Search for impacts and accomplishments of Oregon Sea Grant-funded projects using PIER - the NOAA and National Sea Grant project database.
To find information on a specific project, search the database using the titles of impact statements provided below. If you have difficulty finding a project, please contact us.
Looking beyond the dams: Inclusive decision processes and interdisciplinary science in the Klamath basin
PI: Desiree Tullos (Oregon State University)
Co-PIs: Bryan Tilt (OSU), Julie Alexander (OSU), James Peterson (OSU), Guillermo Giannico (OSU / Oregon Sea Grant)
Summary: As the Klamath basin looks beyond dam removal, this project will contribute to new, place-based, and generalizable understanding on nutrient-food web–disease risk dynamics, as well as how decision models can be more inclusive of the diverse perspectives that exist in any river basin. We propose the following objectives:
Objective 1. Document traditional and western knowledge and experiences about the ecological and socio-cultural connections between water quality, the food web, and how coastal communities use the river in a system undergoing change.
Objective 2. Identify, apply and test strategies for extending decision processes to include ways of knowing not based in western science (i.e., traditional ecological knowledge) and apply them to examine the impacts of nutrient management on river uses.
Objective 3. Deliver effective outreach and education. The proposed project aims to generate collaborative, interdisciplinary, and experiential educational opportunities for OSU students and Tribal youth, and to disseminate results to local stakeholders, international scientists, and the general public through a variety of means.
Partnerships with the Yurok Tribe, an early career scientist, and scientists and local stakeholders as advisory board members are essential to guiding the project and generation of co-knowledge products. A strong engagement program will integrate listening sessions as coffee klatches, stakeholder workshops, and qualitative interviews with Tribal elders and a diverse set of stakeholders. Ecological research will focus on integrating existing and new datasets, resulting in new analysis and models of how the primary producers that fuel the food web respond to nutrient changes during and following dam removal. Socio-cultural research will focus on documenting the values, decision processes, and conceptualizations of the river and its people. Interdisciplinary research will integrate the ecological and socio-cultural research in a structured decision-making approach, resulting in new decision theory and tradeoff analyses that reflect diverse conceptualizations of the river and its management.
Summary: Over-grazing by expanding populations of purple sea urchins has decimated many Oregon kelp beds, resulting in expansive “urchin barrens.” Urchins sourced from barrens typically have poor gonad quality with low market value. Collecting low-value urchins from resource-poor environments and “fattening” them in land-based tanks to improve roe (gonad) quality and quantity is one strategy to regain market value. This project will examine the efficacy of two novel technologies applied to land-based sea urchin fattening. The first will use of Pacific dulse as a nutritious food source to increase urchin gonad quantity/quality. The second is immobilization of seaweed fodder on panels to increase grazing surface area and urchin stocking density to maximize gonad production within culture tanks. Objectives of this two-year project are:
Experiments will be conducted at partnering farms in Bandon and Port Orford, OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, and OSU’s Port Orford Field Station. University, industry, tribal and community participation will strengthen ties among stakeholders interested in coastal economic development, extend relevant results to industry, and engage the public to increase aquaculture literacy and cultural awareness. Deployment of innovative, cost-effective seaweed-urchin co-culture technologies, as proposed here, can also benefit coastal communities by increasing employment opportunities for urchin fishers through the harvest of otherwise unmarketable urchins and contribute to a resilient and diverse economy stemming from land-based aquaculture and feeding into seafood value chains embedded in coastal communities.
Summary: The demand for marine renewable energy, which harnesses the kinetic energy of offshore wind, waves, tides or currents and converts it into electricity, is growing worldwide. These installations transport the generated energy back to shore through high voltage cables (HVC), which can emit electromagnetic fields (EMF). Many marine species (e.g., sharks, rays, skates) detect bioelectric fields arising from the exchange of ions across the gills and the ventilatory movements of respiration to forage on prey, avoid predators, and locate conspecifics. These and other marine species are hypothesized to also detect the Earth’s magnetic field for navigation. EMFs produced by HVCs are known to be within the detection ranges of elasmobranchs, but the impact of the emitted and induced fields of EMF on receptive species is largely unknown. As the U.S. is on the cusp of significant investment in offshore wind and wave energy (OSU’s PacWave project and the commercial-scale Vineyard wind energy project received their FERC licenses in spring 2021), the need to understand the effects of EMFs on ecologically and economically important marine species is paramount.
This project will develop standardized behavioral protocols that will test how EMF-sensitive wildlife respond to the electrical and magnetic components of artificial EMF emissions and whether these stimuli disrupt natural behavior. The project will use non-invasive laboratory-based behavioral experiments in Longnose skate and Dungeness crab to quantify their minimum sensory thresholds, detection ranges, and behavioral responses to EMFs from HVCs. This project will be the foundation for future longitudinal studies that quantify EMF responses over phylogeny, ontogeny and more importantly, this model will establish a standardized framework for studies to understand the effects of marine renewable energy technology in other known electrically (e.g. green sturgeon) and magnetically (e.g. salmonid fishes) sensitive species of commercial and ecological importance in Oregon and abroad.
Summary: Hypoxic events are now a recurring feature of the Oregon coast, impacting the state’s Dungeness crab fishery. Through a collaborative partnership between managers, university researchers and industry, this project seeks to close key knowledge and technology gaps that has limited the assessment of the risks posed by hypoxia, development of adaptation options, and transition to a climate-ready Dungeness crab fishery. This team proposes to develop a new low-cost crab pot camera system that can be deployed by fishermen to characterize tolerance of crabs to hypoxia and the thresholds for impacts. The camera system will be augmented by newly developed crab pot deployed dissolved oxygen sensor to capture crab abundance, size, and sex distribution and behavior patterns as a function of oxygen concentration. A targeted outcome is guidelines on appropriate soak times for crab pots that will allow fishermen to minimize the risk of in pot mortality in order to adapt to the current and projected intensification of hypoxia risk from climate change. The image data streams will be processed via an artificial intelligence analysis pipeline developed at OSU to enable high throughput, cost-effective in-situ population censusing. The expanded data availability will further enable empirical determination and monitoring of mortality rates and the development of a predictive index of recruitment into the fishery based on the abundance of year 2 and year 3 crabs. These products are of direct use to, and developed in consultation with the fishery. By increasing knowledge and capacity to detect, track and forecast changes in crab population dynamics, we seek to support the transition of the Dungeness crab fishery into a productive, sustainable, climate-ready fishery.
Summary: This project seeks to develop new guidance on the design of dynamic cobble revetments, a form of Natural and Nature-Based Feature (NNBF) for coastal erosion protection, through improved understanding of sand-gravel beach morphology and wave run-up. Oregon’s Statewide Planning Goal 18 forbids implementing static structures on beach front properties that did not have static protection in place before the year 1977. NNBF are “non-structural” alternatives for coastal protection; dynamic revetments are one of the only suitable NNBF options for the Pacific Northwest open coast. Despite their potential, however, adoption of dynamic revetments as a protection strategy is currently limited by uncertainty around best-practices and performance over time.
This team will study how waves interact with mixed sand-gravel beach profiles, both natural and engineered, and the resulting sediment transport response. Seasonal beach evolution will also be investigated with the goal of understanding, and potentially predicting, fall to winter and winter to summer transitional variations in response to storms. The proposed research targets knowledge gaps at the basic-science, policy making, and community levels, by providing empirical evidence about the protection dynamic revetments provide, and thus their viability as a robust NNBF alternative. The biggest gap in knowledge surrounding dynamic revetment design that exist in the Pacific Northwest is the prediction of wave run-up variability and the estimation of needed cobble volume for dynamic revetment stability. Expected project outcomes are:
Summary: Mud blister worms (MBWs) are a global issue for oyster growers, they damage shells, making half-shell oysters unmarketable in some cases, lower meat yields, and affect profitability. Within the past five years, MBWs have emerged in oyster farms across the Pacific Northwest. Some farms in Oregon have seen greater than 90% infestation rates, whereas other farms have only seen infestation rates of ~5%. Despite the persistence of MBWs in many places globally, there has been only marginal convergence on the controls of MBW outbreak and treatment. The proposed work in this project will extend monitoring activities at oyster farms, conduct field experiments, laboratory experiments, and employ a comprehensive outreach and engagement plan to support oyster growers in Oregon. The continuation of bi-annual field surveys provides key insights for growers and managers about prevalence within and among farms, and through time. Those surveys will be expanded to measures of oyster tissue quality and yield. Transplant experiments will take clean shells grown in each of three study estuaries and move them to the other two. These experiments will allow us to determine whether properties of shells from different systems makes them differentially susceptible to infestation, or whether infestation rates are intrinsic to a given estuary. Developing successful mitigation and management strategies is dependent on understanding whether estuaries are differentially susceptible. Laboratory experiments will evaluate environmental and culture factors under controlled conditions that affect MBW shell infection. Salinity, temperature, and ocean acidification will be evaluated in one set of experiments to determine environmental controls, and sediment presence versus emersion in a second set of experiments, to evaluate culture controls. The outreach and engagement plan integrates stakeholder groups through various mechanisms, as well as conducting two focus groups to evaluate consumer perception, including blind taste tests, and discussions on strategies to maximize market potential for affected oysters.
Expanding Use of The Watershed Game in Oregon
PI: Cait Goodwin, OSU, Oregon Sea Grant
Creating Science Communication Fellowships
PI: Tracy Crews, OSU, Oregon Sea Grant
Establishing macroalgae on the U.S. Pacific coast as a nutritious food source
PI: Jung Kwon, OSU, Seafood Research & Education Center, COMES
Nearshore Species’ Response to Anthropogenic Noise
PI: Sarah Henkel, OSU, Department of Integrative Biology
Marine Renewable Energy Beyond the Grid
PI: Hilary Boudet, OSU, School of Public Policy
Quantifying and Communicating the Impacts of Groundfish Bottom Trawling on Deoxygenation and Nutrient Fluxes off Oregon
Description: Studies of the effects of bottom trawling generally conclude that these activities cause mortality of demersal and benthic species, loss of habitat complexity, and sediment disturbance. We will leverage a unique opportunity on the Oregon continental margin created by the planned re-opening of the Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA) for bottom trawling in 2020. In collaboration with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the trawl community, we will study sediment and bottom boundary water layer processes, documenting the incidence of bottom trawling effects and the extent of their associated biogeochemical impacts. The goal of our work is to provide regionally-relevant information to federal and state fisheries managers that may be factored into current and future ecosystem based management strategies. Outreach efforts will seek to publicize through multimedia formats a balanced presentation of industry and science-based perspectives on the tradeoffs between harvesting groundfishes for food and the wider ecosystem effects of trawling activities.
PI: Clare Reimers, OSU CEOAS
PBDEs/Methylmercury and Immune Function in Non-Stranded Male California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus)
Description: California sea lions are a sentinel species for coastal pollution because they share a common prey base with humans; however, most research to date has focused on stranded sea lions, often long after disease first occurs. Commercial and recreational shellfish fisheries depend on coastal managers to provide information on potential human health impacts from coastal pollution, including methylmercury and polybrominated diphenyl ethers, as well as domoic acid from harmful algal blooms. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is authorized to lethally remove (via humane euthanasia) specifically-qualified habituated California sea lions in response to salmonid predation in the Columbia River Basin. The availability of a comparatively large sample size of non-degraded biological tissues presents a rare opportunity for researchers to address critical knowledge gaps relevant to the health status of non-stranded male California sea lions. Coastal pollutants will be analyzed in tissues, and immune function will be assessed. These data will inform coastal managers concerning sea lion health, ecosystem health, and potential health impacts to human populations, including tribal communities, who ingest the same varieties of seafood.
PI: Sarah Rothenberg, OSU School of Biological and Population Health Sciences
Determining habitat suitability under climate change and ocean acidification for oysters in Oregon’s estuaries
Description: Oysters are a sentinel species in response to climate change; despite their persistence and ubiquity in temperate estuaries globally, they are generally found to be sensitive to ocean acidification and climate change. While Oregon has led the way in responding to ocean acidification impacts on larvae, there is continued concern that outplanted oysters (post-larvae and adults) respond to these climate change stressors in different ways. Our project adapts an existing model framework to identify optimal oyster habitats within Yaquina Bay, OR. Model simulations, as well as the visual output and design, will be developed in collaboration with project partners representing aquaculture, tribal, and land conservation/oyster restoration interests. Our team has an established working relationship with these stakeholders for an applied project that addresses Sea Grant priorities and the recommendations from the West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia panel.
PI: George Waldbusser, OSU CEOAS
How do beachgrasses build dunes? Exploring foredune stability with native and invasive grasses to guide management practices on the Oregon coast
Description: In Oregon, coastal foredunes are used as habitats for animals, recreation and living areas for people. Foredune management in Oregon is a chronic issue due to overloads of blowing sand piling up on coastal homes, and invasive beachgrasses compromising the habitat of endangered species. Most current knowledge of foredune building in Oregon focuses around either the large scale long-term patterns of dune evolution or the very small scale short-term patterns of sediment trapping by vegetation, yet there is no quantifiable link between the two. In management practice, it is the intermediate timescales that are important. We will follow the evolution of Oregon foredune geomorphology from the small to the large scale in the context of foredune management practices. Our goal is to develop fundamental insights into coastal dune behavior through experimental field manipulations of various beachgrasses including natives, non-natives and hybrid species. Our team of engineers, coastal geoscientists and ecologists will provide science-based foredune management guidance for the state of Oregon via a community accessible Oregon Dune Management Booklet. Project objectives, including the Booklet, were co-developed with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and Oregon’s Coastal Management Program.
PI: Meagan Wengrove, OSU Civil & Construction Engineering