Posted on May 1, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Humpback whales breaching in the Northwest Atlantic. Photo courtesy NEFSC/NOAA.
Acoustic research breakthroughs could help inform conservation efforts
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Breakthrough software is enabling scientists to better analyze humpback whale songs. For the first time, researchers have provided the a detailed description linking humpback whale movements to acoustic behavior on a feeding ground in the Northwest Atlantic.
“We have monitored and acoustically recorded whale sounds for years, and are now able to ‘mine’ these data using new computer software applications and methods, “ said Sofie Van Parijs, who heads the passive acoustics group at the Woods Hole Laboratory of NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Gulf of Maine, humpback whales, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ocean conservation, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, whale songs | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 3, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Gulf of Mexico appears more resistant to acidification threats
The impacts of ocean acidification will vary from region to region. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A 2007 sea voyage through the Gulf of Mexico, around Florida and up the eastern seaboard has increased understanding of how various coastal areas may respond to increased acidity. More than anything, the detailed research helps establish some baseline data against which future changes can be measured, and showed that some areas are more susceptible to higher concentrations of carbon.
The study, measuring levels of carbon dioxide and other forms of carbon in the ocean, was conducted by scientists from 11 institutions across the U.S. and was published in the journal Limnology and Oceanography.
“Before now, we haven’t had a very clear picture of acidification status on the east coast of the U.S.,” says Zhaohui ‘Aleck’ Wang, the study’s lead author and a chemical oceanographer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “It’s important that we start to understand it, because increase in ocean acidity could deeply affect marine life along the coast and has important implications for people who rely on aquaculture and fisheries both commercially and recreationally.” (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases, ocean conservation | Tagged: climate, global warming, Gulf of Maine, Gulf of Mexico, ocean acidification, oceans, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 19, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Fish populations continue to shift northward
A June 2011 photo taken from the International Space Station shows Cape Cod and other sections of the New England coast, down to the northern end of Long Island. Photo courtesy NASA. Click on the image for more information.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal ocean scientists said this year’s sea surface temperatures along the northeast coast of the U.S. set all-time records, with as-yet unknown consequences for marine ecosystems.
Above-average temperatures were found in all parts of the ecosystem, from the ocean bottom to the sea surface and across the region, and the above average temperatures extended beyond the shelf break front to the Gulf Stream, according to an ecosystem advisory issued by NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center.
The warm waters led to the earliest, most intense and longest-lasting plankton bloom on record, with implications for marine life, from the smallest creatures to the largest marine mammals like whales. Atlantic cod continued to shift northeastward from its historic distribution center. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Marine biology, ocean conservation, Uncategorized | Tagged: climate, Ecosystem Assessment Program, global warming, Gulf of Maine, Gulf Stream, sea surface temperatures | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 22, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Atlantic salmon. Photo: Hans-Petter Fjeld (CC-BY-SA)
Increased sea-surface temperatures, shifting wind patterns and increased predation cited as factors in falling populations
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Salmon spawning in the rivers of Maine — the last strongholds for Atlantic salmon in New England — are facing new climate-related challenges.
Changing spring wind patterns, warming sea surface temperatures and new predators along altered migration routes are affecting their survival, according to a new paper published online in the journal Fisheries Management and Ecology.
“Shifting environmental conditions affect both the freshwater and marine habitats for Atlantic salmon, and are already a concern for salmon stocks at the southern end of their distribution range in both North America and Europe, said Kevin Friedland, one of the paper’s co-authors and a researcher at the Narragansett Laboratory of NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, and is a member of the Center’s Ecosystems Assessment Program.
“Understanding the linkages between post-smolt survival and climate, especially ocean conditions, is critical and needs to be considered in the scientific basis for conservation planning and management actions,” Friedland said. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, endangered species, Environment, global warming, Summit County news | Tagged: Atlantic salmon, climate change, Environment, Fisheries Management, global warming, Gulf of Maine, salmon, Summit County News | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 13, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
A breaching humpback whale. PHOTO COURTESY OF WHIT WELLES.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Recovering whale populations could help boost the productivity of coastal fisheries, where the feces of the giant sea mammals adds critical nutrients to the ecosystem.
In the Gulf of Maine, for example, the whale poop adds up to about 23,000 metric tons of nitrogen annually — more than the input of all the rivers combined, according biologists Joe Roman and James McCarthy who recently published a paper describing how whales bring nutrient from the deep waters where they feed back to the surface.
It is well known that microbes, plankton, and fish recycle nutrients in ocean waters, but whales and other marine mammals have largely been ignored in this cycle. The new study shows that whales historically played a central role in the productivity of ocean ecosystems — and continue to do so despite diminished populations. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Environment, fisheries, Gulf of Maine, marine biology, Marine mammal, nitrogen, nutrient cycling, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, whales | Leave a Comment »