Three UW researchers to present & attend 2022 UN Ocean Conference on assessing global ocean equity

Next week, UW will be sending researchers to the 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference, which will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, from June 27-July 1. This five-day conference will seek to advance momentum around science-based innovative solutions related to global ocean action within the UN Sustainable Development Goal #14: “to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.”

In partnership with the UW Office of Global Affairs, three researchers from The Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center and the Washington Ocean Acidification Center – two EarthLab member organizations within the UW College of the Environment – will be presenting their research in real time (both virtually and in-person) at the conference.

Virtual webinar on ocean equity from Ocean Nexus Center

On Monday, The Ocean Nexus Center’s Director Dr. Yoshitaka Ota and team will gather virtually and present at the UN Ocean Conference to introduce new frameworks for developing and conducting such ocean equity studies.

The free event begins at 10 a.m. Pacific Time. Click here to register.

Ocean Nexus is a transdisciplinary international network of over 30 research institutes and 100 ocean researchers focused on bringing social equity to ocean governance. This network is built on a 10-year partnership between the Nippon Foundation and the University of Washington.

“We are committed to building relationships at the global scale to deepen our understanding of social equity in the context of ocean management and collectively address systemic injustices, such as racial and gender discrimination and post-colonial hegemony,” said Dr. Ota, who is also a Professor of Practice at the UW School of Marine & Environmental Affairs. “Traditionally, ocean issues are treated separately from social issues, but our team believes that sustainable ocean development must include evolving evidence measurements and innovative performance indicators for a procedural and just transformation of oceans.”

The Ocean Nexus-led side event will introduce a new framework to showcase the development and transmission of Procedural Key Performance Indicators (PKPI), that guide sustainable development efforts in oceans to contribute to reducing social inequity and inequality. Eight Nexus fellows and postdoc researchers within the Ocean Nexus network will present their work on feminist epistemology, ocean’s climate justice, social impacts of marine conservation, racial history of US fisheries and ocean plastic policy in Italy.

The event will open by explaining the co-development processes behind the PKPI creation, how researchers are adapting the framework to specific ocean equity contexts, and will conclude by inviting collaborating researchers, government officials and decision-makers into a moderated Q&A. This session is free and open to the public. UW post doc researchers Jessica Vandenberg, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, and Rebeca de Buen Kalman,  Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, will be presenting their work as a part of this Ocean Nexus side event. Grant Blume, associate teaching professor at the Evans School, will also be attending the conference on behalf of the UW.

In-Person event on access to data moderated by Washington Ocean Acidification Center

On Thursday afternoon, Dr. Jan Newton (WOAC Co-Director, Senior Principal Oceanographer at UW Applied Physics Laboratory and UW affiliate Professor of oceanography) will moderate an in-person panel discussion in Lisbon entitled “Ocean Acidification: Co-designing data connections to underserved communities for equitable outcomes.”

The Washington Ocean Acidification Center was established in 2013 following the recommendation of the Washington state Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification. Based within EarthLab at the University of Washington, WOAC serves the entire state as a regional research hub that monitors, studies and trains the next generation of scientists, managers and decision-makers to face the challenges posed by ocean acidification.

This in-person UN side event will highlight how global programs – such as the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network’s UN programme Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability (OARS) and the Nippon Foundation’s Ocean Nexus Center at UW – can give visibility to local voices, especially those of Indigenous, Small Island Developing States and other underserved communities that depend on ocean-based economies for their survival.

“We need to consider the importance of local ocean acidification efforts conducted within effective global coordination, to take action at both of these scales,” said Dr. Newton. “It is critical to conduct local scale observations co-designed with communities, assuring that connections are made for their local data usage. At the same time, the value of doing so within a global context should be recognized– both for how these data can inform global assessments, like the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.3, and for how global programs can give visibility to local voices. That is where we can make a real difference.”

Through a moderated panel discussion, presenters from Indigenous and Small Island Developing States backgrounds will explore how local partnerships between researchers and Indigenous communities can be supported within global coordination programs to build more resilient communities in the face of climate change as it relates to ocean acidification.

By informing global scientific assessments through local-scale research that is co-designed by both ocean scientists and communities, these collaborative adaptation strategies can better provide future scientific tools and programming to build more resilient communities worldwide.

The event, scheduled for 1:30-3 p.m. local time, was recorded and can be viewed here. To learn more about Dr. Newton and the Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability programme within the UN Ocean Decade, click here.



UN Ocean Conference Side Event | “Ocean Acidification: Co-designing data connections to underserved communities for equitable outcomes”

Pacific herring, an important food source for salmon, show sensitivity to marine heatwaves

EarthLab unveils new paid summer internships for UW undergrads

EarthLab has announced a new paid summer internship program for University of Washington undergraduate students who are passionate about addressing challenging environmental issues. Currently enrolled students (as of Spring 2022) from all UW schools, colleges and campuses are eligible to apply by 5 p.m. PT on April 15, 2022.

This year’s program will run for 10 weeks between June-August, with student presentations expected in the fall. Internships will be hosted within EarthLab member organizations. Although each project is unique, interns will engage with and learn from each other while attending required training sessions and other group activities. Each student will be provided with a faculty or research scientist mentor and will receive a weekly stipend based on the hours required for the project.

“We know that if we are going to effectively and equitably address environmental issues, we must rethink how we train the next generation of leaders, researchers and scholars,” said Ben Packard, EarthLab’s executive director. “We’re excited to offer this new opportunity for undergraduate students to build capacity for interdisciplinary, community-engaged environmental work.” 

EarthLab is offering a live information session over Zoom on March 29 at 4:30 p.m. PT. Anyone interested in learning more about the program is encouraged to attend and ask questions. The session will be recorded and shared on the EarthLab website.

Register for the information session now.

While the available projects span a variety of subjects, experiences and time commitments, students may apply to more than one project. They should note that many opportunities will require some remote work and some in-person work, following all safety protocols. The number of hours per week include required mentor meetings, group discussions and professional development trainings hosted by EarthLab. 

2022 placements include:

Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE)

  • Climate Health Risk Tool Intern (15 hrs/week)
  • Grant Application Support Intern (15 hrs/week)

Climate Impacts Group (CIG)

  • Northwest Climate Resilience Collaborative (NCRC) Intern (30 hrs/week)

Nature and Health 

  • Green Schoolyards Project Intern (30 hrs/week)
  • Forest Bathing Research Assistant (40 hrs/week)
  • Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI) Intern (20 hrs/week)

Washington Ocean Acidification Center (WOAC)

  • Ocean Literacy Intern (15 hrs/week)
  • Ocean Acidification Intern (25 hrs/week)
  • Zooplankton Diversity Intern (40 hrs/week)

Learn more about EarthLab Summer Internships, including how to apply

Contact with any questions.

Salish Sea providing a ‘window’ into the future of ocean acidification

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is currently studying whether crabs could be impacted by ocean acidification, a process some scientists say Puget Sound is particularly susceptible to. Alex Gagnon, a researcher with the Washington Ocean Acidification Center, discusses the science behind greenhouse gasses, ocean acidification and the important crab industry in Washington state. (KING 5)

New model developed to predict impact of climate-driven changes to the California Current System

Bookmark These New Websites for Future Rivers, Ocean Nexus Center & Washington Ocean Acidification Center

A website is often the first impression of an organization, especially in our increasingly digital (and virtual) world.

Along with the College of the Environment marketing and communications team, EarthLab works with our member organizations to develop websites that will convey their mission and brand. We’re thrilled to present three new websites for Future Rivers, Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center & Washington Ocean Acidification Center (WOAC).

VIDEO: WOAC and partners profiled in AGU Thought Leadership Series

View the video on the new WOAC website!

This year, the Washington Ocean Acidification Center was selected to be included in the AGU Thought Leadership Series, which profiles the work and research of urgent environmental issues. WOAC was selected due to the desire to spotlight centers that are “working against the clock” to alleviate ocean acidification.

Introducing the new WOAC website!

View website

Although the Washington Ocean Acidification Center (WOAC) is based in EarthLab at the University of Washington, it serves the entire state. Since its creation in 2013, WOAC has been charged by the State Legislature to lead the state in priority areas of ocean acidification research.

Thank you to the College of the Environment web team for design and development of this new site. Check back often for news and updates regarding ocean acidification and its impact on our region.

Learn more about WOAC


The Olympic Coast as a Sentinel – Tribal Communities at the Forefront of Ocean Change

Indigenous people have depended on Olympic Coast marine species for their livelihoods, food security and cultural practices for thousands of years. Today, these species—and the tribal communities that depend on them—are at risk from ocean acidification. Washington Sea Grant, in partnership with the Olympic Coast Treaty Tribes, federal and academic scientists and coastal managers, is working to understand and plan for the impacts of ocean change to tribal community well-being.

This collaborative investigation and project video were funded by the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program (Project #NA17OAR0170166), and is led by Dr. Jan Newton, UW Applied Physics Lab, and Dr. Melissa Poe, Washington Sea Grant. Dr. Newton is also the co-director of the Washington Ocean Acidification Center, a statewide organization that connects researchers, policymakers, industry and others across Washington to advance the science of ocean acidification and provide a foundation for proactive strategies and policies to protect marine ecosystems and the people connected to them.

This beautiful 18-minute film about the Olympic Coast research partnership uses collaborators’ own voices and perspectives on ocean change and tribal resilience to bring the story to life.

This video and article was originally published by Washington Sea Grant.