2014 Annual Science Immersion Workshop Agenda

16th Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists

Coastal Impacts: Climate Change in Coastal Ecosystems
June 1-6, 2014
View 2014 Workshop

Resource List for 2014 Annual Workshop

Sunday, June 1
Science From the Ground Up
3:30 p.m. Fellowship Convenes

3:30-4:15 p.m. Orientation (Hampton Inn South Kingstown Meeting Room)
Sunshine Menezes, Katharine McDuffie, Metcalf Institute
Introduction to Metcalf Institute, the Annual Science Immersion Workshop, the 2014 Metcalf Fellows, and overview of activities and goals for the week.

4:20 Depart for Turtle Soup  (Hampton Inn entrance)
Fellows will travel in 12-passenger van to dinner.

4:30-6:00 Presentation and Discussion
The Building Blocks of Scientific Knowledge
Sunshine Menezes, Metcalf Institute; Tatiana Rynearson, University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography; Scott McWilliams, 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.

6:00-7:30 Dinner
Turtle Soup, 113 Ocean Road, Narragansett, RI (401) 792-8683

7:45 Depart for Hampton Inn
Friday Surveys due prior to departure.

Monday, June 2
Understanding and Communicating Scientific Uncertainty

9-10:30 Presentation (Coastal Institute Large Conference Room)
Identifying the Intersections of Climate Change and Extreme Weather
Kelly Lombardo, University of Connecticut; Isaac Ginis, URI Graduate School of Oceanography; Jennifer Francis, Rutgers University
The recent working group reports from the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment have identified areas of scientific consensus and debate on the relationships between climate change and extreme weather events. With 56% of Americans saying that “global warming is affecting weather in the United States,” it is imperative that journalists convey the most current scientific understanding of the links (or lack thereof) between climate change and specific weather events. These speakers will discuss the state of science on whether and/or how climate change affects precipitation events (Kelly Lombardo), tropical cyclone strength and frequency (Isaac Ginis), and large-scale circulation such as the now infamous polar vortex (Jennifer Francis). Each speaker will underscore the various approaches toward gaining scientific understanding via observation, experimentation, and modeling.

10:45-12:15 p.m. Data Download (Coastal Institute Large Conference Room)
Why and How to Address Scientific Uncertainty in Your Reporting
Andrew Freedman, Mashable.com; Jennifer Francis, Rutgers University; Kelly Lombardo, University of Connecticut; Metcalf Fellows
Scientists and non-scientists tend to view uncertainty very differently. Climate scientists have struggled to communicate scientific uncertainty clearly, but the concept remains poorly understood by public audiences. This session, moderated by reporter and public lecture speaker, Andrew Freedman, will allow Metcalf Fellows to share their questions and suggestions for how to communicate scientific uncertainty in news coverage.

12:15-12:30 Welcome to GSO
Bruce Corliss, Dean, URI Graduate School of Oceanography

12:30-1:20 Lunch  (Coastal Institute break areas)

1:30-3:00 Science Translation I  (CI Large Conference Room)
Graphing for Communication of Complex Data
Kelly Canesi, 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 skills in an informal challenge to interpret more complex graphs.

3:30-4:45 Public Lecture (Coastal Institute Auditorium)
A Change in the Weather: Covering Climate Change in the Digital Age
Andrew Freedman, Mashable.com
Ranked the most prolific climate reporter in the U.S. in 2012 and second most prolific in 2013, Andrew Freedman is the Senior Climate Reporter for Mashable.com, “one of the most engaged digital networks in the world.” Freedman came to this position after covering climate change for Climate Central, Congressional Quarterly, Greenwire/E&E Daily, and washingtonpost.com. Based on his extensive experience covering these challenging topics for diverse news audiences, Freedman will share his insights on how to report on extreme weather events in the context of climate change, how to weave breaking news of weather events into the slow narrative arc of climate change, and the opportunities this beat offers for journalistic innovation.

5:00-6:30 Reception and Dinner (Mosby Center)
Welcome to the URI Office of Marine Programs
Sara Hickox, Katie Pratt, URI Office of Marine Programs/Deep Carbon Observatory
Overview of Tuesday Activities
Sunshine Menezes, Metcalf Institute

Tuesday, June 3
Long-Term Research: The Importance of Establishing Baselines

8:45-1:45 Fieldwork and Lab Practicum  (Narragansett Bay)
Assessing the State of Coastal Fisheries
Anna Malek and Kelly Canesi, 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 55th year in 2014; 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. Malek and Canesi will show Fellows how measurements are taken of surface and bottom water temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity and pH as part of the fish survey. At our destination Malek will demonstrate trawl deployment and Canesi will demonstrate how to collect a plankton sample. Fellows will participate in sorting and identifying fish species; counting and weighing the catch; logging catch data; and will discuss how these data can be analyzed to inform fisheries management. As time permits on the boat, Fellows may discuss how the trawl data reflect the ecology of Narragansett Bay, climate change impacts and fisheries management issues.

12-1 p.m. Lunch (CI Large Conference Room)
A Window into the Sea
Compound microscopes will be set up with water samples from the plankton sample collected during the fish trawl, allowing Fellows to view some phytoplankton and zooplankton common to Narragansett Bay.

1:00-1:15 Presentation  (CI Large Conference Room)
The Wonderful World of Phytoplankton: Their Diversity and Function in the Global Ocean
Kelly Canesi, URI GSO Graduate Student
Phytoplankton are microscopic algae that are ubiquitous in marine ecosystems. They may be tiny, but these single-celled organisms are powerhouses that drive 95 percent of primary production in the ocean and nearly half of production in the world. This brief presentation will introduce the amazing diversity of these organisms, their role in the global ocean, and what scientists are doing to monitor and understand changes in the phytoplankton community.

1:15-1:45 Data Download  (CI Large Conference Room)
Fish Tales: Making Sense of Long-term Data Sets
Anna Malek, Kelly Canesi, Metcalf Fellows
This session will allow Metcalf Fellows to share their questions about fisheries science, plankton ecology, and long-term monitoring, and discuss their own experiences in covering these topics.

2:00-3:00 Science Translation II  (CI Large Conference Room)
Deconstructing a Scientific Publication
Metcalf Fellows; David Smith, Susanne Menden-Deuer, John Merrill, URI GSO; Kelly Canesi, URI GSO Graduate Student; Christelle Balt, URI GSO Post-Doctoral Fellow; Gretchen Hofmann, University of California at Santa Barbara.
For this Science Translation session, Fellows will partner with scientists in five groups. Using a pre-assigned paper as a model, scientists will review the structure of the published paper and present each pair of journalists with tips and tools that can be used to effectively read and “translate” a science journal article. Pre-assigned papers are inserted in the Fellows’ binders under the Tuesday tab. Journalists and scientists will exchange ideas about how to interpret the main ideas of the paper for news audiences. At the end of the exercise, each group will share a specific translation tip gained during the session.

3:30-4:45 Public Lecture  (CI Auditorium)
A pH Balancing Act: The Ocean Acidification Challenge
Gretchen Hofmann, University of California at Santa Barbara
Hofmann’s research is designed to better understand the role of temperature and oceanographic features in setting species’ distribution patterns in the marine environment. Her lab applies this objective to plants and animals through molecular methods that clarify how organisms’ genes are expressed under different environmental conditions. In this lecture, she will describe the observed changes in ocean chemistry resulting from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, and discuss the potential for marine organisms to adapt to a more acidic environment.

5:00-6:30 Reception and Dinner  (Mosby Center)
Overview of Wednesday Activities
Sunshine Menezes, Metcalf Institute

Wednesday, June 4
Connecting Science to Public Policy

9-11:45 Fieldwork (Rhode Island’s South Shore)
Measuring Short- and Long-Term Changes in Coastal Zones
John King, URI GSO; Janet Freedman, Grover Fugate, Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC); Brian Caccioppoli, URI GSO Graduate Student
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 coastal management perspective on the challenges of planning for climate change.

9-10:15  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.

10:30-11:00 Tour Matunuck Beach, which offers a vivid picture of the infrastructure challenges raised by sea level rise and its related short and long-term effects. King, Freedman, and Fugate will discuss the impacts of severe coastal erosion in a beachfront community that is literally stuck between rocks and a hard place.

11:10-11:55 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 the problems and approaches on this site with those at Matunuck Beach 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, Caccioppoli and Freedman will describe the methods used to measure and map coastal elevation for use in flood and storm surge mapping.

12:20-1:00 Lunch  (CI Large Conference Room and terrace)

1:00-3:15  Role Playing Exercise  (CI Large Conference Room)
Helping Cities Adapt to Climate Change Risks
Metcalf Fellows; Austin Becker, URI Marine Affairs; Teresa Crean, Rhode Island Sea Grant and URI Coastal Resources Center; David Everett, Providence Planning Department; Grover Fugate, RI Coastal Resources Management Council; Joe Garlick, NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley; David Prescott/Tom Kutcher, Save the Bay John Sinnott, Gilbane Inc.
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 the relevance of climate change adaptation in their professions. Following these introductions, each speaker will partner with one or more Fellows to represent a specific, pre-assigned organization 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.

3:30-4:45  Public Lecture  (CI Auditorium)
Building Resilience: How Coastal Communities Can Roll With the Punches
Margaret Davidson, NOAA Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management
Coastal communities are literally on the front lines of climate change, struggling to respond to and plan for increasingly common challenges to public safety, outdated local and state regulatory structures, and economic security as a result of extreme weather events and a growing population. In the U.S. alone, coastal industry and businesses contribute tens of billions of dollars to the economy annually, making it imperative that municipalities, states, and regions identify inexpensive and effective means of protecting coastal infrastructure. Davidson will describe these challenges and efforts to adapt to climate change on U.S. coasts, with a focus on new strategies to build healthy and resilient coastal communities.

5:00-6:15 Reception and Dinner  (Mosby Center)
Overview of Thursday activities
Sunshine Menezes, Metcalf Institute

6:15-7:15 Evening Discussion  (Mosby Center)
Building Bridges: What Scientists Need to Know About Journalism
Metcalf Fellows; Brian Caccioppoli, Sarah Flickinger, Brita Jessen, Mary Kane, Zak Kerrigan, Anna Malek, Justine Sauvage, Courtney Schmidt, Becca Trietch, Rachel Nichols, URI GSO
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 and may also provide Fellows with insights into colleagues’ approaches to their work.

Thursday, June 5
Understanding Long-Term Processes through Scientific Proxies

9:00-12:15 Lab Practicum  (GSO Center for Atmospheric Chemistry Studies (CACS))
Learning from the Past: How Paleoclimate Studies Can Illuminate the Future
Rebecca Robinson, URI GSO; Justine Sauvage, Mary Dzaugis, URI GSO Graduate Students
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 110)
Rebecca Robinson, Justine Sauvage, Mary Dzaugis, URI GSO
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. Excessive 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.

10:15-11:45 Measuring Calcium Carbonate in Ocean Sediments (CACS 108, CACS 311)
Rebecca Robinson, Dennis Graham, URI GSO; Justine Sauvage, Mary Dzaugis, URI GSO Graduate Students
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 move to 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 here 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 collected from below the ocean floor to reconstruct the carbonate compensation depth (CCD) with guidance from Dennis Graham, GSO marine research specialist. 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.

11:45-12:15 Data Download
The Global Ocean Acid Test: Making Sense of Ocean Chemistry
Metcalf Fellows; Rebecca Robinson, Mary Dzaugis, Justine Sauvage
“You are hereby empowered!”…to explain ocean acidification with ease. This session will provide unstructured time to discuss the use of proxy data for understanding paleoclimate, the chemistry of ocean acidification, or other questions raised by the morning activities

12:30-1:15 Lunch  (CI Large Conference Room and terrace)

1:30-3:00 Science Translation III  (CI Large Conference Room)
Telling the Science Story
Metcalf Fellows; Susanne Menden-Deuer, John Merrill, David Smith, URI GSO; Christelle Balt, URI GSO Post-Doctoral Fellow; Kelly Canesi, URI GSO Graduate Student
For the final Science Translation session, Fellows will again gather in five groups. Building on the science translation tools identified on Monday and 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 scientific paper. For each group, the 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.

3:30-4:45 Public Lecture (CI Auditorium)
Using Big Data to Understand Earth’s Future
Camilo Mora, University of Hawaii
The Mora lab investigates how human activities affect biodiversity, while identifying conditions and/or strategies where humans can coexist with optimal biodiversity. Climate change adds an additional layer of complexity to the challenge of preserving biodiversity. Specifically, the heretofore unprecedented rates of current climate change may force species to either move or become extinct, in turn affecting everything from regional food supply to jobs. Mora will discuss recent global scale research to project when, where, and how soon we might see these changes.

5:00-5:45 Studio Blue Reception
Gallery Night at Studio Blue is an art sale to benefit the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography. Showcasing the marine art of Michael Coyne, Kate Huntington, and Dora Atwater Millikin, who will be in attendance at the reception, proceeds from the sale of paintings will support fellowship awards for oceanography graduate students.

6:00-7:30 Dinner
The Nautilus Galley, Ocean Science Exploration Center, URI Graduate School of Oceanography

Friday, June 6
Drawing Conclusions from Data

9-10:30 Presentation  (Coastal Institute Large Conference Room)
The Journalist’s Guide to Understanding and Explaining Probabilities
Jon Hare, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
Policy decisions about climate change are made, like most policy decisions, based on the risks of various outcomes for public health, economic security, and/or environmental protection. Yet very few people actually understand the probabilistic mathematics involved in climate models, the methods scientists use to constrain their uncertainty about a certain result, or even what a “probability” really means. Building on the content and context provided by earlier Workshop activities, this session will provide a primer on probabilities, confidence levels, and some basic statistical concepts that are often miscommunicated. This discussion won’t make you an expert, but will allow you to feel more confident digging into, and perhaps questioning, the numbers in scientific papers, government reports, or non-profits’ press releases.

11-12:15 p.m. Public Lecture  (CI Auditorium)
Managing Risk for an Uncertain Future
Howard Kunreuther, University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business
Kunreuther’s research reflects his interest in finding ways for society to better manage low-probability, high-consequence events related to technological and natural hazards. With regard to climate change, his work has focused on behavioral economics as it relates to specific adaptation and mitigation actions. He has a special interest in the role of insurance in combination with other policy tools for developing long-term strategies to reduce losses from floods and other natural hazards. In this lecture, Kunreuther will discuss the challenges and uncertainties facing homeowners, insurers and governments in responding to climate change projections and sea level rise by proposing strategies for encouraging investments in loss reduction measures to manage catastrophic risks while recognizing concerns with affordability.

12:15-1:15 p.m. Lunch  (CI Hazard Seminar Room)

2:00 Fellowship Concludes
Friday Surveys due prior to departure.

2:00-3:00 Optional Tours
NOAA Narragansett Laboratory of the Northeast Marine Fisheries Service, GSO Wave and Acoustic Tanks and the Inner Space Center

View 2014 Workshop

Easy Sign Up





Follow me on Twitter