Panel on New Coastal Research

November 17, 2021 - 6:00 PM
Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition

Steve Pacella doing field

As we near the end of our 50th anniversary year, we are focusing strongly on the theme of our celebration, “the next 50 years of coastal conservation.”  In that spirit, we are surveying some of the young researchers who are doing cutting-edge work that will inform our conservation efforts in coming years.

Oregon Shores board member Ed Joyce has assembled (and will serve as moderator for) two panels of emerging scientists and other students to indicate “New Directions in Coastal Science and Management.”  (See separate listing for the first, which takes place on Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 6 p.m.) 

The second of these panels discussions, “New Directions in Coastal Science and Management,” takes place on Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 6 p.m.  The event is free and open to all.

Here is the registration link:

Here are the three speakers for the second panel.

*Chelsea Batavia, Environmental Scientist with the Delta Stewardship Council in California, and a PhD graduate and postdoctoral researcher with Oregon State University’s Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, “Confronting Complexity Where Ethics and Science Converge.”

Conservation in complex socio-ecological systems presents monumental challenges, which are only amplified by climate change. Scientists have made great advances that allow them to describe, project, and predict how these dynamic systems will behave into the future, even in the face of extreme uncertainty. However, science on its own does not provide an answer to the question, “what should we do?” Environmental decision-making also and unavoidably requires humans to make ethical value judgments. In this talk I will highlight environmental justice as it exemplifies the nexus of ethics and science in environmental management and conservation. Drawing on examples from my experience as an environmental scientist in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in northern California, I will discuss how environmental justice pushes the frontier of transdisciplinary work, fusing the biophysical and social sciences with ethics in university scholarship, government policy, and community movements. The core proposition of my talk is that, just as scientific fields have evolved to answer pressing empirical questions in a context of compounding complexity and uncertainty, it is also critical to develop frameworks and vocabularies that allow us to navigate the pressing ethical questions we confront within this context. To illustrate, I will reflect on what I believe to be the next horizons for ethics in environmental justice, and discuss the concept of moral residue as an example of the sort of supple, pluralistic, and inclusive framework that equips us to handle ethical complexity.”

*Amila Hadziomerspahic, Applied Economics, PhD Candidate, Oregon State University, “Tsunami Risk and Information Shocks: Evidence from the Oregon Housing Market.”

“Developed coastlines experience hazard risk from sources with different frequency and intensity, such as flooding, erosion, and sea-level rise. In Oregon, there is an additional high severity but very low frequency risk: the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami. I investigate the impact of tsunami risk information on coastal residents’ risk perceptions, as capitalized into property prices. I study the coastal Oregon housing market response to three sets of risk signals: two exogenous events – the March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami and the July 20, 2015 New Yorker article “The Really Big One”; a hazard planning change – the 2013 release of new official tsunami evacuation maps; and visual cues of tsunami risk – blue lines indicating the spatial extent of the hazard zone installed by Oregon’s Tsunami Blue Line project. I find evidence that properties impacted by these tsunami risk signals may see risk discounts, which suggests that tsunami risk signals can be salient to coastal residents.”

*Steve Pacella, PhD from Oregon State University, now an ecologist with the Pacific Coastal Ecology Branch of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research and Development, “Observations and Drivers of Coastal Acidification in Pacific Northwest Estuaries.”

Coastal acidification is broadly defined as the lowering of pH in coastal ocean and estuarine waters as a result of human activities, including fossil fuel combustion, land use change, and eutrophication.  A growing literature shows water quality impacts from these drivers of coastal acidification can impair the fitness of coastal organisms and has negatively impacted commercial fisheries in the United States.  This presentation will discuss recent and ongoing research to characterize the dynamics and drivers of coastal acidification in Pacific Northwest estuaries.  Results of these studies reveal how both global and local human activities can enhance coastal acidification in estuarine environments via multiple pathways, creating “hotspots” of water quality degradation and exceedances of physiological thresholds for endemic organisms. We highlight how management for water quality impacts in estuaries can be informed by accounting for the spatial and temporal interactions between local and global drivers of acidification.”