JCC Posters & Abstracts

Oregon State University

Climate change impacts include all parts of the environment, with the oceans as no exception. Food from the sea has been historically impacted environmentally and economically, by means of abuse to biodiversity, poor international and national management practices, and overharvesting. Impacts from human-induced climate change have caused further concerns, such as redistribution of species from tropical to mid-latitude regions. This puts strain on local and global seafood markets, causing most turmoil in areas that utilize seafood as their prominent protein food source, such as the tropical regions. Though current international and national policies include sustainability and economic changes, climatic impacts are changing the oceans too quickly to adapt. The need for solutions, such as starting on a local level, changes in current policies and economics, improving aquaculture, and multidisciplinary teamwork are critical for seafood security in the changing oceans. Through literature review, discussed here is what seafood security means for local and global populations; how the impacts of climate change have affected the oceans and species used for food; and how current policies need to be adjusted for future solutions. The greatest changes need to occur in a proper adaptation plan that discuss how seafood security will change because of climatic impacts and how to adapt to these changes.
This project is focused on reducing stream and surface runoff energy through wetland resonance enhancement. The study site is located within a small intermittent stream basin in the Willamette Valley where unchallenged runoff from the wetland flows to the catchments main channel. The main channel is subject to high erosion due to excessive surface runoff, especially during high precipitation events. One way to reduce flows into the main channel is by enhancing function of the present wetland within the basin. This can be done through the implementation of retainment structures but these actions require proper analysis. Planning and analysis is completed through ArcGIS Pro’s spatial capabilities to create a landscape depression using focal statistics. By recognizing the depressions in the land, it can be evaluated how wetland flow direction can assist in determining sites to place retainment structures to increase basin resonance.

Monitoring amphibian populations by traditional methods of field surveys can be time and resource intensive as well as leaving gaps in the data. An alternative method of passive acoustic monitoring offers better data coverage, is non-invasive, and can be simple to set up and repeat. In this study, passive acoustic monitoring was used to study amphibians and their habitat soundscapes in the Hudson Valley of New York. Local frog and toad species have distinct mating calls, evident during the breeding season of spring and summer. Acoustic monitors were set up at 3 locations that differed in elevation, habitat, and distance from significant anthropogenic sounds. Recordings covered an hour before sunset to 0100L every night from 25 February, 2020 to 13 September 2020. Data was analyzed via spectrograms on both season-long and seconds-long time scales. Long term spectrograms were produced using R package Seewave and short-term spectrograms were analyzed using Raven Pro acoustic software. Species distribution results corresponded well with previous field studies at each location, demonstrating the viability of the passive acoustic method for monitoring local frog and toad populations. The site at the highest elevation did experience a delayed call onset early in the breeding season but little difference in call timing later. With the passive acoustic method tested, future work may include anthropogenic and insect influences on the amphibian soundscape and streamlined analysis processes
Organic waste is now receiving more and more attention, and much research is focusing on how to recycle organic waste and then convert it into energy chemicals and so on. In the past, the main method for organic waste was anaerobic digestion (AD), which can bring us methane-rich biogas. However, researchers have found that intermediate fermentation compounds produced during AD have high market value. Medium-chain carboxylic acids (MCCAs) are the main products of interest. They are carboxylic acids with 6 to 12 carbon atoms. MCCAs can be converted into bulk fuels through various biological and chemical processes. My research is mainly about the anaerobic digestion of acidic whey waste produced in the cheese production process, adding different chemicals to analyze the performance of MCCA production under different conditions.
The purpose of this project is to characterize the metagenome of the Los Angeles River. In this genetic diversity study, markers will be evaluated for bacteria, plants, fungi, fish, and invertebrates. Various quantitative methods for detecting and depicting diversity of environmental samples will be utilized and compared in R. The methods include Unweighted Unifrac distances for PERMANOVA and Principal Coordinate Analysis in Ranacapa, and other methods based on a Euclidean distance matrix inclusing Chi square standardized heatmapping, Neighbor Joining and UPGMA hiercharical clustering. The study uses PCA (principal components analysis) with PAM (partitioning around medoids) clustering, and compares the results to reveal community structure between sampling sites and identify important taxa. The variation encompassed by the LA River is a resource to the community. This is one of the first attempts to characterize the metagenome of the LA River, revealing variation, connectedness, and spatial heterogeneity.
Hydrogen is an effective energy carrier because of its outstanding properties and features. For instance, when consumed in a fuel cell, it produces only water, electricity, and heat, not generating greenhouse gas. Nevertheless, significant hydrogen is currently produced from fossil fuels, especially natural gas. Microbial Electrolysis Cells (MECs) is alternative technology of hydrogen production. It converts organic matter to hydrogen through a bioelectrochemical reaction without generating harmful substances. However, MECs don’t consistently produce hydrogen as hydrogen inhibitors exist in MECs and consume hydrogen while making hydrogen production-consumption loop. As one of the prevention methods, an electric shock was created and applied for MECs to generate specific substances that prevent the hydrogen inhibitors. The applied electric shock (7.0 voltage and 2 minutes) successfully hindered methanogens and homoacetogens generation in MECs and contribute to hydrogen production.
There is growing interest in improving climate science education as a way to address the issue of climate change. In the United States, climate change remains a controversial and commonly misunderstood topic, despite scientific consensus about its causes and effects. This misunderstanding raises questions about how the climate change is taught in classrooms and how to improve climate literacy among teachers and students. One solution is to implement new climate curriculum. This study will evaluate climate science curricula for best practices, including quality of the curriculum and accuracy of the science, and alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards, a national set of standards used for teaching science in K-12 classrooms. Anticipated results of this study include providing recommendations for effective climate curriculum and development.
One day, I saw Paul’s TED talk showed that although humans want to restore forests and expand the forest area, more trees have been burned due to improper restoration methods. Various studies have shown the relationship between humans and the reduction of forest area, but isn’t it that as long as humans live around the forest, the forest area will decrease? In order to study the impact of these three factors on the forest area, I used Google Earth Pro to compare the changes in forest area, population, human activity area, and river distribution between 1992 and 2001. The forest area data comes from the National Landcover dataset (NLCD), and the population data comes from the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). The river distribution data comes from USGS. These data can be downloaded from the USGS website and run through google earth pro. From these data, it can be found that the forests close to the human activity area have been reduced in area. As the population increased, the forest area also decreased. At the same time, forests far away from human activities have not been reduced in the area. It can be confirmed that human activities have a certain impact on the forest area. It also proves that the reduction of forest area is not directly related to the distribution of rivers. At first, I thought that the distribution of rivers could hinder people from going to the forest and hinder people from carrying trees. However, it seems that the distribution of rivers has no effect on deforestation.
Environmental identity and worldview are critical to promoting environmental stewardship and science learning. Yet, both remain understudied. This study targets adolescences to museums from three cultural groups (Americans, Brazilians, and the Taiwanese) to test what factors shape environmental identity as well as worldview and explore how these shape learning experiences regarding critical environmental issues in free-choice learning settings. Identity and worldview are analyzed by survey using existing scales, while engagement and learning will be analyzed through qualitative approaches such as personal meaning mapping (PMM) and in-depth interviews. The focus is on how identities and worldviews affect future actions (e.g., learning experiences, willingness to learn, decision making, etc.) and cognitive development.
For content, this project focuses on local marine issues that affect many coastal economies and ecologies especially those that are abstract concepts and have only become widely recognized in the past decade, such as ocean acidification and marine food security (e.g., seafood watch). A challenge to these issues’ communication is that they are usually both irrelevant and intangible, making these issues an excellent model for communication of complex, even controversial, science.
My poster talks about different marine issues learning in museums in several ways and could facilitate VSA participants to brainstorm how we could improve science communication regarding complex environmental issues (i.e., climate change, OA, and even Covid-19). Additionally, the methodology provides an opportunity to think about how to take advantage of innovative technologies to perform museum studies. Due to the pandemic and the need for cross-cultural approach, most data (including both survey and PMM) will be collected remotely using traditional and innovative virtual platforms. An ongoing challenge for discussion is how to provide authentic experiences for participants to learn science in the virtual museum or exhibition as part of the research and how to account for this in the analysis. And this is what I hope to receive from my poster discussion and to think about every possible approach to promote the learning advantage from free-choice learning settings.
Environmental regulations are extremely important towards the long term sustainability of ecosystems and environments throughout the United States. Certain states, such as California, have taken on a much harsher stance and have implemented increasingly complex regulations to better protect these crucial environments. Keeping up with the ever changing regulations is a challenge, especially for those who work in competitive and dynamic markets such as the automotive. While a difficult task, it is extremely necessary within this industry to be up to date on all regulations, both new and old, as this industry deals with the shipping, handling, and consumption of hazardous waste on a daily basis. This project aims at identifying the benefits risk management services can provide to the automotive industry. This will be done through collecting data from new California based automotive clients. Data will include number of issues identified, number of issues fixed, number of trainings performed and overall compliance scores. Likewise, annual subscription costs will be compared with potential regulatory fines to determine the extent, if any, risk management services can provide. While data collection is ongoing and analysis has yet to be performed, early results and observations indicate a clear need and benefit of adding risk management services to the automotive industry.
This project examines the intersection of private lands conservation, through the legal mechanism of conservation easements (CEs), with climate change in the Pacific NW. The key issue is the increasing conflict between the legal requirement that CEs be perpetual and last forever, and the effects of climate change that could make them impossible to maintain. Ultimately, this research will be a resource for the professionals involved in executing and managing an easement, like attorneys and property assessors, and landowners who want to establish a CE. Relatively few attorneys who practice estate or tax law understand the implications of climate change, and they might not be able to give good advice to their clients because they don’t know the risks. By using a few simple models of climate change online, like the Climate Explorer, everyone should be able to get a basic idea of possible future conditions like higher temperatures. On the other hand, conservation professionals and land trust staff need to understand a CE or other property transfer as a binding legal agreement, and not promise more than they can deliver. This collaboration brings together two highly technical issues with specialist groups that usually don’t overlap to find solutions to this dilemma. We all benefit from CEs that are perpetual and legally binding, that can access funding and tax benefits, but that can also be part of the adaptation and mitigation strategy for the Pacific Northwest as we brace for the impacts of climate change.
In effort to mitigate the loss of avifauna in North America, a greater understanding of local species response to population limiting factors is necessary. To better understand the effects that fire has on both the habitat characteristics that avian species are associated with, and to understand the responses that avian species have to fire disturbances, an observational study of Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius) in the Mt. Washington Wilderness area was created. By collecting vegetation data and songbird species presence data in regions that had recently experienced a fire disturbance and regions that had not experienced a fire disturbance, we are able to gain a better understanding of the effects that fires have on the habitat elements that Varied Thrush require to survive in the western Cascades. This can lead to the implementation of management practices that will benefit local populations of Varied Thrushes as climate change continues to affect the size and severity of fire disturbances in the western Cascades.

Portland State University

University of Oregon

According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, over 200,000,000 people in the United States visit accredited facilities every year. More people than attend professional football, basketball, hockey, and baseball games combined every year. This level of attendance provides a unique opportunity to reach a broad audience and engage them in conversations about the ocean and climate change. Zoos and aquariums are generally trusted sources, so people may be more receptive to taking in new information about typically challenging or politically charged topics. By changing how we talk about climate change, we can change what people hear. By utilizing evidence-based communication strategies, we can deliver climate change education in a way that is accessible, empowering, and, most importantly, hopeful. For my terminal project, I will be researching ocean and climate change communication best practices and utilizing my findings to write an interpretive training guide for education volunteers at The Marine Mammal Center.
Apocalyptic narratives and visual language crop up in response to anxieties about crises. As threats of climate change, continued species loss, ecological degradation, and pervasive toxicity all circulate both discursively and materially, apocalypse returns as a cultural touchstone for interpreting the “Anthropocene.” In this context, what does the uptake of apocalypse represent for settler colonial spaces, such as the U.S.? Could this reliance on apocalyptic motifs signify what Tuck and Yang (2012) have referred to as a settler move to innocence? Scholars such as Kyle Whyte have intervened in apocalyptic discourse surrounding environmental degradation, contending that indigenous relationships to climate change begin with a post-apocalyptic reality. How have Indigenous artists and scholars taken up or reclaimed apocalypse to portray settler colonial violence? Beyond apocalypse, how might other cosmological frameworks interpret these events (both settler colonialism in the historical sense and ongoing settler colonial violence and environmental injustice)? Through these questions, I hope to complicate the concept of apocalypse and examine both its usefulness and its limitations.
The relationship between the United States and Mexico has always been close, if troubled, owing both to their geographical proximity and the imperialist subordination imposed upon Mexico by the United States. Since the 1990s, Mexican food has ranked among the most popular ethnic cuisines in the country, second only to Chinese food. At the same time, the very heritage ingredients, recipes, and populations upon which Mexican cuisine in the US rely have been threatened by renewed US imperialism in Mexico in the last few decades. The North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994 and its successor, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade of 2018, created the largest free trade area in the world, generating enormous benefits for the US economy, while in Mexico, the poverty level remains the same as it was pre-1994, unemployment has risen, and the exposure to competition from heavily subsidized US agricultural commodities has put nearly two million small-scale Mexican farmers out of work. Concurrently, the United States/Mexico border has been increasingly militarized by US Border Patrol, creating violent futurities for the migrants who cross it.
In the face of such existential threats to personal and cultural resilience, the presence and popularity of Mexican food in the United States takes on new meaning. Rather than an assimilation to US American tastes, the production and consumption of Mexican food embodies a continuity of culture, especially Indigenous foodways for Mexican-heritage communities. The continued consumption of corn and beans in Mexican foodways, in particular, as a form of nutritional sustenance and cultural heritage, is notable in conjunction with increased exposure to industrialized American diets. This is especially true in far-flung regions of the US, such as the Pacific Northwest, that are geographically dispersed from the border zone and do not benefit from the presence of large Latino communities, as exist elsewhere in the United States, especially the American Southwest. This under-investigated segment of the diaspora, coupled with historical legacy and collective experience, introduces a unique site for inquiry into Mexican food as decolonial praxis.
The intersections of identity, place, and space are essential to the process of expression. My master’s terminal project is a five-year strategic plan and vision for Fernland Studios.

Fernland Studios is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on reimagining environmentalism through art and education. Our mission is to increase opportunities for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) to explore environmentalism through artist residencies, educational retreats, and writing workshops.

Our vision is to deconstruct how we work within environmentalism, provide space for people to express themselves through art, create opportunities for non-white people to take up space and foster equitable creative placemaking in the Pacific Northwest.
My research sits at the intersections of critical race theory and creative placemaking, with tendrils connecting to critical environmental justice, geography, and integrative art. I am studying how art, including storytelling, is used as a healing agent for communities and landscapes.

I will explore this idea with action research developed by testimonial gathering from program participants and content analysis of similar organizations in the Pacific Northwest. I am using this information to establish Fernland Studios, as I see my research centered at the crosssections of care.
Global nutrient budgets have been drastically altered since the onset of mass fossil fuel and industrial fertilizer use. This anthropogenic change has introduced nutrients at levels unseen to many systems causing co-limitation mechanisms in plant communities to no longer operate in the same way; resource-acquisitive species are outcompeting resource-conservative species. Recognizing how top-down and bottom-up mechanisms co-produce plant community composition is important for understanding the full extent of this one manifestation of anthropogenic change. In many grassland systems, plant community response to top-down disturbance by large mammal herbivores is generally well understood. In contrast, insect herbivore” especially in
natural systems” is far less understood, one of the reasons for this being that the effects of insect herbivores across grasslands are inconsistent. To elucidate a grassland plant community’s response to bottom-up nutrient enrichment and top-down insect herbivory, we will manipulate nutrient conditions and the presence of insects in a montane meadow system at H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Blue River, Oregon.