The Start of a Summer Researching the Ocean from the Comfort of My Own Home


My name is Yalin Li, I am a recent graduate from the University of Oregon and I am working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) this summer. The project I’m working on focused on researching ocean acidification and hypoxia (OAH) on our coastal species with a focus on the effects of hypoxia, and it affects our coastal communities. It’s nearing the end of week 2 of my time as a Summer Scholar, yet I have already learned and participated in so much in my short time working.

View of all my house plants keeping me company during my long hours at my desk

Oregon was one of the first places to be impacted by ocean acidification and OAH is unique in Oregon as it is driven by the natural process of upwelling that occurs along the Oregon coast. The OAH Council was created to guide Oregon on how to combat this issue of the rising intensity of ocean acidification and hypoxia as it threatens the security and resilience of Oregon’s fisheries, communities, and ecosystem. They created and released an OAH Action plan that acts as a roadmap to address and mitigate OAH with many of the actions being focused around public awareness. 

My main contribution to this project is the creation of an ocean hypoxia infographic to relaying the information from scientific studies to various audiences. I am currently in the process of conducting a comprehensive literature search and reviewing scientific papers to pull out relevant information to put on the infographic. This inforgraphic will show people how the species they care about are being impacted by OAH, and highlight where gaps in knowledge are, so we know what studies need to be conducted to fill in those gaps. In doing so, I will be supporting ODFW’s overall mission to “protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations.” Alongside the infographic, I will be participating in various meetings with my mentor Liz Perotti, such as the Pacific Coast Collaborative and Tillamook Bay Clam Advisory Committee (TBCAC) meetings, and aiding in the creation of other pieces of outreach material. 

By participating in the OAH project, I am helping in spreading awareness of the impact of OAH condensing down the current pool of knowledge to make it accessible to managers, legislatures, and the public. This is right in line with the Oregon Sea Grant mission to promote discovery, understanding, and resilience for Oregon coastal communities and ecosystems to achieve their vision of thriving coastal communities and ecosystems here in Oregon. With more support and hands working on this topic, the quicker we can adapt and protect our oceans from OAH so that we and the future generations can continue to use and enjoy Oregon’s thriving coastal communities and ecosystems.

Subtidal collection of clams by the SEACOR Team at Tillamook Bay (source: Tillamook Bay Clam Advisory Committee)

While I might not be able to actively work at the coast this summer, I’m so excited to be part of such an amazing project and can’t wait to see it all come together! ~Yalin 🦑

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