Western Washington University will host an open house at its Shannon Point Marine Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16 at the center, which is located at 1900 Shannon Point Road in Anacortes.
“The open house will be a great way for Western and the local community to learn about what we do here at Shannon Point Marine Center, and for the incoming Marine Science Scholar students to learn about science communication and public education,” said Shawn Arellano, Marine Science Scholars program coordinator.
Benjamin Miner, an associate professor of Biology at Western, will present from 1-2 p.m. as the event’s keynote speaker. Miner will explore the topic “Sea star wasting disease and the demise of sea stars in the Salish Sea.”
After noticing sea stars along North America’s west coast dying in large numbers in 2013, Miner and his students decided to research how organisms alter their morphology and behavior in response to different environmental conditions. Research from the last 30 years demonstrated that these responses, referred to as phenotypic plasticity, are common in nature. The researchers’ question now is how the responses affect evolutionary and ecological processes.