CORVALLIS – Research on the worldwide decline in coral reefs will take center stage at the Corvallis Science Pub on Monday, May 9.
Rebecca Vega-Thurber investigates the microbial ecology of reefs in the Red Sea, the Caribbean and the Pacific and will describe what she has learned about how microbes influence reef health.
“Coral species differ in their susceptibility to bleaching and disease, but these differences are only partially explained by the evolutionary history of corals,” said Vega-Thurber, an assistant professor of microbiology at Oregon State University.
Science Pub is free and open to the public. It begins at 6 p.m. at the Old World Deli, 341 S.W. Second St. in Corvallis.
Laurie Weitkamp, a fisheries biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will discuss the consequences of Pacific Ocean warming at the Corvallis Science Pub on Monday, March 14
Weitkamp, of NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Newport, specializes in the estuarine and marine ecology of Pacific salmon and the factors that affect their survival.
Science Pub is free and open to the public. It begins at 6 p.m. at the Old World Deli, 341 S.W. 2nd St., in Corvallis. The events are sponsored by OSU’s Terra magazine, the Downtown Corvallis Association and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
In the spring of 2014, a body of water several degrees warmer than the surrounding ocean appeared in the Pacific off the Oregon coast. A year later, one of the largest El Niños in recorded history began forming at the equator and has been changing weather around the world.
Weitkamp will describe these two phenomena and their physical effects at sea and on land in the Pacific Northwest. She will also highlight the many changes observed in marine ecosystems from Alaska to Mexico during the last year.
It’s been called the “evil twin” of climate change. As the oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and surface waters become more acidic, changes to marine ecosystems are likely to follow. Coral reefs, shell-forming organisms and the fish and marine mammals that depend on them are at risk.
At the May 11 Corvallis Science Pub, George Waldbusser will describe what scientists know about the biological effects of ocean acidification. The Science Pub presentation is free and open to the public. It begins at 6 p.m. at the Old World Deli, 341 S.W. 2nd St. in Corvallis.
On average, the oceans are about 30 percent more acidic today than they were a century ago, and impacts are already being seen along the West Coast. Waldbusser and his students have turned their attention to the region’s oyster industry, which had $73 million in sales in 2009.
Oyster larvae are sensitive to acidification and Waldbusser, an assistant professor in Oregon State’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, is working to understand why.
“With larval oysters, what we see are developmental issues,” he said. “From the time eggs are fertilized, Pacific oyster larvae will precipitate roughly 90 percent of their body weight as a calcium carbonate shell within 48 hours.”
His research has been supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Oregon Sea Grant and other agencies.
CORVALLIS – The effects of global climate change and associated threats to the oceans are the topic for the May 12 edition of Science Pub Corvallis, presented at the Majestic Theatre, 115 SW 2nd St., from 6-8 pm. Admission to the public talk is free.
Andrew Thurber, a post-doctoral fellow in Oregon State University’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (CEOAS), will lead the discussion in an informal presentation where questions are welcomed.
The Earth’s oceans face multiple climate-related stresses: warming temperatures, low oxygen, acidification and a lack of biological productivity. As marine ecosystems respond, the consequences could be felt directly by about 2 billion people whose lives depend on ocean fisheries and other resources. Those are among the results reported by an international team of 29 scientists who studied the influence of climate change on marine systems from the poles to the Equator.
Thurber, who holds a Ph.D from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, helped to conceive the study and was a co-author of the report that appeared in October 2013 in the journal PLOS Biology. “What is really sobering about these findings is that they don’t even include other impacts to the world’s oceans such as sea level rise, pollution, over-fishing, and increasing storm intensity and frequency,” he says. “All of these could compound the problem significantly.”
Thurber will discuss the study and actions needed to avert the most significant changes. His research focuses on deep-sea ecosystems, particularly the role of invertebrates in recycling nutrients and sequestering carbon. He has conducted experiments under seasonal sea ice in Antarctica and explored communities that live around methane seeps near New Zealand and Costa Rica.
Science Pub Corvallis is sponsored by OSU’s TERRA magazine
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