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Nassau Grouper populations increased threefold in response to dynamic fishing management actions in the Cayman Islands

Featured Research fromm the Semmen's lab:  Collaborative Conservation Approach for Endangered Reef Fish Yields Dramatic Results

Photo by Paul Humann, copyright Grouper Moon Project

 

A new study from researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego has documented a successful recovery effort among Nassau Grouper populations in the Cayman Islands thanks to an approach involving government agencies, academic researchers, and nonprofit organizations.

The study, published January 6, 2020 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used a two-pronged approach including tagging and video census data for monitoring and counting Nassau Grouper populations in an effort to more accurately estimate annual numbers of fish in the population and thus provide insight into the effects of ongoing conservation efforts. While many governments have enacted regional or seasonal fishing closures in an attempt to allow recovery of overfished stocks of aggregating reef fishes, this is one of the first studies to provide evidence that these measures can be successful.

“Normally, Nassau Grouper are relatively solitary, and tend to be hard to catch,” said Lynn Waterhouse, a former PhD student in the Semmens Lab at Scripps Oceanography and research biologist at the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. “But at spawning, they come together en masse to form annual spawning aggregations, where historically tens of thousands of fish come together to reproduce, so they’re very easy for fishermen to catch.”

https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/collaborative-conservation-approach-endangered-reef-fish-yields-dramatic-results

How Many Parasites Can a Shore Bird Carry?

Featured research from the Hechinger Lab: The conclusion represents a new line of thinking in parasitology.

Birds like this black-crowned Night Heron were studied to understand their parasite load. Photo: Andrew Turner/Ryan Hechinger

A team of ecologists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has made a breakthrough that has implications for multiple fields within biology as well as epidemiology.

Ecologist Ryan Hechinger and colleagues tested a new way to predict the parasite load carried by California shorebirds they collected and analyzed. The principles they describe, however, could apply to any organism that hosts parasites, including humans. Hechinger describes parasites as the “dark matter” of ecosystems: they are ubiquitous and a key component of energy flow through those systems, but their ecological function is often overlooked.

The study appears today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. In it, Hechinger’s team – including Kate Sheehan, a former postdoctoral researcher in Hechinger’s lab now at Frostburg State University in Maryland, and Hechinger Lab Manager Andrew Turner – describes how the amount of space inside or on a host, whether it be an ostrich or hummingbird, elephant or mouse, has less to do with the total parasite load it can carry at any given time and is more related to how much energy it can supply to those parasites.

https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/how-many-parasites-can-bird-carry

Kelp: The Next Superfood?

Every summer, students in the Marine Biodiversity and Conservation MAS Program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego spend a week on Catalina Island, one of the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California. Here, the students learn to identify local algae and fish species as well as how to measure their populations using belt transects.

However, this year’s most innovative experiment was rooted more in gastronomy than ecology or marine biology. After finding an excellent specimen of elk kelp (Pelagophycus porra) during an afternoon transect, the class decided to make kelp pickles.

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Ancient Whale Named After Scripps Scientists

Richard and Ken Norris honored with Norrisanima miocaena

An extinct species of whale was recently renamed in remembrance of the late Ken Norris and his son Richard (Dick) Norris, both influential scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. Norrisanima miocaena is newly described in the journal PierJ .

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Reducing methane emissions with seaweed

Sustainability in the Deep Water

In memory of  Roger Revelle, the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine created the Roger Revelle Commemorative Lecture series featuring distinguished speakers on the themes of ocean science and public policy.

The 20th annual Revelle Commemorative Lecture “Sustainability in Deep Water: The challenges of climate change, human pressures, and biodiversity conservation.”  was delivered by Dr. Lisa A. Levin, CMBC Director Emeritus. The recorded lecture is now available on the Revelle lecture website.

 

 

Deep-sea expert Lisa Levin to receive Grand Medal for science

Congratulations to CMBC Director Emeritus, Dr. Lisa Levin who will receive the highest international distinction to ocean sciences presented by the Oceanographic Institute, Prince Albert I of Monaco Foundation.

The Oceanographic Institute of Monaco said it chose Levin as the 2019 science lauréat for her considerable work that “seeks to highlight the need for the political, technological, and economic sectors to work alongside scientists with the aim of paying more attention to the impacts of human activity on marine environments.”

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CMBC Alumnus Receives First Walter Munk Scholar Award

Congratulations to Dr. Alfredo Giron, graduate under Dr. Octavio Aburto, received the newly created award that honors Walter Munk’s legacy.

From Left: Rick Spinrad (MTS President), Alfredo Giron, Mary Munk, Andy Clark (MTS Vice President of Research, Industry and Technology

The inaugural award was presented to Alfredo Giron at the OCEANS Conference in Marseille. Giron received his Ph.D. in March from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. After receiving the award, Giron presented his commemorative lecture, “The Risk of Oversimplification in Fisheries Management.” This lecture was the first in what will become the annual Commemorative Walter Munk Scholar Lecture Series, presented by the award recipient at the annual conference.

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New Method of Communication in Crabs

Ghost crabs use structure in their stomach to communicate when agitated

Scientists have known that crabs use a leg-rubbing technique to communicate, as well as specialized ridges on the claws and arms that are rubbed together to produce noise. But when Jennifer Taylor, an assistant professor at CMBC and lead author of a  new study, heard the sounds of stridulation from her ghost crabs, neither their legs nor claws were moving.

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Taking the Heat

Lisa Levin, CMBC Director Emeritus – shows consequences of a warming ocean in major international report.

Lisa Levin describes deep-sea organisms to students during a recent field course. Photo: Cody Gallo

Levin, represented Scripps in co-authoriing the fifth chapter, “Changing Ocean, Marine Ecosystems, and Dependent Communities,” of the IPCC’s Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC). The chapter authors write that the ocean is exhibiting physical and biochemical changes due to carbon emissions from human activity. These emissions have led to the ocean’s warming, acidification, and oxygen loss.

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Findings help predict the fate of coral reefs

Scientists find that corals rely more on hunting than previously thought

When it comes to feeding, corals have two options. Most of their nutrients come from microscopic algae living inside of them, but if those algae aren’t creating enough sustenance, corals can use their tentacles to grab and eat prey swimming nearby. Paper lead author Mike Fox – a postdoctoral scholar at WHOI who completed this research as a PhD student at Scripps – found that some corals rely more on hunting than scientists previously suspected.
The study published Tuesday, September 17, in the journal Functional Ecology.

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