Erika McPhee-Shaw to Speak on Pacific Coast Ecosystems on April 9 at Western

BELLINGHAM – Shannon Point Marine Center director Erika McPhee-Shaw will discuss characteristics of coastal ecosystems as part of the WWU Huxley College of the Environment Speaker Series at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 9 in Communications Facility 120 on the Western Washington University campus.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

In lakes and in oceanic water bodies such as the Gulf of Mexico, there can be a relatively clear relationship between land-based agricultural pollution and impaired water quality. However, in some regions of the ocean the causes for low oxygen are less clearly attributable to human activities. This is particularly so along the west coasts of the U.S., where upwelling brings naturally low-oxygen waters up into shallow ecosystems on a regular seasonal basis. In her talk titled “Life on the Edge of the Pacific,” McPhee-Shaw will discuss a series of observational projects from central and southern California examining nutrient sources to inner-shelf coastal ecosystems.

McPhee-Shaw is a coastal oceanographer who studies waves and turbulence and their effects on the transport of sediment, oxygen, nutrients and plankton. In 2014, she was named director of WWU’s Shannon Point Marine Center ( A former faculty member at San Jose State University, McPhee-Shaw holds a bachelor’s degree in Physics from Dartmouth College and a doctorate in Oceanography from the University of Washington.

The presentation will include a question-and-answer period. Anyone interested in the topic is encouraged to attend and participate.

The Huxley College Speaker Series, sponsored by Western’s Huxley College of the Environment, is intended to bring together environmentally-minded members of the WWU and Bellingham communities. Speakers address topics of contemporary environmental concern in the region and the world.

WWU’s Huxley College of the Environment is one of the oldest environmental colleges in the nation and a recognized leader in producing the next generation of environmental professionals and stewards. Huxley’s distinctive, interdisciplinary curriculum reflects a broad view of the physical, biological, social and cultural world, and has earned international recognition for quality.

For more information, please contact WWU’s Huxley College of the Environment at (360) 650-2554.

Monday, April 6, 2015 - 2:46pm