Community college and high school students to spend four days on OSU research vessel

September 14, 2018

By Sean Nealon

Students and teachers will join OSU scientists on the R/V Oceanus this month to gain at-sea research experience.

Students and teachers will join OSU scientists on the R/V Oceanus this month to gain at-sea research experience. (Photo by Pat Kight)

Oregon high school and community college students and teachers will join Oregon State University scientists on the research vessel Oceanus this month to gain at-sea research experience as part of a project to enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills.

The cruise, scheduled from Sept. 23 to 26, will depart from Newport, travel south along the Oregon coast to Stonewall and Heceta Banks, before veering northward to the Astoria Canyon, then into the Columbia River to Portland before returning to Newport. The research vessel will dock for two days in Portland, where there will be a series of activities, including tours for Portland area K-12 students.

Students on last year's cruise help retrieve the "Sonde," an instrument used to measure the conductivity, temperature and pressure of seawater.

Students on a 2016 cruise help retrieve the “Sonde,” an instrument used to measure the conductivity, temperature and pressure of seawater. (Photo by Tracy Crews)

The students and teachers participating in the cruise are from high schools in Bandon, Lincoln City and Warrenton, as well as Southwestern Oregon Community College and Oregon Coast Community College.

“This project will provide a transformational educational experience for high school and community college students and their teachers,” said Tracy Crews, marine education manager for Oregon Sea Grant. “By immersing students and teachers in at-sea research, we hope to increase the STEM-related skills of all participants and encourage students to seek out STEM careers.”

During the cruise, participants will conduct marine mammal and seabird surveys and correlate the presence and absence with oceanographic data. They will also conduct plankton tows where marine mammals are located to determine prey availability. Photo-identification of whales will be conducted to describe individual movement patterns, and the team will fly drones over whales to document behavior and assess body condition.

The project is a collaborative effort from Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State’s College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences and the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, which serves educators, students and communities along the Oregon coast and is located at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. The research vessel Oceanus is operated by Oregon State University and owned by the National Science Foundation.

Leigh Torres, an assistant professor at Oregon State and a member of the university’s Marine Mammal Institute, and Kim Bernard, an assistant professor at Oregon State who leads the Zooplankton Ecology Lab, will be the chief scientists on the excursion.

New videos encourage boaters to help keep waterways clean

Two new videos from Oregon Sea Grant encourage boaters to help keep our waterways clean by emptying their portable toilets and holding tanks at designated facilities at marinas and short-term tie-up docks.

The videos, “Where to Empty Onboard Portable Toilets in Oregon” and “Where to Empty Onboard Holding Tanks in Oregon,” feature Jenny East, boater outreach coordinator with Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon State University Extension Service. They are part of her ongoing efforts to educate recreational boaters about the availability of facilities at marinas for disposing of onboard sewage.

Jenny East empties an onboard portable toilet.

The new videos join a dozen others on the subject, available on a YouTube playlist here.

Photos of East and some of the facilities she demonstrates in the videos are available for download from our “Boater Outreach” album on Flickr.

The videos were filmed and edited by Oregon Sea Grant videographer Vanessa Cholewczynski in collaboration with the Oregon State Marine Board.

New edition of Confluence now available

The fall/winter 2016 edition of Oregon Sea Grant’s semiannual newsletter, Confluence, is now available online. Articles you’ll find in this issue:

  • Guidelines help boaters enjoy watching whales without disturbing them;
  • University of Oregon study reveals why hypoxia hasn’t affected Coos Bay;
  • Simulator helps coastal residents prepare tsunami evacuation strategy;
  • Students get their feet wet in watershed science with StreamWebs;
  • Oregon Sea Grant helps prepare coastal kids for high-tech jobs; and
  • When human health affects environmental health.

You can download a free PDF here.

Oregon Sea Grant's semiannual newsletter

Sea Grant names new boater outreach coordinator

Jenny EastJenny East has been named Oregon Sea Grant’s new, full-time Extension boater outreach coordinator to work with recreational boaters on Oregon’s north coast, the Columbia River and in the Portland metro area.

She will work with the Oregon State Marine Board to inform boaters about the location and use of dockside “pump and dump” facilities for properly disposing of onboard toilet waste, part of the state’s ongoing efforts toward cleaner waterways.

East, who started Dec. 15, is temporarily working out of OSU’s Lincoln County Extension office in Newport, with plans to relocate soon to the Washington County Extension office in Hillsboro.

Salmon Mashup: Rare Celilo Falls Film & Radio Chronicle

Celilo Falls fishery, early 1950s

Celilo Falls fishery, early 1950s

Twenty-five years ago, in 1990, salmon populations from a variety of locations in the Pacific Northwest were being considered for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. “Listing” of salmon was going to have serious implications for the region, and Joe Cone, then the science reporter for Oregon Sea Grant, developed a series of 14 radio feature stories to help listeners understand the issues and hear from the newsmakers and scientists involved.

The programs were broadcast on public radio stations in Oregon. Collected on an audio cassette at the time, these programs, recorded between November 1990 and August 1991, have been out of circulation for years. Since Northwest populations of salmon are still listed, receive protections, and have been the focus of attention for many people, Sea Grant Communications has been reviewing the recent history. In 2014 we published Salmon Abundance and Diversity in Oregon: Are We Making Progress? — a report and accompanying video, featuring OSU Prof. Court Smith. Now Cone’s 1990-91 broadcasts have been digitized, and some are online.
Mashed up with this historic audio is rare color-film footage of the great Indian fishery at Celilo Falls on the Columbia River. That silent film footage is courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District. The combined audio and video is available on the Oregon Sea Grant Vimeo channel. The program is also available on YouTube.
The four radio stories are 1) How the Salmon ESA decision was made, with Merritt Tuttle of NMFS; 2) An interview with Bill Bakke of Oregon Trout, an ESA petitioner; 3) Trying to help migrating salmon at Bonneville Dam, with OSU biologist Alec Maule; and 4) an Indian view of the salmon crisis, with Ted Strong of CRITFC. The announcer presenting the intros to each feature is Janine Kobel. Transcripts of the radio programs are available on request from Oregon Sea Grant Communications.