Creatures of the Deep

Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center will open its doors a bit wider on Saturday, April 14, when the Newport facility hosts its first Marine Science Day.

The free public event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will feature scientists and educators from OSU, federal and state agencies, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and the new NOAA Marine Operations Center-Pacific. It is a rare opportunity for the public to go behind the scenes of one of the nation’s leading marine science and education facilities.

Among the highlights:
•    Hear volcanoes erupt and whales ‘sing’ in an audio display by NOAA and OSU researchers using undersea hydrophones;
•    Learn how researchers are supporting sustainable fisheries through innovative, collaborative research;
•    Collect biological data from fish, plankton and even a shrimp parasite through hands-on experimentation;
•    Explore novel oceangoing and ocean floor instrument platforms and meet the scientists who designed them.

Hatfield volunteer

A volunteer demonstrates one of the interactive exhibits at Oregon State's Hatfield Marine Science Center.

Visitors can meet Pearl, the Visitor Center’s new octopus; observe a sea turtle necropsy; and meet fisheries scientists and geologists whose research is described in center exhibits. The public also can participate in self-guided tours through the facility’s marine research labs, library and classrooms, where scientists will have interactive exhibits explaining their research.

Visitors may also take guided tours of HMSC’s seawater facilities and ornamental fish laboratory.

“Marine Science Day will be fun and engaging for people of all ages,” said Maryann Bozza, program manager for the Hatfield Marine Science Center. “Visitors will wind through the campus, getting a true behind-the-scenes experience with an unparalleled opportunity to learn directly from marine scientists.”

“The diverse science conducted at the facility reaches from local coastlines and estuaries to the depths of the world’s oceans,” she added, “and in scale from microbes on the seafloor to undersea volcanoes and the whales that swim over them.”

Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes will speak briefly at 3 p.m. in the auditorium, along with OSU Vice President for Research Richard Spinrad. Bruce Mate, director of OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute, will follow with a presentation showcasing the center’s pioneering role in tracking whales by satellite.

The event will showcase OSU’s unique partnership with state and federal agencies, which makes the Hatfield Marine Science Center a national leader for marine research and education, according to director George Boehlert.

“OSU’s Newport campus is known for a diversity of research and the expertise of its scientists, which offer unique opportunities in education and outreach,” Boehlert said. “Visitors to Marine Science Day will get a sense of the innovation and synergy that makes the Hatfield Marine Science Center unique.”

Most Marine Science Day exhibits and activities will be indoors, although visitors are advised to dress for the weather as portions of tours, paths between buildings and some exhibits will be outdoors.

The OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center is located at 2030 S.E. Marine Science Drive in Newport, just south of the Highway 101 bridge over Yaquina Bay.

Leave a Reply