Fellowship opportunities in the new year

Check out several new fellowship opportunities, including the newly announced 2015 Knauss Fellowship:  http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/education/fellowships

Current opportunities

Want to find out more what it’s like to be an Oregon Sea Grant Scholar? 

Erosion hitting Oregon’s coastline – hard

High surf at Fishing RockMany beaches along the Pacific Northwest coast have experienced increased erosion since the late 1800s.

So says the U.S. Geological Survey, which is working with Oregon State University on a study that’s analyzing shoreline changes in the nation’s coastal regions. The agency made the discovery while examining coastal erosion and land loss.

The groups found that since the late 1800s, most beaches are either stable or adding a little bit of sand. However, 13 of 17 beach “littoral cells,” or beach stretches between rocky headlands and major inlets, have either eroded or built up less sand than in the past. The hardest hit littoral cells include the Neskowin, between Cascade Head and Pacific City, and the Beverly Beach littoral cell between Yaquina Head and Otter Rock. Shoreline change rates at Beverly Beach have averaged more than one meter of erosion a year since the 1960s.

The findings could provide baseline data that will help researchers analyze future climate change impacts

There’s also a pronounced difference in the effects faced between Oregon and its neighbor to the north.

“In a general sense, Oregon has faced much more erosion in the short term than has southwest Washington, which has seen more accretion as a result of sediments from the Columbia River and jetties at the mouth of the Columbia and at Gray’s Harbor,” said Peter Ruggiero, an associate professor in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.

Learn more:

Oregon Sea Grant Presents, a new Vimeo channel from OSG Communications.

OSG Communications has just created a new Vimeo channel for high quality playback and downloads. Please take some time to view our most recent productions and make sure to follow our page.

A Big Change: Climate and Fisheries from Michael Monroe on Vimeo.

Dump Station PSA from Michael Monroe on Vimeo.

You can also find versions with closed captioning on our YouTube channel.

Investigating why kids lose interest in science, math

PORTLAND (StreetRoots News) – Nobody’s quite sure why, but toward the end of middle school students lose interest in science and math. Researchers at one Portland school want to learn why. By solving the mystery, they hope to reverse the trend.

Northeast Portland’s culturally diverse, working-class Parkrose Middle School is the subject of an investigation by Oregon State University researchers hoping to discover why science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, no longer appeals to many kids once they reach the eighth grade.

STEM has become a watchword for educators wanting a trained workforce capable of flourishing in an increasingly science-and-technology-driven global economy. Others say STEM is essential to create an informed citizenry able to weigh in on issues from climate change to bioengineering.

However, whereas much of STEM education is currently dominated by in-school curriculum changes, the OSU Parkrose project is traveling a different path.

“The data says if they [students] have interests and are engaged, good things will happen,” says OSU professor John Falk.

Falk heads OSU’s Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning. He’s organizing the Parkrose project and its small team with his wife, OSU professor Lynn Dierking.

Both are also associated with Oregon Sea Grant’s program in Free-Choice Learning – operated out of the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport – which seeks to systematically study how people learn about science in “free-choice” settings such as aquariums and musems, where they can follow their own interests, set their own pace and explore at will. …

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(This story was written by Nathan Gilles, a Portland writer and former Sea Grant Communications intern)