Lecture to cover delicate balance of West Coast water quality

Western Today staff

The Western Alumni Association will present Erika McPhee-Shaw, director of Western Washington University’s Shannon Point Marine Center, who will discuss “Water doesn’t always flow downhill. Nitrogen, hypoxia, and upwelling: A coastal oceanographer’s journey to describe complex systems where the deep sea meets the land,” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 16 at the Anacortes Yacht Club.

It’s no secret our oceans are changing rapidly before our eyes, creating concern for everyone. Washington residents have witnessed our sea star population disintegrate in the span of a year. Warnings about the safety of our food sourced from the Puget Sound seem to come and go in waves.

Learn why this is happening in our local waters at the next “Ignite Your Intellect” event. McPhee-Shaw will  discuss the human and natural contributors to drastic changes that cause “dead zones” in our lakes and oceanic bodies of water that surround us.

McPhee-Shaw came to Western after serving for almost a decade on the faculty at San Jose State University, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. She is a coastal oceanographer who studies waves and turbulence and their effects on the transport of sediment, oxygen, nutrients, and plankton. She is particularly interested in internal waves and the physics of boundary-interior exchange at continental margins.

She has been chief scientist on several deep-sea expeditions to West Coast continental slope, shelf and canyons, and lead principal investigator on multi-institution projects funded by the National Science Foundation.  She was 2013-2014 Leopold Leadership Fellow (Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment).  Efforts on behalf of the oceanographic and environmental community include national and state-level leadership on boards of the US Integrated Ocean Observing Systems (US IOOS) and the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS), and chair of the International Gordon Conference on Coastal Ocean Circulation.

Ticket prices are $10 for Alumni Association members and $15 for non-members. Desserts and wine are included in the cost of admission. Tickets are available online at http://www.igniteyourintellect.com or by calling the Alumni Office at 360-650-3353.

The Shannon Point Marine Center’s mission is to support and promote marine science academic programs at WWU, develop new information about local marine environments, train the next generation of marine scientists, and provide public education events.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - 11:14am