SeaFest combines fun, learning at HMSC

HMSC SeaFest

NEWPORT  – Hands-on activities, displays, food and fun for the whole family come together on June 27 in the seventh annual SeaFest at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center.

The day-long event, starting at 10 a.m.,  offers visitors a chance to go behind the scenes to see the labs and meet the scientists who study marine life, explore the bottom of the sea, and track whales across the world’s oceans.

A wide range of exhibitors, food vendors, live music, and activities for kids are all part of the annual event. Visitors can watch the Hatfield center’s resident giant Pacific octopus, “Amigo,”  devour a live crab during the noontime feeding, or get their hands wet inspecting sea stars, anemones, fish and sea urchins in the touch pools that simulate the rocky intertidal zone.

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Oregon Sea Grant fellow studies effects of jellyfish off Oregon coast

lanayafitzgerald2The numbers of jellyfish in the Pacific Ocean have been increasing dramatically over the past few years, and scientists are concerned. Why? Because jellyfish eat certain fish larvae—which not only reduces the numbers of those fish but puts jellyfish in direct competition with other predators. Further, jellyfish can thrive in low-oxygen (hypoxic) waters, giving them an added advantage for survival.

Oregon State University (OSU) student Lanaya Fitzgerald, a fellow in Oregon Sea Grant’s Undergraduate Marine Research Fellowship Program, has been conducting research to determine the effects of one particular species of jellyfish—the sea nettle—on fish larvae off the Oregon coast. Her research indicates that sea nettles do, indeed, have a voracious appetite for several commercially important fish species, including Pacific cod, Pacific tomcod, and walleye pollock.

Fitzgerald’s work with jellyfish began in 2008, when she participated in a National Science Foundation-sponsored program called “Research Experience for Undergraduates” at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC), with mentors Ric Brodeur and Tom Hurst of NOAA. Co-mentor Bill Hanshumaker of HMSC helped supervise her Sea Grant fellowship. In early May of this year, Fitzgerald presented a poster highlighting some of the results of her research at OSU’s “Celebrating Undergraduate Excellence” symposium (see photo). On Saturday, June 27, her work will come full circle with a presentation (including some live jellyfish and fish larvae) at HMSC’s annual Seafest, in Newport, Oregon.

For more information, contact Ms. Fitzgerald at

Oregon Sea Grant’s “Oregon Coast Quests” featured in magazine

“Some call it a treasure hunt, but Quest coordinator Cait Goodwin, a marine educator with Oregon Sea Grant at ocmagcovermayjune09Newport’s Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC), is quick to point out that the Quest Box at the end is not a treasure chest.”

So writes Julie Howard, Oregon Sea Grant program assistant, in the May/June 2009 edition of Oregon Coast magazine. Her article, “Oregon Coast Quests,” explains what Quests are and where to find them, and describes the experience of going on an actual Quest.

For more information about Oregon Coast Quests, call 541-867-0100 or visit the program’s Web site.

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
More information

Oregon-China connection: Free presentation at the HMSC

Chinese laborers set out into coastal mangrove forests (Photo by Sam Chan)NEWPORT – Sea Grant Extension’s Sam Chan and Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Ed Jahn team up on Monday, Aug. 20 for “Scenes of a Changing Coastal China: How Oregon and China are connected through a desire to control invasive plants and animals,” a presentation that starts at 12:30 p.m. in the Hatfield Marine Science Center’s Hennings Auditorium.

The presentation is based on a recent trip Chan led to China’s Fujien Province, where he and other invasive species and natural resource education and communications specialists from Oregon, Washington, and Florida got a first-hand look at how the Chinese are dealing with invasive marine grasses that threaten vital coastal mangrove forests.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

Follow the clues to coastal adventure and learning

Part treasure hunt, part family game, part exploration of the natural and cultural wonders of the Central Oregon Coast: That’s Oregon Coast Quests, a new, self-guided adventure game that’s fun for visitors and residents alike.

Modeled after letterboxing and geocaching – increasingly popular pastimes in which participants use maps, clues and even GPS units to find caches hidden in the countryside – Oregon Coast Quests challenges participants to follow a map and find a series of clues designed to help them locate a hidden box of surprises — and have fun learning about the central Oregon Coast while they play.

Kids’ poster contest: Ocean and climate

Kids from kindergarten through 12th grade are invited to enter our children’s poster contest as part of SeaFest, the summer marine festival and open house at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, on Oregon’s central coast

Young artists are invited to enter hand-drawn posters reflecting one of four age/theme categories about the ocean and our changing climate. The contest is sponsored by the HMSC, Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

The deadline for entering is June 8; winning posters will be awarded prizes, and will be displayed at the science center during this year’s SeaFest on Saturday, June 23.

Read the contest rules
Visit the SeaFest site

Beach safety videos free, on-line

The Oregon coast can be a risky place if you’re not used to it – especially if your idea of “beach” involves splashing around in warm, shallow water and gentle waves. Learn how to avoid some of the biggest threats – treacherous rip currents that can sweep swimmers out to sea, and massive logs that can get tossed like toothpicks by the surf – with on-line versions of from our new video, Beach Safety Basics. (Flash player required)
View these and other video clips here.

Summer 2007 marine science day camps for kids

It’s not too early to sign your child up for this summer’s marine science day camps at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. The four-day, age-appropriate summer camps on the Central Oregon coast are designed for youngsters 8-12 and 13-17 and cover a variety of marine-science topics. Hands-on classes and outdoor field adventures cover topics ranging from marine biology to geologic processes, marine mammals and oceanography. Classes and field trips are led by experienced educators from Oregon Sea Grant’s marine education program.

Registration fees range from $120-$140, and cover all instructional materials, field-trip transportation and a camp T-shirt. Lunches are not included.

Our day camps are extremely popular and fill fast – register early to assure your child a place!