Like a canary in a coal mine, marine bacteria living on Oregon's coast are sensitive to changes in their environment such as water temperature fluctuations or an influx of pollution. Scientists and engineers at the Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction (CMOP) are exploring the ability to monitor changes in microbial communities to assess climate change and human influence on the Washington-Oregon coast.
Headquartered at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Beaverton, Oregon, CMOP is one of two National Science Foundation-supported Science and Technology Centers (STCs) that focus on the ocean.
Creamy white and yellow glass sponges believed to have gone extinct millions of years ago have been found off the Washington Coast.
Besides the benefit of being connected to the Smithsonian, the museum now has access to the Institution's extensive collections and can take advantage of expertise in areas of conservation, collections care, and exhibition development.
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