An exploratory study on family group use of a multi-touch table exhibit at a public marine science center

Museums, aquariums, and technology centers are informal learning environments that facilitate the understanding of scientific phenomena while supporting self-​motivated learning. Families are a social group that frequently visits these sites. There are multiple opportunities for adults and children to engage in independent sense-​making and collective discussion about their experiences with exhibits. In recent years, touch surface technology has been scaled from handheld phones to larger tables and walls.

Stakeholder perceptions of public participation in LNG siting in Coos Bay, Oregon

Selecting locations for large energy facilities represents a land use dilemma: While such facilities are often beneficial to society at large, they can create concentrated local impacts. As a result, local opposition groups often form in response to such proposals; and, although opportunities for public participation are built into the process, questions remain as to their effectiveness.

Public participation in the siting of liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility on the Columbia River

Since 2004 a number of interrelated controversies have surrounded proposals to site a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal near Astoria. While public participation has impacted the decision-making process surrounding these proposals, we do not know how such public participation processes have been perceived by those who participated. Using content analysis from local newspapers and regulatory documents and 19 semi-structured interviews with active participants, I investigate the opportunities provided for public input in the Oregon LNG project.

The factors affecting the diets of groundfish in the Gulf of Alaska: Ecological and modeling considerations

Marine systems undergo changes in community composition over time as a result of a variety of environmental and anthropogenic factors. The overall objective of this study was to investigate the potential impact environmental variables may have in structuring the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) ecosystem by using statistical analyses of diets and an ecosystem modeling framework. We focused on three commercially and ecologically important groundfish predators: Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus), Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis), and sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria).

Keeping local economies safe: The role of economic development plans in hazards resilience

When communities suffer the impacts of a natural disaster, damage to the local economy can keep the community in a state of crisis long after the disaster itself. Although this threat has considerable implications for communities, it is unclear which organizations or entities have the responsibility and capacity to address economic vulnerability to hazards.

The use of omics for disease evaluation in the brains of marine mammals

Marine mammals are top predators that are essential for the health and function of our oceans. These top predators are often affected by various factors that can be detrimental to their populations. Therefore, there is a need to evaluate undetermined causes of deaths and to better understand known diseases in marine mammals to mitigate future marine mammal mortality events. In this dissertation, I examined a mortality event that occurred in 2009 and affected seven harbor seals that died from an unknown brain disease.

Seagrasses as Potential Chemical Refugia for Acidification-Sensitive Bivalves

As the effect of ocean acidification (OA) on marine calcifiers is better understood, a range of potential mitigative strategies have been proposed, many of which are plagued by concerns of scale and feasibility. One oft-cited option is to increase the biomass of photosynthetic organisms to remove CO2 from the water column and facilitate organic carbon burial. Seagrasses show much promise in this regard, owing to their highly refractive tissue. Timescales of carbon burial with respect to this strategy are on the order of years to decades.

Quantitative tools for monitoring strategy evaluation and assessment of sea turtle populations

Green sea turtles, Chelonia mydas, have endangered and threatened populations globally, but several populations show signs of population recovery. In Hawaii, nesting female green turtles have increased 5.7% year-1 since 1973, but wide fluctuations in census counts of nesting females make recovery diagnosis difficult.

Spatiotemporal drivers of seabird distribution at the Pacific Marine Energy Center off Newport, Oregon

The central Oregon coast was selected as an ideal site for wave energy development and establishment of the Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC). PMEC will consist of two nearshore sites, one north (NETS) and one south (SETS) of the Yaquina River, Oregon. Our study aims to assess how the development of wave energy sites might impact marine birds. We used vessel-based strip transect surveys to detect spatial and temporal patterns of seabirds during 28 surveys of NETS and SETS from 2013-2015.

Genetic Connectivity of Dungeness Crab (Cancer magister) in the California Current System and Puget Sound

Understanding connectivity among exploited populations is critical to their sustainable management and long-term viability. In the marine environment, estimates of connectivity often rely on the use of genetic markers, as dispersal primarily occurs during a planktonic larval phase which is difficult to track using direct methods. In this thesis, we investigated the population genetic structure of the most valuable commercially harvested species on the west coast of the United States, the Dungeness crab (Cancer magister).