Scientists, researchers tell Olympics story from different perspective

A program on bees Nov. 18 will kick off Olympic National Park’s 17th annual Perspectives Series. Jerry Freilich, the park’s research coordinator, will open the 2014-15 series with his presentation “A Bit About Bees.”

Except for this month, the programs are held the second Tuesday of each month through May. They are co-sponsored by the Friends of Olympic National Park. This month’s program is being held later to avoid conflicts with Tuesday’s Veterans Day celebrations.

Freilich also works as the director of the North Coast and Cascades Science Learning Network. Of the nearly 4,000 species of bees native to North America, there might be 800 species found in Olympic National Park. Freilich’s program will look at the vital role they have in the ecosystem as pollinators. He also will talk about the haunts and habits of some of the lesser-known species.

Here is a look at the rest of the speakers scheduled to take part in the series:

Dec. 9: “Free at Last: Elwha River Through Three Years of Dam Removal” by Andrew Ritchie, the park’s geomorphologist. There have been major changes in the Elwha River valley the last three years as millions of tons of sediment were released when the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams were removed. Ritchie’s talk will look at how the river has responded. He will illustrate the sediment moving downstream, the growth of logjams and river bars, and the growing beach at the mouth of the river.

Jan. 13: “Jump Starting Recovery” by Joshua Chenoweth, restoration ecologist at the park. This program will focus on the revegetation and restoration of the two former lake beds of the Elwha Valley.

Feb. 10: “Perspectives on the Role of Science and Technology in Managing Pacific Salmonids in Olympic National Park” by Sam Brenkman, a fisheries biologist at the park. This presentation will look at some of the innovative technologies being used to determine the distribution, abundance and migration patterns of salmonids. Brenkman will also reveal findings from headwaters to sea snorkel surveys and thermal imaging in major Olympic Peninsula rivers.

March 10: “Sea Star Wasting Syndrome — Losing a Keystone Predator” by Melissa Miner of the University of California Santa Cruz. Miner’s presentation will describe the impacts of sea star wasting syndrome that have been documented in long-term surveys and by citizen science monitoring.

April 14: “Blue Glacier: Past, Present and Future” by Howard Conway of the University of Washington. Climate change has caused shrinkage of alpine glaciers worldwide, including the park’s Blue Glacier. Conway will discuss the university’s research on the glacier since 1957, one of the longest records of change for any glacier in North America.

The programs are free and open to the public. They begin at 7 p.m. at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center, 3002 Mount Angeles Road, Port Angeles. With limited seating, attendees are urged to arrive early.