2013 Annual Science Immersion Workshop Agenda

Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting
15th Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists
Coastal Impacts: Global Change in Coastal Ecosystems
June 9-14, 2013
View 2013 Workshop

Day 1
Science From the Ground Up

4 p.m.          Fellowship Convenes
Hampton Inn South Kingstown
South County Commons, 20 Hotel Drive, South Kingstown, RI (401) 788-3500

Sunshine Menezes and Katharine McDuffie, Metcalf Institute
Introduction to Metcalf Institute, the Annual Science Immersion Workshop, and overviews of activities and goals for the week.

5:15               Depart for dinner (Hampton Inn entrance)
Fellows will travel in 12-passenger van to the restaurant.

5:30               Reception and Dinner
Turtle Soup
113 Ocean Road, Narragansett, RI (401) 792-868
                            Welcome and Introductions

2013 Metcalf Fellows; Sunshine Menezes, Metcalf Institute

6:30-7:30        Evening Presentation

                            The Building Blocks of Scientific Knowledge

Sunshine Menezes, Metcalf Institute; Tatiana Rynearson, University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography; Peter August, URI College of Environment and Life Sciences

“Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to

make, because they lead little by little to the truth.”

                                                                                                                      Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth

Although scientists see peer review, which occurs prior to the publication of a study, as an essential stage in the development of scientific consensus, the average news consumer is not exposed to the process of peer review. Yet familiarity with the different stages of scientific inquiry is critical to understanding the culture of science. Presenters will review the culture and practice of science, ranging from the identification of research questions and the nature of scientific uncertainty to the peer review process.

Day 2

Translating Science for Management Decisions

9 a.m.               Van departs for URI Kingston Campus  (Hampton Inn front entrance)

9:15-2:45           Fieldwork

Developing a Forest Management Plan
Forest ecosystems provide many services on local to global scales, from wildlife habitat and timber resources to carbon storage and air quality. One of the most important but least recognized forest products is clean water. Forest health is tightly linked to watershed health in terms of both water supply and quality. One means of protecting drinking water supplies and stream flows of import to many aquatic organisms is to develop a comprehensive forest management plan. We will discuss the steps necessary to develop such a plan, ranging from an identification of objectives to data collection and analysis.

9:15-10:15      Introduction to Forestry  (Coastal Institute in Kingston, Room 117A)
Christopher Riely, Providence Water; Bill Buffum, URI College of Environment and Life Sciences; Art Gold, URI College of Environment and Life Sciences; Chris Modisette, Maggie Payne, Jim Turenne, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Fellows will be introduced to the history of Rhode Island forests and the impact of changing land use in New England, as well as the broader impacts of forests on water supply and quality. Following instructions on how to conduct a forest inventory and soil survey, Fellows will depart for the URI North Woods, a nearly 100 year-old forest with relatively undisturbed soils, vegetation, and hydrology.

10:15-12:15    Field Session 1  (URI North Woods)*
Fellows will separate into two groups, which will rotate through two stations: Forest Inventory and Soil Survey. At the Forest Inventory station, Fellows will document tree data that will be used to assess the overall condition of the site. The Soil Survey will assess and compare the formation, properties, and quality of forest and field soils. *NOTE: As is typical of most wooded areas in Rhode Island, you are likely to find one or more deer ticks on your clothes after spending time in the North Woods. Metcalf Institute will provide tick repellent, but it is suggested that you take precautions (tuck your pants into socks) and do a thorough tick check when you return to the hotel. Read more at www.tickencounter.org.

12:30-1:30      Lunch  (Coastal Institute in Kingston, Room 117A)
During the second half of the lunch break, Fellows and speakers will discuss the results of the soil surveys and forest inventories. These results will be used to identify the optimal management approach for the North Woods site.

1:30-2:45        Field Session 2  (URI North Woods)
Using the results of the previously identified North Woods forest management priorities, Fellows will determine which trees should be harvested or retained. After marking trees according to the management plan, Fellows and speakers will discuss the implications for forest management under more complex scenarios involving multiple resource needs, invasive species, and climate change.

2:45               Depart for GSO  (Coastal Institute in Kingston, front entrance)
Metcalf Fellows will move to the CI Auditorium for the public lecture each day around 3:20 and be seated in the auditorium by 3:25

3:30-4:45           Public Lecture  (CI Auditorium)
Under Pressure: The Story of Our Nation’s Waters
Ellen Gilinsky, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
As a result of their national aquatic resource surveys, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently determined that over half of streams and rivers nationwide are unsuitable for aquatic life. U.S. EPA senior policy advisor Gilinsky will describe the surveys and how the results can be used to prioritize water management.

5-6:30               Reception and Dinner  (Nautilus Galley)
Welcome to the URI Graduate School of Oceanography
David Smith, URI GSO
Overview of Tuesday Activities
Sunshine Menezes, Metcalf Institute

Day 3

Long-Term Research: The Importance of Establishing Baselines

8:25 a.m.           Van departs for Wickford Shipyard  (Hampton Inn front entrance)

8:45-1:30           Fieldwork and Lab Practicum  (Narragansett Bay)
Assessing the State of Fisheries
Lis Henderson and Samantha DeCuollo, URI GSO Graduate Students
Fellows will gain an appreciation for the development of a long-term data series by participating in a fish trawl modeled on the GSO Fish Trawl Survey and observing the GSO plankton long-term monitoring project. The plankton monitoring was started in the 1950s and the fish trawl celebrates its 54th year in 2013; the data gathered from these efforts have informed scientists around the world.

8:45 a.m.           Arrive Wickford Marina, board the R/V Cap’n Bert (URI research vessel). Capt. Tom Puckett will review safety guidelines.

9-11:30             Depart for fisheries trawl in Narragansett Bay, rain or shine. Steam to either the mouth of Narragansett Bay or Fox Island, depending on weather. Henderson will show Fellows how measurements are taken of surface and bottom water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and salinity as part of the fish survey. DeCuollo will demonstrate how to collect a plankton sample. At our destination there will be a 20-minute tow of the trawl. Fellows will learn how to sort and identify fish species; count and weigh the catch; log catch data; and discuss how these data can be analyzed to inform fisheries management. As time permits on the boat, Fellows may discuss the implications of the catch numbers for the biology of Narragansett Bay and/or other fisheries management issues. On the return trip, Fellows will help clean up and store the trawl equipment in preparation for docking.

A Window into the Sea
Samantha DeCuollo, URI GSO
Compound microscopes will be set up with water samples from the plankton tow on the R/V Cap’n Bert, allowing Fellows to view the phytoplankton and zooplankton common to Narragansett Bay.

1-1:45               Science Translation I  (CI Large Conference Room)

Graphing for Communication of Complex Data
Leanna Heffner, URI GSO Graduate Student
This session will provide an introduction to the basics of interpreting graphs and some commonly used statistical terms. Fellows will apply these interpretive skills in an informal challenge to interpret more complex graphs.

2-3:15               Science Translation II  (CI Large Conference Room)
Deconstructing a Scientific Publication
Metcalf Fellows; David Smith, John Merrill, Brice Loose, URI GSO; Kelly Knorr, Leanna Heffner, URI GSO Graduate Students
For this Science Translation session, Fellows will partner with scientists in five groups. Using a pre-assigned paper as a model (Fellows’ assigned papers are within their binders), each group will discuss tools that can be used to effectively read and “translate” a science journal article for a news audience. At the end of the exercise, each group will share a specific translation tip gained during the session.

3:30-4:30           Public Lecture  (CI Auditorium)
Rethinking the Global Fisheries Crisis
Olaf Jensen, Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University
A new global database on wild fish populations has allowed fisheries scientists to test popular theories about global fishery sustainability. Jensen will discuss the results, which are overturning conventional wisdom about how fisheries operate and what we can do to ensure that they continue to provide food and other ecosystem services on a sustainable basis. 

4:45-6:30           Reception and Dinner  (Nautilus Galley)
Overview of Wednesday Activities
Sunshine Menezes, Metcalf Institute

Day 4

Connecting Science to Public Policy

8:40 a.m.           Van departs for South Kingstown Land Trust Barn  (Hampton Inn front entrance)

9-11:45          Fieldwork (Rhode Island’s South Shore)
Measuring Short- and Long-Term Changes in Coastal Zones
John King, GSO; Janet Freedman, Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council;
Grover Fugate, Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC)
Projected increases in sea level as a result of climate change will affect coastal communities in numerous ways, from destabilizing coastal infrastructure through accelerated coastal erosion to more frequent and far-reaching inland flooding. Scientists, coastal managers, and emergency management agencies are racing to develop updated and geographically expanded flood zone maps that are needed to inform many difficult decisions regarding the protection of coastal environments, infrastructure, and public safety. Today’s activities will provide a 360-degree perspective on the challenges of planning for climate change.

9-10               Fellows will arrive at the South Kingstown Land Trust Barn. King and Freedman will provide an overview of coastal geological processes in the area, including: the formation and nature of a barrier; the impacts of sea level rise; storm-induced erosion and inland flooding; the effects of shoreline structures on beaches; and a summary of local shoreline change over time. Following the scientific overview, Fugate will describe a new effort to develop the Beach Special Area Management Plan, a coastal management plan for Rhode Island’s south shore.

10:05             Depart for beaches, where King and Freedman, along with Cameron Morissette, GSO Graduate Student, will make observations and take measurements.

10:15-10:35    Tour Matunuck Beach, which offers a vivid picture of the infrastructure challenges raised by coastal erosion, storm surge, and inland flooding.

10:40-10:55    Tour Roy Carpenter’s Beach for an example of a more proactive approach toward managing the effects of sea level rise on a coastal community. Fellows will take a very short walk onto the beach to contrast this site with the problems and approaches demonstrated on Matunuck Beach.

11:00             Depart for Green Hill Beach

11:15-11:45    Scientists map shorelines and coastal ecosystems at a variety of spatial and temporal scales, requiring the collection of detailed data. Mapping sea level rise requires elevation data for beaches and other coastal formations. King and Freedman will describe the Emery method of beach profiling, a simple technique that provides a snapshot of beach topography. As Fellows observe a sample beach transect, the group will discuss short- and long-term changes in beach profiles, as well as alternative methods of mapping coastal elevation data to capture larger spatial scales, including LiDAR.

11:45-12:05 p.m.  Travel to GSO

12:45-3:00         Role Playing Exercise  (CI Large Conference Room)
Helping Cities Adapt to Climate Change Risks
Metcalf Fellows; Jessica Cigna, HousingWorks RI; Teresa Crean, Rhode Island Sea Grant and URI Coastal Resources Center; David Everett, Providence Planning Department; Carrie Gill, URI Environment and Natural Resource Economics; John Sinnott, Gilbane Inc.; Mark Van Noppen, The Armory Revival Company; Adam Whelchel, The Nature Conservancy
Planning for climate change adaptation requires the coordination of a large number of individuals, agencies, and institutions. To be successful, this planning also requires negotiation among these many parties.
Each of the invited speakers will provide a brief introduction to their affiliations and the various ways that they work on climate change adaptation in their professions. Following these introductions, each speaker will partner with one or more Fellows to represent a specific, pre-assigned character in a role-playing exercise developed by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard University. This seven-party, multi-issue negotiation showcases the near and far-term impacts of land-use decisions and infrastructure investments under a scenario of climate change, using the example of a riverside mixed-used development in the fictional city of Evantown.

3:30-4:30           Public Lecture (CI Auditorium)
Building Resilient Cities: Lessons Learned from Hurricane Sandy
William Solecki, Hunter College, City University of New York
Massive storms like Hurricane Sandy have sharpened the need for climate adaptation measures in coastal communities. Solecki will discuss the research and planning necessary to help cities recover quickly from projected climate change challenges such as more frequent instances of extreme weather and sea level rise.

4:45-6:15           Reception and Dinner  (Nautilus Galley)

6:30-7:30           Evening Discussion  (Nautilus Galley)
Building Bridges: What Scientists Need to Know About Journalism
Metcalf Fellows; Brian Caccioppoli, Mary Dzaugis, Leanna Heffner, Dan Iwanski, Kelly Knorr, Anna Malek, Justine Sauvage, Sara Szwaja, URI GSO Students
In this post-dinner discussion, Metcalf Fellows will be joined by GSO graduate students interested in learning more about how journalists do their work. Fellows will describe the process of reporting and the elements of a good story. The informal conversation is intended to provide these young scientists with a basis for developing good relationships with the news media as they proceed in their careers.

Overview of Thursday activities
Sunshine Menezes, Metcalf Institute

Day 5

Understanding Long-Term Changes through Scientific Proxies

9-12:30             Lab Practicum  (GSO Center for Atmospheric Chemistry Studies (CACS))

                                Learning from the Past: How Paleoclimate Studies Can Illuminate the Future
The study of past climates, or paleoclimatology, requires the integration of many disciplines,
including physics, geology, chemistry, and atmospheric and ocean sciences. Researchers use a variety of proxies to reconstruct the details of past climate states and rates of change, including geochemical studies of deep-sea sediment, air bubbles trapped in ice cores, and the isotopic composition of rocks. Deep-sea sediment cores offer a particularly long-term perspective, providing data from over fifty million years ago. This lab will describe the use of marine sediment to understand changes in ocean chemistry and global climate, over geologic time.

9:00-10:00      Introduction to Ocean Chemistry and Ocean Acidification (CACS 108)

Steven D’Hondt, URI GSO; Justine Sauvage, Mary Dzaugis, URI GSO Graduate students; James Zachos, University of California, Santa Cruz
The ocean serves as a large reservoir of carbon, and it has a finely tuned chemical composition that is the result of atmospheric exchange, terrestrial inputs, marine biological activity, and geochemical interactions with Earth’s crust. The ocean absorbs significant quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which could potentially slow or lessen the effects of climate change. Too much carbon dioxide uptake by the ocean can alter ocean chemistry, however, resulting in a variety of problems for marine organisms. The speakers will provide an introduction to carbon chemistry in the ocean, and how this relates to ocean acidification.

10:15-10:45    Tour of the GSO Marine Geological Samples Laboratory
Brian Caccioppoli, URI GSO Graduate Student
Fellows will tour the “Rock and Core Lab,” a 6,000 square foot building containing labs and storage spaces for the curation of marine geological samples. The GSO Marine Geological Samples Laboratory maintains a large collection of dredge rocks, deep-sea cores, and land-based geological samples that are accessed by researchers across the globe.

11:00-12:15    Measuring Calcium Carbonate in Ocean Sediments (CACS 108, CACS 311)
Steven D’Hondt, URI GSO; Justine Sauvage, Mary Dzaugis, URI GSO;
James Zachos, University of California, Santa Cruz
Fellows will receive a group introduction to the laboratory exercise, including a description of tools and methods. Fellows will then divide into two groups.

  • Group 1 will remain in CACS 108 to describe sediment cores collected from a transect in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific (EEP). To describe the core, note all details that you can observe regarding color, texture, and transitions on provided log sheet). Microscope stations will also be set up in CACS 108 to allow detailed observation of the EEP cores and to identify the sediment contents.
  • Group 2 will move to CACS 311 to measure calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in sediment from the ocean bottom to reconstruct the carbonate compensation depth (CCD). The CCD is the depth at which calcium carbonate dissolves in the ocean: CaCO3 accumulates above the CCD and dissolves below this point. The CCD is determined by the solubility of CaCO3, which depends on temperature, pressure, and the amount of CO2 dissolved in the water. Therefore, we can look for the presence or absence of CaCO3 (from marine organisms’ shells or scales) in deep-sea sediment cores to determine the depth of the CCD at the time that the shells or scales were originally deposited. This information serves as a proxy for the concentration of CO2 dissolved in ancient seawater. Each Fellow will weigh and measure his/her assigned sample, and then enter sample ID, weight, and coulometer reading on provided log sheet.
  • Groups will rotate after 30 minutes.

12:15             Leave for the Coastal Institute

1:30-3               Science Translation III  (CI Large Conference Room)

                                Telling the Story
Metcalf Fellows; David Smith, John Merrill, Brice Loose, URI GSO; Kelly Knorr, URI GSO Graduate Student; Autumn Oczkowski, U.S. EPA
For the final Science Translation session, Fellows will again gather in five groups. Building on the science translation tools identified on Tuesday and with the help of participating scientists, Fellows will read and translate a science journal article and identify one or two key conclusions from the paper. Fellows will then take the lead to help scientists identify a news hook for the article and develop a pitch to cover the paper. For each group, a journalist will summarize the conclusions of the scientific journal article, and the scientist will give a brief pitch for a news story relating to those conclusions.

3:30-4:30           Public Lecture (CI Auditorium)
Ocean Acidification in Earth’s Past: Insights to the Future
James Zachos, University of California, Santa Cruz
Zachos will put ocean acidification into an historical context, showing how ancient events driven by slower, natural surges in carbon serve as warnings about the impacts that today’s rapid changes could have on marine life.

4:45                  Group Photo of Fellows (CI front entrance)

5:00                  Van departs for Newport (CI front entrance)

5:30-7:15           Reception and dinner
Salvation Café
140 Broadway, Newport RI 02840, (401) 847-2620

7:15-8:00           Evening Presentation
A Different Kind of Science Magazine
Kevin Berger, Nautilus
Berger is the features editor of a just-launched online science magazine, Nautilus, which addresses big issues in science by reporting on a single topic in each monthly issue, but from a variety of perspectives. Berger will describe the goals of this new publication and reflect on scientific uncertainty, the topic of the June issue.

Day 6

Connecting Research to the Big Picture

8:55                  Arrive at GSO Coastal Institute. Drivers may park at GSO in the Coastal Institute parking lot.

9-10:30             Presentation  (Coastal Institute Large Conference Room)

Drawing Conclusions from Data
Jonathan Stray, The Overview Project
So you got the data, you plotted it, and you see a trend–or someone else says they see one. Is it really there, and does it mean what you think it does? This session will be an intuitive introduction to statistical testing. Stray will show how Fellows to use simple examples and visualization to explain what statistical inference is, why you need to do it, and ways to check the validity of an analysis with very little math. He will also cover causation, correlation, and confounding variables. This session won’t make you a statistical expert, but at least you’ll know when you should be suspicious.

11-12 noon       Public Lecture (CI Auditorium)

Digging Deep for News: New Approaches to Environmental Reporting
Jonathan Stray, The Overview Project
Following the tools-based workshop on how to more effectively interpret data for reporting, Stray will discuss how journalists can use this information to better translate scientific research and policy for the public and improve environmental news coverage.

2:00                  Fellowship Concludes

Friday Surveys due prior to departure.

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