Oceanography on the Dock

Oceanography on the Dock takes place on the pier at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center Marine Exhibit during the summer season.

Oceanography on the Dock is free and open to the public! 

Every citizen can be a scientist. Explore the ebbs and flows of the marine coastal environment on low tide walks, bug hunts, and oceanography on the dock. 

Oceanography on the Dock is an oceanography field course for the public and focuses on ocean acidification (OA). When we burn fossil fuels such as coal and gas, we release carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air. The oceans absorb a lot of this carbon dioxide, which changes ocean chemistry. This is called ocean acidification. One result of this change is that it makes the ocean a less hospitable environment for many types of marine life. This more challenging environment means that these types of marine life often have to work harder to do basic tasks, like reproducing and building skeletons and shells. As a result, they are less successful in achieving these tasks. By making it harder for some types of marine life to grow and survive, ocean acidification disrupts the food web, which undermines the stability of the whole ecosystem. 

During the summer, PTMSC engages the public in conversations about Ocean Acidification. We offer a place-based program with hands-on interactives, demonstrations, and empowering messages. Creating the program was challenging at times, because ocean acidification is a complex issue and the topic is not bright and cheery. We collaborated with climate change and ocean acidification researchers to produce a program that leaves participants with the knowledge and inspiration necessary to act collectively in changing how much CO2 humans produce. 

With the help of the Oceanography on the Dock volunteers and staff, we spend the summer engaging park and science center visitors in the free program. Participants walk away with knowledge and enthusiasm for ocean health. They leave thinking about how they could minimize their personal impact on the ocean. PTMSC is working hard to improve the way of life in Washington State and the world at large. To schedule an Oceanography on the Dock session for a larger group or at special times, contact info@ptmsc.org.