Monday, May 30, 2011

Marine Conservation Week
Monday 5/23 
              After a week of research we all buckled down and headed back to lecture.   This week we learned all about conservation science and policy, starting with a lecture on the current state of the oceans, followed by one on the effects of climate change and how it affects the oceans.   After listening to all the doom and gloom we had lunch, and plunged back into our lectures on emerging ocean uses.  We covered ways the ocean can provide energy by harnessing the wind, waves and tides.  Then, we learned about the importance of sustainable aquaculture. We ended the day by choosing parters and topics for our presentations at the end of the week.     

Tuesday 5/24 
               The day began with a lecture on marine reserves and protected areas,  and began discussing  proposed marine reserves in Oregon.  Then, we got to hear from Alix Laferriere and Melissa Murphey about their work on marine reserves for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.   They covered not only the science behind setting up reserves, but the policy work behind setting it up.  It is impressive the progress that has been made towards setting up marine reserves in Oregon.  Especially since it involves the combined efforts of fishermen and scientists (who admittedly do not always get along), as well as numerous non-profit, and government agencies.  After lunch we heard from Karen McLeod about her work with COMPASS, the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea, and the work they do connecting scientists and policy makers.  After this we had a discussion on the importance of reaching out to the community and sharing scientific findings.  I think this was a great discussion and many of us now understand that although it is important to be knowledgeable understand the scientific process, science really only helps society when scientists are able to explain what their research means and understand how it actually effects peoples lives.  
Wednesday 5/24 
            Field Trip! Today we loaded up the vans and headed south to Cape Perpetua where Paul Englemeyer took us on a tour around Ten Mile Creek Sanctuary.  He covered a range of topics including the proposed marine reserve, water quality and how it affects the environment, and seabird ranges and habitats.  We headed to the top of the cape and made a pit stop to learn about research efforts in the creek, and take some awesome pictures! What a view from up there! Then we headed of to meet a fisheries technician who was sampling one of the fish traps.  We got to play with some fish and some of us were even brave enough to let the lamprey suction its jaw-less mouth to our hands!  At our final stop we learned about the habitat restoration work being done at the sanctuary, where trees had been brought in by helicopter in order to restore the creeks ecosystem.  Paul explained to us that even though large trees live at the most 300 years, dead trees continue to play a role in the ecosystem and create habitat for various birds and mammals and fish as the go from standing, two slowly being knocked over, and rolled into streams and eventually washed out to sea by storms. Each stage of its path towards the ocean it plays a different role whether its rotting holes are nest for certain birds, or providing a resting place to block strong river currents in the winter that would otherwise flush little salmon into the ocean before they are ready.  Truly fascinating!

Thursday 5/25
              The day started out with rain as we listened to a lecture on fisheries, before taking a trip to the docks to hear from Laura Anderson and Charlie Branford from Local Ocean Seafoods about the fishing industry, from the ocean to the shop. Laura runs Local Ocean and takes pride in that it only serves fish from sustainable sources. They took us for a tour of the fishing docks, and we got to meet some hard-working fishermen and hear them talk about their jobs. It sounds like fishing is a rough business but most of them seem to love what they do.  We then had a delicious lunch at Local Ocean before our final lecture on fisheries management tools.  Once we made it back to HMSC most of us spent the rest of the day finishing our presentations for the next day.
                                                                                   Friday 5/26
                Today we gave our presentations! Some of us were nervous, but luckily unlike next week’s presentations which is in front of an audience of family members and real scientists we only had to present to our classmates.  The presentations were very interesting and diverse.  We learned a lot from each other about things such as climate change, the shark fin trade, ocean medicines and noise pollution.  It seems there is lot more to ocean conservancy than what one might have guessed.  With such a complex set of problems it can sometimes be easy to feel pessimistic about the oceans futures.  But in our presentations many of us also presented some wonderful ideas for how to manage these future and current issues.  It is good to know that for many of us we are in field that yields us not only great opportunities to do what we love, but to also contribute to something greater than ourselves.  Good work guys!          

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