2007 Workshop Agenda

Ninth Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists
Coastal Impacts: Marine and Environmental Science for Journalists
June 10-15, 2007
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Day 1
Science From the Ground Up: The Evolution of the Hypothesis

Afternoon: Arrivals

Evening: Welcome and Introductions
Research The Good, the Bad, and the “Truth”
SUNSHINE MENEZES, Metcalf Institute; ARTHUR GOLD, University of Rhode Island Department of Natural Resource Science
While science is mainly conducted at the highly specialized level, journalists need to understand the big picture. Presenters will review the scientific method, ranging from the identification of research questions, to data collection and analysis, to manuscript submission and the use of science in policy. This discussion about the culture of science will also present a framework for the goals of the workshop week.


Day 2
Integrating the Physical and Biological Effects of Climate Change

Morning: Fieldwork and Lab Practicum
How Will Coastal Ecosystems Respond to Sea Level Rise?
Rhode Island’s beaches and coastal lagoons offer easily accessible sites for researching physical processes and biological communities. This program will examine the effects of sea level rise on coastal ecosystems in a barrier beach and coastal lagoon complex. Fellows will look at how climate change may alter processes and communities already undergoing natural change due to long-term coastal erosion.

Lab Practicum
The ability to evaluate ecosystem health quantitatively not only contributes to solid scientific research–contributing to our understanding of the interactions between physical, chemical, geological and biological conditions–but also effectively informs management decisions. What other tools are used gain better spatial coverage when conducting geological and ecological research and what information can be extracted from these techniques?

Public Lecture
Ocean Circulation and Climate Change: A Chilling Combination?
RUTH CURRY, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Evening: Overview of The State of Fisheries


Day 3
The Research Process: Data Collection to Communication

Morning: Fieldwork and Lab Practicum
Assessing the State of Fisheries
PERRY JEFFRIES, GSO; RICH BELL, KELLY HENRY, JASON KRUMHOLZ, LAURA WINDECKER, GSO Graduate Students; TIM LYNCH, Department of Environmental Management, Division of Fish and Wildlife
GSO’s Bottom-Trawl Survey, initiated in 1959 and now the longest continuous record of fish and invertebrate abundance in Rhode Island, makes it possible to quantify the seasonal occurrences of migratory fish populations in Narragansett Bay and provides data for ongoing research at GSO. The dataset is also used to supplement numerous monitoring programs, to corroborate survey results of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management trawl, and to support fisheries management and outreach and education efforts statewide.

Demonstration of the use of the Continuous Plankton Recorder
JON HARE, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Lab Practicum: Overview of ecosystems in Narragansett Bay
Introduction to the GSO fish trawl dataset and explanation of the application of the scientific method for explaining biological changes over time. Fellows will have time to look through the dataset and consider trends in fish populations. A microscope station will be set up for examining plankton throughout the lab period.

Public Lecture: A Sea Change for Ecosystems in the North Atlantic
CHARLES H. GREENE, Ocean Resources and Ecosystems Program, Cornell University
Since the 1970s, unprecedented climate warming in the Arctic has led to increased precipitation, glacial and sea ice melting, and has altered Arctic Ocean circulation patterns. More recently, changes in Arctic circulation patterns have been linked with a dramatic shift in Northwest Atlantic ocean shelf ecosystems. Greene will relate these circulation patterns to shifts in abundance of plankton and their consumers and explain the consequences for ecosystems.

Evening Discussion: The Science of Herding Cats: How Scientists Manage and Use Large Datasets


Day 4
Using Research to Inform Regulation

Morning: Field Trip
Innovation in Wastewater Treatment and Urban Water Infrastructure

Afternoon: News Reporting Seminar
Why Should We Care About Climate Change? Pitching Complex and Incremental Science
How do you cover a global phenomenon, such as climate change, for a local newspaper, radio station or television newscast? Veteran news professionals will talk about the new definiton of “balance,” identifying local consequences of scientific findings, and covering the broad range of reactions to climate change.

Public Lecture:
Reporting on Water Supply: New Stories of Scarcity
Since the 1870s westerners have had to irrigate and share water to survive. Today, vast wetland drainage, development and overuse have led to scarcity and water wars across the American East. Will eastern states learn from the west, where water has been over-allocated to the point when some legal users, as well as fish and wildlife, are left with no water at all during times of drought? Barnett, author of the new book, Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S. will look at water supply on both sides of the 100th Meridian and how reporting on water resources can be more effective.


Day 5
Science Applied and Demonstrated: Measuring the Impacts of Climate Change

Morning: Fieldwork and Lab Practicum
Controlling the Transmission of Mosquito-Borne Diseases
ALAN GETTMAN, RI Department of Environmental Management; HOWARD GINSBERG, University of Rhode Island; JOHN FULTON, RI Department of Health; RYAN ABNEY, ANDREW BULLARD, KAREL DLUGOKINSKI, MICHELE LABAS, RI Department of Environmental Management Seasonal Technicians
As local temperature regimes shift and sea level rises, transmission of vector-borne diseases is likely to increase in frequency and geographic extent. Salt marsh ecosystems will be the setting for some of these shifts in disease-bearing populations such as mosquitos. Global warming can broaden the geographic ranges poleward of some species of mosquitoes, and it can lengthen mosquito season, which increases late season disease transmission. Rising sea levels may reduce acreage of salt marshes, reducing reproduction potential of saltmarsh mosquito species.

Afternoon: Lab Presentation
Mapping the Effects of Climate Change
PETER AUGUST, URI Natural Resources Science, Coastal Institute on Narragansett Bay; ROLAND DUHAIME, URI Environmental Data Center
Digital and Internet-based mapping technologies allow journalists to quickly establish a sense of place for a news story. Google Earth, a free mapping program, provides access to aerial photography, satellite imagery and landmark data, and is an excellent resource to quickly visualize the spatial context of a site. Geographic Information Systems (GIS), a similar technology, is used for complex mapping and analysis applications. In this lab Fellows will examine risks associated with sea level rise and hurricane storm surge in the Ninigret Pond area using Google Earth and ArcGIS.

Public Lecture: The Potential Health Impacts of Climate Change
JOEL D. SCHERAGA, Global Change Research Program/Mercury Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Evening Presentation:
Covering Climate Change: Finding Local Angles in the World’s Most Important Environmental Story
BETH DALEY, The Boston Globe
Climate change has all the ingredients of a terrible local news story. It is a worldwide problem with impacts leaching out over decades, making it hard to put “yesterday” in the lede, with much of the background information based in hard science. Daley will talk about ways to bring this vast environmental story home to a local news audience by making it compelling and relevant.


Day 6 Morning: Presentation
Assessing the Impacts of Sound in the Sea
People and animals use sound in the oceans to sense their surroundings, communicate, and navigate, among other things. The effects of human induced sound on marine animals has garnered a lot of public attention recently. This session will introduce technologies used to measure underwater sound and address common misconceptions about the effects of sound on marine life. Scowcroft and Vigness-Raposa will provide a case study on the use of sound to discern climate change to illustrate the scientific process and the trials scientists implement to determine cause-effect relationships.

Afternoon: Public Lecture
The Business of Climate Change: Alternative Energy Realities
CHRISTOPHER POWELL, Brown University, Moderator; CUTLER CLEVELAND, Boston University; JEFF DEYETTE, Union of Concerned Scientists; DENNIS DUFFY, Cape Wind Associates and Energy Management, Inc.; DAN VALIANTI, Ceres

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