OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

marine science and the coast

AAAS and Oregon State University announce 2016 Fellows

WASHINGTON D.C.— Three Oregon State University professors have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

The OSU honorees are: Peter Clark, a distinguished professor of geosciences in the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences; Alan Mix, a professor of geological oceanography in CEOAS; and Michael A. Osborne, a professor of history of science in the College of Liberal Arts.  

Clark and Mix were selected as part of the section geology and geography. Clark was elected for his seminal contributions toward understanding linkages among climate, ice sheets, and sea level over the past 100,000 years.

Mix was elected for distinguished contributions to the field of paleoceanography and paleoclimatology, particularly for improvement of proxy applications and understanding of the Quaternary ocean and climate dynamics.

Osborne was selected as part of the history and philosophy of science section. He was elected for distinguished contributions to the fields of the history of science and medicine with particular attention to the role of French colonialism and natural history.

This year 391 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The Fellows will be formally announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science Nov. 25.

New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on Feb. 18, 2017, during the 2017 AAAS annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the Association’s 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members or by the AAAS chief executive officer.

Fellows must have been continuous members of AAAS for four years by the end of the calendar year in which they are elected. Each steering group reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and a final list is forwarded to the AAAS Council, which votes on the aggregate list.

 


 

About the American Association for the Advancement of Science: AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science (www.sciencemag.org) as well as Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances, Science Immunology, and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes nearly 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. The non-profit AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert! (www.eurekalert.org), the premier science news website, a service of AAAS. See www.aaas.org.

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Nkongho Beteck, 202-326-6434, nbeteck@aaas.org

Public meeting on design of OSU’s Marine Studies Building to be held Nov. 17

NEWPORT, Ore. – Oregon State University will host an informational meeting and open house on Thursday, Nov. 17, to present the schedule and design process for the interior of the new Marine Studies Building in Newport.

The building is a key component of OSU’s Marine Studies Initiative (MSI). It will support marine studies research, education, and outreach and engagement conducted by OSU.

The event will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the auditorium at the Hatfield Marine Science Center Visitor Center, 2030 S.E. Marine Science Drive, Newport. The presentation will be led by Bob Cowen, director of the Hatfield Marine Science Center, and Bob Zimmerman of YGH Architects. The architect’s presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

OSU is planning the construction of the Marine Studies Building, an approximate 85,000-square-foot facility within the Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) campus. The building is expected to include:

  • Classrooms and teaching labs
  • Flexible, state-of-the-art research labs
  • Faculty offices
  • Facilities for visiting faculty and scholars
  • Meeting rooms open to the greater HMSC and Newport community
  • Vertical evacuation features

In addition to the opportunity to be a world-class research and teaching facility, the Marine Studies Building will demonstrate leading seismic and tsunami-resistant building design and campus improvements.

In deciding the location of the building, OSU President Edward J. Ray has required that the building will be designed, engineered and constructed so that it will:

  • Survive an associated tsunami resulting from a catastrophic natural event, such as a Cascadia Subduction Zone event,
  • Be repairable following an L-level tsunami,
  • Be built to provide a safe and accessible, vertical rooftop evacuation site alternative for those with impaired mobility in the event of an XXL-level tsunami,
  • Fully serve the Hatfield Marine Science Center campus by preferred horizontal evacuation systems.

The building will exceed current and soon to be updated national American Society of Certified Engineering standards for buildings in inundation zones.

Source: 

Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

‘State of the Coast’ conference set for Oct. 29

GLENEDEN BEACH, Ore. – Registration has opened for Oregon Sea Grant’s annual State of the Coast conference, which will be held Oct. 29 at the Salishan Spa and Golf Resort.

The event is designed to bring together the public, scientists, business and community leaders, fishermen, resource managers, teachers, students and conservationists so they can learn about current marine research and issues facing the coast. There are fees for attendance.

The keynote speaker will be Emmy-winning Michael Bendixen, a videographer and editor with Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Oregon Field Guide. Bendixen, who has worked with Oregon Sea Grant, has spent his career focusing on communicating science through art. He’ll talk about how he learns the science, crafts a story and produces a video.

Presentations will include the following topics:

  • an update on coastal legislation
  • what’s happening with wave energy
  • how and why the changing oceans are being monitored
  • the 50th anniversary of Oregon’s beach bill
  • innovations in coastal planning
  • harmful algal blooms
  • innovative approaches to engage youth in marine science, industry and issues in their communities
  • the effect of ocean oddities on fish ecology, such as “The Blob,” a huge patch of unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean

Additionally, students from various universities in Oregon, including Oregon State University, will talk about their coastal research. Also, cooking demonstrations will teach participants how to prepare various types of seafood.

Registration in advance is recommended as space is limited. Cost is $35 for the public and $25 for students and includes lunch and a reception. Doors open at 8 a.m. and the conference starts at 9 a.m. For more information and to register, visit www.stateofthecoast.com. Salishan is at Gleneden Beach, about five miles south of Lincoln City.

Source: 

Flaxen Conway, 541-737-1339, fconway@coas.oregonstate.edu; Jamie Doyle, 541-572-5263, Jamie.Doyle@oregonstate.edu

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Sara Shaw Roberts, a former master’s student at Oregon State University, talks about her research at the 2015 State of the Coast Conference in Coos Bay. (Photo by Anne Farrell-Matthews)
2015 State of the Coast


Marie Kowalski, a former master’s student at Oregon State University, talks about her research on mitigating microplastics at the 2015 State of the Coast Conference in Coos Bay. (Photo by Anne Farrell-Matthews)

2015 State of the Coast

Tours available on OSU research vessel to dock in Portland at end of STEM cruise

NEWPORT, Ore. – For three days this week, Oregon high school students and teachers are joining scientists at Oregon State University aboard the research vessel Oceanus to gain at-sea research experience off the Oregon coast as part of a project to enhance their STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math skills.

This Friday, the young scientists and their professional partners will journey up the Columbia River aboard the R/V Oceanus and dock at Riverplace Marina in Portland, where they will spend the weekend doing a series of activities, including tours for K-12 students and the public.

The public tours will be held from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17. Space is limited and advance registration is required. For more information or to register for a tour, visit: http://bit.ly/2bTKyQ0.

The project is a collaborative effort from Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, which serves educators, students and communities along the Oregon coast and is located at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. The students and high school teachers participating in the cruise are from Bandon, North Bend, Waldport, Newport and Warrenton.

“This is an opportunity for Oregon high school students and teachers to work with marine researchers and really dig into investigative scientific methods,” said Tracy Crews, marine education manager for Oregon Sea Grant. “It also provides an opportunity for graduate students to work as mentors with these young students alongside top scientists addressing some very real issues facing our oceans.”

Leigh Torres, a principal investigator with OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute, will serve as chief scientist on the cruise, which will include line transect surveys for marine mammals and seabirds off the Oregon coast.

“We will record where and when we observe different species assemblages of marine mammals and seabirds off the Oregon coast, and link this data with habitat and prey data collected during the cruise,” Torres said. “This will demonstrate the patchiness of ocean resources and how species are distributed differently relative to their particular needs.”

“We’re really hoping that this hands-on experience will trigger interest in STEM and enthusiasm for working on environmental challenges,” added Stacia Fletcher, director for the Oregon Coast STEM Hub.

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Tracy Crews, 541-867-0329, tracy.crews@oregonstate.edu

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Research vessel Oceanus; photos by Pat Kight

R/V Oceanus

Oceanus004PK

Oregon State to issue proposal request for project to build research vessels

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will issue a request for proposals, or RFP on Monday, Aug. 15, for a project to construct up to three advanced regional class research vessels to help replenish the aging United States academic fleet.

OSU will implement a two-stage “best value procurement process” for selecting a single shipyard in the United States to construct the vessels, which allows the university to evaluate proposals on qualitative factors in addition to cost factors. The deadline for submitting the first stage of proposals is Sept. 29 of this year.

In January 2013, the National Science Foundation selected OSU as the lead institution to finalize the design and coordinate the construction of a vessel – and possibly up to two more – a project considered crucial to modernizing the country’s marine science research capabilities.

These “regional class research vessels” are designed for studying coastal waters out to beyond the continental rise as part of the U.S. academic fleet that is available to all ocean scientists conducting federal- and state-funded research and educational programs.

The entire RFP will be available online beginning Aug. 15.

The two-stage process will begin with technical proposals due Sept. 29, which will include but not be limited to descriptions of facilities, construction history, business history, financial capabilities, management practices, engineering and component subcontracting (including naming single-source vendors), and a schedule to construct the vessel, according to Demian Bailey, Oregon State’s former marine superintendent and a co-leader on the project.

The university will identify the shipyards best qualified for the project in the first stage and invite them to participate in the second stage of the RFP. Shipyards selected for this second stage will then submit an in-depth cost proposal due in early February. Final selection of a shipyard is anticipated to take place in April 2017. Delivery of the first ship, which will be operated by Oregon State University, is expected in fall of 2020.

Additional ships would likely be designated for the U.S. East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, if funded by NSF with congressional appropriations and approval by the president. NSF would competitively select operators for those vessels, possibly in 2018.

Although similar in size, the new ships will differ greatly from R/V Oceanus, built in 1975 and operated by OSU, and its sister ships, R/V Endeavor, operated by the University of Rhode Island, and R/V Wecoma (retired), said Clare Reimers, a professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences and project co-leader.

“This class of ships will enable researchers to work much more safely and efficiently at sea because of better handling and stability, more capacity for instrumentation and less noise,” Reimers said. “The design also has numerous ‘green’ features, including an optimized hull form, waste heat recovery, LED lighting, and variable speed power generation.”

The design of the ships was done by The Glosten Associates, a naval architecture firm based in Seattle.The research vessels will be 193 feet in length, with a range greater than 5,000 nautical miles. Cruising speed is 11 knots with a maximum speed of 12.5 knots, and there are 16 berths for scientists and 13 for crew members.

More information about the project is available at: http://ceoas.oregonstate.edu/ships/rcrv/

 

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Demian Bailey, 541-737-0460

dbailey@coas.oregonstate.edu

Comprehensive report of world’s transboundary water basins finds hotspots of risk

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Environmental stresses including climate change and population growth will have an enormous impact on the world’s waterways that cross international borders, a new report concludes, but economic development may have consequences just as far-reaching.

The United Nations Environmental Group has just completed the most comprehensive assessment of the world’s 286 transboundary river basins yet attempted and identified “hotspots” where geopolitical risks are projected to increase in the next 15 to 30 years.

“The proliferation of dams and diversion of water from countries that are upstream from other nations that are dependent on that water is of growing concern,” said Aaron Wolf, an internationally recognized water treaty expert from Oregon State University, who was involved in creating the report. “There simply isn’t enough water to go around.”

These transboundary river basins and other waterways span 151 countries and include more than 40 percent of the world’s population and land area. The analysis, “Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme,” was a collaborative effort between eight international organizations and research institutes and Oregon State University.

Among the areas considered hotspots, the report concludes, are the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin.

The Tigris-Euphrates river basins are the focus of much of the stress in the Middle East, Wolf pointed out. Turkey is building dams upstream, which could reduce water previously used by Iraq and Syria. Political destabilization and the control of some dams by ISIS further complicates the issue.

“It is a blueprint for trouble,” Wolf said, “when a country upstream wants to build a dam and has no agreement with the country or countries downstream.”

Central Asia became a hotspot after the breakup of the Soviet Union, which once controlled the water in the region. In recent years, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have developed plans to construct dams that would reduce water now being used for irrigation downstream in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Increasing use of water from Central Asian river has resulted in the lowering of the Aral Sea, and increased dangers from toxic waste deposits.

The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin has a similar issue, which is repeating itself through the Chinese Himalayas, said Wolf, who is a professor in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.

“China has massive energy requirements and has been very active in building dams as they try to wean themselves off coal,” Wolf said. “Water is being impacted on many of the rivers in the Himalayas in one form or another and 1.5 billion people downstream rely on it. In some of the delta, as the rivers drop, salt water intrudes and further destabilizes the environment.”

The Nile basin faces similar issues, Wolf noted.

Not all of the troubled areas are because of political issues, the OSU researcher pointed out. The southwestern United States and northern Mexico rely almost solely on the Colorado River and the Rio Grande for water.

“We have great agreements with Mexico,” Wolf said. “But there’s just not a lot of water there. And climate change may make it worse.”

Many of these hotspots have been known about for some time, but the baseline data in the assessment combined with the first comprehensive look at the impact of multiple stressors may allow policy-makers to get ahead of the curve before disaster strikes, Wolf said.

“From a geopolitical standpoint, if you can identify places where things have the potential to blow up before people realize it, you can jump-start the conversation and begin what we call “preventive diplomacy,’” Wolf noted. “Imagine if we could have had such a conversation about the Klamath River basin in Oregon before the drought of 2001.”

One area of potential trouble, Wolf said, is in the Salween basin, where water from China may be dammed before it can get to Myanmar and Thailand. “All three countries have development plans for the region,” he said, “and none of them are compatible.”

The Helmand and Harirud basins, shared by Afghanistan and Iran, also have the potential for flare-up, Wolf said.

“The U.S. wants Afghanistan to develop its economy and become more independent, but Iran downstream also wants that water and has tenuous relations with us. We hope that the information in this report will provide early warning so appropriate actions can be taken to prevent escalating tensions.”

The report is available online at http://twap-rivers.org/

Partners in the assessment include the Center for Environmental Systems Research, Germany; Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University; City University of New York, Delta Alliance; International Union for the Conservation of Nature; International Geosphere-Biosphere Program; Oregon State University; Stockholm International Water Institute; and the United Nations Environment Program-DHI Partnership.

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Aaron Wolf, 541-737-2722, wolfa@geo.oregonstate.edu

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Fish traps at the site of a proposed dam on the Mekong River at the border between Laos and Cambodia. This photo is available at: https://flic.kr/p/FMkr5H 
















dam
A micro-hydro facillty on the Salween River in Yunnan Province, China, along a stretch of river slated for large dam development.

 

OSU’s Hatfield Center to host Marine Science Day on April 9

NEWPORT, Ore. – Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center will open its doors to the public on Saturday, April 9, for its annual Marine Science Day, when visitors will have an opportunity to visit laboratories behind-the-scenes, connect with scientists, and learn more about emerging oceanographic technologies and current marine research.

The free event also features hands-on exhibits and opportunities to talk to scientists from OSU and several federal and state agencies that have operations at the Newport center. It runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the center, located southeast of the Highway 101 bridge over Yaquina Bay. 

The science to be shared with the public includes talks, exhibits or information on:

  • The Ocean Observatories Initiative, which includes high-tech underwater sensors, platforms and robots, recently deployed in the Endurance Array off the coast of Newport;
  • Aquaculture including oysters and a newly-developed variety of dulse, a seaweed that when cooked tastes like bacon;
  • Whale and seal research by the internationally-known Marine Mammal Institute; and
  • A behind-the-scenes look at the Visitor Center’s animal husbandry program and a chance to meet the aquarists, hosted by Oregon Sea Grant and Oregon Coast Community College

A lecture at 2:30 p.m. by oceanographers Bill Peterson of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Jack Barth of OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences will look at the past, present and future technologies of ocean observing. The talk will be in the Hennings Auditorium. 

“Marine Science Day will highlight the rich history and emerging technologies around ocean observing,” Barth said. “With a long-standing legacy of off-shore research, OSU is ushering in a new era of oceanography centered around the Endurance Array now in operation off the coast of Oregon. Visitors will have a unique opportunity to learn about the diverse ways scientists observe the ocean.”

Visitors may also learn about the progress of OSU’s Marine Studies Initiative, which seeks to host 500 students-in-residence in Newport by 2025. Fundraising is well under way for the new teaching and research facility in Newport. 

“Marine Science Day offers a great opportunity to understand why we are so excited about bringing the Marine Studies Initiative here,” said Hatfield Center Director Bob Cowen. “The hands-on experiences for students are remarkable.” 

Multimedia exhibits will include a new film on the challenges of ocean acidification; undersea exploration of fisheries, volcanoes and marine mammals using video and acoustics; and fascinating images of microscopic plankton by the Plankton Portal program. 

A public feeding of the octopus Montgomery will take place at 1 p.m. in the Visitor Center and special activities for children and families can be found throughout the event.

More information on the event is available at: http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/marinescienceday/

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Maryann Bozza, 541-867-0234, maryann.bozza@oregonstate.edu

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Visitors gather at the octopus tank during a previous Marine Science Day

Octopus

Ocean-observing equipment and technology

ocean observing

Injuries among Dungeness crab fishermen examined

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Commercial Dungeness crab fishing on the West Coast is one of the highest risk occupations in the United States, based on fatality rates. But non-fatal injuries in the fishery appear to go largely unreported, a new study from Oregon State University shows.

While the fatality rates in the Dungeness crab fleet have been reported in the past, the incidence of non-fatal injuries have not been previously studied, said Laurel Kincl, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health and safety in the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

“The commercial Dungeness fishing fleet, which operates along the coast of Oregon, Washington and Northern California, is a vital economic commodity,” she said. “Injuries can be life-threatening and life-altering, leading to disability, decreased quality of life and lost wages.”

Understanding the type and nature of fatalities and injuries, including describing and categorizing the types of injuries, is the first step in identifying safety issues and pinpointing areas for prevention, she said.

Kincl and a team of researchers examined 12 years of death and injury data, and found that 28 people died while commercially fishing for Dungeness crab from 2002-2014. In that same period, 45 injuries were reported to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The fatality rate among Dungeness crab fishermen is several times higher than the national rate for commercial fishing. But the injury rate among Dungeness fishermen is much lower than injury rates in other commercial fishing fleets that have been studied.

“Fatal injuries are tracked in a national system, but non-fatal injuries are not,” Kincl said. “We knew there was likely underreporting, but we had no idea how low the injury numbers were until now.”

The findings, published in the latest issue of the journal International Maritime Health, are the first step to better understanding fishing injuries among Dungeness crab fishermen. The research is part of an OSU-led research project to identify and reduce the risks of injuries in the industry, Kincl said.

The Fishermen Led Injury Prevention Program, or FLIPP, is designed to take a new approach to fishing industry injury prevention by working with commercial Dungeness crab fishermen to identify and reduce injury risks. The project is supported by a three-year, $825,000 grant from the National Institutes for Occupational Safety and Health. Kincl is the principal investigator.

The lead author of the paper, Samantha Case, is a researcher in the NIOSH office in Alaska. Other co-authors are OSU Associate Professor Viktor Bovbjerg; OSU doctoral student Laura Syron and Devin Lucas, who earned his doctorate at OSU and works at NIOSH.

The researchers found that the majority of the fatalities, about 71 percent, occurred during vessel disasters, such as boats capsizing or sinking. The other deaths were the result of a fisherman drowning or falling overboard. Fractures were the most commonly reported injury, at 40 percent, followed by hypothermia, lacerations and digit amputations.

Working with Oregon Sea Grant and community researchers in local fishing communities, Kincl and her colleagues are meeting with focus groups of fishermen and surveying fishing crews along the Pacific coast to learn more about safety and injuries in the industry.

“No one has ever gone up and down the coast and learned from the fishermen,” Kincl said. “What are they doing to stay safe? Are there things that can be improved? How can we share that information among the various crews?”

By the end of the project, researchers plan to come up with and test several interventions that could help reduce injuries among crab fishermen.

“We want to identify some things that might work, but we don’t want to tell them what to do,” Kincl said. “We want to let them decide what would be most helpful.”

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Laurel Kincl, 541-737-1445, Laurel.kincl@oregonstate.edu

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Crab pots on the Oregon Coast

 

Public Health and Sea Grant

Researcher Laurel Kincl

Laurel Kincl Lab

Low-oxygen ‘dead zones’ in North Pacific linked to past ocean-warming events

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new study has found a link between abrupt ocean warming at the end of the last ice age and the sudden onset of low-oxygen, or hypoxic conditions that led to vast marine dead zones.

Results of the study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, are being published this week in the journal Nature.

Large-scale warming events about 14,700 and again 11,500 years ago occurred rapidly and triggered loss of oxygen in the North Pacific, raising concern that low-oxygen areas will expand again as the ocean warms in the future. Anomalous warmth occurring recently in the Northeastern Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea – dubbed “The Blob” – is of a scale similar to the events documented in the geologic record, the researchers say. If such warming is sustained, oxygen loss becomes more likely.

Although many scientists believe that a series of low-oxygen “dead zones” in the Pacific Ocean off Oregon and Washington during the last decade may be caused by ocean warming, evidence confirming that link has been sparse.

However, the new study found a clear connection between two prehistoric intervals of abrupt ocean warming that ended the last ice age with an increase in the flux of marine plankton sinking to the seafloor, ultimately leading to a sudden onset of low-oxygen conditions, or hypoxia.

“Our study reveals a strong link between ocean warming, loss of oxygen, and an ecological shift to favor diatom production,” said lead author Summer Praetorius, who conducted the research as part of her doctoral studies at Oregon State University and is now a postdoctoral researcher at Carnegie Institution for Science.

“During each warming event, the transition to hypoxia occurred abruptly and persisted for about 1,000 years, suggesting a feedback that sustained or amplified hypoxia.” Praetorius added.

Warmer water, by itself, is not sufficient to cause diatom blooms, nor hypoxia, the researchers note. Just as warming soda pop loses its fizzy gas, warmer seawater contains less dissolved oxygen, and this can start the oxygen decline. But it isn’t until there is accelerated blooming of microscopic diatoms – which have large shells and tend to sink more efficiently than other smaller types of plankton – that deoxygenation is amplified.

Diatoms are known to thrive in warm, stratified water, but they also require sources of nutrients and iron, according to Alan Mix, a professor in Oregon State’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences and co-author on the Nature study.

Surface warming also reduces upward mixing of nutrients from the deep sea. “So there are some competing effects,” Mix said, “and the final story depends on which effect wins.”

“The high-latitude North Pacific is rich in the common nutrients such as nitrate and phosphate, but it is poor in iron and this seems to be the key,” Mix said. “A partial loss of oxygen causes a chemical reaction that releases iron previously trapped in continental margin sediments – and this iron then fuels the diatoms, which bloom, die, and sink toward the seafloor, consuming oxygen along the way.”

The concern is just how rapid the ocean can respond, the researchers say.

“Many people have assumed that climate change impacts will be gradual and predictable,” Mix said, “but this study shows that the ecological consequences of climate change can be massive and can occur pretty fast, with little warning.”

Because the competing effects of mixing and iron may happen on different timescales, the exact sequence of events may be confusing.  On the scale of a few years, mixing may win, but on the scale of decades to centuries, the bigger effects kick into gear.  The geologic record studied by Praetorius and colleagues emphasized these longer scales.

The new discovery was the result of a decades-long effort by numerous researchers at Oregon State to collect marine sediment cores from the North Pacific, creating comprehensive, high-resolution records of climate change in the region. The temperature records come from trace quantities of organic molecules, called biomarkers, produced by plankton. This method of temperature sensing from sedimentary records was developed and tested by Fred Prahl, a professor emeritus at OSU.

“We tested many different strategies for reconstructing past temperature and looked at the imperfections of the geologic record, but these temperature records emerged as the most precise available,” Prahl said.

In addition to “The Blob” – the unusually warm ocean temperatures seen across the North Pacific – this year has seen a record-breaking algal bloom dominated by a certain species of diatom, Praetorius noted.

“While it’s too soon to know how this event ties into the long-term climate patterns that will emerge in the future, the current conditions seem eerily reminiscent of the past conditions that gave way to extended periods of hypoxia,” she said.

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Summer Praetorius, 510-648-5027, spraetorius@carnegiescience.edu; Alan Mix, 541-737-5212, mix@ceoas.oregonstate.edu

Two OSU faculty receive prestigious ‘early career’ awards

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Two Oregon State University faculty members have received prestigious early career awards from national entities. 

Both are in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.

Emily Shroyer received a 2015 Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research. An expert in the physics of oceans and atmospheres, Shroyer received the award for her proposal to study the small-scale processes that control the movement and mixing of heat and fresh water within the ocean. Her work investigates “internal waves” that propagate beneath the ocean’s surface, redistributing energy and mass.

“Waves beneath the ocean's surface can break and mix water very effectively. They can transport mass, plankton, and larvae from one region to another. And, the large fluctuations in temperature that accompany these waves alter sound propagation through the local environment,” Shroyer said.

Angelicque “Angel” White has been named a 2015 recipient of the Ocean Sciences Early Career Award, which she will receive this December at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. White, an ocean ecologist and biogeochemist, was cited for her contribution to the understanding of the relationship between microbial communities and surrounding seawater.

“Understanding the biological and physical relationships in the ocean is a daunting challenge,” White said. “We dunk bottles in the ocean, we send little drones into the seas, we tether moorings and launch drifters, we scan the surface with satellites, yet in the end, we see so very little of this immense, moving, alive and fluid ocean.”

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Abby Metzger, 541-737-3295, ametzger@coas.oregonstate.edu