OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

marine science and the coast

Summer HMSC visitors can keep in daily touch with research

NEWPORT - Summer visitors to Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center can take part in the latest research at sea.

The center is a major ocean science facility for the university and its sprawling campus at Newport's South Beach area covers more than 200,000 square feet. It is home to 11 federal, state and other agencies sharing space with five OSU programs. The Visitor Center is HMSC's window to the world, a 10,000-square-foot display area where people can learn about how science works and what it has taught us about the ocean. Admission to the visitor center is free, with a donation requested.

The centerpiece of this summer's activities is OceanQuest, according to Bill Hanshumaker, marine education specialist at the center. OceanQuest is a connection between ongoing marine research and the HMSC Visitor Center. Beginning July 1, there will be a presentation about what's going on at sea based on the most current data posted daily from the research vessel at sea. The hourlong programs begin at 1:30 p.m. and will be offered seven days a week.

"It's as current as we can make it," Hanshumaker said. "It will focus on the researcher, the research vessel, the scientific question, the equipment, and how they're going to answer that question."

At the end of the summer, Hanshumaker will switch places, going from the Henning Auditorium to the R/V Thompson, which is studying ocean vents. Hanshumaker will send digital pictures of research each day, as scientists explore Oregon's undersea volcanoes and geothermal vents through Sept. 10.

Also at the Visitor Center this summer will be free daily guided walking tours of the Yaquina Bay estuary. The HMSC manages 250 acres of estuary habitat. The daily walking tour begins every day at 11 a.m. and will last about an hour. It will cover a paved, wheelchair accessible path. Topics will include plants, the mudflats, birds and other wildlife, and how the center staff manages them.

The Visitor Center also features touch tanks featuring live sea and tidepool animals, including an octopus, and an interactive ROPOS exhibit. ROPOS, the Remotely Operated Platform for Science, is an undersea vehicle used to explore the ocean's depths. The exhibit simulates a ROPOS dive, with the operator sitting at a console with a joystick, watching videos shot at the bottom of the ocean through interactive computer software.

The HMSC Visitor Center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, including the Fourth of July.

Source: 

Bill Hanshumaker, 541-867-0167

OSU researcher receives Heinz Award for the Environment

CORVALLIS - Jane Lubchenco, a professor at Oregon State University and one of the nation's leading marine biologists, has received the eighth annual $250,000 Heinz Award for the Environment, recognizing her studies on marine ecosystems and pioneering efforts to bridge the gaps between science and public policy.

Only six Heinz Awards, which are among the largest individual achievement prizes in the world, are given each year to national leaders in selected fields. The use of the funds is unrestricted, but Lubchenco said she plans to use it to support student education and research.

Lubchenco is the Wayne and Gladys Valley Professor of Marine Biology at OSU, a past president of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Ecological Society of America, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. She has worked with everyone from political and business leaders to environmental and religious groups, and even the president of the United States, on issues of marine conservation, biodiversity, climate change and other key environmental and scientific issues.

As an internationally recognized scientist, Lubchenco has testified about the impact of human activities on the Earth, its atmosphere, land and oceans. She is also a crusader for the communication of scientific findings to the public and policy makers, so that more people understand the difficult environmental issues the world faces and decision makers are better able to craft important environmental policies that have a solid foundation in science.

"Dr. Jane Lubchenco has been one of the most passionate voices raised in defense of the environment," said Teresa Heinz, chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation that made this award. "Here in the 21st century, as we face the possibility of drastic ecological change for the nation and the world, Dr. Lubchenco's work is more important than ever."

Among other accomplishments, Lubchenco has led efforts to establish marine reserves that preserve ocean habitats, helped encourage aquaculture to become more environmentally sustainable, and championed environmentally responsible energy practices and policies. Her innovative studies on intertidal and nearshore communities revealed both the complexity and fragile nature of marine ecosystems. In the political arena she worked to create more support for interdisciplinary research programs that cut across traditional scientific boundaries, and she has sought major increases in funding for environmental studies through the National Science Foundation.

When she began her tenure as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, perhaps the nation's most prestigious organization of science professionals, Lubchenco called for a "social contract" between scientists and the public.

It was essential, she said, that researchers tackle and help develop solution to the many global environmental problems facing the world. But beyond that, Lubchenco said scientists should communicate their findings more broadly and effectively, moving past the confines of professional conferences and academic journals, and share their knowledge directly with those making decisions about the environment.

Towards that end, Lubchenco co-founded in 1998 the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program, which trains some of the nation's leading scientists in how to communicate more effectively with the general public, government and agency leaders, and even individual citizens. Scientists who have participated in this program, including several from OSU, are now sharing their expertise on such topics as global climate change, infectious diseases, biotechnology, fisheries, agriculture, plant ecology, the greenhouse effect, stream ecosystems, nutrient pollution, sustainability and many other areas.

"It used to be that a scientist who was speaking out in public was criticized and even vilified by his or her colleagues for a variety of reasons," Lubchenco has said. "But many scientists now see what they have to offer the world in terms of better information about a wide variety of environmental topics."

The Heinz Awards are named after U.S. Sen. John Heinz of Pennsylvania, who died in 1991. The first awards were given in 1994, and are made in some of the areas in which Sen. Heinz was most active, including the environment; human condition; public policy; arts and humanities; and technology, the economy and employment.

Lubchenco said she plans to use the award to expand opportunities for talented students to learn about ocean protection and restoration.

"The funds will enable them to have more opportunities to do research, to improve our scientific understanding of ocean ecosystems, and to learn to share this information with diverse groups of people," Lubchenco said. "More and more students are expressing a keen interest in marine conservation and science policy, and the award will enhance the range of opportunities available to them."

Lubchenco, who received her doctorate in 1975 from Harvard University, has been on the OSU faculty since 1976. She was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1992, and has received six honorary degrees, the most recent one from Princeton University.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Kas Maglaris, 212-843-8056

Multimedia Downloads
Multimedia: 

Jane Lubchenco
Jane Lubchenco

Project to extract DNA from extinct sea otters

CORVALLIS - A project to extract DNA from the remains of animals that died hundreds, or even thousands of years ago has been awarded $10,802 in funding from Oregon Sea Grant.

Deborah Duffield and Virginia Butler, both professors at Portland State University, were notified this month that they had received the program development funds for their project, which seeks to extract and analyze the DNA from bones of sea otters found in ancient middens along the Oregon coast.

While the subject sounds sufficiently exotic to be a science fiction novel, the project is one part of an effort with a very serious goal: to reintroduce to the Oregon coast a species that was hunted to the edge of extinction during a 200-year span from the early 1700s to the 1900s.

The last Oregon sea otter was killed in 1906. The 1911 Fur Seal Treaty signed by Russia, Japan, Britain and the United States and a 1913 federal law in the United States effectively ended the harvest of the sea otter, but by that time the species was extinct in Oregon and Washington, and clinging to survival in California and Alaska.

An attempt to reintroduce sea otters in Oregon was launched in 1970, but was not successful. Thirty-one sea otters were taken from a site in Alaska and deposited on the Oregon coast near Port Orford. The next year 64 more were added to the population that survived the first year, but the colony did not last. Researchers from Oregon State University, including Ron Jameson, monitored the animals. According to Jameson, who retired from OSU in January, it was never clear exactly why the colony did not survive.

"It's one of those situations where we just don't have any evidence supporting any particular hypothesis. They produced pups, there was no huge immediate post release mortality. Suddenly, around 1975 or so, the numbers started to drop off and they effectively disappeared," he said.

Some of the animals may have moved north and joined the translocated colony in Washington, but it's difficult to say even that with any certainty, Jameson said.

"One of the things we did that was different than what we do today with translocated populations, we didn't have any kind of radio telemetry devices. Those animals weren't even tagged," he said.

"You can move sea otters to wherever you want, but they're going to choose where they want to stay," he said.

The effort to relocate sea otters to Washington's Olympic Peninsula bore better results; the otters survived and are now flourishing, growing from 59 in 1970 to more than 600 today.

In the intervening years, biologists and anthropologists argued whether the Alaska and California sea otter were the same species or genetically distinct cousins. In recent years, genetic studies support the idea that they are related but distinct subspecies. That being the case, supporters hope that finding which subspecies more closely resembles the extinct Oregon otters would result in a more successful attempt to reintroduce the animal to the state's coastal waters.

That is the aim of the project Duffield, a biologist at PSU, and Butler, an anthropologist, received funding for. Their research will focus on samples of sea otter bones and teeth found in Indian middens along the Oregon coast. The samples, mostly provided by Oregon State University anthropologist Roberta Hall, have been dated in a range from 200 to 2,000 years old.

"When there's been a coastal culture that has been using the sea otter as part of its food source and source of fur, there will often be good sized pieces of skeletal remains in the middens," Duffield said. "We have 18 really good ones, definitely sea otter."

Advances in DNA technology have made the work straightforward, if painstaking. "The technology for ancient DNA has just grown and grown in the last few years," Duffield said.

The researchers take a clean sample, "crack it or crush it," (in the case of this project the material will be frozen in liquid nitrogen and crushed,) then extract and purify the DNA.

Working with such old samples, it is difficult to extract complete DNA strands, Duffield said. But it is not necessary to have the entire sequence. Scientists can identify specific points of difference in the genes of existing California and Alaskan sea otters, and it is these markers that will be the focus of comparison with the DNA extracted from the long-dead Oregon samples.

PSU grad student Kim Valentine will perform the lab work.

Duffield agreed that the idea of extracting DNA from an extinct species smacked just a little of "Jurassic Park," the Michael Crichton novel in which DNA was extracted to allow the cloning of dinosaurs. But no one is talking about cloning the Oregon sea otter. Researchers just want to know which existing subspecies most closely resembles the extinct Oregon variety.

There is also one other important difference between science fiction and the real science she will be doing on the sea otter. "Luckily, they are much smaller" than Crichton's dinosaurs, she said with a laugh.

Source: 

Deborah Duffield, 503-725-4078

OSU alumni are invited to spend a weekend at the coast

CORVALLIS - Oregon State University alumni and supporters are invited to spend a weekend in Newport July 25-27 learning about whales, mystery writing, and getting a behind-the-scenes peek at the Hatfield Marine Science Center.

The weekend package begins with a dinner at OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center on Friday, July 25. Following dinner, the staff will take participants for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the research OSU conducts at the center.

On Saturday, mystery writer Ron Lovell, a former professor of journalism and English at OSU, will discuss the art of mystery writing. Lovell's book, "Murder at Yaquina Head," was published last year. Lovell's talk will be followed by a tour of the Newport bay front and a private tour of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, where participants will learn about OSU's latest research at the lighthouse site.

OSU President Tim White will join the tour Saturday night for a beach barbecue at the Hallmark Resort.

At Sunday's farewell brunch, Bruce Mate, one of the world's leading whale researchers, will deliver a talk, "Traveling in the Mist of a Whale's Blow: Discovering their Mysterious Habits." Mate, known worldwide for his work using satellite technology to track whale migrations, has been featured on the Discovery Channel and other television networks.

The event is sponsored by the OSU Alumni Association. The cost is $100 for association members and $110 for non members. Children ages 6-12 are $50 and children under five are free. The cost includes all activities and meals except Saturday lunch. Lodging is not included. To register call the OSU Alumni Association at 877-305-3759 or go to http://alumni.oregonstate.edu/events/weekend.html.

Source: 

Scott Elmshauser, 541-737-8883

Marine plant life sensitive to nutrient changes

CORVALLIS - A new study shows that marine intertidal plant communities are far more sensitive than had been believed to changes in available nutrients such as nitrogen.

The research, just published by Karina Nielsen from Oregon State University in a professional journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that short- or long-term climate changes that affect coastal upwelling, in addition to over-fishing, could have a profound effect on near-shore plant life in the ocean.

It has long been known that upwelling currents, which bring nitrates and other nutrients to the near-surface of the ocean, were a key to the growth of tiny plants called phytoplankton, and most other fish in the marine food change which ultimately depend on these phytoplankton.

"Until now, however, people thought that most open-coast seaweed communities weren't really limited by nutrient availability, especially not on wave-swept shores where coastal upwelling occurs," said Karina Nielsen, an OSU postdoctoral research associate with the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans, or PISCO.

"My experiments showed that there are areas along the open-coast where seaweed communities are limited by nutrients and this changes how abundant and diverse they are, especially when animals that eat seaweeds are scarce," Neilsen said. "Knowing what causes these differences along the coast shows us how changes in ocean climate and over-exploitation of marine animals can affect intertidal communities."

The findings may help scientists identify the best locations for highly productive marine reserves, Nielsen said, and may be of particular relevance to near-shore areas in the Pacific Northwest, which have some of the most abundant and diverse temperate seaweed ecosystems in the world.

In controlled experiments off the central Oregon coast, Nielsen manipulated 42 tide pools by placing small nutrient dispensers in them, releasing nitrates and phosphates, and reducing the abundance of snails, urchins and other invertebrates. The abundance of seaweeds increased up to 35 percent, shifting the whole structure of the community.

Scientists believe that changes in climate, ranging from long-term effects such as global warming to near-term effects such as the Pacific decadal oscillation, may create major changes in current movements and upwelling in many places. It's now clearer, Nielsen said, that such changes could have significant effects on marine plant life, as well as fisheries.

 

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Karina Nielsen, 541-737-8293

Pew panelist: Ocean policies haven't kept up with science

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Scientific knowledge about the oceans has increased tremendously in the last quarter century but U.S. policy for managing its territorial waters has lagged far behind the science, experts say, leading to resource depletion, pollution, habitat destruction and political polarization.

Recommendations by the Pew Oceans Commission released today (June 4) are the first step toward addressing the disparity between growing scientific knowledge and outdated national policies and practices, says Jane Lubchenco, an Oregon State University professor and one of the commission's lead scientists.

"What we know is not reflected in what we do," Lubchenco said. "We are facing historic reductions in what once was thought to be an endless bounty. It doesn't have to be that way. With more responsible, science-based stewardship, we can have sustainable, healthy and resilient ecosystems. But the framework for a coherent management plan has been missing."

One of the recommendations of the Pew Commission is the establishment of Regional Ecosystem Management Councils that would report to a new federal agency. Key components of the proposal call for regional decision-making and a management plan based on ecosystems, not individual species or narrow political jurisdictions.

Lubchenco said one of the obstacles to a sound ocean policy has been a piecemeal regulatory approach that reacts to crises instead of addressing management in a cohesive and precautionary manner.

"Recent scientific findings should be giving us a wakeup call," she said.

A scientific study reported last month in Nature determined that most of the oceans' large predator fish - including tuna, sharks, and other species - have been depleted by some 90 percent from their historic highs. Lubchenco points to other phenomena including increases in algal blooms, the proliferation of invasive species and coral bleaching events as oceanic equivalents to the canary in the coal mine.

Lubchenco said Pew Commission members held an extensive series of public hearings over three years throughout the U.S. and a common refrain was: "The ocean system is collapsing; please help fix it."

One of the problems, Lubchenco says, is that the nation hasn't taken a broad-spectrum approach to ocean management since the Stratton Commission in 1969 charted the way the country thought about our oceans.

Many worthwhile initiatives grew out of that commission, she added, including the creation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the implementation of the Coastal Zone Management Act and the passage of fisheries management legislation.

The commission's recommendations reflected the knowledge and attitude of the day.

"At the time, it was thought that our oceans were endlessly bountiful and infinitely resilient," Lubchenco said. "In those 30 years, we've discovered that neither is true."

Lubchenco said the area of the ocean over which the U.S. has jurisdiction encompasses an area 23 percent larger than the entire U.S. landmass - in large part because of Hawaii and Pacific territories. Yet its remoteness has led to an "out of sight, out of mind" mentality about management.

Science, common sense, and experience, she says, can help guide the nation toward sustainable ocean policies.

"Recent scientific knowledge emphasizes managing on an ecosystem basis," Lubchenco said. "A focus on single species has caused unintended problems because it ignores by-catch, invasive species, and pollution. Knowing how the pieces fit together enables smarter and less wasteful management."

"We have a wealth of information that is not being incorporated into policy and management."

Lubchenco is a principal investigator for the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans. PISCO, a program supported by a pair of five-year grants totaling $20 million from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, is studying the near-shore region of the Pacific Coast. OSU is one of four universities in the initiative, which Lubchenco says is a prototype for large-scale marine ecosystem-based research.

What she and other scientists are discovering is that the world's oceans are resilient enough to rebound if they are managed properly.

"The message is one we've learned from testing and studying marine reserves," she said, "and that is when you eliminate the destructive activities, the ocean can respond in bounteous fashion and recharge depleted areas outside the reserves. We simply need better stewardship."

If managed properly, Lubchenco says, the oceans can provide sustainable harvests of most seafood at rates well above what we have experienced over the last 20 years. "A key, though," she said, "is to acknowledge the primacy of protecting ocean ecosystems so they in turn can provide the bounty."

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Jane Lubchenco, 541-737-5337

Marine Science Center opens doors for second H.M.S. Seafest

NEWPORT - Coastal visitors are invited to dive into an ocean of discovery this summer when Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center hosts H.M.S. SeaFest 2003, a free daylong event of fun and educational activities for the family set for Saturday, June 21, in Newport.

The event will give the public an opportunity to look behind the scenes of one of the state's leading research and educational facilities. The OSU marine science center occupies more than 200,000 square feet on 49 acres, with an adjacent 250 acres of estuary habitat. Only about 10 percent of the facility - the Visitor Center - is typically open to the public.

It's a popular, free stop for visitors to the coast. But the displays only whet the appetite for a closer look at what goes on in the rest of the facility, where 11 federal, state and other agencies share office and lab space with five OSU programs.

Researchers at the facility study the marine world in all its depth and diversity. Fisheries, undersea volcanoes, marine mammals and the delicate interplay between ocean currents and weather are just a few of the many subjects studied here.

To satisfy that curiosity, the center staff offers H.M.S. SeaFest. The event is part open house, part festival, with plenty to interest visitors of all ages. The free event begins at 10 a.m. This year's activities will include:

  • Tours of the center's labs, the surrounding estuary, a skimmer that responds to oil spills, and the system that circulates thousands of gallons of seawater throughout the facility;
  • Lectures by leading scientists: The keynote address this year will be delivered by Jane Lubchenco, one of Oregon's most prominent scientist and an expert in marine ecology;
  • Children's activities, including crab races, art and coloring, and games;
  • Seafood demonstrations, and displays by recreational fishing and boating groups, local geologists and other community groups and agencies, and an art display;
  • A demonstration of a hovercraft, presented by the Environmental Protection Agency.

More information about H.M.S. SeaFest is available online at http://hmsc.orst.edu/visitor/hmsseafest.html. For accommodations related to disabilities, contact Terri Nogler at 541-867-0271 or send e-mail to terri.nogler@hmsc.orst.edu. The OSU center can be reached by taking the first exit south of the Yaquina Bay bridge.

 

Source: 

Pam Rogers, 541-867-0212

Book details new invader of Northwest waters

CORVALLIS - A book about alien invaders with hideous green claws and eyes on stalks, silently and insidiously moving in on the unsuspecting locals of some obscure backwater - must be a pulp science fiction novel, right?

Wrong. The new volume from Oregon Sea Grant tells the story of a real invader, one that is poised to cause serious trouble in the waters of the Pacific Northwest, just as it has in many other places around the world.

Oregon Sea Grant has published "Global Invader: The European Green Crab," by Sylvia Behrens Yamada. The 140-page book costs $15 and is available by writing to Sea Grant Communications, Oregon State University, 322 Kerr Administration Building, Corvallis, 97331-2131; calling 541-737-2716; faxing 541-737-7958; or sending e-mail to sea.grant.communications@orst.edu.

The European green crab, Carcinus maenus, well deserves its reputation as an international troublemaker. The crab is able to tolerate air exposure, starvation and wide ranges in temperature and salinity. It was introduced from Europe to the Atlantic coast of the U.S. almost 200 years ago and now ranges from Virginia to the southern shores of Canada's Prince Edward Island, resisting repeated efforts to eradicate it. It has spread from its European home to the southern tip of Africa, the shores of Australia and off the coast of Japan.

It was first discovered on the Pacific coast of the United States in 1989, near San Francisco Bay. It had established itself in the Pacific Northwest by 1998 and continues to spread.

Word of the European green crab's arrival in Northwest waters was troubling news to the region's fishers, ecologists, fishery managers and others. The invader is a voracious predator. It muscles out native crab species and makes it difficult for young bivalves, urchins and barnacles to establish themselves. Researchers fear that the green crab's growth in the Northwest will have serious ecological and economic effects.

Yamada's book describes the biology and life history of the European green crab, presents five case studies of green crab invasions and discusses the crab's ecological and economic impact on the Pacific Northwest. It includes line drawings and color plates of the European green crab as well as many native Northwest species for comparison.

Although directed at fishers, Extension agents, fishery managers and others who need to recognize green crabs in the course of their work, the book will also be of interest to researchers and others interested in invasive species and the Pacific Northwest coast.

Source: 

Sandy Ridlington, 541-737-0755

Multimedia Downloads
Multimedia: 

European Green Crab
European Green Crab

NOAA taps OSU as cooperative institute for satellite studies

CORVALLIS, Ore. - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has given a five-year grant of at least $2.5 million to Oregon State University to establish its first Cooperative Institute for Oceanographic Satellite Studies.

OSU's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences will administer the grant, which could expand to as much as nearly $21 million. COAS has become an international leader in the use of satellite technology to study the world's oceans, and its advanced computing network for marine research is one of the most sophisticated of its kind in the world.

The grant establishes a partnership between the university and NOAA to develop a wide-ranging research program that will help the federal agency improve its operations, according to Mark Abbott, dean of the OSU college.

"What the institute will do is allow our faculty to collaborate more closely with NOAA to create a focal point for satellite-based oceanographic research," Abbott said. "The use of satellites to study the oceans, coastlines and climate has tremendous potential, and we've only begun to scratch the surface of that research."

"We will be able to create an enormous baseline of data that will have implications for climate modeling and prediction, a better understanding of El Nino and La Nina influences, tsunami and storm research, and the impact of currents and erosion on the coast and coastal communities," he added.

Among the goals of the new Cooperative Institute for Oceanographic Satellite Studies (CIOSS):

  • Promote greater use of satellite oceanographic data in ocean and climate research projects;
  • Develop technology and techniques supporting the highest quality environmental prediction and assessment products;
  • Improve the use of satellite oceanographic data in environmental prediction models;
  • Promote the availability of satellite-derived environmental data and information through full and open access and exchange; and
  • Provide national and global leadership in civilian oceanography through the development of new satellite oceanographic sensors, applications and education.

Ultimately, the public will reap the benefits of the new cooperative institute through increased knowledge of the world's oceans and climates and how they interrelate, officials say.

"The goal of this institute is to help unlock some of the mysteries of the climate and ocean that will lead to better forecasting and monitoring products through increased use of data," said Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

OSU President Tim White emphasized the role of CIOSS in improving our understanding of coastal oceans. "This new institute will continue our long partnership with NOAA and bring the power of remote sensing to the study of our nation's coastal ocean and its links to the deep ocean and atmosphere," he said.

A division of NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service funds four other cooperative institutes in atmospheric sciences, but the program at OSU is the first with an emphasis on the coastal ocean.

Abbott said the initial focus of the institute's research would be the California Current system, which roughly parallels the West Coast of the United States within 500 miles of the coast and greatly influences the weather of a huge area.

"Some of the prediction models and products that we develop for that system will have applications to other coastal regions of the U.S. and the world," Abbott said.

The five-year grant will provide funds of at least $500,000 each year. However, additional proposals to NOAA could increase this amount to $5 million annually in the final four years of the grant. The grant is renewable for another six years, after which OSU will have the opportunity to compete again for the funding for another extended period.

The National Research Council has rated OSU's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences as one of the top five oceanographic institutions in the nation.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Mark Abbott, 541-737-5195

OSU appoints new director of Marine/Freshwater Biomedical Center

CORVALLIS - After serving for the past several years as deputy director, David Williams, professor of environmental and molecular toxicology, assumed directorship of the Oregon State University Marine/Freshwater Biomedical Sciences Center on Jan. 1.

Williams replaces George Bailey, who will remain with the center to concentrate on his research.

Bailey, distinguished professor of environmental and molecular toxicology, has been director of the center since its inception in 1985 following a $1.8 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Williams, who has been at the center since 1987, said he expects the center will continue to grow and develop new areas of research using aquatic models. He said there are nine principal investigators, 20 postdoctoral trainees, nine undergraduate and 34 graduate students currently associated with the center. Center investigators were successful in attracting more than $7 million dollars in extramural research funding in 2001 alone.

"Our goal is to identify productive avenues of research and develop new models in order to continue as leaders in the utilization of aquatic species in biomedical research," Williams said. "The center is extremely fortunate to have strong institutional support and close ties to other related programs, including the Environmental Health Sciences Center, The Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology and the Linus Pauling Institute".

Williams is in the process of moving into a newly renovated lab on the fourth floor of Weniger Hall on the OSU campus and the lab next door will be renovated for Bailey. The center's offices will also move to the fourth floor of Weniger Hall.

The center will continue to promote research and training activities that utilize aquatic research models to investigate environmentally related human diseases. Current research focuses on the study of cancer and neurotoxicology.

"We have several exciting studies under way and we recently submitted a grant proposal to the National Cancer Institute to study chlorophyllin using trout as a model," Williams said. "During the last funding cycle we added neurotoxicology research as a focus. The neurotoxicology unit has been doing outstanding work."

The Neurotoxicology Research Core links the laboratories of a natural products chemist, a synthetic chemist, a neuropharmacologist, and a cell biochemist into a cohesive program to discover and describe the properties of new neurotoxins from marine microalgae.

Source: 

David Williams, 541-737-3277