Monster Seminar Jam - Running the gauntlet - predators and tourists at the Columbia River plume front
Dr and Mr Jen and Julian Zamon and Colesberry, Fish Ecology, NWFSC and Portland State University
Coastal marine predators often aggregate near oceanographic features driven by tides. The Columbia River plume front is once such tidally-generated feature. The plume front forms at the boundary between fresh river water and salty ocean water. The plume front is of particular interest to salmon biologists, because all Columbia River salmon smolt must successfully pass through the plume front to enter the ocean. We observed marine bird and mammal predators relative to this front from an overlook at the North Head Lighthouse. These observations reveal year-round, significant differences in predator abundance associated with the front and the tides. Results indicate that the tide during which smolt encounter the plume will affect their exposure to the gauntlet of predators feeding there.
A unique challenge was encountered during the lighthouse surveys: the observation area was located at an extremely popular tourist destination. Individuals were constantly approaching the biologists to ask questions. We came up with a creative outreach program that addresses public curiosity about NOAA research and promotes ocean literacy without sacrificing research quality. In summer 2007, we had an opportunity to measure the qualitative, numerical, and geographic impacts of that outreach and assisted us in developing additional outreach materials for that location. The amount of public-initiated interest in NOAA research and the desire to interact with working scientists was very large. Outreach efforts also had a substantial, nationwide geographical footprint.
Date and Time:
February 14, 2008,
11:00 am - 12:30 pm