Posted on October 26, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A pelican perches along the coast in Englewood, Florida.
Florida, California and Alaska sites will host pilot phase of research effort
FRISCO — Federal agencies are launching an ambitious $17 million pilot project to monitor ocean biodiversity, recognizing that fragile coastal and marine ecosystems face increasing threats, including climate change.
“To mitigate and adapt to such threats, we need a fuller, more integrated, picture of how the biodiversity within these ecosystems may be changing, especially since marine biodiversity is a key indicator of ocean health and critical to sustaining natural resources such as fisheries,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a press release. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: biodiversity, Environment, oceans, U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 23, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Trawl nets grab any and all forms of marine life, laying waste to the ocean floor. The total area bottom trawled is nearly 150 times the area of forest that is clearcut annually around the world.
Credit: Sarah Foster
Focus on large commercial fishing operations misses big part of the picture
FRISCO — Ignoring small-scale fisheries risks irreversible harm to ocean ecosystems, scientists warned this week, calling for on governments to adopt new models for regulating small coastal fishing operations that account for about 90 percent of the world’s fishers — about 100 million strong.
Most of those fishermen depend on the ocean for their livelihoods and many catch fish and other marine animals at unsustainable levels. Governments, conservationists, and researchers around the world must address the enormous threat posed by these unregulated and destructive fisheries, marine scientists wrote in Science. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Environment, oceans, overfishing, sustainable fishing, trawl net fishing | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 16, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Ocean acidification is an existential threat to many marine species and ecosystems.
Federal government has failed to implement several key steps required by 2009 law
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Federal agencies well recognize the environmental threats of increasing ocean acidification, but so far, the response has been lackluster at best, according to the Government Accountability Office.
In a report issued this week, the GAO said federal agencies have been slow in implementing several requirements of the 2009 Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act, including outlining the budget requirements for implementing the research and monitoring plan. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming, ocean acidification | Tagged: Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases, ocean acidification, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 12, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Study projects major shifts in species richness patterns
A map from the new University of British Columbia study shows the current distribution of species richness based on data going back to the 1950s.
FRISCO — Many fish species are racing away from the equator and toward the poles to escape steadily warming ocean temperatures. In a worst-case scenario of unchecked greenhouse gas emissions, many fish will disappear from the tropics by 2050, moving poleward by as much as 26 kilometers per decade.
Under the best-case scenario, where the Earth warms by just 1 degree Celsius, fish would move 15 kilometres every decade, according to a new study by scientists with the University of British Columbia study that examined the impact of climate change on fish stocks. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate change, Environment, fish, global warming, oceans, species richness | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 7, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Unchecked exploitation of deep ocean resources could have unforeseen impacts, researchers warn.
Planning should include consideration of deep-ocean ecosystem benefits
FRISCO — Scientists are warning against unchecked exploitation of deep ocean resources in the coming decades, saying that the lack of a regulatory framework for areas outside territorial waters opens the door for unsustainable development.
The analysis, published in Biogeosciences, outline the societal benefits of the deep oceans.
“The deep sea is the largest habitat on Earth, it is incredibly important to humans and it is facing a variety of stressors from increased human exploitation to impacts from climate change,” said Andrew Thurber, an Oregon State University marine scientist and lead author on the study. “As we embark upon greater exploitation of this vast environment and start thinking about conserving its resources, it is imperative to know what this habitat already does for us,” Thurber said. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: deep ocean fishing, Environment, oceans, sustainable development | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 19, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A juvenile rabbitfish, an invasive species blamed for wiping out huge areas of ocean habitat. Photo courtesy Zafer Kizilkaya.
Ocean ecosystems at risk from fish that kills algal forests
FRISCO — The spread of invasive tropical fish into previously temperate waters is also affecting the Mediterranean Sea, according to Australian scientist monitoring the spread of rabbitfish which have already devastated algal forests in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Global warming may help the fish spread into the entire Mediterranean Basin, researcher warned in a new paper published in the Journal of Ecology (Authors: Dr. Adriana Vergés, of the University of New South Wales, Australia, and Dr. Fiona Tomas of the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies in Spain). Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, invasive species | Tagged: climate change, global warming, invasive species, Mediterranean Sea, oceans, rabbitfish | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 15, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
The lionfish are coming, for better or worse.
New study takes detailed look at changing ocean temperatures
FRISCO — Careful study of ocean temperatures shows how tropical fish are likely to expand northward along the Atlantic coast into the temperate ocean zone off the Carolinas. Invaders could include the poisonous lionfish, which is already causing problems on coral reefs in the Caribbean.
Researchers with NOAA and the University of North Carolina-Wilmington combined year-round bottom water temperature data with 2006-2010 fish community surveys in water depths from 15 to 150 feet off the coast of North Carolina. The study revealed that the fish community was primarily tropical in the deeper areas surveyed, from 122 to 150 feet, with a winter mean temperature of 21 degrees Celsius (69.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
Many of the native tropical fishes, usually abundant in shallow, somewhat cooler reefs, tended to remain in the deeper, warmer water, suggesting that temperature is a main factor in controlling their distribution. The findings were published in the September issue of Marine Ecology Progress Series. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, invasive species | Tagged: climate change, global warming, invasive species, oceans | Leave a comment »