Capitol Hill Oceans Week 2008

By Sheril Kirshenbaum

Day 1

From June 3-5, Hill staffers, members of the research community, and stakeholders from around the United States gathered in Washington DC for Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2008. The three day event discussed current ocean and coastal issues with panelists from Congress, academia, nonprofits and industry. This year’s theme was the effects of climate change on the oceans and session topics ranged from ocean acidification to coral reefs. The week also explored the connections between oceans and human health as well as possible solutions to the threats we now face. CHOW is an annual event where the ocean community shares stories of success and lessons learned. We discuss impending trouble and figure out what legislation may move. The event is coordinated by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

Tuesday began with the keynote address by Dr. Richard W. Spinrad, Assistant Administrator of NOAA in Ocean & Atmospheric Research. You can watch his powerpoint slides on oceans and climate change here. Also speaking was Jim Connaughton, the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality.

The first panel discussed the ocean and climate change considering perspectives of the the science necessary to evaluate impacts. The large panel included Dr. Steve Murawski, Director of Scientific Programs & Chief Science Advisor for NOAA with the National Marine Fisheries Service, Dr. Victoria Fabry, Professor of Biology at California State University, Dr. James Overland, oceanographer at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, John Ferguson, Research Fishery Biologist with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, Dr. Bob Gagosian, President & CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, and Dr. Caroly A. Shumway, Director of Conservation Science with the Rhode Island Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Quite a fascinating group! They discussed sea level rise, ocean acidification, coastal habitats and biota, and more.
Click through some of the powerpoints to watch presentations:

Climate Change and the Oceans: What does the State of the Science Tell Us? – Steve Murawski

What Do We Know About the Rapidly Changing Arctic? – Dr. James Overland

The Effects of Climate Variability on Fisheries (Salmon) Resources in the Pacific NW – John Ferguson

Climate Change and Ocean Observing – Dr. Bob Gagosian

Climate Change and Biodiversity – Dr. Caroly A. Shumway
Later in the evening, the National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation presented Leadership Awards to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senator Barbara Mikulski.  This year’s Lifetime Achievement Awards went to Jean-Michel Cousteau and Dr. Sylvia Earle.

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