Sea Grant director gives fish-eye view of Gulf spill

Steve Brandt at seaOregon Sea Grant director Stephen Brandt will give a public talk tonight about  findings from six seasons of subsurface exploration in the low-oxygen waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico. And he’ll share what was different about this year’s cruise, which began after the United States’ largest recorded oil well blow-out was capped in July.

The informal talk starts at 6 pm at the Old World Deli in Corvallis, as part of the Science Pub series.

“Recently there has been an alarming increase, in the spatial and temporal extent of low-oxygen conditions in estuarine and coastal waters,” said Brandt. “We call them ‘dead zones’ in the media because we presume there are drastic impacts on living resources such as shrimp and fish.”

In his talk, Brandt will show how low-oxygen conditions, which scientists call “hypoxia,” can affect habitat quality, food webs and growth rates. Some fish, he added, may actually benefit from these conditions.

Brandt’s team, which has been collecting subsurface data on ocean conditions and marine life in the Gulf for six years, received a National Science Foundation emergency response grant this year to do another sampling cruise following the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster. He kept a blog during the trip.

Science Pub Corvallis is part of a series of free, informal science lectures sponsored at pubs around the state by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry; the Corvallis lectures are cosponsored by OSU’s Terra magazine and the Downtown Corvallis Association.

What’s going on with the brown pelicans?

California Brown PelicansHave you noticed more pelicans in Oregon during the past couple of winters? Join wildlife biologist Deborah Jacques at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center on Saturday, May 8, to learn more about what’s been happening with this intriguing species.

Jacques,  who specializes in studies of brown pelicans and other coastal waterbirds, will review the general non-breeding ecology of the California brown pelican, summarize seasonal distribution and abundance patterns in the Pacific Northwest, and then discuss the unusual events of the last two winters, which saw large numbers of pelicans staying north late into the season and experiencing unusual mortality all along the west coast.

The public lecture starts at 1:30 p.m. Admission to the HMSC Visitor Center is by suggested donation.

National Geographic editor to speak on climate at OSU Earth Day observance

Dennis DimickAn editor who has been called  “the Al Gore of National Geographic” will deliver the annual Tom McCall lecture on the environment at Oregon State University on April 22, the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

Dennis Dimick,  National Geographic‘s award-winning environmental editor, takes the theme “Changing Planet: Where Energy and Climate Collide” for his Earth Day talk, which will take place at 7 p.m. at OSU’s LaSells Stewart Center. The lecture series,  honoring the memory of the legendary Oregon governor and his commitment to public service, journalism and environmental protection,  was established in 1985 and remains free and open to the public.

Dimick – a 1973 graduate of OSU – will lead the audience on a sweeping visual journey, based on his magazine’s reporting and recent scientific evidence,  documenting the effects of climate change. He’ll also talk about what people can do to reverse some of those troubling trends.  National Geographic has been among the world’s leading media outlets in documenting effects of climate change on the natural world. Dimick has shaped much of that coverage in concert with Editor-in-Chief Chris Johns, also an OSU graduate.

Squid invasion! speaker at HMSC


Squid necropsy at HMSC

An expert on the  Humboldt squid will give a free, public talk on these large marine predators – which have shown up in Pacific Northwest waters in unprecedented numbers over the past year  – this Wednesday night at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport

Humboldt or jumbo  squid, Dosidicus gigas, are  most commonly found at depths of 200–700 metres (660–2,300 ft) in the central to south Pacific, from Tierra del Fuego to California.  Since the late 1990s the squid have been expanding their range, making their way in increasing numbers as far north as offshore Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. With the expansion has come increased interaction with humans, mainly divers and fishermen.

Professor William F. Gilly of Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station visits the HMSC Visitor Center Wednesday, March 10,  to discuss the  behavior, physiology and ecology of Dosidicus gigas. The public presentation starts at 7 pm in the Hennings Auditorium. There is no admission charge, although donations to the support the center’s public marine education programs are encouraged.

Although reasons for the Humboldt squid’s sudden range expansion during the last decade remain mysterious, recent studies shed light on the ecology, physiology and behavior of these large predators.  They are abundant, fast-growing, short-lived, and extremely prolific. Their diet ranges from small, midwater organisms to large fish. They are powerful swimmers capable of rapid vertical and horizontal migrations. They are tolerant of environmental features, particularly temperature and oxygen. They have large brains and complex behaviors. Scientists have suggested that if one wanted to design a top predator equipped to  cope with climate change, the Humbold squid might be it.

(Professor Gilly’s lab has resources for teachers, parents and students at  Squids For Kids)

“Medicines from the Sea” lecture at HMSC

NEWPORT – Dr. George Robert Pettit, a noted biochemist, will talk about “Medicines from the Sea – From marine organism constituents to human cancer clinical trials” this Wednesday, Nov. 11, at the OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. in the HMSC Hennings Auditorium.

Dr. Pettit,  professor of chemistry at Arizona State University, is spending a month in residence at the HMSC, collaborating with researchers from various departments on the potential development of a marine drug and biodiscovery unit at Oregon State University.

He is the latest scholar to take part in the Lavern Weber Visiting Scientist Program, which provides opportunities for researchers from other institutions to have an extended stay at the HMSC to work with faculty and students exploring new research questions of mutual interest.

Celilo Falls in Newport, Monday, May 11

The educational documentary, Celilo Falls and the Remaking of the Columbia River, by Joe Cone of Oregon Sea Grant, will be shown at the Hatfield Marine Science Center Visitors Center auditorium, Monday, May 11, 6-7 p.m. The half-hour film will be introduced by Cone, and discussion will follow the screening. The award-winning film, previously aired on Oregon Public Broadcasting, is part of the 2009 Water Film Series, Newport Edition. Watch a short preview.

“Ocean of Junk” presentation at HMSC April 27

NEWPORT, Ore. – Parts of the Pacific Ocean are beginning to resemble a landfill and the increasing accumulation of debris – mainly plastic – is the focus of a special presentation on Monday, April 27, at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

Two environmental activists from the Algalita Marine Research Foundation in California will visit the center as part of their 2,000-mile bicycle tour from British Columbia to Mexico to raise awareness about what some are calling the “North Pacific Garbage Patch.”

Read more …

OMSI Science Pub: Antarctic adventures

What does it cost to charter a Russian ice-breaker? How do you keep camera batteries charged in frigid antarctic temperatures?

Antarctic team leaves Russian research vesselPortland-area science buffs can learn the answers to these and other questions on Nov. 26, when OMSI’s Science Pub hosts Bill Hanshumaker, Sea Grant Extension’s public marine educator at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center.

Hanshumaker will present an informal talk, with slides, about his experiences on Antarctic research expeditions in 2005 and 2006. As part of the “Sounds from the Southern Ocean” research team, Hanshumaker took part in a two-phased project to observe sounds – and sights – of the seafloor in the Antarctic Bransfield Strait and Drake Passage in an effort to learn more about tectonic and volcanic activity at the bottom of the world. He posted same-day reports of the adventure on his blog, Sounds From the Southern Ocean.

OMSI’s Science Pub is an informal get-together where you can interact with experts and where there’s no such thing as a silly question. No scientific background is required – just curiosity, a sense of humor, and an appetite for food, drinks, and knowledge. While the Science Pub is intended for adults, minors are welcomed at Bridgeport until 10 p.m. No reservations required (but the event has been drawing big crowds, so get there early!)
What: OMSI Science Pub, Sounds from the Southern Ocean
When: Monday, Nov. 26, 7 p.m.
Where: bridgeport brewpub + bakery, 1313 N.W. Marshall, Portland, OR
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OMSI Science Pub: Invasive Species in Oregon

The exotic plant in your garden, the unusual crab on the beach, the grasses choking a river or creek : If they aren’t from around here, they may be poised to wreak havoc with the local environment – and cost you and your neighbors money.

Oregon’s natural communities and the urban, suburban, rural communities we reside in are increasingly threatened by invasive species, a silent form of biological pollution that often goes undetected until it is too late to treat. Controlling invasive species and the problems they cause cost Oregonians tens of millions of dollars annually and over a billion dollars in the United States.

Sam Chan, Sea Grant Extension’s aquatic ecosystems health educator, will speak in Eugene on Aug. 9 as part of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s “Science Pub” series, which brings scientists and the public together in a casual pub environment to discuss developments in science and technology – while enjoying food and drinks. Adults only, no science background required.

What: OMSI Science Pub, The Invader in My Backyard: Invasive Species in Oregon
When: Thursday, Aug. 9, 7 p.m.
Where: Luna, 30 E. Broadway, Eugene
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