BANDON — Two talks on shoreline science are scheduled for Bandon on Sunday, Jan. 19, at the Bandon Public Library, 1204 11th St. SW. The events are sponsored by the CoastWatch volunteer program and are free and open to the public.
At 3 p.m., Danielle Asson will present a slide talk on some of the creatures that wash up on Oregon beaches. Asson is a recent graduate of Oregon State University’s Marine Resource Management program, whose master’s thesis led to developing a new method for gathering data on “beached marine critters.” She came up with her “beached marine critters” thesis project by combining her love for marine ecology with her interest in informal education.
She developed a protocol through which interested nonscientists can help to track the presence on the beach of a variety of animals, including sharks, sea turtles and squid and record the results. Her protocol, and background information about her project can be found online at http://beachedmarinecritters.org/. She also has developed a smartphone app for the project. Her slide talk will describe some of the “critters” that citizen scientists can track, as well as the purpose and goals of the project.
CoastWatch, a program of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, plans to incorporate her “protocol” in its citizen science efforts.
At 5:30 p.m., Ralph Breitenstein, Ph.D., will discuss the debris generated by the 2011 Japanese tsunami, more of which is expected to wash up on Oregon’s shores this winter and spring and may be accompanied by unwanted passengers and invasive species.
Breitenstein is a CoastWatcher and retired medical doctor who has been working as a highly skilled volunteer in the marine bioinvasions lab at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport the past five years. He has been assisting scientists there on research projects concerning invasive species, and compiled an inventory of marine algae and invertebrate species in Yaquina Bay. He has been teaming with HMSC researchers John Chapman and Jessica Miller in their project to identify invasive species, and non-native species in general, carried by debris from the tsunami.
Breitenstein will provide an overview of the 2011 tsunami and the general pattern of currents in the north Pacific. He will discuss the floating docks which washed up in Oregon and Washington, as well as the Japanese boats that have been found on our shore. He will describe the invasive species that have already been found and provide clues for those scouting for debris as to how to recognize suspected invaders and what to do about them.
Between the two talks, a casual celebration will be held marking CoastWatch’s 20th anniversary. Refreshments will be served. This is an opportunity for the area’s many CoastWatch volunteers to meet with Fawn Custer, the program’s volunteer coordinator, and Phillip Johnson, the program director, to ask questions and learn about CoastWatch’s plans to conduct more citizen science projects. Other members of the public are welcome to attend to learn about the program and its volunteer opportunities.
For more information, contact Fawn Custer, CoastWatch’s volunteer coordinator, at 541-270-0027.