Monday, April 26, 2010

National Ocean Sciences Bowl

Marshfield (Wisconsin) High School just won this competition in St. Petersburg, Florida for the second year in a row!

Read about the team.

About the Ocean Sciences Bowl:

The Consortium for Ocean Leadership, representing leading oceanographic institutions universities and aquaria, manages a national academic competition for high schools on topics related to the study of the oceans -- the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB®). The NOSB is a nationally recognized and highly acclaimed high school academic competition that provides a forum for talented students to test their knowledge of the marine sciences including biology, chemistry, physics, and geology. The NOSB was created in 1998 in honor of the International Year of the Ocean and since its inception, the competition has grown to include 25 regional competition locations with 300 schools and over 2,000 students participating annually.

Kudos to the five member team: Seth Berger, Michael Josephson, Priya Pathak, Alex Jensen, and Elisa Prebble.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

40 Years of Wisconsin Sea Grant

From Anders Andren, Wisconsin Sea Grant Director:

Through the years, many people have asked, “What is ‘Sea Grant’?” The short answer is “sea” as in ocean and “grant” as in money—we provide grants for Wisconsin university research, outreach and education projects focused on addressing and resolving ocean, coastal and Great Lakes-related issues. Established by the National Sea Grant College and Program Act of 1966, Sea Grant was originally conceived to be the marine equivalent of our land-grant colleges and universities.

Wisconsin was the first Sea Grant program in the Great Lakes region and in 1972 it became the sixth program in the nation to achieve college status in recognition of “sustained excellence in research, education and public service dedicated to the wise use of America’s marine resources.”

Headquartered at the UW-Madison Graduate School’s Aquatic Sciences Center, UW Sea Grant today is part of a national network of 32 university-based programs funded through the National Sea Grant College Program, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, with matching contributions from participating states and the private sector.

Throughout the years, the Wisconsin Sea Grant program has invested in high priority Great Lakes research on such issues as fisheries management, water supply and quality, toxic contaminants risk assessment, fluctuating lake levels, coastal development, ecosystem dynamics, aquatic invasive species, freshwater aquaculture, seafood safety, and remote sensing and geographic information systems for real-time observations. The results of this research are shared with resource managers and the public through our integrated outreach program, which brings together the collective expertise of on-the-ground outreach and education specialists at UW-Green Bay, UW-Madison, UW-Manitowoc, UW-Milwaukee and UW-Superior. Our goal in doing so is to ensure vital research results are shared with those who need them most in ways that are timely, relevant and meaningful.

To honor this anniversary, Sea Grant has selected 40 major accomplishments to illustrate the breadth, depth and quality of Wisconsin’s Sea Grant history and legacy over the last 40 years. As director of the program, I know that I speak for our entire staff when I say we are extremely proud to have funded nearly $120 million worth of projects that have accomplished so much while providing financial support for 648 graduate students as well as hundreds of Wisconsin faculty and staff at 16 public and private universities and colleges and statewide UW Extension.

Read full text of report and the 40 accomplishments highlighted.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The 40th Anniversary of EARTH DAY

The first Earth Day, observed across the country on April 22, 1970, crystallized a growing public concern about ecological crises. Earth Day was the product of local grassroots action to increase environmental awareness but it also focused the nation's political agenda on urgent environmental issues.

It was Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson who in September 1969 proposed a national teach-in on the environment to send a message to Washington that public opinion was solidly behind a bold political agenda on environmental problems.

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the event and there are many events and celebrations happening around Madison. Here are a few:

Monday April 19.....American Experience--Earth Days. On Wisconsin Public Television. 8pm
The inspiring story of the modern environmental movement, "Earth Days" tracks the flowering of the modern environmental movement, including the first Earth Day in 1970, through the eyes of nine of the movement's pioneers, including Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand, biologist Paul Ehrlich.
Read more.

Tuesday April 20 and Wednesday April 21.....Earth Day at 40: Valuing Wisconsin’s Environmental Traditions, Past, Present and Future
This fourth annual Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference will revisit the popular movement that launched an era of environmental reform, survey a broad range of current environmental issues, and envision a more sustainable future. Speakers include Robert Kennedy, Margaret Atwood, William Meadows and more.

Tuesday April 20 -- ECOTONES — A Musical Ecology of Wisconsin. An Earth Day concert. 8pm at the Overture Center in Madison. Free.
New compositions about Wisconsin’s environment, by University of Wisconsin-Madison musicians in celebration of the 40th Earth Day and the 40th Anniversary of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.
Read more.

Tuesday April 20 History Sandwiched in: Gaylord Nelson on Nelson's legacy.
Children and adults all over the world participate in Earth Day activities each April 22nd. And yet, very few people know how such a day got started. Not many recall that Gaylord Nelson, Wisconsin's own state senator, governor and U.S. senator was the man who conceived of the idea 40 years ago.

Ongoing exhibit at the Wisconsin Historical Museum on the history and artifacts relating to Nelson and Earth Day. $2.00 admission.
Discover the story of Earth Day founder and Wisconsin political leader Gaylord Nelson and celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Nelson's idea, conceived as a national teach-in on the environment, became a historic turning point and forged the modern environmental movement. Photographs, letters, news clippings and other materials from Nelson's career will be on display. More

Earth Day at 40 web site for more details.

Monday, April 12, 2010

For Winnebago Sturgeon Enthusiasts...

The 2010 sturgeon spawning run has begun on the Wolf River. A handful of females have been spawning with their harems of males along the Wolf River Trail on County Highway X west of New London for a few days now, but the remaining 3000 or so females in the river that need to spawn yet have been waiting for the water temperatures to get a little higher. The wait appears to be over as a large number of fish moved into the Bamboo Bend spawning site on Highway 54 west of Shiocton last night and are vigorously spawning this morning. I suspected this to be the case when I heard the high flocks Canadian geese migrating north at 6:00 AM this morning. Every spring when we first see the high large V-flocks of Canadian geese heading north (not the low local flocks), we know we will be working spawning sturgeon that day. Given the weather forecast this week calling for high temperatures for most days (except tomorrow) in the 60s and possibly low 70s, we expect the majority of sturgeon in the Wolf River to spawn sometime this week.

Sturgeon spawn each spring at approximately 20 or more sites (out of about 60 known sites) on the Wolf, Little Wolf, and Embarrass Rivers. Once fish start spawning at a particular site, the activity lasts there about 3 or 4 days, with usually 2 days of peak activity at that site. Most of the nearly 60 different spawning sites on the Wolf River and tributaries are man-made, with only about 10 natural sites. The man-made sites are typically rip rapped areas on outside bends adjacent to deep water that people rocked to protect their river banks from erosion. Although erosion is a natural event on rivers, most of the erosion today is caused by boat wakes crashing into soft shorelines, which causes erosion rates to be much higher than normal. The best spawning site on the river is a natural site below Shawano Dam, which has always attracted large number spawning sturgeon, even before the dam was built in 1892. Thousands of fish spawn at this site every year. In many years we also will see a "second run" at several of the main sites, typically a small number of females that need higher a temperature to induce their ovulation, that spawn about a week or two after the main spawning event.

That's it for now........more later this week.
Ronald M. Bruch, PhD
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The latest on Asian carp

Phil Moy, fisheries and aquatic invasive species specialist with the UW Sea Grant program, was recently featured on the Wisconsin Public Television Show "Here and Now" to provide an update on the Asian carp threat this week.

Watch the episode.

Monday, April 5, 2010

News from the Aquatic Sciences Center

The Winter 2010 Aquatic Sciences Chronicle is now available.

The new issue features an article written by staff science writer Carolyn Rumery Betz on the spring 2009 flooding that devasted parts of southern Wisconsin last June. The article, GROUNDWATER ON THE RISE, describes the contribution Madeline Gotkowitz played in determining where and how frequently groundwater flooding would take place. Read the full article here.

In addition, this issue contains an article on the recent AWRA conference and an introduction to Moira Harrington, ASC's new communcation manager.

Happy reading!