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Sikuliaq 2016: The Dynamic Arctic

In September, two teams are doing separate but related scientific work in the Arctic Ocean aboard the research vessel (R/V) Sikuliaq. The following is an overview of their proposed research and what they expect to find.

Out of the Mud

In 2002, the Welsh city of Newport was rocked by the discovery of a wooden ship buried in more than 20 feet of mud along the river Usk. Contractors had been digging a foundation for a new arts center when they struck solid oak timbers. A plan to dispose of the wood and get on with the construction project met with public protests and vigils, says Oregon State University alumnus Toby Jones.

Forms from the Sea

Angelicque White’s science is strictly down to Earth. The assistant professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences aims to reveal how plankton consume and release nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus and how, in turn, these abundant organisms respond to variations in temperature and water chemistry.

Taking stock of wave energy

These are the formative years of a West Coast wave energy industry, and scientists are working with businesses, communities and policymakers to gather environmental data, test new technologies and consider the options.

State of Change: Nursery of the Sea

“The changing climate will likely have significant impacts along the coast and estuarine shorelines of Oregon. Changes associated with global climate change include rising sea levels, storminess, rising water temperatures and ocean acidification.”
– Oregon Climate Assessment Report

Speaking of Plastic

You might have heard a few supposed facts about plastic in the ocean: 1) There is a massive swirling gyre of plastic, the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” between California and Japan that is twice the size of Texas; and 2) this plastic debris outweighs plankton and is growing in size. Interestingly, the scientific literature does not support these statements.