COSMIC MIGRATIONS

By Erik Swanson, Oregon State University TCS Student Chapter

Editor’s Note: This article is a follow-up to two other TCS articles on the Great American Eclipse of 2017.

From atop Dimple Hill, part of Oregon State University’s (OSU) McDonald Research Forest, a crowd of more than a hundred people enjoyed a vantage point stretching from the Cascades through the Willamette Valley and to the Oregon Coast Range. As totality drew closer, nearly all in attendance now had donned their paper protective eye-wear. A thin speck of sun shone from behind the moon before all went black; the cosmic signal to rip off those funny glasses. The crowd cheered as the total eclipse burst on display for about two minutes. As many in attendance had migrated from all over the world to share in the wonder of the eclipse, simultaneously, millions of Pacific Ocean zooplankton in range of totality strangely migrated to the surface of the ocean.

More than just awe-inspiring, a monumental event such as blotting out the daytime sun not surprisingly impacts the natural world in many curious ways. Birds have been reported to respond by singing songs reserved for dusk, but less obvious are the impacts to the oceans. OSU, a partner with the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI),  was uniquely positioned this year in the line of totality, an exciting opportunity for oceanographers to observe how a cosmic event like the 2017 eclipse can affect the oceans.

Ocean Observatory group recovering one of our surface moorings. These are the moorings that make the meteorological and fixed water column measurements shown in the graphic below. Photo Credit: Jonathon Fram
Ocean Observatory group recovering one of our surface moorings. These are the moorings that make the meteorological and fixed water column measurements shown in the graphic below.
Photo Credit: Jonathon Fram

Dr. Jonathan Fram, an oceanographer at the OSU operated Ocean Observing Center, in Corvallis, Oregon, facilitated those observations. He predicted that the daily zooplankton migration event would be affected, as it is dependent on the amount of sunlight penetrating the ocean. During the daylight hours, these millions of tiny creatures can be found in the deep, dark, depths of the ocean. At dusk, they begin a long migration to the water surface, where they spend the night before dawn marks a return to the deep. Fram, using bioacoustic sonar equipment stationed off the Oregon coast, found that the zooplankton responded to the eclipse and the reduction of light in the water column by beginning their daily migration to the surface. Before reaching the water surface, totality was complete and the slow increase of light signified a sort of false alarm for the tiny creatures and a return to the ocean depths.

The bioacoustic sonars located 10 miles off the coast of Newport, Oregon, and 40 miles off the coast of Waldport, Oregon, are connected to shore via hundreds of miles of cable. The University of Washington OOI team laid and maintain these cables that encase a power cord and fiber optic cable for data transmission. Connecting these data-capturing instruments directly to shore allows scientists to observe the data capture in real-time, download the data in a short amount of time, and provide results to the public with little delay. Results of this experiment were available only 12 hours following the eclipse.

“Scientists make predictions all the time but often cannot share their results in a time frame that captures the public’s interest,” said Fram.  “This event was a unique opportunity to provide the public with the results of a large scale experiment on the same day it occurred.”

 Shelf bioacoustic sonar instrument before deployment Photo Credit: Jonathon Fram
Shelf bioacoustic sonar instrument before deployment
Photo Credit: Jonathon Fram

Two offshore surface moorings, part of the Endurance Array, were uniquely positioned in the line of totality and captured data such as air and water temperatures and shortwave radiation during the eclipse. Air temperature on the beach and further inland was significantly reduced, as many people experienced during the eclipse, but water and offshore air temperatures were not impacted much. This is not surprising, according to Fram, as offshore air temperature is more dependent on ocean temperatures. The amount of sunlight—shortwave radiation—penetrating the ocean was also greatly reduced during the eclipse event.

 Shelf bioacoustic sonar instrument while it was being deployed via ROV. Photo Credit: Jonathon Fram
Shelf bioacoustic sonar instrument while it was being deployed via ROV.
Photo Credit: Jonathon Fram

Fram’s work is one of many experiments and research projects currently underway at OSU made possible by the OSU’s operation of the Endurance Array portion of OOI. The OOI allows scientists throughout the world to access oceanographic data by tapping into an array of instruments deployed offshore to capture a vast multitude of oceanographic variables. At least one thousand instruments are located in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada. Fram said, this year he hopes to improve the accessibility of data his center manages for scientists and the public.

As a NASA Space Grant, Sea Grant and Land Grant university, OSU works to bring scientists and students from a wide range of backgrounds together to confront the major challenges faced by the oceans now and in the future. The Hatfield Marine Science Center located in Newport, Oregon, is an additional OSU resource that welcomes these diverse scientists and students. It serves as a marine and oceanographic laboratory and classroom for seven OSU colleges and six state and federal agencies. The visitor center also provides educational opportunities for K-12 and the public.

The Oregon Coast provides many exciting opportunities for students and professionals in the fields of oceanography, marine biology, marine fisheries and others. An added benefit to studying or working in Oregon is that beaches are legally public lands. Within those approximately 363-miles of public beachs, bays, and estuaries there are endless scientific wonders left to explore and environmental vulnerabilities to confront for future stewards of the coasts.

 

Meteorological and fixed water column measurements taken during the eclipse.
Meteorological and fixed water column measurements taken during the eclipse.

TCS MEMBERS PLAN FOR THE TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE OF 2017

By Kasey R. Jacobs, TCS Communications Chair

While researching the coastal effects of the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017 for TCS Blog article “Coasts in Shadow“, I reached out to fellow TCS members in Oregon and South Carolina to find out about their eclipse plans. Oregon will be the first state to experience the eclipse and South Carolina the last.

Below are their responses.

We will be following up with these TCS members post-eclipse to capture their experiences. Please share your own plans or experiences in the comments section below.

OREGON

Oregon State University’s TCS Student Chapter

The Chapter (a.k.a “Fisheries and Wildlife Science Club”) will be attending a lecture by Associate Professor Jonathan Fram on the offshore Endurance Array and the measurements it will be collecting before, during, and after the solar eclipse. We will be broadcasting the lecture live on the TCS Facebook Page on Saturday, August 19th at 2:00PM PST:

The lecture description by Associate Professor Fram is:

View from the Coast: During the eclipse, a vast network of sensors on oceanographic moorings off the Oregon Coast will be measuring its effect on the ocean through tides. Hear from oceanographer/professor Jonathan Fram about how bioacoustic sonars will measure fish and the zooplankton they eat, while other sensors will detect how the eclipse affects light and temperature at the sea surface.

David R. Perry | So. Coast Regional Representative. Department of Land Conservation and Development. Ocean and Coastal Services Division

We live within the path of totality.  There is a ton of hype coming from the local chamber of commerce about visiting the coast to view the eclipse.   The cost of a room or campsite on August 21st can be 5 or 10 times the usual rate.  Even so, we expect to be inundated with tourists coming for the event.  The problem is, meteorological records indicate that there is a 50/50 chance that a marine layer will prevail along the coastline at mid-morning when the eclipse will occur, so the sun may not be visible at the beach during that timeframe!  If the marine layer is evident that day, my wife and I will head inland with some friends to higher ground in the Siuslaw National Forest where we hope to get above or beyond the cloud layer.  For us, the total eclipse presents an opportunity to see one of nature’s most rare and awesome spectacles from our own back yard!

Meg Reed | Oregon Coastal Management Program, Newport, OR

Oregon is expecting about 1 million more people to be here to view the eclipse. I work with emergency managers coast-wide who have been planning and preparing for this event for a year or more. I will be heeding their advice to locals to “shelter in place!” I plan to watch the eclipse from my backyard, but if it’s cloudy or foggy, I will probably just watch NASA’s live stream. It will be exciting, either way, to experience this once-in-a-lifetime event and the sudden darkness that will occur when the moon covers the sun.

 

SOUTH CAROLINA

Rebecca Love | Coastal Management Specialist at NOAA Office for Coastal Management

 I’m going to avoid hitting the roads and stay local to watch the eclipse.  My family and I will walk to Hampton Park (in Charleston, SC) with some neighborhood friends.  I’m looking forward to the period of totality and being able to experience this event with my two daughters.  I’m curious to see how dark it will get and whether we’ll feel a brief drop in temperature.

Margaret Allen | The Baldwin Group at NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management

I am definitely planning to watch and do something fun! There are so many fun events here to choose from. I was thinking I’d stay close to home, but I might go out to my family plantation to watch. Wherever I am, I am just excited to see the look on Lizzie and Ellie’s faces (5 and 3), and I want to make sure they wear their glasses (don’t care to blind my children at this point).

If not out there, we’re going to our local pool club with a bunch of other families. They have a special event with eclipse themed cocktails and food.

Anyway, it is a HUGE deal here. All the local schools are closed. (they start next Thursday, go for 2 days, then are off for the eclipse). Everyone from the county parks, to county libraries, to neighborhood associations, to private clubs/restaurants are hosting events. There’s a yoga event, all kinds of things.

The other funny thing is watching/hearing about everyone trying to get their eclipse glasses–lots of places here are selling them, local libraries are giving them away, but there are a ton of places (esp online) selling fake ones that don’t really work, and that’s been a problem.

‘TRUST YOUR JOURNEY’: FIRST URI COASTAL CAREER DAY PROVIDES INSIGHT FOR GRADS

Evan Ridley, Marine Affairs M.A. Candidate & URI Chapter Liaison to TCS National Board

While the prospects of employment are a constant focus for recent graduates and young professionals in areas of coastal and marine studies, very few opportunities exist for potential employers to interact with students and individuals entering those fields. To address this, TCS’ University of Rhode Island student chapter held their first-ever Coastal Career Day at the Narragansett Bay Campus. The event provided both employers and hopeful graduates a unique opportunity to build bridges and network together. Employers present for the day’s events found benefit in gaining perspective into the skills and experience presented by students currently graduating from coastal and marine fields at URI and other schools around New England.

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After hearing the career development stories of panel speakers, students received personal hands-on advice and reflection through resume building activities and breakout group discussions with field-specific interest.  In addition to the opportunities provided by such networking, the insightful philosophy of the event activities allowed for a collective reflection on the state of ‘coastal’ employment moving forward in uncertain times.

The employment landscape is dynamic and ever-evolving in coastal and marine sectors, yet Rhode Island Sea Grant Director Dennis Nixon reflected confidence in the future. “We aren’t going to slide back on (environmental) efforts because we’ve already done too much good.” This sentiment was echoed by many throughout the day, a reminder that room for progress will always remain.

Uncertainty of the economy and political agenda is ever-present, but those in attendance felt reassured by the encouragement of the speakers. “There was almost this collective sigh of relief from listening to the leaders in our fields telling us, basically, ‘it’s going to be ok…and it’s probably going to be great.’” said Sea Grant Knauss Fellow and event organizer Emily Patrolia.

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While other TCS coastal career days have been hosted in North Carolina and Virginia, this was the first to be established in the New England region, and the largest of any TCS coastal career day to date. The varied representation of government, private enterprise and advocacy entities not only drew a great number of interested students but also provided a unique and enlightening event. The planning committee took care to organize speaker panels by focus, which included Betsy Nicholson of NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, Sarah Smith of the Environmental Defense Fund, Stacy Pala of the Battelle Environmental Research, Peter Moore of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Observing System, Jennifer McCann from the URI Coastal Resources Center, and many others.

Even if things like unpaid internships, year-long fellowships and entry-level positions don’t always appeal to the traditional career path narrative, the employers stressed the significance of seizing every available opportunity. “If you have to take a job as an Uber driver to pay the bills, and volunteer within the community to gain experience, that’s ok” said Jon Torgan, Director of Ocean and Coastal Conservation for The Nature Conservancy. It’s estimated that only 10% of jobs in environmental sectors are advertised. Increasing one’s ability to find these opportunities depends on the connections that can be made during the stops along the way. The overarching message of support reminded students to be flexible and prove your capability to adapt to a variety of roles that may be required from you. In short, employers advised students to trust your journey and reach for your goals. Progress may not always appear as the linear or logical steps you imagined. It will remain a product of hard work, regardless of what that work is.

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Moving forward, the TCS student chapter at URI hopes to use their event model to help other affiliated student chapters host similar events. “We’ve been able to build on the continual improvement of these events, and hopefully URI will also be able to continue to host our own Coastal Career Days in the years to come.” said URI TCS Career Day Director Sara Benson. “This has been a wonderful success and something that be replicated across The Coastal Society network.”

The URI Coastal Career Day took place on November 18th, 2016 with a total of 58 registered student participants from five colleges and universities across the New England region. Overall, 19 different speakers compromised the five focus panels that spanned topics on advocacy, consulting, NOAA, regional science and state agencies. Approximately 17 speakers and employers participated in the “speed dating” and resume critiquing activities aimed at helping students develop self-promotional capabilities. The true success of the event could not have been achieved without the significant financial support of the following sponsors: Rhode Island Sea Grant, TRC Environmental Engineering, Deepwater Wind, Ocean State Aquatics and VHB Consulting.

Additional thanks are due to the Student Planning Committee, led by project manager Sara Benson, who spent many months preparing and organizing. It is the hope of the committee and all members of the URI TCS chapter to continue the support and development of Coastal Career Days in New England and around the TCS network.

THE COASTAL SOCIETY: ECKERD COLLEGE CHAPTER CLEANS UP!

By:  Sara Gordon

The Eckerd College chapter of the Coastal Society has been working to clean up coastal environments on and around our beautiful campus! Eckerd College is a small liberal arts college in St. Petersburg Florida sitting on the beautiful Gulf coast.eckerdcollegeaerial Eckerd College has a small but environmentally conscious student body. The coastal and marine environment proves to be a major draw for Eckerd College students. With over a mile of coastline on our campus alone, students are constantly interacting with the coastal environment. The campus waterfront, situated on Frenchman’s creek near the opening into Tampa Bay, allows students to make regular kayak trips, swimming breaks, and even sailboat rides straight from the school. Service and volunteer work within the community is a high priority for our students, and even part of our graduation requirements. 12784697_10156519038290104_1940983130_nThe Coastal Society is just one important group on campus that includes a variety of volunteer outreach opportunities. As the first undergraduate program to have a Coastal Society chapter, it provides a great resource and opportunity for students.

Our first beach cleanup of the year took place last semester and was set at Fort DeSoto, a Pinellas county park with some of the most beautiful beaches in the area. This natural area is the largest park in the county, with 1,136 acres of land comprised of 5 interconnected islands. Not only is this a popular area for tourists and locals looking to soak up the sun, but it is also a permanently protected area by the state. Even though the park has full time staff to manage the area, they still need volunteers to help keep the area clean. Eckerd’s chapter of TCS joined with the managers last semester to spend one Saturday cleaning up one of the most popular beaches. This area remains a high priority for managers due to it’s close proximity to a bird sanctuary, where numerous shore nesting species are protected.12498449_10156519038465104_1156681241_n

At the start of the Spring semester, we held our second cleanup event on our own campus. A large percentage of Eckerd College students live on campus all four years, making recruiting additional volunteers easy on such a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon. While our student body does it’s best to help keep our campus clean, garbage still gets strewn along our coastlines from incoming surf and thoughtless litterbugs.12767390_10156519038360104_562542797_n The volunteers set out to pick up debris along the beaches and in the mangroves on campus. By the end of a few hours, the volunteers had collected 6 full garbage bags and a full size-recycling bin of waste.

Both of these cleanups have not only helped benefit our community’s coastal areas, but also have helped spread the word about what The Coastal Society is and the kinds of things we are involved in. Finding like-minded individuals, who not only work in coastal communities, but also care about the environment that they work in can be extremely beneficial to all parties involved. Eckerd College’s chapter hopes to do more of these kinds of cleanups soon, and keep spreading the word! ?

A NEW TRADITION IN THE MAKING: THE FIRST NORTH CAROLINA COASTAL CAREER DAY

By: Rebecca Cope, TCS Duke University Chapter President

On March 5th, the Duke University Chapter of The Coastal Society hosted the first North Carolina Coastal Career Day at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort. The event attracted undergraduate, graduate, and professional students from many North Carolina universities, including Duke, University of North Carolina Wilmington, and East Carolina University (ECU), as well as new professionals in coastal environmental fields. The day started with casual networking over morning coffee. Attendees were able to chat with representatives from each of the event’s sponsors, which spanned a diverse range of sectors, such as non-profits, consulting firms, engineering companies, and both state and federal government agencies.

Photo Credit: Michelle Covi
Photo Credit: Michelle Covi

Master of ceremonies, Siddartha Mitra of ECU, kicked off the day with welcoming remarks and then a rapid-fire session of presentations and Q&A about how each coastal professional began their careers. These conversations allowed attendees to ask their most burning questions about job searching, the hiring process and possible career paths in an informal and relaxed setting. We got to know each other a bit better during the speed-networking session, which allowed attendees to visit each prospective employer at their table and chat for a few minutes. This really helped break the ice and got the conversations flowing, just in time to enjoy lunch with some new members of our professional network. After lunch, we heard from more coastal professionals who gave us excellent advice on everything from resume writing to negotiating salaries. We finished the day by practicing interview skills with questions picked from a hat. Attendees were able to get instant feedback from professionals experienced in the hiring process.

Master of ceremonies, Siddartha Mitra of ECU oversees conversations between students and coastal professionals. Photo Credit: Michelle Covi
Master of ceremonies, Siddartha Mitra of ECU oversees conversations between students and coastal professionals. Photo Credit: Michelle Covi

The Coastal Society’s Coastal Career Days provide an opportunity for students to connect with potential employers and learn about the diverse range of paths that can lead to a successful career, including some paths that aren’t so obvious. At the same time, it provides an avenue for Coastal Career Day sponsors to reach out to talented new or soon-to-be professionals with valuable skills and knowledge. Marianne Ferguson of the Duke Marine Lab said, “I appreciated learning about the federal contracting process from Jill Meyer [representative from CSS-Dynamac]. As someone who is interested in working for NOAA in fisheries management, her advice on when and where to look for contracting jobs and what the hiring process is like was really helpful.”  Marianne recently followed up on a lead she heard about at Coastal Career Day and applied for a contract job with NOAA.

Practicing interviewing skills. Photo Credit: Michelle Covi
Practicing interviewing skills. Photo Credit: Michelle Covi

The first North Carolina Coastal Career Day was a huge success thanks to our planning committee members, sponsors, and attendees. We hope to continue this tradition and provide young professionals and employers the opportunity to connect. After all, we need to work together to solve the problems facing North Carolina’s coast!

 

Editors’ Note: Read about TCS’s pilot Coastal Career Day in Virginia in November 2015. TCS Blog Article “9 Tips for a Successful Start to Your Coastal Career”.

 

More photos of the action

SWIM, BIKE, RUN!

By: Rebecca Cope

At 10am on September 12th, the blast of an airhorn signaled the start of the 15th Annual Neuse Riverkeeper Triathlon. Racers swam across the channel to Radio Island, where they mounted their bikes for a high speed tour of Beaufort’s historic downtown district, then completed the last leg of the race on foot, returning to the Marine Lab and a cheering crowd of spectators. The glory of crossing the finish line wasn’t the only motivation for these racers; they were also helping to raise about $2,500 to support a healthy Neuse River watershed.

TeamLadiesFrom it’s headwaters in the Piedmont to where it flows into Pamlico Sound, the Neuse River supports a wide range of agricultural, industrial and recreational uses, and these uses have important impacts on our coastal communities and ecosystems. For over 30 years, the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation (NRF) has worked to protect, restore, and preserve the Neuse River watershed, and Duke’s TCS chapter is proud to be a long-term partner in their work. Travis Graves, the Riverkeeper himself, recently shared his thoughts about our ongoing partnership:

“For 15 years The Coastal Society’s Neuse Riverkeeper Triathlon has been bringing communities together to celebrate our most precious resource. The money they raise goes directly to support our work protecting the Lower Neuse River basin and all of the communities that depend on it for fishable, swimmable, drinkable water.”

Runner

At the Triathlon, members of the NRF volunteered their paddling
skills to help keep our swimmers safe in the water, as they do every year. Joining them were about 50 more volunteers who kept racers on track, recorded times, and made sure everyone was hydrated.  Ashleigh McCord, a Master’s candidate at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and returning Triathlon volunteer, said she saw the race as, “a chance to engage students, faculty, and community members … in supporting a local organization that does critical work in our local coastal watershed.”

HighFive

Following the race, the festivities continued with a cook out and silent auction featuring prizes donated by local businesses. A brief bout of wind and rain did not deter people from sticking around to hear the race winners announced. Rachel Karasik, whose team placed 2nd, explained why she participated this year: “As a volunteer for the triathlon last year, I really enjoyed experiencing the camaraderie and celebration between racers, observers and volunteers… Everyone’s support and enthusiasm made me want to experience the triathlon from a different perspective.”

On behalf of the Duke TCS officers, I’d like to thank our racers, volunteers, and local business owners who helped make this year’s triathlon a huge success. This event wouldn’t be possible without your support and dedication to protecting our watershed. Travis Graves says he’s, “already looking forward to next years race!”  We couldn’t agree more!