WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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State of Oregon’s near shore ocean and what’s causing changes – not all of them good.

The state of Oregon’s ocean and beach will be the theme as the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition holds its annual membership meeting on Nov. 7, 1:30-5 p.m. at Lincoln City’s The Eventuary (560 S.W. Fleet St.). A reception immediately follows, catered by culinary students from Taft High School. The event is free and open to all.

Bill Peterson and students.

Bill Peterson and students.
Courtesy photo

Oceanographer Bill Peterson will survey the State of Oregon’s Ocean, while marine ecologist Cynthia Trowbridge will match this with a talk on the State of the Beach.

Dr. Peterson’s presentation will consider the dramatic changes that have been observed recently in the marine environment, from the current El Nino, to the mysterious “Blob” occupying much of the northern Pacific, to ocean acidification, along with many other changes in the ocean, and the effects of these changes on everything from plankton and krill to Cassin’s auklets and sardines.

Bill Peterson, now based at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, obtained his Ph.D. at Oregon State University in Oceanography in 1980. He left the Pacific Northwest for 15 years to work as an Assistant Professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook (on Long Island) and at the University of Capetown as a Senior Research Officer. Dr. Peterson joined the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1990, and after stints at Monterey Bay and in Washington, D.C. (where he was in charge of a major climate change and fisheries program) he considered himself lucky to get transferred to Newport. His chief research interest is to study the effects of climate variability and change on zooplankton and pelagic fish populations (particularly juvenile salmonids) in the Northern California Current region. But his talk at the annual meeting will take a wide view of the striking and perhaps troubling changes we are seeing in the Pacific Northwest’s nearshore ocean, and the global ocean beyond.

Changes being observed near and far out to sea.

Changes being observed near and far out to sea.
Ken Gagne photo

Cynthia Trowbridge will present a tour of typical findings in the driftline (sometimes called the wrack line) along Oregon’s shores, with special emphasis on many of the unusual phenomena observed this year on Oregon beaches: salps, tunicates, by-the-wind sailors, the Cassin’s auklet die-off, and much more. Dr. Trowbridge, whose PhD is also from Oregon State University, is an expert in many aspects of intertidal ecology, including invasive species. She has done research in nine countries, and currently teaches at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology when not on research expeditions. She is very generous with her time in providing public education about marine ecology through Oregon Shores’ CoastWatch program and other education organizations.

Between the main presentations, there will be short talks on Oregon Shores’ wide-ranging program activities, touching on everything from land use and water quality issues to marine debris and sea stars. (The brief official portion of the annual membership meeting will be held at 1:30. Only Oregon Shores members can vote, but visitors are welcome to sit in during this brief board election and approval of the treasurer’s report.)

For more information about the Oregon Shores annual meeting, contact Phillip Johnson, Oregon Shores’ executive director, at (503) 754-9303, phillip@oregonshores.org.

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