Oregon Convention Center
22-26 February 2010
1.Press Conference Schedule
The following schedule of press conferences is subject to change, before or during the Ocean Sciences Meeting. Press conferences may be added or dropped, their titles and emphases may change, and participants may change. All updates to this schedule will be announced in the Press Room (F150, on the first level of the Oregon Convention Center).
Times for press conferences are Pacific Standard Time. Session numbers at the end of each press conference listing may show only the first in a series of related sessions on the topic.
(Note to Public Information Officers: If you have prepared press releases or other handouts for press conferences listed below, please email electronic copies of the documents to Peter Weiss (firstname.lastname@example.org) so they can be made available online to reporters calling in from outside the meeting.)
Exploring the corals of the Saudi Arabian Red Sea
Monday, 22 January
Coral reefs are treasured for their biological, recreational, and economic value, yet thorough assessments of such seascapes are rare. New findings from one of the most expansive and detailed surveys of coral reefs to date −conducted in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea− suggest that the global importance of this region in terms of reef area and diversity may have been severely underplayed. Researchers used a variety of remote sensing techniques and technologies in this novel basin-scale assessment.
Assistant Professor, National Coral Reef Institute, Nova Southeastern University, Dania Beach, Florida, USA;
Research Associate, National Coral Reef Institute, Nova Southeastern University, Dania Beach, Florida, USA.
Sperm whales collaborative hunting
Monday, 22 February
Toothed whales are known to form long-standing social groups, but in sperm whales only the female aggregations are long-term, while the associations of males are short-term. Scientists have hypothesized that the females bond to look after each others' offspring during deep dives and to fend off sub-dominant males interested in mating. However, a new study of sperm whales, using GPS, Argos, and time-depth recorder technologies, suggests that male and female aggregations may actually be collaborations for coordinated feeding behavior - taking turns making deep dives to "herd" bait balls of Humboldt squid.
Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute, OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, Newport, Oregon, USA.
Dead zones: How low (oxygen) will critters go for the right meal?
Monday, 22 February
A major factor in ocean change is growth of low-oxygen zones (a.k.a. "dead zones"), which are hazardous to the health of sea life and which reduce useable seafloor habitats. In an unorthodox experiment conducted in a low-oxygen zone, seafloor species such as crab, shrimp and octopus stretch their oxygen limits in order to strip flesh from "homicide victims" simulated by dead pigs. The latest findings reveal effects on these scavengers of variations in oxygen concentrations. Observations of the process and rates of decomposition also provide novel input to forensic studies supporting criminal investigations.
Canada Research Chair, Professor, Department of Biology and School of Earth/Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, Canada; and Director, VENUS - Subsea Cabled Observatory, Victoria, Canada;
Associate Director, Research, VENUS - Subsea Cabled Observatory, Victoria, Canada.
Next-generation ocean bots
Tuesday, 23 February
Improvements to undersea robots are extending the capabilities of oceanographic research. A novel optical communications technology promises to banish cumbersome tethers that now harness robotic undersea vehicles to their support ships. Another powerful, innovative technology--a self-contained biochemistry lab able to identify microscopic animals from genetic material in seawater--has recently been configured to work at enormous depths, and has begun exploring the microdenizens of the abyss. Yet another technology development is bestowing on submerged robots a kind of independence they have never before known: the ability to make autonomous decisions, and so to handle unexpected situations.
Instrumentation Group Leader, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), Moss Landing, California, USA;
Norman E. Farr
Senior Engineer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA;
Software Engineer, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), Moss Landing, California, USA.
Tuesday, 23 February
It's well known that plastic pollution has formed "garbage patches" in some parts of the ocean, but just how bad the problem is remains uncertain. Now, an analysis of 22 years worth of data collected in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea by undergraduate students reveals some surprising findings. Also, new research on surface currents, ocean mixing, and the physical characteristics of plastic debris is helping scientists understand where the plastic debris comes from, what happens to it once it enters the oceans, and where else garbage patches might be found. Other new findings suggest that the problem might go deeper than previously realized.
Kara Lavender Law
Oceanography Faculty Scientist, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA;
Senior Researcher, International Pacific Research Center, School of Ocean and Earth and Science and Technology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA;
Oceanography Faculty Scientist, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA; Visiting Investigator, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA.
Sessions: IT31C, IT35H
Wednesday, 24 February
It is little known that the devastating January 12 earthquake in Haiti spawned a tsunami that also caused some loss of life. The first researcher to assess the earthquake-caused waves' effects from his direct field observations earlier this month along the Haiti and the Dominican Republic coasts describes his findings. A NOAA tsunami expert also recounts how the agency's tsunami warning system alerted other Caribbean nations to the oncoming waves and provided an accurate assessment (based on a buoy measurement) that the tsunami posed minimal danger to their shores. Besides contributing to the Haitian calamity, the tsunami exposed a severe lack of tsunami awareness, education, and preparedness in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, although both nations are likely to face strong tsunamis in the future.
Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Savannah, Georgia, USA;
Tsunami Expert and Director, NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Seattle, Washington, USA.
Sessions: PO41F, PO43E
Wednesday, 24 February
Large amplitude nonlinear internal waves are huge, steep waves beneath the ocean surface between layers of warm and cold water. These waves occur widely, travel far, and can stir up sediment, create hazards to submarine navigation, and impact the propagation of underwater sound. Scientists are just beginning to gain a clear understanding of the properties of these waves and how they are generated. And new findings on how these waves transport materials might reveal how they affect larvae and coastal ecosystems.
University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, Kingston, Rhode Island, USA;
Oregon State University College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Corvallis, Oregon, USA;
Oregon State University College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.
Thursday, 25 February
In a series of remarkable studies, researchers have observed a Pacific Ocean hydrothermal vent where the ecosystem was destroyed by an eruption and then the site was recolonized by new organisms. Most extraordinary are the distances that larvae apparently have traveled to claim new territory. These studies' findings are changing scientists' ideas about what controls species composition and diversity at vents. Besides observing the site of the eruption and recolonization, researchers have also measured and modeled ocean currents in the region to better understand how tiny larvae may have traveled vast distances from one vent to another.
Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA;
Dennis J. McGillicuddy, Jr.
Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA;
Physical Oceanographer, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, New York, USA.
How is a whale like a tree?
Thursday, 25 February
Whales are the largest animals on the planet, and when it comes to storing carbon, they act like trees in a forest. Just as forest fires release carbon into the air as carbon dioxide, industrial whaling returned hundreds of years of stored carbon to the atmosphere. A new study discusses how applying carbon accounting to whales and large fish provides a new way to look at marine ecosystems and suggests new incentives to conserve the largest animals in the sea.
Andrew J. Pershing
Assistant Research Professor, School of Marine Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, Maine, USA; and Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Portland, Maine, USA.
2. Press-conference visuals available to call-ins
Call-ins by reporters to the press conferences are welcome. Below are phone numbers and the access code for doing so. Also, we offer press-conference presentations, including video and audio, to off-site journalists via the Web. Details of how to access those presentations are also below.
How to call in
From USA and Canada, call toll-free: +1 888-481-3032
When prompted, enter this code: 115139
(Code is same for all press conferences, but you must place a separate call for each one, even in consecutive hours.)
(From other countries, to find toll-free access numbers, first go to http://www.
From anywhere else not included in toll-free service above: 1-617-801-9600 (toll call) If you have problems calling in, try BT Conferencing Help Desk: +1 866 766 8777(US), +1 617 801 6700 (Global).
Instructions for accessing press conferences online:
a) If you don't have it already, download into your computer the Adobe Flash player (It's a quick download), available for free from: http://get.
b) At the time of the press conference of interest, access this Web address with your browser:
You will see a split screen, with a window on top that will show PowerPoint slides, including videos, as they are presented by the speakers. Below the window is a grey bar that you can move up or down with your cursor. Beneath the bar, you will find links to documents (handouts, scientific papers, etc.) relevant to the press conference and available for immediate downloading from the Web by clicking on the links. (After downloading a file, use the BACK arrow on your browser to get back to the list of links.)
To the right of the window is another link to send an email to AGU press officers at AGUpressconfs@gmail.com. We very much appreciate if, each time you watch a press conference, you would please click on the link, type in your name and media outlet, and hit Send. That will help us know who is participating remotely in our press conferences. Also we invite you to email us if you are having difficulty, or if you have a question or comment that is not for the speakers. However, if you have questions for the speakers, please state them over the phone during the question-and-answer (Q&A) period after the presentations.
Please note: Audio of the press conference will be available to you simultaneously via your telephone and via the Web (i.e. your computer). However, because PowerPoint images will arrive at your computer delayed relative to the speakers' voices on the phone, we recommend that during presentations you both watch the PowerPoints and listen to the speakers via your computer only. Please then switch back to the phone during the Q&A.
3. Press Room Information
All press conferences will take place in the Press Room, which is Room F150, on the first level of the Oregon Convention Center. The Press Room is divided into two spaces: at the front, there is an office and gathering place for journalists covering the Ocean Sciences meeting. At the back, there is a separate space dedicated to press conferences. The phone number in the Press Room is +1 503-731-5733.
The Press Room will be open during the meeting: Mon -Th (2/22-25): 7:30h - 19:00h, F (2/26) 7:30h-14:00h. Some meals and other refreshments will be provided in the Press Room for News Media registrants. Lunch (from 11:30h) will be available Monday-Thursday. Coffee, tea, and soft drinks will be available all day, Monday to Friday.
4. Attention PIOs: Sending Press Releases to Ocean Sciences Meeting
Public information officers of universities, government agencies, and research institutions are encouraged to disseminate press releases and related documentation at Ocean Sciences. We recommend around 30 copies of printed materials and three-to-five copies of broadcast quality video.
The easiest way to get these materials to the Press Room is to take them yourself, if you are going to Ocean Sciences, or to give them to one of your scientists, with instructions to deliver them to the AGU Press Room (Room F150, on the first level of the Oregon Convention Center), from Monday, 22 February.
If you prefer, you may send these materials (but not to arrive before 20 February) by FedEx, UPS, or DHL to the following address:
(Guest arriving Feb. 20)
Hilton Portland and Executive Tower
921 SW Sixth Avenue
Portland, OR 97204
Phone: +1(503) 233-2401
Shipments to the above address should be timed to arrive on Saturday, 20 February, or after. They will be displayed from Monday, 22 February or as soon as received (if later than Monday).
Remaining materials may be collected from Room F150 on Friday, 26 February, at 1300h, after which they will be scrapped.
5. Where Do I Pick Up My Press/News Media Badge?
Online registration has closed. Members of the news media who have preregistered online for the meeting and are on the Who's Coming list (see Item 7 below) must pick up their Press/News Media badges in the Press Room (Room F150, on the first level of the Oregon Convention Center).
Please be prepared to show security your press card, business card or other evidence of your eligibility as a news media registrant. This evidence is required so that you will be permitted to proceed directly to the Press Room to receive your badge.
Others who have not registered online may register on site in the Press Room. If you are registering on site, you must fill out a registration form at the booth. Please be sure to have appropriate proof of your status, per Item 6, below. Your badge will be printed in the Press Room. News media registration is complimentary.
6. News Media registration information
Eligibility for Press Registration: Registration is limited to the following persons:
- Working press employed by bona fide news media: must present a press card, business card, or letter of introduction from an editor of a recognized publication.
- Freelance science writers: must present a current membership card from NASW, a regional affiliate of NASW, CSWA, ISWA, or SEJ; or evidence of by-lined work pertaining to science intended for the general public and published in 2008, 2009 or 2010; or a letter from the editor of a recognized publication assigning you to cover the 2010 Ocean Sciences Meeting.
- Public information officers of scientific societies, educational institutions, and government agencies: must present a business card.
Badges: News Media registrants receive a badge that provides access to any of the scientific sessions of the meeting, as well as to the Press Room. No one will be admitted without a valid badge. All members of the News Media (journalists and public information officers) should come to the Press Room (F150) to receive badges.
Please be prepared to show security your press card, business card or other evidence of your eligibility as a news media registrant. This evidence is required so that you will be permitted to proceed directly to the Press Room to receive your badge. News Media registrants who have preregistered (see Item 3 below) will find a badge waiting in the Press Room.
If you have not preregistered, you may fill out a News Media Registration Form, available in the Press Room, presenting appropriate identification. Your badge will be made on site.
Members of the news media may register on site at any time when the Press Room is open. The Press Room hours are: Mon -Thurs (2/22-25): 7:30h - 1900h, F (2/26) 7:30h-1400h. The Press Room will be closed Sunday, 21 February. If any members of the news media need access to the convention center on that day, please call Peter Weiss in the Press Room at +1 503-731-5733 or on his cell phone 202-378-3053 to arrange to get a badge.
Note: Representatives of publishing houses, for-profit corporations, and the business side of news media must register at the main registration desk at the meeting and pay the appropriate fees, regardless of possession of any of the above documents. They are not accredited as Press at the meeting. Scientists who are also reporters and who are presenting at this meeting (oral or poster session) may receive News Media credentials if they qualify (see above), but must also register for the meeting and pay the appropriate fee as a presenter.
7. Who's coming?
The online list of journalists who have preregistered for the Meeting may be seen at:
For important information regarding visas for international reporters and using the scientific-program search engine, please see: