Oregon’s changing ocean center of presentation

Oceans researcher Heather Fulton-Bennett will talk about sea stars, acidification and more at the MidCoast Watershed Council community meeting Sept 5. (Courtesy photo)

From sea star wasting disease to ocean acidification, our coastal ecosystems are changing in ways that may test their resilience. While understanding these changes and their impacts can be daunting, long-term monitoring and research can provide information that can help us decide on appropriate management steps. The Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans has been doing such monitoring on the West Coast for two decades. Now celebrating its 20th year, this collaboration between four universities and partners including local, state, and federal agencies, and local community members helps us better understand our coastal oceans.

At the September 5th MidCoast Watersheds Council Community Meeting, PISCO’s Heather Fulton-Bennett will highlight some of the results of this work, focusing on the long term changes along our coasts, current efforts and what is expected in the future. The public is invited.

Founded as a partnership between Oregon State University, Stanford University, and the Universities of California Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara, PISCO has been at the forefront of studying sea star wasting, marine protected areas, ocean acidification, and hypoxia. PISCO has a strong emphasis on public communication and being responsive to management and policy, needs. Heather Fulton-Bennett joined these efforts as a PhD candidate at Oregon State University working with doctors Bruce Menge and Jane Lubchenco. Her research focuses on the effect of ocean acidification on seaweeds in Oregon and New Zealand.

The presentation will begin at 6 p.m. in Room 205 on the upper floor of the Newport Visual Arts Center in Nye Beach, at 777 NW Beach Drive. Refreshments will be provided. Prior to the presentation, visitors can venture into the VAC’s third floor gallery to check out The Wetland Conservancy’s traveling art exhibit, Ode to Tides from 4-6 p.m. The display of original Northwest artwork in a variety of media recognizes the aesthetic and ecological significance of Oregon’s estuaries, tide pools and intertidal habitats and seeks to spark community and creative interdisciplinary engagement, promote conservation and enhance visitor experience and support of coastal resources and communities.

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