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Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation Newsletter, Fall 2012

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Inside This Issue


Publications

Climate Change Will Shift Marine Predators’ Habitat: Larry Crowder (Program Adviser) and Barbara Block (’97)

To manage marine ecosystems proactively, it is important to identify species at risk and habitats critical for conservation, according to Larry Crowder, science director of Stanford University’s Center for Ocean Solutions; Barbara Block, Prothro Professor of Marine Science at Stanford University; and colleagues in a paper published in the Sept. 23, 2012, issue of Nature Climate Change. The analysis took data compiled from tracking 4,300 open-ocean animals over a decade and looked at how predicted temperature changes would alter the areas they depend on for food and shelter. Some habitats could shift by as much as 600 miles, while others will remain largely unchanged.

To read the paper, Predicted Habitat Shifts of Pacific Top Predators in a Changing Climate, on the Nature website.

To read an article about the paper, Climate Change Will Shift Marine Predators' Habitat, Study Says, on the Washington Post website.

Barbara Block

Global Fisheries Are Declining but Can Still Recover: Steven Gaines (’03)

Recent reports suggest that many well-assessed fisheries in developed countries are moving toward sustainability, according to Steven Gaines, dean of the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and colleagues in a paper published Sept. 27, 2012, in the journal Science. The researchers found that small unassessed fisheries are in substantially worse condition than assessed fisheries, but that large unassessed fisheries may be performing nearly as well as their assessed counterparts. Both small and large stocks, however, continue to decline.

Read the paper, Status and Solutions for the World's Unassessed Fisheries, on the Science Mag website.

Read an article about the paper, Global Fisheries are Declining But Can Still Recover, Study Says, on the Washington Post website.

Steven Gaines
Predicting Interactions Among Fishing, Ocean Warming, and Ocean Acidification in a Marine System with Whole-Ecosystem Models: Beth Fulton (’10)

An important challenge for conservation is a quantitative understanding of how multiple human stressors will interact to diminish or exacerbate global environmental change at a community or ecosystem level, according to an article published by Beth Fulton, science leader at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, and colleagues in the Sept. 25, 2012, issue of Conservation Biology. Researchers found that, individually, only ocean acidification had a negative effect on total biomass. Fishing and ocean warming, and ocean warming with ocean acidification, had an additive effect on biomass. Adding fishing to ocean warming and ocean acidification significantly changed the direction and magnitude of the interaction effect to a synergistic response on biomass.

Read the paper, Predicting Interactions among Fishing, Ocean Warming, and Ocean Acidification in a Marine System with Whole-Ecosystem Models, on the Wiley Online Library 

Beth Fulton
Deep Trouble for Deepwater Species: Claire Nouvian (’12)

A new study reveals severe mismanagement of European deepwater stocks, according to an article in the Oct. 2, 2012, issue of the journal Ocean & Coastal Management. Claire Nouvian, founder of the nonprofit organization BLOOM, and coauthors analyzed scientific recommendations and total allowable catches concerning deep-sea fish stocks from 2002 to 2011. The study concludes that in 60 percent of cases, quotas for deep-sea species were higher than the value recommended by scientists and that the catch exceeded the quotas in 50 percent of cases.

Read the paper, Sustainability of Deep-Sea Fish Species Under the European Union Common Fisheries Policy, on the SciVerse website.

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White Shark Diets Show Surprising Variability: James Estes (’99)

A new study by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), including Professor James Estes, shows surprising variability in the dietary preferences of individual white sharks. The researchers described their findings in a paper published online Sept. 28, 2012, in PLoS ONE. Sharks in the West Coast population consume a wide range of prey, including seals, sea lions, dolphins, fish and squid. But not every shark eats the same mix of prey, said co-author Paul Koch, professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UCSC. “We confirmed that the diets of many individuals observed at seal and sea lion rookeries shift from fish to marine mammals as the sharks mature.”

Read the full article, White Shark Diets Show Surprising Variability, Vary With Age and Among Individuals, on the Science Daily website and read the paper Ontogenetic and Among-Individual Variation in Foraging Strategies of Northeast Pacific White Sharks Based on Stable Isotope Analysis, on the PLoS ONE website.

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Human Activity Detrimental to Coral Reefs: Tim McClanahan (’96)

Human activities such as agriculture and urbanization can lead to the destruction of coral reefs and make their recovery and management difficult, according to research undertaken along the Kenyan coast. Overfishing and drainage from land—such as what occurs in Kenya’s marine parks—were significant contributors to coral reef degradation, according to a study by Tim McClanahan, senior conservation zoologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society, and colleagues that was published in Marine Ecology Progress Series. The researchers measured the level of pollution in the reef and found that the rate at which the corals broke down, or bio-eroded, was directly related to the amount of pollution: The more pollution there was, the faster the corals broke down.

Read the full article, Human Activity Detrimental to Coral Reefs, Says Study, on the SciDev website.

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Marine Protected Area Management Effectiveness: Progress and Lessons in the Philippines: Alan White (’01)

Quantifying progress in management of marine protected areas (MPAs) is crucial to marine conservation and fisheries management in the Philippines, according to Alan White, senior scientist at the Nature Conservancy, and colleagues in an article published in the Sept. 10, 2012, issue of Coastal Management. This study compiled data on the status, occurrence, and management gaps of MPAs through coordination with multiple organizations supporting and guiding MPAs in the Philippines. Analysis indicated that most MPAs struggle with budgetary constraints or lack of sustainable financing but that overall, the MPAs are experiencing notable improvement in management despite a variety of difficulties encountered during the implementation process.

To read the paper, Marine Protected Area Management Effectiveness: Progress and Lessons in the Philippines, on the Taylor & Francis Online website.  

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Fish Getting Smaller as the Oceans Warm: Daniel Pauly (Program Adviser)

Changes in ocean and climate systems could lead to smaller fish, according to a new study led by fisheries scientists at the University of British Columbia. Climate change is expected to raise ocean temperatures and could reduce oxygen in some areas, which would make it difficult for fish to grow. The study, published Sept. 30, 2012, in the journal Nature Climate Change, provides the first global projection of the potential reduction in the maximum size of fish in a warmer and less-oxygenated ocean.

Read the press release about the paper.

To read an article on the paper, Fish to Shrink By Up to a Quarter Due to Climate Change, Study Reveals, on the Washington Post website.

 
Cusk (Brosme brosme) and Climate Change: Assessing the Threat to a Candidate Marine Fish Species Under the U.S. Endangered Species Act: Peter Auster (’99)

In the northwest Atlantic Ocean, cusk (Brosme brosme) has declined dramatically, primarily as a result of fishing activities, according to Peter Auster, senior research scientist at Mystic Aquarium, and colleagues in a paper published in the current issue of ICES Journal of Marine Science. These declines have led to concern about its status, which has prompted reviews under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the Canadian Species at Risk Act. The goal of the study was to evaluate potential effects of climate change on northwest Atlantic cusk distribution. Results indicate that cusk habitat in the region will shrink and fragment, the result of a spatial mismatch between high-complexity seafloor habitat and suitable temperature. More broadly, climate change may reduce appropriate thermal habitat and increase habitat fragmentation for other cold-water species in the region, thereby increasing the potential for regional overexploitation and extirpation.

Read the paper, Cusk (Brosme brosme) and climate change: assessing the threat to a candidate marine fish species under the US Endangered Species Act, on the ICES Journal of Marine Science website.

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How Sea Otters Can Reduce CO2 in the Atmosphere: Appetite for Sea Urchins Allows Kelp to Thrive: James Estes (’99)

Can an abundance of sea otters help reverse a principal cause of global warming? A new study suggests that a thriving sea otter population that keeps sea urchins in check will in turn allow kelp forests to prosper. The spreading kelp can absorb as much as 12 times the amount of CO2 from the atmosphere than it would if it were subject to ravenous sea urchins, the study finds. The theory is outlined in a paper released online Sept. 7, 2012, in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment by James Estes, professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and colleagues.

Read the full article, How Sea Otters Can Reduce CO2 in the Atmosphere: Appetite for Sea Urchins Allows Kelp to Thrive, on the Science Daily website.

Read the full paper, Do Trophic Cascades Affect the Storage and Flux of Atmospheric Carbon? on the Ecological Society of America website.

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Exploring Trade-Offs Between Fisheries and Conservation of the Vaquita Porpoise (Phocoena sinus) Using an Atlantis Ecosystem Model: Elizabeth Fulton (’10)

Minimizing fishery bycatch threats might involve trade-offs between maintaining viable populations and economic benefits. Understanding these trade-offs can help managers reconcile conflicting goals. An example is a set of bycatch reduction measures for the critically endangered vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus) in the northern Gulf of California, Mexico. The vaquita is an endemic species threatened with extinction by artisanal net bycatch within its limited range; in this area, fisheries are the chief source of economic productivity. In a paper published in the Aug. 15, 2012, issue of PLoS ONE, Elizabeth Fulton, a science leader at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, and colleagues analyze trade-offs between vaquita conservation and fisheries. They found that only the most extensive spatial management scenarios would allow the vaquita population to recover above the threshold necessary to upgrade it from critically endangered. The authors conclude that extended spatial management would result in the highest recovery of the vaquita population. The analysis shows that managers will have to confront difficult trade-offs between management scenarios for vaquita conservation.

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The Global Contribution of Forage Fish to Marine Fisheries and Ecosystems: Ellen Pikitch(’00), Timothy Essington (’11), Daniel Pauly (Program Adviser), Rashid Sumaila(’08), P. Dee Boersma (’97), Philippe Cury (Program Adviser), Keith Sainsbury (Program Adviser), Robert Steneck (’98), and Stephan Munch(’12)

Forage fish play a pivotal role in marine ecosystems and economies worldwide by sustaining many predators and fisheries directly and indirectly. In a paper published in the Sept. 5, 2012, issue of Fish and Fisheries, a team of scientists estimates global forage fish contributions to marine ecosystems through a synthesis of 72 published Ecopath models from around the world. The use and value of forage fish varied and exhibited patterns across latitudes and ecosystem types. Forage fish supported many kinds of predators, including fish, seabirds, marine mammals, and squid. Overall, forage fish contribute about US$16.9 billion to global fisheries values annually. Although the global catch value of forage fisheries was $5.6 billion, fisheries supported by forage fish were more than twice as valuable ($11.3 billion). These estimates provide important information for evaluating the trade-offs of various uses of forage fish across ecosystem types and latitudes as well as globally. The paper was written by members of and contributors to the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force. The findings are the same as the task force’s most recent report

Read the full paper, The Global Contribution of Forage Fish to Marine Fiseries and Ecosystems, on the Wilely Online Library website. 

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Phase Shift in an Estuarine Finfish Community Associated With Warming Temperatures: Peter Auster (’99)

Peter Auster, a senior research scientist at Mystic Aquarium, examined finfish abundance indices, produced from seasonal trawl survey data collected in Long Island Sound, for changes in community composition related to the dynamics of water temperature from 1984 to 2008. His results were published in the Aug. 13, 2012, issue of Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science. In general, seasonal mean catch of species identified a priori as cold adapted significantly decreased while warm-adapted and subtropical species significantly increased over the time series. Bottom water temperature also significantly increased. Annual abundance of cold-adapted species as a group exhibited significant negative correlation with mean bottom water temperatures while warm-adapted species, but not subtropical species, exhibited significant positive correlation.

Read the paper, Phase Shift in an Estuarine Finfish Community Associated with Warming Temperatures, on the Taylor and Francis Online website.

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The Challenges of Evaluating Competition Among Marine Fishes: Who Cares, When Does it Matter, and What Can One Do About It?: Peter Auster (’99)

“Among species interactions, competition is obviously more nuanced to investigate than predation,” write Peter Auster and a colleague in a paper published online recently in the Bulletin of Marine Science. The authors explored competition among marine fishes at broader spatiotemporal scales, scales at which fish populations are distributed, scales at which their associated fisheries operate and are managed, and as observed under ambient system dynamics. The main premise is that estimating and evaluating competition for marine fishes from extant, commonly available data is feasible, is highly germane, and has many valuable applications for multispecies and ecosystem models as we move toward ecosystem-based fisheries management.

Read the paper, The Challenges of Evaluating Competition Among Marine Fishes, on the Ingenta Connect website.

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Fishing Industry Borrows from Natural Capital at High Shadow Interest Rates: Rainer Froese (’03)

Overfishing today means that stocks will produce fewer fish than possible in future years. The fish that were taken in excess of the sustainable rate can be viewed as a loan taken from the stock. The future loss in production can be viewed as the interest that has to be paid for the loan. A new study published recently in the journal Ecological Economics calculated the corresponding interest rates for 13 major European fish stocks and found them to range from 10 percent to 93 percent, depending on the degree of overfishing and thus the time needed to rebuild the stocks. These interest rates far exceed the rates the fishers would have to pay to a commercial bank for a loan equal to the value of the excess fish they have taken.

Read the paper, Fishing Industry Borrows from Natural Capital at High Shadow Interest Rates, on the SciVerse website.

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Disentangling Diversity Patterns in Sandy Beaches Along Environmental Gradients: Omar Defeo (’10)

“Species richness in sandy beaches is strongly affected by concurrent variations in morphodynamics and salinity,” write Omar Defeo, a professor at the Universidad de la República, and colleagues in a paper published in the July 6, 2012, issue of PLoS ONE. In their study, the team analyzed macro-scale variations in species richness at 16 Uruguayan sandy beaches with different morphodynamics distributed along the estuarine gradient generated by the Rio de la Plata over a two-year period. Species richness was lowest at intermediate salinities and increased toward oceanic and inner estuarine conditions, mainly following the patterns shown for intertidal forms.

Read the paper, Disentangling Diversity Patterns in Sandy Beaches along Environmental Gradients, on the PLoS ONE website.

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Safeguarding the Blue Planet: Kristina Gjerde (’03), Dan Laffoley (Program Adviser), Laurence McCook (’05), and Callum Roberts (’00)

The oceans are facing greater pressures now than at any other time in human history, according to a team of researchers in a recent issue of Parks. This paper details six strategies that can accelerate marine protected area (MPA) establishment and create resilient MPA management models around the world. These strategies can help ensure that the oceans are protected and well managed and provide livelihood benefits for humanity far into the future.

Read the full paper, Safeguarding the Blue Planet.

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Coral Scientists Use New Model to Find Where Corals Are Most Likely to Survive Climate Change: Tim McClanahan (’96), Andrew Baker (’08), and Peter Mumby (’10)

Marine conservationists have identified heat-tolerant coral species living in locations with continuous background temperature variability as those having the best chance of surviving climate change, according to a new simplified method for measuring coral reef resilience. Therefore, coral reefs with these characteristics should receive immediate attention for conserving this highly threatened ecosystem, according to the authors of a study appearing in the Aug. 29, 2012, issue of PLoS ONE.

Read the paper, Prioritizing Key Resilience Indicators to Support Coral Reef Management in a Changing Climate, on the PLoS ONE website.

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Hundreds of Coral Species Have Four Main Ways to Make a Living: Tim McClanahan (’96)

According to a recently published study, the immense diversity of coral species can be simplified to four main ways of making a living. The findings were published in a recent issue of the journal Ecology Letters by an international team of scientists, including Tim McClanahan, who compiled existing information on how corals grow and reproduce and found that these important reef architects have evolved four similar lifestyles despite their widespread distribution throughout the tropics. “We hope that understanding and reducing the complexity of coral life-histories can help scientists, managers, and stakeholders make better predictions about how their reefs will fare in the face of climate change, overfishing, and other human disturbances,” the team said.

Read the paper, Evaluating Life-History Strategies of Reef Corals from Species Traits, on the Wiley Online Library website.

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A New Species of Reef Coral From Indonesia: Mark Erdmann (’04)

Euphyllia baliensis sp. nov. (Hexacorallia: Scleractinia: Euphylliidae) is described from 10 specimens from Bali, Indonesia, in a paper published by Mark Erdmann, senior adviser to Conservation
International’s Indonesian Marine Program, in the Aug. 14, 2012, issue of Zootaxa. The species has not been reported from any other locality to date.

Read the full paper, A New Species of Reef Coral from Indonesia.

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Eco-Label Conveys Reliable Information on Fish Stock Health to Seafood Consumers: Omar Defeo (’10), Timothy Essington (’11), and Keith Sainsbury (Program Adviser)

Concerns over fishing impacts on marine populations and ecosystems have intensified the need to improve ocean management, according to an article published in the Aug. 12, 2012, issue of PLoS ONE. To conduct a comprehensive analysis of the performance of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified fish stocks, researchers compared status and abundance trends of 45 certified stocks with those of 179 uncertified stocks. They found that 74 percent of certified fisheries were above biomass levels that would produce maximum sustainable yield, compared with only 44 percent of uncertified fisheries. On average, the biomass of certified stocks increased by 46 percent over the past 10 years, whereas uncertified fisheries increased by just 9 percent. As part of the MSC process, fisheries initially go through a confidential pre-assessment process. When certified fisheries are compared with those that decline to pursue full certification after pre-assessment, certified stocks had much lower mean exploitation rates, allowing for more sustainable harvesting and in many cases biomass rebuilding. From a consumer’s point of view, this means that MSC-certified seafood is 3 to 5 times less likely to be subject to harmful fishing than uncertified seafood.

Read the paper, Eco-Label Conveys Reliable Information on Fish Stock Health to Seafood Consumers, on the PLoS ONE website. 

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Publications from Pew Marine Fellowship Projects

Saving the Baltic Sea: Geo-Engineering Efforts to Mix Oxygen Into the Deep Baltic Should be Abandoned: Daniel Conley (’10)

Over the past decade, an average of 60,000 km2 of the Baltic Sea bottom has suffered from hypoxia because of a lack of oxygen to support its normal ecosystem. Several large-scale geo-engineering interventions are on the table as proposed solutions to this problem. Researchers from Lund University are calling for geo-engineering efforts that mix oxygen into the deep Baltic to be abandoned. In the June 28, 2012, edition of Nature, researchers warn of the unforeseen effects of geo-engineering to relieve the lack of oxygen in bottom waters. “Such radical remediation measures promise impressive improvements in water quality on short time scales. They are popular and politically attractive, but they are also potentially dangerous,” says Daniel Conley, a researcher at Lund University. Yet geo-engineering schemes are moving forward. The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management has announced a plan to build a demonstration wind-turbine-driven pump in the southern Baltic. This is a significant change in current policy to reduce nutrients to the Baltic Sea. “We are on the pathway to a healthier marine ecosystem,” says Conley. “We have scientific knowledge, an active monitoring and assessment program, political organizations in place such as HELCOM, and the countries have agreed upon targets to reduce nutrients in the Baltic Sea Action Plan. We need to let that process work. Countries from around the Baltic Sea must immediately implement the national reductions for nutrients that have been agreed upon in the Baltic Sea Action Plan. If actions are postponed further, the situation in the Baltic Sea will continue to worsen.”

Read the paper, Ecology: Save the Baltic Sea, on the Nature website.

Daniel Conley

Too Much of a Good Thing Can Be Bad for Corals: Andrew Baker (’08)

A new study by scientists at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science shows that corals may be more severely affected by climate warming when they contain too many symbiotic algae. The single-celled algae living inside corals are usually the key to coral success, providing the energy needed to build massive reef frameworks. However, when temperatures become too warm, these algae are expelled from corals during episodes of bleaching that can lead to widespread death of corals. Until now, it was thought that corals with more algal symbionts would be more tolerant of bleaching because they had “more symbionts to lose.” The new study published in Nature Climate Change shows that the opposite is true.

Read the paper, Excess Algal Symbionts Increase the Susceptibility of Reef Corals to Bleaching, on the Nature website.

Read the press release from the University of Miami.

Andrew Baker

Outreach & Commentaries

Conservation and Social-Ecological Systems in the 21st Century of the Anthropocene Era: Juan Carlos Castilla (’96)

Conservation is a “slippery” concept that can be interpreted in different ways, according to an article published in a recent issue of Contributions to Science by Juan Carlos Castilla, professor of marine ecology at Facultad de Ciencias Biologicas. “This essay reviews historical approaches to conservation and its romantic (even patriotic), initially equitable connotation of preservation, as proposed by 18th century North American philosophers and naturalists,” he writes.

Read the paper, Conservation and Social-Ecological Systems in the 21st Century of the Anthropocene Era.

Juan Carlos Castilla
Researchers Find Some Species Can Adapt to Rising Acidification From CO2: Steve Palumbi (’96)

During the week of Sept. 24, 2012, more than 540 participants gathered in Monterey, Calif., to hear about the latest research on global acidification, according to a Sept. 26, 2012, article in ClimateWire. The world’s oceans have absorbed about a third of the carbon dioxide that humans have released into the atmosphere since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, making seawater 30 percent more acidic than it was then. As the tools for studying the outcome of that shift have grown more complex, so have the questions that scientists are asking. The first wave of ocean acidification studies suggested that marine animals that build chalky shells and skeletons—including corals, clams, mussels, and tiny plankton that sit at the base of the food chain—would falter as the acidity of seawater rises. But more recent work has found exceptions to that rule, evidence that some shell-building species can cope with rising acidity. Other studies suggest that within species, the ability to adapt to changing ocean conditions can vary widely. Genetic analyses by researchers at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Laboratory suggest that purple urchins that grow along the Oregon coast, where shoaling of upwelled water is most dramatic, have a greater capacity to adapt to acidification than do their counterparts in relatively mild environments farther south in California.

Read the paper, Researchers Find Some Species can Adapt to Rising Acidification from CO2, on the E & E website.

Steve Palumbi

Saving the Oceans Can Feed the World: Michael Hirshfield (AC)

In an editorial published in the October 2012 issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Michael Hirshfield, senior vice president and chief scientist at Oceana, and a colleague write, “On land there is a constant struggle between conservation and food production. With a finite amount of space, these interests often compete for limited resources: conservationists want to preserve the land and the species that inhabit it while farmers want to cultivate it. As in a real war, in the end only one side can win—for every acre of land that’s preserved, one less acre is available to produce food. And when forests are leveled to plant corn or graze livestock, precious habitat is compromised so that people can eat. This struggle between two very different interests will only intensify as efforts to protect the environment are complicated by the very real need to increase global food production to feed the nine billion people that are expected to live on Earth by 2050. Everyone agrees that with finite resources like arable land, increasing the area devoted to agricultural production proportionally to population growth simply won’t be an option. But in the oceans, this struggle doesn’t exist. Instead, conservation and food production can go hand in hand. Ecosystem management efforts (like no-take zones and gear restrictions) can protect habitat while also increasing the availability of wild fish. The same fisheries management tactics that restore wild seafood sources can also protect ecosystems, so conservationists and humanitarians can support the same policies without compromising their individual goals.”

Read the paper, Saving the Oceans Can Feed the World, on the Ecological Society of America website. 

 

How Can We Make Our Oceans Well Again?: Greg Stone (’97)

In a blog entry published in the Sept. 26, 2012, issue of The Guardian, Greg Stone, senior vice president for marine conservation and chief scientist for oceans with Conservation International, describes a submarine dive in the Sea of Japan where he was shocked and depressed by the rubbish found on the seafloor. Stone also writes about a group of 65 scientific experts from a range of disciplines and all regions of the world that set about creating the Ocean Health Index as a way to assess oceans on the way they are able to support all kinds of life. Stone hope the index offers reassurance that there is more than one way to take oceans off the critical list.

Read the full article, How Can We Make our Oceans Well Again, on the Guardian website. 

Gregory S. Stone

Winged Ambassadors Teach Children About Seabirds: David Hyrenbach (’07)

A high-tech science instruction package focused on teaching children in grades 5 -12 about seabirds is newly available for teachers and students, thanks to a consortium including researchers and educators from Hawai’i Pacific University, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and other key partners. “Winged Ambassadors” consists of lessons with a special focus on the albatross, its journeys throughout the world, and environments it encounters along the way. These lessons are intended to create a greater understanding of ocean stewardship and how plastic debris affects animals, said David Hyrenbach, assistant professor of oceanography at the Oceanic Institute, a research and instruction affiliate of HPU.

Read more on the Hawaii Reporter website. 

David Hyrenbach
The Misunderstood Mangrove: Jurgenne Primavera (’05)

Considering how precious it is to our marine ecosystems, the humble mangrove has been much-maligned. Yet, as described in the July issue of Discovery Channel Magazine, mangroves are gradually getting the recognition they deserve, and communities are leading the drive to increase their value in the eyes of the world. “Mangroves aren’t respected, because until recently they were regarded as wastelands,” says Jurgenne Primavera, scientist emerita at the Aquaculture Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC), based in the Philippines. Her passion for protecting mangroves earned her recognition as one of Time magazine’s 2008 Heroes of the Environment.

Read the paper, The Misunderstood Mangrove.  

Jurgenne Primavera
Gender Matters: A Call to Commission More Women Writers: Daniel Conley (’10)

In the Aug. 30 issue of Nature, Daniel Conley, a professor at Lund University, and a colleague published an article showing that a much lower percentage of women than men are invited to write articles in News & Views in Nature and Perspectives in Science. “We believe that fewer women than men are offered the career boost of invitation-only authorship in each of the two leading science journals,” says Conley. The consequences are that women are not as visible as men and are not provided the same opportunities for career advancement. The loss of women in science constitutes a “brain drain” for society.

Read the paper, Gender Bias in Leading Scientific Journals, on the Phys Org website.

Read the article, Gender Matters: A Call to Commission More Women Writers, on the Nature website.

Daniel Conley

Fish Trawling Reshapes Deep-Sea Canyons: Elliott Norse (’97) and Callum Roberts (’00)

Deep-sea trawling smooths out the wrinkles of canyons on the continental slope, making marine mountainsides look more like plowed fields, changing the habitat of deep-sea creatures. The process rivals landslides and storms as a shaper of the deep sea, according to work published in the Sept. 5, 2012, issue of Nature. Callum Roberts and Elliott Norse are quoted.

Read the paper, Fish Trawling Reshapes Deep-Sea Canyons, on the Nature website.

Elliot Norse
Fish Management: Callum Roberts (’00)

Callum Roberts, marine conservation biologist and senior lecturer in the Environment Department at the University of York, England, writes an editorial published in the latest issue of Environment Industry Magazine describing the powerful Humboldt Current and its linchpin, the anchoveta. Roberts suggests that we have to restrict what we take to less than might be considered sustainable by the narrow metric of single-species fisheries management.

To read more, go to Page 64

Callum Roberts
Circling Back to Hawai’in Ecosystem-Based Management: Tundi Agardy (AC)

“I recently had the great pleasure of addressing the Hawai’i Conservation Alliance on the occasion of its 20th anniversary conference,” writes marine conservationist Tundi Agardy in the August-September 2012 issue of Marine Ecosystems and Management. “In preparing for that speech, I learned much about how ecosystem-based management (EBM) is approached in the Hawai’ian Islands, comparing that to trends and emerging developments around the world. The global trends that I highlighted were largely negative: large-scale environmental change; accelerating consumption and its consequences; ecosystem imbalances and regime shifts; ever-increasing specialization in the sciences that impedes generalist, holistic understanding; and a general trend toward entropy and apathy as the scale and complexity of challenges grow to make us feel helpless and render us incapacitated. But in Hawai’i, communities, academic institutions, and government agencies are bucking the trends. While the archipelago is indeed affected by global scale environmental change, Hawai’i’s fortunate geography makes it less at risk from global warming, and also creates opportunities for learning about environmental phenomena in the natural lab that the islands present. This enlightenment about global change and what can be done to increase resilience of marine systems to it are exported to places struggling to understand the environmental changes occurring in their own backyards.”

Read the newsletter, Marine Ecosystems and Management.

 
In the Coral Triangle Initiative, Is Support Filtering Down to MPAs and Local Practitioners?: Alan White (’01)

“In May 2009, the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste signed the Coral Triangle Initiative Declaration on Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security (CTI-CFF),” writes Alan White, senior scientist with the Nature Conservancy Global Marine Initiative, in the August-September 2012 issue of Marine Ecosystems and Management. “CTI-CFF is a multilateral partnership that aims to safeguard the marine and coastal resources of the Coral Triangle region. In fact, the CTI is quite a remarkable program whereby the six countries have banded together to protect and manage their incredible diversity of marine resources. These countries are committing their own resources to help accomplish this and it is no small undertaking. The CTI is moving and growing and, with time, intends be a showcase for marine conservation.”

Read the newsletter, Marine Ecosystems and Management.

Alan White

Awards

Juan Carlos Castilla (’96) Wins Midori Prize for Biodiversity

AEON Environmental Foundation has announced that Juan Carlos Castilla, professor at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, has been selected as a recipient of the Midori Prize for Biodiversity in 2012. The Midori Prize was established by the AEON Environmental Foundation in 2010 as a biennial international prize to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity at global, regional, or local levels. In its second year, the MidorI Prize is co-hosted by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The aims of this prize are to extend the developmental influence of the individual’s efforts to various projects relating to biodiversity throughout the world, and to raise awareness about biodiversity.

Read more about the winners of the MIDORI Prize for Biodiversity.

Juan Carlos Castilla
P. Dee Boersma (’97) Receives Alumni Award From Central Michigan University

Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society announced that Dee Boersma is the recipient of its Alumni Achievement Award. The honor was presented to Boersma at the society’s national conference, held in Chicago in late July 2012. The Mortar Board Alumni Achievement Award is conferred annually upon extraordinary Mortar Board alumni who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in their professional lives, representing Mortar Board’s commitment to the ideals of scholarship, leadership, and service. Honorees serve as remarkable role models and are selected by a group of their peers, who consider contributions at the local, national, and international level. Boersma has dedicated decades to extensive research on penguins and other seabirds.

P. Dee Boersma

Barbara Block (’97) Wins Rolex Award for Enterprise

With a monetary value of $104,000, the Rolex prize recognizes Barbara Block’s work in trying to preserve predatory marine animals such as white sharks and bluefin tuna in the Pacific Ocean. Block tracks their movements with a series of underwater listening stations to better understand their behavior. She says the prize will be used to fund those research efforts. A professor of marine sciences at Stanford University, she is also head of the Tuna Research and Conservation Center on the shores of Monterey Bay.

Read an article about the Rolex Award on the Mass Live website.

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Ellen Pikitch (’00) Receives $3 Million for Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program

The once-rich shellfish beds of Long Island’s Shinnecock Bay may thrive again thanks to an ambitious environmental restoration project funded in part by a philanthropic gift from the Laurie Landeau Foundation, matched by a gift from the Simons Foundation for a total impact of $3 million. These targeted funds will be used by Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) over five years to restock shellfish, expand existing eelgrass beds, harvest seaweeds to absorb nutrients and inhibit harmful algal blooms, monitor restoration efforts, and share the project’s goals and results with stakeholders and the public. Heading the efforts to restore the bay are Ellen Pikitch, professor and executive director of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science in SoMAS, whose research is focused on ocean conservation, fisheries management, ecosystem-based approaches, endangered fishes, sharks, and sturgeon, and marine biologist Christopher Gobler, whose research focuses on aquatic ecosystems and how their functioning can be effected by man or can affect man.

Read a press release on the Restoration Program on the Stony Brook University website.

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