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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

2022 Sea Otter Science Symposium (October 25)

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Join us for all things sea otters, science & fun!

All are welcome to join us for a Virtual 1-day 2022 Sea Otter Science Symposium on Tuesday October 25th. The Symposium speakers hail from across the globe, which will make for some unique conversations and perspectives. Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to register.

This year, our focus is “Think Globally, Act Locally.” Our hope is that you take away valuable knowledge regarding the protection of our precious ocean ecosystems, no matter where you reside. You can make a difference! We want to say thank you to Defenders of Wildlife and Sea Otter Savvy for their partnership.

Photo: Ingrid Taylar

Review the agenda for the Symposium below, listed in Pacific Time:

Tuesday October 25th: 9am-5:30pm PDT

  • 9:00am: KEYNOTE: Dr. Ralph Chami (Co-Founder of Blue Green Future): Natural Capital & Marine Conservation
  • 10:00am: Dr. Steven Rumrill (Shellfish Program Leader, ODFWS): Changes to Rocky Reef Habitat on the Southern Oregon Coast
  • 11:00am: Dr. Leigh Torres (Oregon State University, GEMM Lab): Importance of Kelp to Gray Whales
    ——– BREAK ——–
  • 1:30pm: Tom Calvanese (Oregon Kelp Alliance Coordinator): Toward Kelp Forest Restoration
  • 2:30pm: Tristin McHugh (Kelp Project Director, The Nature Conservancy): California Kelp Restoration Strategy
  • 3:30pm: Joanna Lyle (Blue Carbon Fellow, The Nature Conservancy | Oregon Sea Grant): Exploring Blue Carbon in Oregon
  • 4:30pm: Dr. Philip Seddon (University of Otago, New Zealand): IUCN Conservation Translocation Considerations

We are asking participants to provide a $10 registration fee, but scholarships are available for students and others for whom $10 would be a barrier by emailing Chanel Hason, chanel@elakhaalliance.org.

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Art on the Beach – Lincoln City, OR (7/17/22)

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We’ve partnered with the Cascade Head Biosphere Collaborative for their 2nd Annual Art on the Beach!

To celebrate one of the world’s rare biospheric reserves, scientists, artists, and the public will gather on the Oregon beach to talk, learn, and create images in the sand.

The Cascade Head Biosphere Collaborative (CHBC) has announced its second annual “Art on the Beach” weekend, a three-day event running July 16-18. This celebration brings together community science and artistic expression to raise awareness regarding the interdependence of humans on the oceans, as well as the impacts of climate change on coastal communities and the environment. With the help of partners Chinook Winds Casino Resort, The Elakha Alliance, community volunteers, and visiting guest artist Josie Iselin, this year’s events highlight kelp forests, sea otters and the crucial role they play in marine ecosystems.

This year, attendees and volunteers can look forward to a wider range of activities to participate in, from sea-star monitoring to sand-art raking a 100-yard long Bull Kelp and Sea Otter design. “Sand is the perfect canvas for everyone to be able to enjoy large scale art that illuminates the beauty and function of the ocean and how its amazing creatures are related to each of our lives,” said Duncan Berry, CHBC co-director and co-founder.

Sea star monitoring will occur during the extreme low tide at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 16, at the tidepools at the far north end of Lincoln City’s Roads End beach. Scientists and volunteers will measure how quickly Ochre Sea Stars are rebounding after a wasting disease swept through their ranks. Look for the informational tables to learn more and how you can help with the CHBC “Wrack Line,” another community science research project.

The first sand-raking event will take place on Sunday, July 17, from 9:30 a.m. to noon on the beach in front of the Chinook Winds Casino Resort (entrance to Art on the Beach is free). CHBC is proud to partner with Josie Iselin, a renowned San Francisco-based artist and seaweed expert, as well as the Elakha Alliance, which is a non-profit working to reintroduce sea otters back to their native waters in order to create a more robust and resilient marine ecosystem. “Art is an excellent medium to instill a sense of appreciation for the natural world around us. We’re thrilled to help promote ocean conservation through this creative project with the Cascade Head Biosphere Collaborative,” said Chanel Hason, director of outreach and community relations for the Elakha Alliance. 

Later that day, the collaborative will offer a “Forests of the Sea” seaweed printing and educational workshop at the Lincoln City Cultural Center from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. It will feature cyanotype/solar printing and will be offering gyotaku technique of printing seaweeds and the creatures that inhabit the near shore. The cost of this gyotaku and solar print workshop is $60.

On Sunday evening, the CHBC and its partners at Oregon State University’s Marine Studies Initiative and the Elakha Alliance will be hosting an “Art and Science” presentation from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Lincoln City Cultural Center. This will be an immersion into the amazing undersea world of the kelp forests and the effort of re-introducing sea otters that are so key to their long term health. This event is free and open to the public.

Lastly, on Monday, July 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the artists and rakers will return to the beach in front of the casino to depict giant Ochre sea stars marching down the beach.

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Webinar: Chasing Kelp: A bull kelp journey across the Pacific Coast (12/1/21)

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Learn the history of
Seaweeds & Kelp of the Pacific Coast

Credit: Josie Iselin

Josie Iselin will take us on her journey as an artist diving deep into the science of the seaweed and kelp of our Pacific West Coast. The images and chapters of her book the The Curious World of Seaweed will be a jumping off point into her current research and artwork concerning the history of kelp surveys and maps. Her newest project, entitled Chasing Kelp will be discussed as it is currently evolving. Comparing the underpinnings to storytelling concerning kelp in California versus Oregon, Puget Sound and Alaska are some of her current preoccupations, as visual artist and storyteller, she is delighted to bring for discussion with the Elakha Alliance community.

This webinar will take place for free on Wednesday December 1st, at 6:00pm PDT. Register below for the Zoom link.

About The Guest Presenter: Josie Iselin

Josie Iselin is the photographer, author and designer of many books exploring our coastal universe. Beach Stones was published in 2006, Beach: A Book of Treasure in 2010 and her visual primer on seaweed, An Ocean Garden: The Secret Life of Seaweed, was published in 2014. Iselin continues her explorations into the world of marine algae with her most recent book, The Curious World of Seaweed (Heyday Books, August 2019, winner Tiffany Award from Phycological Society of America and shortlisted for The Northern California Book Awards and The Alice Award), an ambitious combination of essays and historical as well as contemporary imagery. This book chronicles the natural history as well as the history of science of sixteen iconic seaweeds and kelps. Iselin uses her visual art practice—the act of looking closely—as the stimulus for her scientific research and storytelling. You can often find her on various coasts at low tide exploring tide pools and investigating the intertidal realm. 

Josie Iselin holds a BA in visual and environmental studies from Harvard and an MFA from San Francisco State University. For over twenty-five years she has used her flatbed scanner and computer for generating imagery. Iselin exhibits large-scale fine art prints at select galleries and museums, advocates for ocean health through education and speaks widely on the confluence of art and science. She teaches in the School of Design at San Francisco State University and is constantly exploring ways to bring design and art students closer to the ocean world as well as bring design concepts into the realm of ocean science. Seaweeds’ stories and beauty are a good way to make these connections! Josie always has new projects in the works at her studio, Loving Blind Productions, located underneath her house, on a steep hill in San Francisco. Her work is on view at www.josieiselin.com.

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Events Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Webinar: Art + Science + Kelp Forests (7/20/21)

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Using Creative Storytelling To Showcase Kelp Forests

Three researchers from interdisciplinary fields of geography, photography, and design advocate for the prosperity of Pacific kelp forests in a webinar hosted by the Elakha Alliance. Kyle Cavanaugh, Patrick Webster, and Emma Akmakdjian discuss the role of perspective in creating stories that spotlight the kelp forests’ return to ecosystem balance, especially with the reintroduction of sea otters.

Kyle Cavanaugh is an Assistant Professor of Geography at UCLA who helped lead the project Floating Forests that uses NASA satellite imagery and UAV technology to map the density and dispersal of kelp forests worldwide. He studies the drivers and consequences of changes in coastal foundation species such as giant kelp forests and mangroves. He is especially interested in what controls large-scale changes in the distribution and abundance of these species. Much of his research utilizes remote sensing (e.g. satellite, aerial, and UAV imagery) to document ecological change over large space and time scales. Visit Kelpwatch to learn more about his most recent kelp research with The Nature Conservancy, UCLA, and UCSB.

Patrick Webster is an underwater photographer based in Monterey, California, capturing imagery of the central coast kelp forests and their inhabitants. He is the social media content creator for the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Emma Akmakdjian is a graduate student and artist at the Design Media Arts Department at UCLA, working to communicate the importance of kelp forests in human and non-human cultures.

This webinar will take place for free on Tuesday July 20th, at 6:00pm PDT. Register below for the Zoom link.

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Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Preserving Kelp Oases: Elakha Partnering on a North Coast Project

Even with a successful translocation of sea otters in Oregon, sea otter population growth and dispersal takes time. If an initial reintroduction occurs on the south coast where most of the best habitat occurs, it may take many decades for a viable sub-population of sea otters to become established further north. There is a chance that trends in kelp declines and spreading urchin barrens will not continue, but what if they do?

In 2020, the Oregon Kelp Alliance (ORKA) launched a pilot project using scientific divers to experimentally remove purple sea urchins to protect specific “kelp oases”. To incentivize long-term removals, ORKA is working with partners to develop a new market for purple sea urchin “uni”. The Elakha Alliance is partnering with ORKA and with David and Talya Semrad from the Oregon Freediving Company to help coordinate a possible second location here on the north coast!  We are submitting a permit application for sea urchin harvest to ODFW soon, and hoping to be in the water this season! We think this effort will not only provide valuable insights into urchin management, but help engage the more divers and freedivers in kelp conservation. More to come soon.