Team Building with the Pinsky Lab

We were so lucky to go on a Treetop Adventure course at Skytop lodge this week. It was a great day to be surrounded by leafy green trees and the best bunch of co-workers a person could hope for.

Pictured left to right, Katrina Catalano, Lisa McManus, Becca Selden, Joyce Ong, Jennifer Hoey, Michelle Stuart, Amaia Astarloa, Malin Pinsky, Dan Forrest, Zoe Kitchel

Amaia Astarloa from U. Basque Country, Spain visiting us on a research exchange

Amaia Astarloa, a PhD student from the AZTI Foundation in Pasaia, Spain (and the University of Basque Country), is visiting to collaborate with members of our lab on her research. She is currently developing her thesis on the role of the environment and prey in driving marine predator distribution and abundance in the Bay of Biscay. She is advised by Drs. Guillem Chust and Maite Louzao in the Marine Environment and Resources program. Welcome, Amaia!

Becca testifies on the state of fisheries in front of U.S. House subcommittee!

Dr. Becca Selden discussed climate change as an emerging issue for fisheries in front of the House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife (WOW) on May 1, 2019.  The clip of her testimony is here. Her written testimony, and the video of the entire hearing on the State of Fisheries can be found on the WOW website.

Climate Change Hits Sea Creatures Hardest: Malin et al.’s new paper in Nature [edit: and the cover!]

Pinsky et al. 2019 makes the cover of Nature!

Malin and coauthors, Drs. Anna Eikeset, Doug McCauley, Jonathan Payne, and Jennifer Sunday, published a paper on April 24th, 2019 on the vulnerability of marine versus terrestrial ectotherms. While the vulnerability of marine and terrestrial fauna have each been studied in isolation, a direct comparison of marine and terrestrial organisms physiological sensitivity to warming has yet to occur.

The team used species’ thermal safety margin (the difference between the hottest temperature that an organism can safely tolerate, and its hottest hourly body temperature when in the coolest part of their environment) as a tool to directly compare ocean and land dwelling species. This metric approximates the amount of additional warming a species can tolerate. They calculated this metric for 88 marine and 299 terrestrial species, and found that marine species are more likely to live close to their upper thermal limit than terrestrial species. Terrestrial species also have greater access to thermal refugia (cooler places found within their habitat), such as shaded or subterranean areas. Both of these factors make marine organisms more sensitive to warming than their terrestrial counterparts.

Click here to read the full paper (free access here), and here to read the Rutgers press release.

Key figure from Pinsky et al. 2019

Additional Press Coverage:

Adaptation strategies of coastal fishing communities as species shift poleward published in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Dr. Talia Young and co-authors found substantial community-level changes in fishing patterns since 1996. Southern trawl fleets of larger vessels with low catch diversity fished up to 400 km further north , while trawl fleets of smaller vessels with low catch diversity shrank or disappeared from the data set over time. Trawl fleets (regardless of size) with high catch diversity, however, did not dramatically change fishing location, nor disappear from the data set as often. Their analysis suggests that catch diversity and high mobility could be effective adaptation strategies to environmental change.

A map of the eastern coast of the United States showing where fishing boats from Beaufort, NC are fishing
The center of fishing activity for the large-vessel community fleet in Beaufort, N.C., by year.

Press coverage:

Fisheries’ decline due to ocean warming published in Science

Chris Free, Malin, Olaf Jensen, and co-authors recently published an article on fisheries decline in Science. The study found that climate change has already taken a toll on many of the world’s fisheries, and overfishing has magnified the problem. Ocean warming led to an estimated 4.1 percent drop in sustainable catches, on average, for many species of fish and shellfish from 1930 to 2010. In five regions of the world, including the East China Sea and North Sea, the estimated decline was 15 percent to 35 percent, the study says.

The team combined global data on fisheries with ocean temperature maps to estimate temperature-driven changes in the the maximum sustainable yield from 1930 to 2010. Their analysis covered about one third of the reported global catch, and losing species outweighed the winners as the oceans warmed.

Haddock in the North Sea are among the climate change “losers” as a result of warming ocean temperatures. Photo: NEFSC/NOAA Scientists at Rutgers–New Brunswick and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration studied the impact of ocean warming on 235 populations of 124 species in 38 ecological regions around the world. Species included fish, crustaceans such as shrimp, and mollusks such as sea scallops. High Res

Press coverage:

Postdoc in process-based forecasting of species distributions

A three-year postdoctoral position is available in the Pinsky Lab at Rutgers University to develop process-based models of species distributions and applications to near-term forecasting (1-10 years). The position is ideally suited to researchers with an interest in spatial population dynamics, biogeography, climate, and process-based modeling. The research will focus on marine species for which we have a half-century of distribution and abundance records.

The postdoc will join a network of collaborators across marine science, climate science, and conservation, including partners in the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council. Extensive opportunities are available to interact with scientists at Rutgers’ Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences; the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab; the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science; and beyond. The postdoc will have the opportunity to mentor graduate and undergraduate students, design and lead research, manage and analyze large datasets, prepare conference presentations and manuscripts, and coordinate a research collaboration. Research in the Pinsky Lab more broadly uses empirical data, mathematical models, and population genomics to study global change in the ocean.
The ideal candidate will be skilled with spatial- and size-structured population models, statistics, and data analysis. Experience with Approximate Bayesian Computation and climate data is a plus. Applicants with evidence of creativity, productivity, strong oral and written communication abilities, and enthusiasm are especially encouraged to apply, particularly those that bring a new perspective, new ideas, or a new skillset to the team. A promising record of publication is highly valued, as is an interest in engaging closely with partners in conservation and management. The successful applicant will be an independent, motivated problem solver who communicates well and enjoys working in a collaborative setting.

**Position details**The postdoc start dates are flexible, though earlier dates are preferred. Salary starts at $54,000 per year and includes health insurance, retirement, tax savings plans, and other benefits. Funding for conferences and a computer are available.  This is a one-year appointment with the expectation that it will be renewed for two more one-year increments (three years total), contingent upon satisfactory performance.

**Application process**Review of applications will begin on March 24, 2019 and will continue on a rolling basis. Interested candidates should submit: 1) a one­-page cover letter that describes their interest in the position, their relevant background, and their preferred start date, 2) a CV, and 3) the names and contact information of three scientists familiar with their work.

Fishbowl Chat #1

As part of the openscapes initiative, the Pinsky Lab met this week to discuss better data science, starting with getting everyone in the lab connected to our
GitHub organization.

We began by explaining the difference between git and GitHub and then had a 20 minute group discussion about what we should be putting on GitHub and how we wanted to use it as a group tool.

We spent the rest of the hour in breakout groups addressing different obstacles people faced as beginner GitHub users. One group was creating accounts, one group was connecting to the pinskylab organization, and another was connecting RStudio to GitHub.

It was great to see people migrating from group to group as issues were solved. By the end of our time together, it seemed like everyone had a good handle on using GitHub to share work with the rest of the team.

This open communication has leaked into the general discussion going on in our open work space. Lab members seem more comfortable with asking teammates for help, and it is exciting to see all of us getting on the same page with our data science.

American Lobster Density from OceanAdapt featured in Washington Post Article

Maps of the distribution density of American Lobster (Homarus americanus) through time from OceanAdapt featured in Zoeann Murphy and Chris Mooney’s article in the Washington Post

Pinsky lab data on the distribution density of the American Lobster were featured in Zoeann Murphy and Chris Mooney’s article, “Gone in a Generation: Across America, climate change is already disrupting lives”, published in the Washington Post. The interactive article details the impact of climate change on forests and fisheries, and the magnitude of floods and fires across the U.S., in several visually stunning and compelling stories.

These data, as well as data on many marine fish and invertebrate distributions around the United States are available on our OceanAdapt website.

Becca Speaks About Warming Oceans on New Orleans Public Radio

Dr. Becca Selden spoke with WWNO’s Travis Lux on ocean warming and its impact on marine life and fisheries. The conversation is in response to Cheng et al.’s recent article in Science, which suggests that oceans are warming faster than previously predicted, and Morley et al. 2018, which predicts marine species range shifts around North America. Click the link below to listen to their conversation, or read the transcript.