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Marine Resources


September 2015 Issue

Study on Parrotfish
Role in FL Keys’ Reefs

With the help of a nearly $10,000 grant awarded by education partner Mote Marine Laboratory, Jacksonville University (JU) researchers are studying how parrotfish may be helping or hurting the coral reefs so critical to marine life in the lower Florida Keys.

Marine Science Professor Dan McCarthy and two of his graduate students are examining whether reefs flourish when more parrotfish are around to eat the algae that can cause coral bleaching, or whether certain species of parrotfish feeding on the live coral itself might also damage them.

During the research, expected to wrap up at the end of summer 2016, they will also look at whether coral transplants survive best depending on how and where they are placed on the reefs, and on whether or not they are protected from predatory fish by mesh cages.

ISCO Created for
Coastal Management

The U.K. National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and the University of Liverpool have entered into a new strategic partnership creating the Institute for Sustainable Coasts and Oceans (ISCO).

ISCO is a collaborative venture that brings together marine scientists, social scientists, engineers, and economists to meet the challenges of a changing ocean and a changing coastal population. It will provide the improved connectivity between experts in these different fields and, through world-class research, will provide the knowledge needed to deliver sustainable management of the coast and coastal seas.

The NOC and the University of Liverpool have collaborated successfully for many years, particularly in the areas of ocean climate and sea level rise; observations and computer modeling of complex shelf systems; and marine renewable energy. ISCO will develop that research base further, building wider stakeholder partnerships, with the goal of becoming an internationally recognized center of excellence for joint research with an emphasis on societal impacts.

“One-third of the world’s population lives in the coastal zone, and coastal seas are vital for transportation, food and energy production, tourism, and leisure,” said George Wolff, head of the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Liverpool.

Federal Funding Available
For Fish Habitat Projects

The Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership (ACFHP) is requesting project applications to restore and conserve habitat necessary to support coastal, estuarine-dependent, and diadromous fish species along the Atlantic Coast.
Federal funding available under the National Fish Habitat Action Plan through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be used to support the top-ranked proposals.

Projects should be geared toward meeting ACFHP’s protection and restoration objectives described in its Conservation Strategic Plan.

The maximum amount available for an individual project is $50,000. These funds can only be used for on-the-ground habitat conservation and improvement projects and related design and monitoring activities.

Applications are due September 21.

More information is available at http://bit.ly/1IWHPy4.

New Research on North
Pacific Right Whale

A team of NOAA Fisheries scientists set out on a month-long research survey on board the NOAA ship Reuben Lasker to try to locate the rare North Pacific right whale.

Today, only an estimated 30 North Pacific right whales remain, the legacy of extensive historical whaling in the 19th century, and large illegal catches by the former Soviet Union, which further devastated the population in the 1960s. Scientists hope to collect information on the few remaining animals to inform strategies on how best to help these animals recover.

“We actually know very little about this species,” said Brenda Rone, chief scientist for the cruise from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. “We hope to collect photos, tissue and fecal samples, as well as sound recordings of sighted whales.”

This basic information will help scientists identify individual whales so they can monitor their health and movements throughout U.S. waters.

The little information scientists do have was collected primarily from animals in the Bering Sea. The focus of this current research will be on the Gulf of Alaska.

Scientists will deploy acoustic equipment to try to hear, and thus locate, whales. Once they locate a whale, they will collect as much information about it as possible, e.g., to establish its movements and range. Scientists also will try to collect tissue samples so they can learn more about whale genetics and body condition or health. If they can get close enough, scientists might be able to attach satellite tags to individuals to monitor their movements over time.

$164 Million Available
For Climate Resilience

The Rockefeller Foundation is offering $164 million total as part of its 100 Resilient Cities Challenge, UN Climate Action reported.

The program seeks partner cities based on their commitment to enhancing local resilience to climate change impacts.

Over the last two years, 67 cities have joined the challenge, and the winners of the latest round will be announced next April. This round will choose the final 33 cities to join the program.

Public-Private Partnership
To Protect US Coastlines

NOAA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science have joined with representatives from state agencies, NGOs, academia, and private industry to launch a new “community of practice” designed to protect U.S. coastlines.

The partnership promotes a hybrid engineering approach that integrates natural or “green” measures with hard or “gray” structural ones at the landscape scale. The effort is referred to as a “Systems Approach to Geomorphic Engineering,” or SAGE.

The goal is to help coastal communities identify more effective and affordable means of coastal protection against an increasing threat of more coastal storms, rising sea level, and fiscal constraints at all levels of government.


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