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Science Distilled

"In the Spring of 2022, a group of DRI scientists traveled to Greenland with the intent of extracting 4,000-year-old ice cores which tell the story of climate, volcanoes, and human activity. The arduous journey and even more arduous task of drilling and extracting ice cores isn’t without risk or danger."
Science distilled is a public lecture series highlighting emerging research and researchers.

Tunu Expedition Story Map

Leading and Enabling Adolescent Futures in STEM (LEAFS)

View LEAFS Webpage

About LEAFS:

Mission Statement: "The goal of LEAFS is to help inspire youths with disabilities to find their passion by interacting with several STEM based activities. We aim to promote a more inclusive environment and develop diversity in thought for future engineers, as they tackle tomorrow’s most challenging technological problems."

Mentorship and Teaching:

In the Winter of 2019, I served as a mentor for LEAFS. Over the course of three months, I taught three undergraduate engineering students about concepts related to ocean acidification, the carbon cycle, and oyster ecology, and facilitated the creation of a four-hour camp program for students with disabilities in grades 6-12. In January 2020 the team implemented the lesson plan for a group of 8 students from around the state of Oregon.


Description of course content created:

The goal of the lesson was to get students thinking about the issues of climate change, both on a large and small scale. Specifically, the goals were to engage students with the issue of ocean acidification and the ways in which humans have driven changes in ocean chemistry. Learning objectives of the lesson were to:

  1. Define chemistry terms including pH, acidic, basic and buffer.

  2. Describe how pH relates to ocean acidification and why it negatively impacts some organisms.

  3. Explain why seawater resists changes in pH more than freshwater.

  4. Communicate why oysters are important organisms in the state of Oregon.


As part of the lesson students engaged with hands-on activities including examining and dissecting a Pacific Oyster. The purpose of this activity was to engage students with a real organism and discuss the impact of ocean acidification on the Pacific Northwest and the organisms that live there.

View Sample Teaching Materials:

Oregon Sea Grant Video and Photos

With funding from Oregon Sea Grant, researchers from Oregon State University are placing bags of oysters on different amounts of empty shells to see if the shells help the oysters grow better. The empty shells dissolve and emit calcium and carbonate into the water, much like an antacid, potentially serving as a tool to fight ocean acidification. The scientists will measure the uranium and calcium in the oyster shells to see if the empty shells under them reduced the acidity of the water. Researchers on the project include Alyssa Shiel, Adam Kent, George Waldbusser and Sophia Wensman.

Inspiration Dissemination Radio Interview

Sophie Wensman is a 2nd year PhD student examining the effects of ocean acidification on oyster health off the Oregon coast. Oysters are a multi-million dollar industry in Oregon and in 2007 there was a massive die-off in Netarts Bay that left growers scrambling to figure out the cause; Sophie sheds light on her ongoing research sites and ways to potentially keep the industry thriving. She is also an ocean chemist who is able to use naturally occurring Uranium in oceans and correlate that with the Uranium concentration in oyster shells to re-create past ocean conditions.

Oyster Research Blog

Learn more about the wonderful, messy world of oysters and the knowledge we can gain from them.

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