Students Learn about Coastal Issues in the Pacific Northwest from Sea Grant Specialists

August 3rd, 2012 by
Bill Hanshumaker of the Hatfield Marine Science Center
and Oregon Sea Grant explains aquaculture research
being conducted at the facility.

Each year, natural resource students from Purdue University, North Carolina State University, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences come together to learn about sustainable use of natural resources in some part of the world. In July 2012, the course took place in the Pacific Northwest. Students visited old-growth forests, wildlife refuges, urban areas and more, learning about the political, social and economic concerns that factor into decision-making and development in the region. 

Because of the partnership between Purdue University’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, students were able to connect with extension specialists from Oregon Sea Grant to learn about coastal issues. 


Oregon Sea Grant agent Jeff Feldner discusses
commercial fishing during a “dock walk.”

IISG’s Carolyn Foley shares more about the course: “Amidst glorious sunshine, students learned about the strong fishing trade in Newport, OR, including oyster farming. They asked questions about how these trades are regulated in the Pacific Northwest, and what impacts their activities have on the surrounding community and natural resource use. They were also able to visit the Hatfield Marine Science Center and gain a healthy overview of the major issues affecting coastal resources in Oregon and surrounding states, including the development of technology to harness wave energy, impacts of naturally-occurring low-oxygen conditions, and effects of development on local wildlife populations. Some students even visited a large dock (~66’ x 19’ x 7’) that was ripped from its pilings in Misawa, Japan during the 2011 tsunami which crossed more than 11,000 km of Pacific Ocean and landed near Newport in early June, bringing with it more than 80 non-native, potentially invasive species of algae, snails, clams, and other life forms.”

Students from the course gather in front of the
tsunami-generated floating dock that washed ashore
in early June 2012. Researchers have identified 92+
species that survived the trans-Pacific voyage.


For more about some of IISG’s education initiatives, visit our education website. College and graduate students are also encouraged to contact their departments for information on similar courses and opportunities.

*Photos courtesy of George Hess with North Carolina State University

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