Becca’s research on Science Friday

Becca Selden teamed up with DataSpire’s Kristin Hunter-Thomson to develop an educational resource with Science Friday’s educational director Ariel Zych. The resource teaches 7-12th grade high school students to interpret the impacts of warming oceans on marine ecosystems. Lab members Katrina Catalano, and Lisa McManus provided valuable scientific review of the resource prior to its publication.

Check it out at:

https://www.sciencefriday.com/educational-resources/interpreting-the-impacts-of-rising-ocean-temperatures-on-ecosystems/

The ocean is changing. As it changes, the ecosystem and the species within the ocean are impacted, sometimes in surprising ways. This is a story about how some of those changes—in temperature, where fish populations live, and the fishing communities that rely upon them—could play out along the Atlantic Coast in the next century. It’s also a story about making predictions and using evidence from data. Here’s how it’s going to work:

  1. Read a story from the docks of New England: What’s changing?
  2. Meet a scientist and think like one: How do we collect data on the oceans?
  3. Think like a fish: Use data to model changes in fish populations.
  4. Make predictions: Use your model to make predictions and inform the community

New article in PNAS

Just out last week, Malin has a Commentary in PNAS, “Throwing back the big ones saves a fishery from hot water.” In it, he explains why a recent paper by Arnault Le Bris on the Maine lobster fishery provides important insight into efforts to create climate-ready fisheries management. Practices like conserving the female lobsters and not catching the large lobsters have allowed the fishery to flourish as temperatures have warmed, and will likely continue helping the fishery into the future. Despite the overall good news for lobster and the way it has been managed in Maine, many of the stakeholders in Maine have not been as happy with the news (see Portland Press Herald articles here and here).

Becca interviewed on her new paper

Nice interview with Becca on her research showing that warming is transforming predator-prey interactions in the Northeast US:

https://www.newsdeeply.com/oceans/community/2017/09/22/as-cod-head-for-cooler-waters-new-englands-fisheries-face-upheaval

Six presentations at ESA and AFS!

Lots of great presentations this month:

  • Jennifer presented 25 years of changes in population genetic patterns of summer flounder at the Ecological Society of America (ESA) meeting in Portland, OR
  • Sarah presented on genomic evidence for evolutionary rescue in little brown bats hit by white nose syndrome, also at ESA
  • Malin gave three talks: how ecology can help meet the UN sustainable development goals, how to teach about climate change (with Rebecca Jordan), and how climate change impacts in the ocean are different than those on land (all at ESA)
  • Becca talked about changing predator-prey interactions as a result of warming in the Northeast US at the American Fisheries Society (AFS) meeting in Tampa, FL
  • Jim presented a detailed projection of marine animal distributions in North America over the coming century (AFS)
  • Allison presented some of her Ph.D. work on eco-evolutionary dynamics in salmon (AFS)

Diversity protects predator-prey interactions

Cod are a less important predator as bottom temperatures (SBT) warm.

New paper just out online in Global Change Biology, led by postdoc Becca Selden: functional diversity among predatory fish helps protect ecosystems from the impacts of warming. Becca showed that warming has helped make Atlantic cod a much less important predator in the Northeast U.S., but other predators (spiny dogfish, hakes) have expanded to fill its role.

On a geeky note, what’s especially interesting is that these changes in predator-prey interactions with warming are occurring even though both predators and prey are shifting their distributions as the environment changes.

Cod photo by Joachim S. Müller.
Photo by Joachim S. Müller.

Welcome, Dan!

Dan Forrest has joined us as a technician helping run eco-evolutionary models for coral reefs around the world. He just spent a year in Equatorial Guinea running a field station, and so has lots of good stories to tell!

Jim @ Fisheries Leadership & Sustainability Forum

Postdoc Jim Morley is just back from presenting and participating in the latest Fisheries Forum in Monterey, CA earlier this week. The topic was “Managing Fisheries in a Changing Environment,” and participants included Fisheries Management Council members, staff, NOAA employees, and many state agency employees. Lots of interest in how to adapt to the rapidly changing ocean conditions that we are seeing. Jim talked about how OceanAdapt and the species distribution projections we are developing can help.