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Aug. 11: What Can Oregon Coast Citizen Science Tell Us About Puffins, Climate Change?

Published 08/05/21 at 6:02 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Aug. 11: What Can Oregon Coast Citizen Science Tell Us About Puffins, Climate Change?

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(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Not all scientists are running around with white lab coats. In fact, there's a lot of hoodies, t-shirts and especially on the Oregon coast: thick, weather-proof jackets. (Above: Depoe Bay's South Point)

Then, sometimes the scientists aren't trained scientists at all – they're citizen scientists. How that brand of science helper plays a role in learning about the tufted puffins of the Oregon coast is the subject of the next presentation in this year's Extended World of Haystack Rock Library Lecture Series, coming up on August 11 at 7 p.m.

It's called “What Can Citizen Science Tell Us About Puffin Declines and North Pacific Climate Change?” You'll find it on Facebook Live @Friends of Haystack.

Tufted puffin, courtesy Seaside Aquarium / Tiffany Boothe

The presentation is made by Dr. Selina Heppell, a seabird watcher and fisheries scientist. She will review the available science on tufted puffin declines, including data collected by citizen scientists. The effects of climate change on the planet's coastal ocean ecosystems and their productivity can influence the availability of forage fish – sandlance, anchovy, and other species – that are important prey items for puffins and other seabirds.

Dr. Heppell will provide information from NOAA's Integrated Ecosystem Assessment to review these impacts and their possible links to puffin declines.

Heppell is a Professor of Fisheries Ecology and Head of the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences at Oregon State University. She has studied west coast fish, fisheries, and ecosystems for the past 20 years, working with state and federal agency scientists, conservation groups, fishermen, and coastal residents on issues such as the West Coast Groundfish Crisis, Oregon's Marine Reserves, and the importance of forage fish in marine food webs. Dr. Heppell is a strong proponent of citizen science and active engagement of the public in marine science and conservation.

Upcoming Talks:

September 8th, Rachael Orben & Noah Dolinajec, will be presenting, “A Seabird's Seafood: Investigating the Diet of Tufted Puffin Chicks at Haystack Rock through Noninvasive Community Focused Activities”

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Photo courtesy Seaside Aquarium

Photo courtesy Ram Pampish

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