The HMSC Marine and Coastal Research Annual Forum
Research forums hosted by HMSC provide unique opportunities for HMSC faculty to host collaborations among diverse groups of scientists and launch competitive, novel research programs. HMSC faculty are encouraged to convene a working group tasked with synthesizing across disciplinary boundaries to address fundamental issues of marine and coastal science, including but not limited to ecology, climate, or geology. Outcomes of the working group could include a review manuscript or grant proposal, and forums could serve to link HMSC and its programs to faculty in Corvallis and those from other institutions in the region.
Previous Forums Convened at the Hatfield Marine Science Center
Climate variability is recognized as a primary driver of ocean ecosystems and their associated biological resources, including zooplankton and pelagic fish populations in the northern and central California Current region. The Copepod Research Forum explored the topic "Copepods as indicators of upper-trophic productivity in the California Current Ecosystem". By creating an opportunity for researchers from a variety of disciplines and federal, state and academic organizations to share valuable data in a collaborative, collegial environment, the Forum allowed a critical synthesis that will go beyond the capabilities of each dataset alone.
The Pacific Northwest offers some unique opportunities to offshore aquaculture. Clean ocean waters will allow production of high-value, cold-water fish and shellfish species, while high wave and wind energy could provide offshore structures with sources of power. In addition, the region has a strong fishing community capable of participating in offshore operations. The forum provided an opportunity for an informed discussion of the risks and opportunities for offshore aquaculture in the Pacific Northwest.
The conversion of ocean waves into electricity has the potential to provide clean, reliable and low-cost electricity to the economy while posing minimal impacts on the environment. However, in order for wave energy to develop and fulfill these assumptions, we must reduce the uncertainties about the technology's effects on the marine environment. A diverse group of some 50 marine scientists from around the country worked to i) develop an initial assessment of the potential impacting agents and ecological effects of wave energy development along Oregon’s coast, and ii) develop a general conceptual framework of physical and biological relationships that can be applied to specific wave energy projects. This information is needed to support the permitting process as well as to make responsible decisions to site facilities and to minimize environmental impacts.
The HMSC brought together three dozen scientists, engineers, educators, and facilities managers from throughout the Pacific Northwest for a day-long workshop to assess and prioritize infrastructure improvement needs for seawater pumping and bay/ocean access in support of the HMSC’s research and education mission. Funded by a National Science Foundation institutional planning grant, the primary objectives of the workshop were to identify specific requirements and make the initial steps in designing new dock facilities that will allow a variety of activities beyond existing capabilities.
A forum was held at the Hatfield Marine Science Center to discuss establishing a long-term environmental monitoring program for Yaquina Bay. Several speakers reviewed historical environmental sampling datasets for Yaquina Bay as well as ongoing research efforts. This was followed by breakout groups to discuss particular sampling issues and a discussion of how we might develop a new, long-term, integrated and holistic environmental monitoring study of the estuary.