Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Lecture: The Salish Sea's Native Corals-- A New Tool to Monitor Ocean Acidification


Sunday, October 20

3 pm

Alex Gagnon, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Chemical Oceanography University of Washington

The Fort Worden Chapel

Admission: $5

(students, teachers FREE)


Alex Gagnon’s talk will focus on cold-water corals, including species native to the Pacific Northwest.

“Many coral reefs are in decline due to rising temperatures and ocean acidification," Gagnon said. "What few people know is that stony corals do not live just in the tropics. A few hardy species of stony corals grow right here in the Pacific Northwest.

"What is even more surprising is that these native corals record information about ocean chemistry as they grow and may hold the key to understanding how much humans have changed the pH of the Salish Sea,” he said.

Gagnon earned his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology, as well as a B.S and B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. He received a National Science Foundation CAREER (Faculty Early Career Development) award and is director of the TraceLab at the University of Washington, an analytical facility for the measurement of trace elements in environmental materials.

Gagnon uses tools from chemistry and geology to study how ocean acidification impacts corals and other marine organisms that make their skeletons out of calcium carbonate. Based on this mechanistic understanding of calcification, his lab can predict how changing ocean conditions will affect coral reefs and uncover the climate records locked within fossil marine shells.

Gagnon’s lab makes regular expeditions to a field site on Tetiaroa atoll in French Polynesia. The search for deep-sea corals has even taken him to the bottom of the ocean in the submersible vehicle Alvin.


More info about the lecturer: https://www.ocean.washington.edu/home/Alex%20Gagnon


This is the first installment of The Future of Oceans lecture series.

This event is offered with generous support by the Darrow Family.

Assisted Listening Devices available

Thursday, October 3, 2019

2019 Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award presented to Cheri Scalf

Port Townsend Marine Science Center honors longtime salmon restoration advocate and volunteer


Cheri Scalf (r) is congratulated by 2018 Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award winner Sarah Doyle (r).
The Port Townsend Marine Science Center announced today that Cheri Scalf is the recipient of the 2019 Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award. Scalf has been working on the restoration of salmon runs on the Olympic Peninsula for nearly three decades, first with Wild Olympic Salmon, then with the North Olympic Salmon Coalition and now with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The award was presented at the annual PTMSC Stewardship Breakfast at The Commons at Fort Worden State Park on Oct. 3.

The prestigious Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award recognizes significant contributions in the protection and stewardship of the natural environment of the North Olympic Peninsula. The award, now in its 15th year, pays tribute to Eleanor Stopps, whose vision, advocacy and determination exemplify the power and importance of citizen leadership.

“Cheri is often considered the godmother of the salmon by her friends, family and volunteers,” said North Olympic Salmon Coalition Stewardship Coordinator Sarah Doyle, who received the award in 2018. “She has led a volunteer salmon monitoring project over the last 27 years that has played a critical role in informing fisheries managers of the status of our local salmon populations and has also provided an avenue for community members to be a part of salmon recovery efforts on the Olympic Peninsula.”

Scalf played a vital role in the incubation and rearing of juvenile endangered Hood Canal summer chum salmon while volunteering with Wild Olympic Salmon from 1992-1999 and while working for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Over the years she has worked on the Chimacum, Salmon, Snow, Jimmycomelately, Thorndyke and Tarboo creeks.

Among her notable efforts:
- Scalf was instrumental in the early restoration of summer chum on Chimacum Creek after their returns were reduced to virtually zero. Scalf and other Wild Olympic Salmon volunteers spent countless late nights monitoring thousands of eggs that would later boost the population to over 1,500 wild salmon. She also advocated for and assisted in the restoration of chum salmon habitat.

- Scalf was a strong voice for the construction of a bridge over West Uncas Road. During the 10-year span for the culvert to be removed and the bridge to be built, she recruited volunteers and hauled sandbags to help salmon get through the culvert to healthy spawning habitat upstream. She also engaged stakeholders, agencies and political leaders to advocate for the critical project. The bridge was completed in 2018 and adult summer chum now swim under the bridge to spawning grounds.

- Volunteers recruited by Scalf have, in turn, engaged other community groups to bring even more participants to salmon restoration projects.

- Scalf educates youths and adults about the importance of salmon to local watersheds. Some of her young volunteers have gone on to pursue careers in environmental science.

About the Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award

From the 1960s through the 1990s, Eleanor Stopps was an active member of the Pacific Northwest conservation community. She founded the Admiralty Audubon Chapter and was a primary driver behind the establishment of the Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge in 1982, one of the few federally protected marine refuges established by an Act of Congress at that time. Today it is a critical habitat link in the preservation of the entire Salish Sea ecosystem, providing breeding grounds for pigeon guillemots and rhinoceros auklets, bald eagles and peregrine falcons, harbor seals and elephant seals, and myriad other species.

Stopps died in April 2012 at the age of 92.

The leadership award created in her memory is presented annually to a citizen(s) of the North Olympic Peninsula (Jefferson and Clallam counties) who has led a successful resource conservation effort that benefits the North Olympic Peninsula and its residents directly; acted as a community catalyst for programs, initiatives or ventures that demonstrate a commitment to the future of the earth and its biodiversity; become a model for future leaders in business and education; or has been an exemplary citizen or policy maker who has implemented decisions that, though they may entail risks, have helped our communities take the next step towards environmental sustainability.

The PTMSC has sponsored this annual award since 2009.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Kirk Johnson, Ray Troll Lecture & Book Signing


‘Cruisin' the Fossil Coastline’ authors to share fossil secrets of North America’s west coast

Saturday,
November 16
 


7 p.m.

The Commons at Fort Worden State Park

$5 general public (FREE to PTMSC Octopus & Orca members)

We are pleased to announce a lecture and book signing by paleontologist and author Kirk Johnson, Ph.D., and artist Ray Troll.

The duo will discuss their recent book, “Cruisin' the Fossil Coastline,” which they co-authored following a lengthy trip from Baja, Calif., to northern Alaska in search of the fossil secrets of North America’s Pacific coast, one of the oldest on earth. It is a rich ground for discovery, including extinct marine mammals, pygmy mammoths, polar dinosaurs, California walruses and more. The pair will share photographs and artworks created over the last decade for the book, along with tales and anecdotes from their many fossil adventures up and down the west coast.

“We are deeply honored to be hosting this lecture and book signing, Ray and Kirk are real-life superheroes demonstrating the power of the integration of art and science,” said PTMSC Executive Director Janine Boire. “The director of the Smithsonian's Natural History museum teamed up with the indomitable artistic creativity of a wild man from Alaska, what Disney imagineer could have dreamed up that combination of brilliance and fun?”

Johnson is the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History Sant Director, where he oversees the world’s largest natural history collection. Before his arrival at the Smithsonian in 2012, Johnson was a paleontologist at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, where his research focused on fossil plants and the extinction of the dinosaurs. He is known for his scientific articles, books, museum exhibitions, documentaries and collaborations with artists. His recent documentaries include the three-part NOVA series, “Making North America” (2015) and “The Great Yellowstone Thaw” (2017), which aired on PBS channels. He is currently working on a documentary about the ancient climate of the Arctic and Antarctic.

Kirk Johnson (l) and Ray Troll (r), photo by Bob Halinen.
Ketchikan fine artist and musician Ray Troll draws his inspiration from extensive field work and the latest scientific discoveries in the fields of ichthyology and paleontology. He is widely known for his surreal artwork in books, museum exhibits, public art and a popular T-shirt line. Troll was the art director for the Miami Museum of Science’s “Amazon Voyage” traveling exhibit, and he installed “The Buzz Saw Sharks of Long Ago” at the Idaho Museum of Natural History, Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward and the Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History. Among Troll’s many awards, he received the Alaska Governor’s Award for the Arts in 2006 and a gold medal for distinction in the natural history arts by the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia in 2007.

Co-sponsored with Centrum and Port Townsend School of Arts