Vol. 31, No. 12
Bree Witteveen has joined the faculty of the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences as a research assistant professor with the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program. Based in Kodiak where she has worked as a post doc for two years with marine mammal specialist Kate Wynne, Witteveen will continue to focus on marine mammal research and will work on statewide marine mammal stranding response.
Witteveen is working on the Gulf Apex Predator Prey Project and "MAD Whales"—monitoring, avoidance, and deterrence of whale entanglement. Two of her areas of expertise are scuba and large whale disentanglement. Her most recent publication is B.H. Witteveen et al., 2011, Using movements, genetics and trophic ecology to differentiate inshore from offshore aggregations of humpback whales in the Gulf of Alaska, Endangered Species Research 14:217–225. Witteveen earned her Ph.D. from the University of Central Florida in conservation biology.
Ketchikan Marine Advisory agent Gary Freitag is starting a marine debris project for the OceansAlaska Marine Science Center, funded by the Coastal Impact Assistance Program. Freitag and others will train Ketchikan High School students to use a remotely operated vehicle to pick up discarded nets and debris on the Ketchikan waterfront.
In the next few weeks Freitag will receive training to operate the ROV and oversee its purchase by OceansAlaska. The ROV, about two feet long and one foot tall, is equipped with a video camera, lights, and a manipulator arm capable of attaching and cutting tasks. It is controlled from the surface using a tether line.
In addition to training students, Freitag will carry out the science and evaluate the debris for its threat to marine life. Dale Miller, who heads the Office of Marine Transportation at University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan, and Rick Collins, maritime teacher at Ketchikan High School, will operate the vessel MIV Jack Cotant for the project and conduct maritime training. The students will gain seamanship skills such as navigation, boat safety, and vessel handling, as well as learn to do ocean research. Onboard ship training for students will begin in March 2012, followed by surveys for debris and setting cleanup priorities.
OceansAlaska will use the ROV to serve other needs in Alaska, including research in mariculture and invasive species. Freitag is board chair of OceansAlaska.
Alaska Sea Grant is alerting graduate students in Alaska that they will soon be able to apply for the 2013 Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship. To get the word out, Deborah Mercy and Kurt Byers worked with the Sea Grant network to produce a video that features testimonials from former Knauss Fellows.
In the video seven past Knauss fellows highlight the fellowship as a key career experience and enthuse about their current jobs—Keith Criddle, Ted Stevens Distinguished Professor of Marine Policy, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Juneau; Aleria Jensen, NOAA marine mammal stranding coordinator, Juneau; Seanbob Kelly, NOAA fisheries management specialist, Juneau; Sara Melton, North Pacific Fishery Management Council analyst, Anchorage; Glenn Merrill, NOAA assistant regional manager, Juneau; Erin Steiner, NOAA economist, Seattle; and Cynthia Suchman, North Pacific Research Board executive director, Anchorage. Watch the video at http://seagrant.uaf.edu/research/knauss.html.
“The Knauss fellowship has proven to be a valuable springboard to an exciting career in resource policy, biology, management, economics, education, and conservation fields, just to name a few,” said David Christie, director of Alaska Sea Grant. The application deadline will be in February 2012. For more details, please see http://seagrant.uaf.edu/research/fellowships.html#knauss.
Marine Advisory agent Izetta Chambers authored a new Sea Gram,Safe and Legal Fish Waste Composting in Alaska. The four-page bulletin encourages soil production using fish waste, and teaches the safety and legal aspects of composting fish to comply with Alaska laws. If fish waste composting is done correctly, the benefits are great—improved soil, a free source of fertilizer for many years, and water quality improvement because less waste gets dumped into waterways. Fish entrails, backbones, heads, and fins can be composted with minimal odor and without attracting animals and flies.
Marine recreation and tourism specialist Terry Johnson is the author of Fuel-Saving Measures for Fishing Industry Vessels, a new Alaska Sea Grant bulletin. In 16 pages he summarizes methods for reducing fuel consumption and saving money, based on published studies and experiences of commercial fishing boat operators. On the fuel saving checklist are slowing down, keeping the bottom smooth and clean, reducing weight, watching the exhaust, checking propeller and steering, using Internet and AIS to monitor conditions, minimizing travel, keeping boat records, and working with wind, tides, and currents.
At Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle last month 25 fishermen who attended Johnson’s workshop, Using an Energy Audit for Commercial Fishing Industry Vessels, each got their own copy of the publication. Johnson and Reginald Wren, PE, of Elliot Bay Design Group, also worked through an energy self-audit template to help fishermen identify where fuel energy is being used, where it may be wasted, and how to conserve it. Participants helped Johnson and Wren improve the template and described their own successes in enhancing vessel energy efficiency. Johnson plans to publish the audit template in 2012.
The Communicating Ocean Science Workshop scheduled for January 16, 2012, prior to the Alaska Marine Science Symposium in Anchorage, will teach ocean scientists, graduate students, and outreach professionals how to tell a compelling story of their scientific research. Randy Olson, author of the book Don't Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style, director of the documentary Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus, and writer and director of Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy, will lead a two hour session on communicating through story.
Other workshop sessions will be dedicated to using storytelling to bring science to broad audiences. They include preparing for pre K–12 classroom presentations, communicating to the media, using YouTube to reach the masses, how to create powerful radio pieces, and how to develop virtual field trips to reach thousands of students. Presenters include Robin Dublin (Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence Alaska), Marilyn Sigman (Alaska Sea Grant), Darcy Dugan (Alaska Ocean Observing System), Elizabeth Arnold (journalism professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage and senior reporter for the Encounters public radio series) and Laurie Morrow (Alaska SeaLife Center).
The workshop is free, with support provided by North Pacific Research Board, COSEE Alaska, Alaska Ocean Observing System, Alaska Sea Grant, University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, and UAF Center for Cross-Cultural Studies with partial funding from the National Science Foundation. Registration is required to participate in the workshop; contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Western Alaska Interdisciplinary Science Conference steering committee has issued a call for papers for their meeting scheduled for March 28–30, 2012, in Dillingham, Alaska. Conference attendees will include the local public, teachers, students, agency professionals, and University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers. Topics for presentations are fisheries, mining, sustainable energy, science and traditional ecological knowledge, ecosystem health, math and science education, and municipal waste disposal. Carol Kaynor, Alaska Sea Grant web coordinator, is providing website services for 2012 WAISC. For information see http://seagrant.uaf.edu/conferences/waisc/.
The call for papers is also out for presentations at the National Marine Educators Association conference, to be held June 24–28, 2012, in Anchorage, Alaska. The conference will bring together educators, scientists, students, and resource managers from across the nation to share ideas for teaching about the world of water. Four major themes are science and art; science and culture, including traditional knowledge and western science; science and technology; and large marine ecosystem science and education. Alaska Sea Grant marine education specialist Marilyn Sigman is chair of the conference steering committee, and Education Services manager Kurt Byers is on the committee. For information about the conference and the call for papers see http://www.coseealaska.net/nmeaconference2012/.