OEC Celebrates Scientists: Bill Peterson

“As scientists, we need to share what we know in ways people can understand. Some of it’s complicated, such as how near-term climate variability will affect marine food chains and how long-term climate change makes the ocean more acidic, how ocean acidification impacts plankton, and how that, in turn, affects food for salmon. But if we tell this well, the public will speak up for climate action.”

Bill Peterson, Oceanographer
NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration)

Bill works at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFC) Newport Field Station where he studies the effects of climate change and change on zooplankton and pelagic fish populations (particularly juvenile salmonids). He also leads an active research program on euphausiid (krill) ecology and biology. He uses high-frequency acoustics to study distributions of zooplankton and fish and the spatial interactions of these taxa within the physical ocean environment.

MORE FROM BILL

Most people don’t realize how serious climate change is. They don’t understand why we have problems with ocean acidification. My job is figure it out and work with others to find out what’s going on. Science can give us confidence we’ve made the right decision.

Every two weeks, I go out into the Pacific from Newport, measuring conditions, monitoring the ocean. This is my 22nd year doing so. After a while you learn things – and see things change – this long-term vision is important to understanding what’s happening.

As scientists our job is to keep talking, keep sharing our research so that we all can know more and make informed decisions.

More: Celebrating Oregon Scientists

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