Archive for the 'Media coverage' Category

Growing mussels and giant kelp in San Pedro at the first offshore shellfish ranch in federal waters

Once home to the nation’s busiest tuna canneries and a Japanese American fishing village, Terminal Island is decades away from the thriving seafood industry of its past. But thanks to Catalina Sea Ranch, a pioneering research and business venture, that stretch of land between San Pedro and Long Beach is now at the forefront of sustainable aquaculture in the U.S. While the company’s offices and research facilities are housed in a sprawling historic warehouse — part of the Port of L.A.’s new AltaSea marine research campus — the real action is taking place roughly six miles off shore. There, just below the ocean’s surface, is a 100-acre shellfish “ranch” — the first offshore aquaculture facility in federal waters. And while Catalina Sea Ranch is currently farming mussels, they are researching how also growing giant kelp could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a significant way.

The ranch is currently growing an initial pilot crop of around 30,000 lbs of mussels that will soon be harvested from dozens of specially designed ropes. Catalina Sea Ranch is also developing and utilizing innovative marine technologies — including remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) with underwater cameras and a network of sensors — to monitor the crop and collect environmental data to ensure a minimal to zero impact on the local ecosystem. The Mediterranean mussels grown by Catalina Sea Ranch are ranked as a “best choice” for sustainable seafood options by organizations such as the Seafood Watch Program, as the filter-feeding mollusks require no supplemental feed since upwelling from the deep ocean provide a steady supply of nutrients. The company is also researching how best to grow other low-impact — and highly profitable — shellfish such as scallops and possibly oysters. And while the company aims to expand the ranch to 1000 acres and 20 million lbs annually — helping to offset the high percentage of seafood that is imported to the U.S. — Catalina Sea Ranch also has its sights set on expanding its research and design efforts to growing giant kelp, which can help offset greenhouse gas emissions in a variety of ways.

Continue reading ‘Growing mussels and giant kelp in San Pedro at the first offshore shellfish ranch in federal waters’

Ocean acidification in Southeast, tribal network seeks regional impact (audio and text)

Wrangell and fourteen other tribes have participated in the Southeast Alaska Tribal Ocean Research program, collecting clams and cockles for paralytic shellfish poison testing. The Sitka Tribe of Alaska heads the initiative and now wants to get a baseline for ocean acidification in the region.

Sitka tribe Environmental Specialist Esther Kennedy explains that monitoring ocean acidification in near-shore environments has been quite difficult until recently.

“Most of the research on OA to date has been done in the open ocean,” said Kennedy.

These environments naturally have wide swings in ocean chemistry due to stream and river volume changes, storms and droughts, and proximity to the open ocean.

“I suspect that Sitka Sound will look a lot more like the Gulf of Alaska than it will look like Wrangell with its huge fresh water input from the Stikine,” Kennedy noted. “One of the interesting things will be can we start to see say gradience and effects of ocean acidification as we move from the outer coast to the even more coastal environments.”

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification in Southeast, tribal network seeks regional impact (audio and text)’

BIOACID Science Portrait – Maria Moreno de Castro: “A data detective tracking uncertainties”

Maria Moreno de Castro, modeler at Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht (HZG), became a scientist because she likes to solve mysteries. Just like a detective, she tries to track uncertainties in scientific findings. “Our daily life is full of uncertainties. In science it’s the same: There are many outcomes, any solutions, many responses that we are not certain and we don’t know. We have to deal with this uncertainty, we have to understand it and know the origins.”

Maria Moreno used model calculations to get a grip on these uncertainties. By using mathematical approaches, she calculates thresholds below which variabilities will not escalate and mask the effect an experiment tries to explore. “Particularly in ecology of ocean acidification the answer is not black or white. Always there will be a grey area”, the young scientist explains. “This is also important when we communicate to policy makers, because it is really not possible.to give just a value to the effect of ocean acidification, but possible scenarios with their probabilities. This is highly difficult, and the best we can do from science.”

Further information.

Ocean acidification examined with organisations and institutes

The Science and Technology Committee holds its first evidence session to examine ‘ocean acidification’ with organisations that were involved with the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme, and with institutes that research ocean acidification in the UK’s overseas territories. The session considers the monitoring of ocean acidification, its impacts and the funding of marine science.

Witnesses

Wednesday 1 March 2017, Wilson Room, Portcullis House

At 9.30am

Dr Carol Turley, Senior Scientist, Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Dr Ceri Lewis, Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology, University of Exeter
Dr Alex Poulton, Principal Researcher in Marine Ecology and Biogeochemistry, National Oceanography Centre
Dr Ned Garnett, Associate Director Research, Natural Environment Research Council

At 10.30am

Professor Nicholas Bates, Director of Research, Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences
Dr Melody Clark, Project Leader, British Antarctic Survey

Further information and media coverage.

Uncertain future for Southern Ocean phytoplankton

A new review of scientific research into the impact of climate change on Southern Ocean phytoplankton has revealed uncertainty about the future of the single-celled plants at the base of the ocean food chain, which play a key role in reducing atmospheric carbon.

A range of climate-induced stressors, from warming seas and increased ocean acidification to reductions in salinity and sea ice, is expected to alter phytoplankton communities across the Southern Ocean.

But a review of the latest scientific research, by IMAS PhD student Stacy Deppeler in collaboration with the Australian Antarctic Division and ACE CRC, has revealed that a clear trend of how Southern Ocean phytoplankton are affected is not expected to become apparent until mid-century, by which time the changes may be too far progressed to mitigate or reverse.

“While a fundamental part of the ecosystem is changing in ways that could have global implications, there’s uncertainty about exactly what the changes and their impact will be,” Ms Deppeler said.

Continue reading ‘Uncertain future for Southern Ocean phytoplankton’

Team investigates effects of acidification on marine ecosystem

LONDON – British and Japanese scientists are conducting new research seeking to discover how Japan’s marine ecosystem may be affected by global warming. They are studying the potential side effects of rising acidity in Japan’s seas caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Previous studies in the Mediterranean have shown that increased acidification can disrupt the growth of sea organisms, with potentially long-term implications for the marine food chain.

Researchers hope their findings will inform politicians about the importance of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists believe the heating of the world’s oceans will impact marine ecology, but less is known about a second byproduct of global warming: acidification.

The world’s oceans are absorbing higher levels of CO2. This dissolves into the seawater and reacts with the water to produce a weak carbonic acid. The ocean gradually becomes less alkaline and the level of carbonate is reduced. However, calcium carbonate is required by organisms, such as corals and shellfish, to build skeletons and shells. Some estimates suggest the oceans have become 30 percent more acidic since the Industrial Revolution. And if CO2 continues to be emitted at the same rate by 2100, acidity will increase by about 150 percent.

Continue reading ‘Team investigates effects of acidification on marine ecosystem’

Fishermen and scientists discuss ocean acidification in Sitka

In an effort to connect the latest research on ocean acidification with Alaskans who could potentially be most affected, Alaska Ocean Acidification Network partners held a question and answer session with fishermen in Sitka in January. The roundtable discussion was hosted by the Alaska Marine Conservation Council and supported by the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association. Thirty Sitka residents showed up to learn more about ocean acidification (OA), what’s happening in Alaska, and how it might impact fishermen.

Questions over the course of the evening ranged from monitoring efforts to food web dynamics to potential effects on commercially important species. A diverse team of scientists joined by phone to provide the best available information to address local concerns. Almost the entire group of Sitka participants stayed for an additional half hour after the session was over to discuss what they’d heard, talk about some of the regional monitoring efforts, and share ideas.

“It was so refreshing to hear how much the scientists cared how this issue impacts us, our communities and our fisheries up here,” said one Sitka resident. “They really seemed to want to engage with us.”

Continue reading ‘Fishermen and scientists discuss ocean acidification in Sitka’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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