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Ocean

Summer 2012

A Brush with Snorkel Bob

There is the world of science, of measured and verified observations, of slow-moving knowledge.

And there’s a world of advocacy, of convictions, values, passion, and a desire for fast-moving change.

Only a few slides into his PowerPoint on the West Hawaii aquarium fishery, WSU marine biologist Brian Tissot notes how the two views serve to complicate the conflicts around the aquarium trade.

Science, he says, looks at the interest-based aspects of … » More …

Orrin Pilkey ’57
Spring 2012

Orrin Pilkey ’57—A climate change provocateur

In August 1969, Hurricane Camille slammed into Mississippi with winds of nearly 200 miles an hour. The storm blew many things far and wide, including the career track of coastal geologist Orrin Pilkey ’57. Up to that point, Pilkey had worked quietly studying deep-sea sediments, becoming an expert on abyssal plains (the flat underwater surfaces found along the edges of continents). But when he visited his parents on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Pilkey found he was a lot more interested in what was happening to coastlines than on ocean floors far from shore. Pilkey and his father co-wrote a book, How to Live With an … » More …

Spring 2012

The World’s Beaches: A Global Guide to the Science of the Shoreline

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Orrin Pilkey ’57
University of California Press, 2011

It may appear to be a scholarly approach to beaches, but once you wade in to this book, you will find an entertaining and informative read. With a light touch, Pilkey and his co-authors manage to describe some heavy concepts like erosion, tsunamis, and human impact. Their goal, they say in the introduction, is to provide “a global perspective in regard to beaches, how they form, how … » More …

Winter 2009

The Rising Sea

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Orrin H. Pilkey ’57 and Rob Young
Island Press, 2009

The island nations of Tuvalu and the Maldives, the Inupiat Eskimo village of Shishmaref, and Soldado Island off the Colombian coast might be tough to find on a geography quiz. But all of these locations foretell a future of oceans overwhelming coastlines. In each of these remote places, residents are either moving or preparing to move to higher ground before their homes get swallowed by … » More …

Winter 2005

When buoy meets barge

“You look out on the ocean, and it looks huge. It looks like there’s space for anybody or anything out there.

“But,” says Steve Harbell, “really there’s a lot going on.”

Take, for example, crabbers and ocean-going towboats. Historically, the two have not mixed well off the Pacific coast. Dungeness crab fishermen typically set 400 to 500 pots in the waters off Washington’s coast. Multiply that by 228 fishermen, and you get a thicket of buoys attached by monofilament to the pots 50 to 250 feet below.

That same ocean, near shore, is a towboat highway over which huge boats towing barges laden with various … » More …