon teachers to increase awareness of invasive species and enlist them and their classrooms in the fight to halt the spread of invaders in the marine environment. With the help of k-12 teachers and students, they are developing teacher toolkits with lesson plans, activities and other resources for teaching young people about the subject.

View video on the Oregon Field Guide site.

Sea Grant Summer Scholars accepting applications now

2010 Summer Scholars get acquainted on the OSU Challenge CourseOregon Sea Grant is accepting applications from undergraduates for the Summer Scholars program.

This 10-week program places high caliber junior and senior undergraduate students from around the country with federal, state, and local public agencies to provide students with hands-on experience under the mentorship of a career professional, with a goal of  preparing them for graduate school and careers in marine science, policy, management, and outreach.

Participants gain  professional skills, agency workplace experience, and real-life practice in marine resource science, policy, management, and outreach and support agency programs and initiatives.

The 2011 Summer Scholars will be placed in Oregon in Lincoln, Coos, and Benton Counties, where they will assist host agencies with field work, lab work, analysis, natural resource policy research, public education, outreach and community engagement efforts.

The program is open to any undergraduate student who will have completed two years of study by summer 2011, and who is currently enrolled in any U.S. college or university may apply. Students of color, from first nations, non-traditional students, and those from other diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. We seek students with a variety of interests including marine science, biology, ecology, zoology, environmental science, journalism, education, political science, or economics.

More information and application guidelines available here. The deadline to apply is April 1.

Sneaker waves, undersea gliders and an adventurous gray whale: OSU marine science in the news

Marine scientists from Oregon State University are all over the news this week:

The Oregonian reports on so-called “sneaker waves”: Whether or not they’re a distinct phenomenon, the fact remains that sudden high waves on the Pacific coast can be deadly.  As OSU oceanographer Robert Holman explains:

“When you get into the beach, especially when you get into complicated areas like the rocks, you can get feedback – the previous wave changes the condition for the next wave. If you had a previous wave that washed down at just the right time, that would reinforce the next wave. That can produce things that truly are dangerous and not expected.”

KATU-TV reports on OSU’s plan to expand a fleet of “undersea gliders” – small, autonomously operated devices that gather data about undersea conditions. Thanks to funding from the national Ocean Observatories Initiative, the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Services plans to add 12 more gliders to its fleet over the next year, bringing the total to 21 and   dramatically increasing the opportunities for scientists to gather information about Pacific Ocean conditions.  Oceanographer Jack Barth explains:

“In more than half a century of work, OSU scientists have recorded about 4,000 profiles of the near-shore from ships. During the past five years, our gliders have logged more than 156,000 profiles – nearly 40 times what six decades of shipboard studies have provided.”

In British Columbia, the Vancouver Sun chronicles the travels of “Flex,” a highly endangered western Pacific grey whale. The animals summer off the Russian coast, and this one was tagged last summer by a team of US and Russian scientists trying to learn where the Pacific greys spend the winter. They thought it might be the South China Sea – but were surprised when the tagged whale, dubbed “Flex,” took off across the Bering Sea  and Gulf of Alaska and then down the west coast of North America.

Bruce Mate, head of OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute (and a pioneer in tracking whales via small, embedded satellite transmitters), is mapping the animal’s journey on the Institute’s Web site.

Feb. 12 for Fossils at HMSC

In the spirit of the Public Broadcasting’s  “Antiques Road Show,”  the Hatfield Marine Science Center plays host to your natural antiques, Saturday, Feb. 12, in Newport. At the 12th annual Fossil Fest, visitors are invited to bring in fossils or other beach finds for identification by Oregon’s preeminent paleontologist, Dr. William Orr. Co-author of Oregon Fossils, Dr. Orr will also present a lecture on “Digging up the Kings Valley Groundsloth,” at 1:30 p.m. Other Fossil Fest activities include a fossil swap and special displays staffed by the North American Research Group. The Hatfield Marine Science Visitor Center, managed by Oregon Sea Grant, is open  10-4; admission is by suggested donation.

Research proposals due this Friday

Reminder: 5 pm Friday, Feb. 4 is the deadline for researchers to submit preliminary proposals for Oregon Sea Grant’s competitive two-year funding cycle.

The grant competition is open to researchers affilliated with any institution of higher education pursuing research on important marine and coastal issues. An ideal proposal would apply the best science and an innovative approach to a well-defined coastal or marine problem or opportunity that is important to Oregon, the Pacific Northwest Region, and the nation. The two primary criteria for evaluating proposals are 1) scientific excellence and 2) societal relevance.

Funding comes from the National Oceaning and Atmospheric Administration via the National Sea Grant College Program.

Complete guidelines for preparing and submitting a proposal are available at http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/funding/rfpcall.html