FLORENCE, Ore. - Ocean and coastal researchers from Oregon State University, other OUS institutions and elsewhere will present and discuss a wide range of topics at the seventh annual Heceta Head Coastal Conference in Florence Oct. 28-29.

The conference, co-sponsored by Oregon Sea Grant at OSU, is one of the few Oregon coast science conferences intended for the public, said Jamie Doyle, a Sea Grant Extension faculty member and the program's conference liaison.

"It's a great opportunity for interested citizens to learn first-hand about current science and issues facing the coast and join the discussion," she said.

The conference theme, "Oregon's Ocean: Catching the Next Wave of Discoveries," promises a range of insights and perspectives, including a conference summation by former OSU President John Byrne. The three-part program begins Friday with a field tour of the Siuslaw River estuary, followed by a dinner presentation with Bandon artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi, who creates sculptures out of ocean trash for education and awareness.

State Representative Jean Cowan, chair of the Coastal Caucus, introduces the Saturday program and is followed by researchers highlighting issues in Oregon's ocean, including marine reserves, ocean acidification, and albatross conservation. A panel on research features participants from Oregon Coast Aquarium, Oregon Wave Energy Trust, and Surfrider Foundation, among others. Posters about research will highlight fresh ideas emerging in the work of Oregon graduate students and recent grads.

Saturday's keynote speaker is Robert Costanza, the new Portland State University Professor of Sustainability. Costanza, director of PSU's Institute for Sustainable Solutions and a leader in the field of environmental economics, will share his vision for Oregon's ocean.

Former OSU President Byrne will deliver a final, visioning presentation, "Discovery, Learning and Engagement for Tomorrow's World." Byrne, a longstanding supporter of the conference, is also former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and serves on the National Sea Grant advisory board. Byrne will link presentations delivered during the meeting and explore the kind of research needed for the future.

More information and conference registration are online at   http://www.hecetaheadconference.org/

The Heceta Head Coastal Conference, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to inform and educate the public of the need for a healthy, productive, and resilient marine ecosystem of the Pacific Ocean off the Oregon coast.

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Jamie Doyle, 541-572-5263, ext. 288