West Coast Sea Grant programs seek social science research proposals

Social scientists interested in ocean and coastal issues are invited to submit proposals to a new Sea Grant call for coordinated, regional  research efforts that bring together researchers up and down the West Coast to address specific social science issues of regional priority.

Subject to available funding, the four West Coast Sea Grant programs – Oregon, Washington, California and the University of Southern California – intend to make a total of $700,000 available collectively at the regional level over two years to fund projects. In addition, the National Sea Grant Office may augment available state program funds. Given these funding limits, the programs anticipate being able to fund between two and four regional projects for the 2012-2014 biennium.

Projects will be selected though an open, competitive peer-review process. Letters of intent are due by Feb. 22, 2011, and full proposals by May 15.

Proposals must be submitted through Washington Sea Grant. Researchers are required to contact their state Sea Grant program directors to discuss ideas and linkages before submitting a letter of intent. Oregon researchers should contact Oregon Sea Grant director Stephen Brandt at stephen.brandt@oregonstate.edu, or 541-737-2714.

Read more and download the full RFP in .pdf format.

New video: Preparing for Coastal Climate Change

Climate change carries with it both risk and uncertainty, which makes it a challenge to discuss and an even greater challenge to prepare for. Oregon Sea Grant has joined the climate conversation by listening to coastal residents and trying to address their most pressing questions, with the assistance of topical experts.

Questions addressed by Preparing for Coastal Climate Change include:
• What’s the difference between weather and climate?
• What tools are used?
• How can scientists make claims about what the climate will be like 100 years from now if they can’t always reliably predict the weather just a few days from now?
• How is climate change related to storms, El Niño, and rising sea levels?
• What are some likely erosion effects we can expect to see as a result of these changes?
• What do “dead zones” have to do with climate change?
• How might increased levels of carbon dioxide affect sea life?
• How will storms and flooding affect the landscape in the coming years?
• What is government’s role in helping coastal communities prepare for and respond to climate change?
• What provisions are there for shoreline protective structures?

For additional resources about the changing climate, its local effects, and other coastal issues, visit seagrant.oregonstate.edu

Read more

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OSG scholar writes about wave energy, law

Former Oregon Sea Grant scholar Holly V. Campbell has an article exploring the legal implications of wave energy development in the winter 2010 issue of the Sea Grant Law & Policy Journal, published by the National Sea Grant Law Center at the University of Mississippi.

Campbell’s article, “A Rising Tide: Wave Energy in the United States and Scotland,” compares and contrasts the two countries’ legal policy and permitting environments for the development of  wave energy, an emerging renewable energy technology that uses the power of ocean waves and to generate electricity.

The journal, and Campbell’s article, are available online at  http://nsglc.olemiss.edu/SGLPJ/SGLPJ.htm

Campbell, a PhD candidate in environmental science at Oregon State University’s College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, holds law degrees from the University of Oregon and the University of Utah.

In 2007, she was among Oregon Sea Grant’s Legislative Fellows, graduate students assigned to work with coastal lawmakers and learn about marine policy-making. She has also worked with Sea Grant Extension sociologist Flaxen D. Conway on a grant-funded project, “The Human Dimensions of Wave Energy,” where her assignment was to examine the legal and institutional framework surrounding wave energy development. And she has assisted Michael Harte, head of OSU’s Marine Resource Management program and Sea Grant’s climate change specialist, on several projects.

Read more about the Sea Grant Scholars program for graduate and undergraduate students.

Oregon Sea Grant publication seeks to prevent the spread of New Zealand mudsnails

NZ-Mudsnails-2010-coverThe New Zealand mudsnail is an introduced aquatic species that has invaded estuaries, lakes, rivers, and streams in Washington, Oregon, California, and many other states in the western U.S. Its small size (<5 mm), cryptic coloration, and ability to survive out of water for weeks make it an ideal hitchhiker.

New Zealand Mudsnails is a guide for  field detection and for treating field gear to prevent the spread of these aquatic invaders. It is intended for researchers, monitoring crews, watershed survey groups, and anyone else who travels frequently between aquatic or riparian locations.

The brochure is free of charge for the first 10 copies, and 50¢ each thereafter. To order, please call 541-737-4849 or e-mail sea.grant.communications@oregonstate.edu. You may also download a printable PDF of the brochure from http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/sgpubs/onlinepubs.html

New publication reveals perceptions and opinions of climate change


A new publication from Oregon Sea Grant, An Analysis of a Survey of Oregon Coast Decision Makers Regarding Climate Change, reveals that

• most people are concerned about climate change and how it may affect the Oregon coast
• the most frequently cited risks associated with effects of climate change on the Oregon coast involved physical processes such as sea-level rise and erosion
• few are ready now to respond to climate change
• people would be willing to take action in work if there were compelling information, new funding, and a sense of local urgency
• coastal professionals have needs for assistance regarding climate change, particularly credible, relevant information to provide the public
• coastal professionals have low amounts of information on climate change topics they consider important for the performance of their work

You can order this 20-page publication (color cover, B&W insides) for $3.50 plus shipping and handling by calling 541-737-4849 or e-mailing sea.grant.communications@oregonstate.edu. You may also download it from http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/sgpubs/onlinepubs.html#socialsci

Scholar urges change in renewable energy approach

Maria StefanovichPolicymakers would do well to change their approach to “selling” renewable energy by focusing on more than  just the potential environmental good.

So writes Maria Stefanovich, Oregon Sea Grant Malouf Scholar, in an editorial in a recent issue  of Sea Technology Magazine.

Stefanovich cites an Oregon  energy policy survey by researchers at OSU that found strongest support for wave energy development among conservative,  “human values”-centered males – a group not conventionally viewed  as friendly to  “green” projects.

Instead of focusing entirely on the environmental benefits of renewable energy, Stefanovich writes,  “policymakers may be more effective in getting the public to adopt renewable energy more quickly if they leverage the public’s economic bias and stress the socioeconomic benefits that wave energy could provide.”

A native of Bulgaria with degrees in Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations from the Affiliated Institution of the University of Sheffield in Greece, and   in Business Administration and Southeast European Studies the American University in Bulgaria, Stefanovich came to Oregon State University in 2007 to pursue a PhD in Environmental Science.

She is the 2009 recipient of Sea Grant’s Robert E. Malouf Marine Studies Scholarship.

Read Stefanovich’s editorial in Sea Technology.

Podcast features Nobel economics winner

Elinor OstromCongratulations to Elinor Ostrom, the Indiana University political scientist who is one of two recipients of this year’s Nobel Prize for economics.

Ostrom, known for her work on the management of common resources, is the first woman to win a Nobel in economics.

A year ago, Dr. Ostrom sat down with Oregon Sea Grant’s Joe Cone to talk about the challenges of communicating about climate change. The two-part interview, in which she discusses system-based approaches to thinking and talking about the resilience of social and economic systems, is available on our Communicating Climate Change podcast. The episode also includes a link to her 2007 National Academy of Sciences article, “A diagnostic approach for going beyond panaceas.”

Ostrom is among several leading social scientists interviewed for the podcast over the past year and a half.