Saturday, May 12, 2012

May 4, 2012. The Hawthornes Visit The Aquarium In Newport, Oregon.

Oregon Bridges are ornate.

The Hawthornes are visiting the Oregon Coast Aquarium,
a world-class marine educational attraction
nestled on beautiful Yaquina Bay in Newport, Oregon.
The Aquarium strives to be a center of excellence
for ocean literacy,
playing an active role in conservation 
and animal rehabilitation efforts.
And the exhibits are outstanding.

First, a little information about Oregon geology 
- the tsunami.
Devastating waves called "tsunamis" can strike the Oregon coast at any time.  Most tsunamies are caused by great undersea earthquakes.  Such earthquakes occur along the Cascadia Subduction Zone, one of the largest active faults in North America.

Tsunamis are dangerous and destructive.  Cascadia tsunamis have struck the Oregon coast several times in the past 2000 years.  Most recently, about AD 1700, a tsunami caused by an earthquake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone flooded marshes landward of Yaquina Bay and other Oregon bays.  This tsunami and earlier ones are known to have affected large areas because tsunami-deposited sand has been found here in Newport and in other coastal lowlands in Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and northernmost California.

The earth's surface consists of a series of "plates."  These plates are constantly shifting and sliding over, under, or past each other.  When a sudden movement occurs between two plates, we experience an earthquake.

A tsunami can deposit a layer of sea sand in its path.  Core samples have been collected along Yaquina Bay and the surrounding lowlands for evidence of past tsunamis.   Dots on the above map show where buried tsunami sands were found.

The Juan de Fuca Plate is moving away from the Juan de Fuca Ridge and is being forced under the overriding North American Plate.  This geologic process is call subduction.

If there is an earthquake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone, Newport could be hit by a tsunami within minutes of the ground shaking.  To escape a tsunami, you must respond immediately after feeling an earthquake - go to high ground and inland away from beach, tidal channels, and other coastal lowlands.  Remember, most tsunamis are not solitary giant waves; instead, many large waves may strike shore over the course of several hours.  Do not return to the beach after the first tsunami wave.  Wait for official word from authorities. 

The area around and in the Aquarium
is beautifully landscaped.
Most all the plants on the Aquarium grounds
are native to Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a pioneer 
of "naturescaping,"
or landscaping with native plants.
Planting native trees, shrubs, ferns, and perennials
creates a habitat that attracts and supports native wildlife.

Western geranium on left.
 Geranium oreganum

Deer fern back right.
Blechnum spicant

This trash was picked up on South Beach 
in a two hour period.

Marine Pollution
Marine pollution is a world-wide problem that affects all living things that use the ocean.  While unsightly and inconvenient for people, marine pollution can be fatal for animals living in the ocean.

It is estimated that 80% of debris in the ocean is in the form of plastics - which never biodegrade.

This is one of the reasons that Dare County,
where we live,
banned plastic bags in grocery stores.

Plastics photodegrade, breaking down into smaller pieces.  Birds, fish, marine mammals, and sea turtles often mistake floating trash for food.  Eventually the animals suffer a tragic death from starvation, internal injuries, suffocation, or toxic poisoning. 

You may see a sea lion with fishing line or a plastic band wrapped around its neck, or a fishing lure hanging out of its mouth.  Why doesn't someone just catch the sea lion and remove the entanglement?

Entangled animals are often active, aggressive, and can pose a danger to those trying to help them.  In order to remove the debris, rescuers would likely need to sedate the animal and risk it jumping into the water and drowning.  

Rescuers assess each situation and determine the safest and most practical way to respond.  Unfortunately they are not able to attend to every animal.

 Be The Solution 
The long-term solution to entanglement and marine pollution is prevention.  Almost 80% of the pollution in the ocean comes from land-based activities; only 20% is a result of activities at sea.  There are things that all of us can do to reduce injury and mortality to marine life.

 Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Low production of plastics means less plastic pollution in the ocean.  Marine animals mistake brightly colored plastic for food, eat it, and then die.

Lose The Lock 
Cutting any type of loops (six-pack rings, rubber bands) before discarding them in the trash will help prevent entanglement.

Use Cloth Bags
instead of plastic bags to carry groceries home.  Sea turtles mistake plastic bags (and balloons) for their favorite food - jellies.
Don't leave the line behind.
Properly disposing of monofilament fishing line will help 
prevent entanglement of marine life.
Recycle it when possible. 

in coastal cleanup programs, like SOLV -
Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism.

 If you see a marine mammal that is being harassed, looks stranded, or is entangled, please contact the Oregon State Police 1-800-452-7888
I've seen the most beautiful rhododendrons 
in the Pacific Northwest.

Now for the Aquarium denizens.

I had Mr. Hawthorne put his hand
next to the crab so you could get an idea
of how big it is.

I have to admit:
I'm getting a wee bit light headed
surrounded by this tunnel of water.

I could just sit and watch the jellyfish all day.

Sword Fern
Polystichum munitum

On to the aviary:

Seabirds take refuge in sanctuaries.  
Nesting seabirds are highly sensitive to disturbances.
Hikers, boats, or planes that come too close
to a colony can panic the adults.
They may stampede, leaving nests unguarded,
or they may accidentally knock
their eggs or chicks into the sea.

To protect seabird nesting colonies,
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
has designated almost all Oregon coast rocks, 
reefs, and islands as part of the
National Wildlife Refuge System.
You can't visit the colonies,
but you can get a good look at some of them from shore.

The bird family, Alcidae or Auk, 
includes 23 species, of which four species
can be found in this aviary:
common murres,
tufted puffins,
pigeon guillemots,
and rhinoceros auklets.

Auks share these characteristics:
  • Use wings to swim underwater and fly in the air.
  • Live in the Northern Hemisphere
  • Feed whole fish to their young
  • Dense feathers keep them warm

Tufted puffin.

Corn lily
Veratrum californicum
Lady fern
Athyrium filix-femine
Licorice Fern
Polypodium vulgare

Queen of the Forest
Filipendula occidentalis
Indian Rhubarb
Darmera peltata

Gaultheria shallon
Fairy Stars
Smilicina stellata

Wood Sorrel
Oxalis oregana

Maidenhair Fern
Adiantum pedatum

Wild Solomon's Seal
Smilicina racemosa
Evergreen Huckleberry
Vaccinium ovatum

Skunk Cabbage
Lysichiton americanum
Bog Bean
Menyanthes trifoliata

Yellow Pond Lily
Nuphar advena


Fern heads.


Ribes divaricatum

Pacific Ninebark
Physocarpus capitatus

Devil's Club
Oplopanax horridus

Devil's Club


Marilyn said...

Very nice. Thanks for the videos.

Friends of Tabby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lea said...

I love a good aquarium! Particularly enjoyed the BIG crab and the puffins!!!

Did you just stop eating all together ; )