Category Archives: Featured Research

Microplastics: A Macro Problem

Associate researcher Dimitri Deheyn. Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

Flying somewhere over the planet, there’s a plane equipped with research-grade double-sided tape on the outside of its hull. Whenever the pilot lands the plane, he removes the tape, seals it in a package, and replaces it with a new one before he takes off again. He then mails the package to Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, care of Dimitri Deheyn, Associate Researcher.

Looking at the tape under a microscope, Deheyn sees what he’s looking for: microfibers, stuck to the adhesives.

Microfibers are a subset of microplastics, tiny pieces of petroleum-based materials that break down from larger plastic pieces or are manufactured at their microscopic sizes: less than 5 millimeters across. Microfibers are strands of fiber about five times thinner than a hair that are used in textile manufacturing; they shed from our clothes during wear, during washing and drying, flowing into waterways and drifting into the air.

DETAILS:  https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/microplastics-macro-problem

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

scripps oceanography uc san diego