Right whale mother and calf

These North Pacific Right Whales are currently threatened by shipping traffic

Navigating Wicked Marine Problems

Dr. Mike McGinnis co-teaching course at Moss Landing Marine Labs focused on whale strikes

Hanjin container ship in the San Francisco Bay

Shipping traffic overlaps the range of many species of whale, some endangered

Students embrace first-of-it's-kind course

Students from seven MARINE campuses joined in the course

Navigating Wicked Marine Problems

Fridays, 9am-1pm, March 27 – May 15, 2015 based at Moss Landing Marine Labs

McGinnisImage akstimpert-07836-300x225

The Center for the Blue Economy (CBE) sponsored a special two-unit, eight-week long course offered to all seven academic and research institutions in the Monterey Area Research Institutions’ Network for Education (MARINE) consortium. The course was co-taught by Dr. Michael McGinnis of the Center for the Blue Economy (shown left) and Dr. Allison Stimpert of Moss Landing Marine Labs (shown left teaching girl scouts how to tag whales.)

The first course of its kind in the Monterey Bay region, each week featured guest speakers and discussion on the range of pressures and potential responses to the impacts and threats posed to whales by large-scale commercial shipping activities in the California Current. This course represents the first time that students from all seven campus took a course for credit that is offered collaboratively between the campuses. The 25 students participating represent: the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (6), the Naval Postgraduate School (11), Stanford University (3), Moss Landing Marine Labs (1), California State University at Monterey Bay (2), San Francisco State University (1 via affiliation with CSUMB), and the University of Hawaii (1 via affiliation with UCSC).

Container ships use vessel traffic schemes (VTS) that often overlap with important marine areas, creating unintended pressures and associated impacts to marine ecosystems, including whales. In particular, ship strikes are a threat to endangered blue, right, humpback, and fin whales, and ship noise can affect important mating and feeding behavior of whales as well as other marine life. The course uses this case study to help students identify the threats, pressures, and policy responses of a complex, or “wicked,” ocean-based problem.

In project teams, students will complete a Pressure State Response Analysis of the problem, with the goal of developing practical and professional skills necessary to participate in complex marine planning and decision-making in their post-graduate careers. Students will also gain exposure to and an opportunity to network with experts in the field through many invited speaker presentations and panel discussions.

Photos below of students and guest speaker.

Wicked.3.200 Wicked.2.200 Wicked.1.200 Wicked.4.200