Students invited to submit posters for the 2012 Heceta Head Coastal Conference

Oregon’s Ocean: Bringing the High Seas Home

FLORENCE – The 2012 Heceta Head Coastal Conference brings current ocean science and policy to Oregonians.  Attendees include university scientists, ocean policy agency staff, politicians, students, and the general public.  The conference is co-sponsored by Oregon Sea Grant.

The Pacific Ocean is a dynamic place full of activity and motion.  This year highlights the science of things that float, swim, drift, stowaway, steam, and bob across the Pacific to Oregon’s Ocean.

What to expect: The student poster session is part of a full day program (Saturday, October 27).

A dedicated session allows conference attendees to view posters and interact with student scientists as they explain their research and results.

Why submit a poster?

  • Showcase your research
  • Gain professional experience
  • Practice science communication with a broad audience
  • Interact with researchers, decision makers, industry leaders, stakeholders, and other    students
  • Awards for top posters (and prizes)!

Submitting a poster: The HHCC invites contributions from advanced undergraduates (juniors or seniors), recent graduates, and graduate students.

The poster submission deadline is September 30. Download the .pdf announcement for details.

For more information on the conference, visit

Wave energy on tap at June 11 Science Pub Corvallis

Sea Grant wave energy exhibit at HMSC Visitor CenterMarine renewable energy – from waves and from the wind – is the topic of the June edition of Science Pub Corvallis.

Held on the second Monday of the month, 6 to 8 p.m. in the Old World Deli, 341 2nd St. in Corvallis, Science Pub is sponsored by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Downtown Corvallis Association and OSU’s Terra magazine. Admission is free; food and drink are available to purchase.

For this month’s edition, Belinda Batten of  the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center will discuss ongoing research into wave energy under way in Oregon and elsewhere. “We’ve got the technical side, the environmental side and the outreach to communities through Oregon Sea Grant. You don’t have that everywhere,” she says. Engineered systems, she adds, will need to survive extreme ocean conditions and minimize impact on the environment and traditional ocean uses.

NNMREC is a collaborative effort of Oregon State University and the University of Washington. Oregon Sea Grant is involved in the Center’s work through its ongoing public outreach and engagement efforts on the Oregon Coast.

Learn more about Sea Grant’s work in marine renewable energy.

Free choice learning on tap in Newport

Shawn Rowe NEWPORT –  Dr. Shawn Rowe, Oregon Sea Grant’s marine education learning specialist, is the scientist on tap at Rogue Ales’ Brewer’s on the Bay this Friday evening, talking about how people learn science outside the conventional classroom.

The event, part of the Science on Tap series sponsored by the brewpub and OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, is free and family-friendly. Doors open at 5:30 pm; food and beverages are available for purchase.

Rowe heads the Free-Choice Learning Lab at the HMSC Visitor Center, where he is working under a $2.6 million National Science Foundation grant to create  a state-of-the-art laboratory to study how people learn about science in aquariums, museums and other venues. The grant is the largest single research award to Oregon Sea Grant in its 40-year history and among the largest ever made to a Sea Grant program nationwide.

Dr. Shawn Rowe’s team is exploring the use of networked computers, face-recognition , real-time evaluation tools and other emerging technologies to get a deeper understanding of  what and how visitors learn in places like the HMSC.

Speaking with Rowe will be Nancy Steinberg, a biologist and longtime public outreach specialist who is currently involved in the Yaquina Bay Ocean Observing Initiative, an effort to make Newport a hub for ocean observing science in the Pacific Northwest.



Science on Tap: Ocean science and good beer in Newport

Steller sea lionsNEWPORT – Oregon State University marine mammal researcher Markus Horning  steps to the bar for this month’s Science on Tap lecture, with The secret lives or seals: Using high-tech marvels to pry into ocean depths.

The talk, co-sponsored by the Hatfield Marine Science Center and Rogue Ale, starts at 6 pm  March 15 at Brewers on the Bay, on the South Beach waterfront south of the Yaquina Bay Bridge. Admission to the family-friendly event is free, and food and beverage will be available for purchase from the pub’s menu.

Horning, a pinniped ecologist with OSU’s Newport-based Marine Mammal Institute,   studies seals and sea lions in Oregon, Alaska and the Antarctic using telemetry – the science and technology of remote measurement via such devices as satellite-linked data recorders and tags.

The technology allows Horning and other scientists to monitor rarely observed aspects of marine mammal life in remote locations around Alaska and the Antarctic. Using advanced monitoring technology, researchers are able to follow the life – and death – of individual animals in the Bering Sea or under the Antarctic ice.

In recent research, the high-tech tools have helped show that more juvenile Steller sea lions are falling to predators than had been thought, casting doubt on prospects for the animals’ ability to recover from recent population decline in Alaskan waters.

Learn more:

(Photo: Steller sea lions, courtesy of NOAA’s National Ocean Service)

Sea level rise, increasing storms and the Pacific coast

Storm waves hitting central Oregon coastNEWPORT – Oregon State University geoscientist Peter Ruggiero will speak at the Hatfield Marine Science Center tonight (Oct. 25) on “The Role of Sea Level Rise and Increasing Storminess in PNW Coastal Change and Flood Hazards.”

The talk starts at 7 pm in the Hennings Auditorium at the HMSC Visitor Center.

Ruggiero is part of a team of scientists from OSU and the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries who have been studying increased storm activity and resulting wave height off the Oregon coast, and its effects on erosion, flooding and other hazards.

This past January, the team published an assessment suggesting that maximum heights could be as much as 40 percent higher than previous record levels, especially in the stormy winter months of December and January.  The report said that the cause of these dramatically higher waves is not completely certain, but “likely due to Earth’s changing climate.”

Combined with the effects of sea level rise, higher maximum waves could have implications for erosion, flood control, property damage and development regulations up and down the Pacific Northwest coast.

Ruggiero’s team has received support for its work from Oregon Sea Grant (2008-2010) and from the NOAA Climate Program.

Student posters sought for Oregon’s Ocean conference – Deadline Extended!

Oregon’s Ocean: Catching the Next Wave of Discoveries

FLORENCE – This year’s Heceta Head Coastal Conference, Oct. 29, will feature the fresh faces of ocean research in Oregon. Participants will learn about the cutting edge of marine science in our waters, focusing on new discoveries and future directions, including a student research poster session highlighting the next generation of Oregon’s scientists from colleges and universities throughout our state.

Graduate and undergraduate students who have conducted ocean-related research are invited to submit their projects, and researchers with promising students are encouraged to spread the word.  The poster submission deadline has been extended to September 30. Download the .pdf announcement for details.

Join us as we look ahead to confronting the challenges facing our ocean, how they are being addressed, and how results will affect YOU!  Oregon Sea Grant is co-sponsoring and organizing the conference. Watch for the full program announcement here this summer.

NOAA manager to discuss Pacific research at HMSC

NEWPORT  – “Fishing for the Future: NOAA Fisheries Groundfish Scientists at Sea” will be the subject of a special presentation at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Visitor Center on Tuesday, May 24. The talk starts at 6:30 pm in the center’s Hennings Auditorium, and is free and open to the public.

The talk is the second in a series aimed at introducing the public to the ships and science of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific fleet, which is in the process of relocating to new facilities in Newport. The series is jointly sponsored by NOAA and the Hatfield Center.

The May 24 speaker is Dr. Patty Burke, manager of the Groundfish Monitoring Program with NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center, which includes the West Coast Observer Program, the West Coast Groundfish Surveys and the Habitat and Conservation Engineering Program.  She will present her program’s research as conducted on NOAA ships as well as on contracted fishing vessels, describing life at sea for a researcher aboard a NOAA ship. Her talk will highlight the differing capabilities of vessels in the NOAA and the commercial fleets, and the differences in the experience for the researchers aboard.

The series is expected to host a total of five speakers over the next several months, including scientists who rely on the NOAA ships to conduct their fisheries and oceanographic research as well as the NOAA Corps, whose officers and staff operate the ships and manage the fleet. The third event, NOAA Day at the Visitors Center, will take place on the afternoon of Saturday June 11 with several speakers, including Dr. Steve Hammond of NOAA’s Ocean Exploration Program, Taylor Morrison, author of the new book “A Good Catch” along with NOAA scientist Dr. Bill T. Peterson of whose work on the R/V Elakha is portrayed in the book.

Oregon Sea Grant has reduced the price of one of its most popular DVDs

We’ve reduced the price of one of our most popular DVDs. The Watersheds and Salmon Collection DVD is now priced at $12.95 (was $29.95) plus shipping and handling. It contains the following four videos:

Life Cycle of the Salmon (5 minutes)
Governor Kitzhaber Interview (9 minutes)
The Return of the Salmon (33 minutes)
Salmon: Why Bother? (12 minutes)

You may purchase Watersheds and Salmon Collection DVD online from Oregon Sea Grant.

Sam Chan returns to Science Pub Corvallis

This cream-colored tunicate, which can resemble a soft coral, can foul fishing equipment, boats, water intakes and aquaculture moorings. (photo courtesy of Vallorie Hodges, Oregon Coast Aquarium)When an aggressive non-native species, Didemnum vexillum, showed up in Winchester Bay and Coos Bay last year, Oregon Sea Grant, the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Coast Aquarium went to work. Sea Grant Extension agents began educating communities about the threat. Divers began scouring harbors and inlets for this “colonial tunicate,” which is on the top-100 list of species to be kept out of Oregon. The animal fouls nets, crab traps, boats and marine facilities. The State of Washington has spent more than $1 million control it in Puget Sound.

This cream-colored tunicate, which can resemble a soft coral, can foul fishing equipment, boats, water intakes and aquaculture moorings.

If it gets a foothold in Oregon, it wouldn’t be the first invader. English ivy, non-native crayfish, New Zealand mudsnails and European green crabs are well-established here. Non-native species enter the state in cars, recreational boats, ships, airplanes and on the wind. As an Oregon Sea Grant educator and chair of the Oregon Invasive Species Council, Sam Chan coordinates efforts to identify threats and curb new infestations.

At the May 9 Corvallis Science Pub, Chan will discuss invasives in Oregon and in other states and the economic and environmental costs of managing them. He’ll provide updates on efforts to manage the pest that causes “sudden oak death” and several pathways for new species to enter the state: biology classes in schools and campgrounds and resorts that import firewood from as far away as Asia.

Science Pub takes place at the Old World Deli, 341 SW 2nd Street, the second Monday of each month from 6-8 pm. The talks are free and open to the public. Come early to get a good table and enjoy some food and drink before the program starts. If you can’t make it to the deli, Science Pub is also streamed live on the Web, courtesy of OSU’s Terra magazine.

Read more about Oregon Sea Grant’s efforts in invasive species education.

NOAA PNW seminar videos now online

How much will it snow?  What are we learning about ocean acidification? What would happen if a big oil spill hit Puget Sound? These and other topics were discussed by top scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the fall 2010 Seattle lecture series, “NOAA Science in the Pacific Northwest.”

The five hour-long seminars were videotaped and are now available online, courtesy of the agency’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center.

Speakers include Will Stelle, NW regional administrator for the NOAA Fisheries Service; National Weather Service meteorologist Brad Colman, Bill Douros,  director of the National Marine Sanctuaries West Coast Region, and  NOAA research oceanographer Simone Alim.

NOAA’s history in the Pacific Northwest goes back almost 200 years. NOAA’s predecessor agencies have surveyed waters, forecast the weather, and managed fisheries in the Pacific Northwest since the 1800s.