Two Experts Discuss Ocean Debris at Studium Generale

Community members will have the opportunity to learn more about tsunami-generated debris washing up on our coasts on Thursday, April 4, at Peninsula College’s first Studium Generale program of the spring quarter. The program will begin at 12:35 in the Little Theater and is free to the public.

The speakers will be Dr. Ian Miller, Washington Sea Grant Coastal Hazards Specialist and Dr. Steve Fradkin, Coastal Ecologist, Olympic National Park. The title of their presentation is “Washing Ashore on Our Wild Coast.”

Dr. Ian Miller, Washington Sea Grant’s Coastal Hazards Specialist, is based in part at Peninsula College in Port Angeles and in part at University of Washington facilities in the region. He works with a variety of local stakeholder groups, including commercial and recreational fishermen, tribes, marine industries, port districts, federal and state resource agencies and local elected officials to help our coastal communities address and mitigate hazards, such as sea level rise and tsunamis, and to help develop long-term environmental plans. 

Dr. Steve Fradkin, Coastal Ecologist with Olympic National Park, led the 2012 research team that examined the Japanese dock that washed ashore on December 18 on a beach north of the Hoh River. The team included Allen Pleus, the Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) as well as Oregon State University scientists and additional National Park Service and WDFW personnel. The team sampled the biological community present on the dock and identified 29 species known to occur in Japan as well as two pelagic species. They noted that the general composition was extremely similar to the species found on the dock from northern Honshu that arrived on Agate Beach in June 2012. 

Miller completed his undergraduate studies at Western Washington University and lived in Port Angeles for 10 years before starting his doctoral program in Ocean Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Before joining WSG’s Marine Advisory Services, Miller served as the education director of Olympic Park Institute and as Washington field coordinator for the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation. 

Fradkin completed his undergraduate studies at Michigan State University, where he also earned his MS. He received his Ph.D. from Dartmouth College, followed by post-doctorate research at the University of Oregon, Oregon Institute of Marine Biology. He has been a Coastal Ecologist with Olympic National Park since 2000.