EarthWise, a 2-minute NPR science show, just ran a piece on climate change and lobster that featured Malin. It’s well-done, though they made a big deal about lobster moving into Canada. This sounds more dire than some research would suggest: Fogarty et al. 2007 project that Maine waters will still be good for lobster at the end of the current century. On the other hand, Vince Saba is looking at climate models that suggest much more rapid warming in the Gulf of Maine than we had previously thought, so maybe it’s not so far-fetched…
We host a monthly seminar series on climate and fish, which call “Fish Baste,” designed to increase dialogue and collaboration among members of Rutgers, Princeton, U. Maine, and NOAA, as well as among researchers in ecology, social science, and climate science. Format is a short, informal talk, followed by discussion, and meetings are open to anyone.
New schedule for the year is filling up, and it looks great!
Jim Morley started work back in early January, but as of last week, has joined us at Rutgers. He previously finished a Ph.D. with Jeff Buckel at NC State working on bluefish, and his interests include climate change, food webs, and fisheries. He’ll be working on a research project with the Pew Charitable Trusts and the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council to understand whether climate variability is influencing food webs in the southeast U.S. We’re excited to have Jim join us!
- Ryan gave at talk at the ASLO meeting on February 25 in Grenada, Spain, “Long-term changes in North American coastal communities.”
- Malin presented a poster at the Kavli Frontiers of Science meeting in Jerusalem on February 24.
- Jim talked on a panel affiliated with the March SAFMC meeting about our new project on Southeast Atlantic climate impact on fish.
- Malin’s off to Brazil to give two talks at the Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Oceans conference (March 22 and 25).
Every wondered where you favorite fish is? In collaboration with NOAA Fisheries, we’ve launched a new website today called OceanAdapt that provides information on climate related changes in the distribution of the nation’s valuable marine fish stocks. There is growing concern that more needs to be done to prepare for and adapt to these changing conditions, but much of the basic information on what’s happening out in the ocean has historically been scarce and hard to find. For scientists, the website also provides easy access to the NOAA bottom trawl survey data.
The indicators on the website are also slated to be part of the National Climate Indicators System, which is designed help track climate impacts across the U.S.
The news about the Coastal SEES awards is now official: http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_
Malin is off to the Ecological Society of America meeting in Sacramento, CA next week, in part to run a special symposium on Thursday afternoon, “Climate and Beyond: Cumulative Impacts and Species Range Shifts” with Adam Wolf and Morgan Tingley. They have a great line-up of speakers, so come check it out! Malin will be presenting some of the lab’s new work on the interaction between climate velocity, fishing, and marine protected areas.
Maybe you saw the front page of the New York Times last Tuesday? It had the image here, and it was highlighting the publication of a new report from the federal government called the National Climate Assessment. Think of it like the IPCC report, but for the U.S., and it represented the work of hundreds if not thousands of scientists synthesizing everything we know about climate and its impact on this country. It’s fantastic to see it get this attention!
We got to see one small corner of this report in the making, since Malin was on the team that wrote the 296 page “technical input” report on Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Ecosystem Services. It was a long and deliberate process… it started with conference calls through the fall of 2011, then a meeting with dozens of experts in Palo Alto, CA to flesh out the major pieces of the report. Then writing and revising through the spring of 2012, including a special box on “Climate Impacts on New England Fisheries” that we wrote. From there, a federal committee made up of academic and government scientists synthesized all the technical input reports, plus other materials into a draft National Climate Assessment. That was posted online in January 2013 for 90 days of public comments (more than 4000 received and responded to) and extensive peer review, including from the National Academies.
And then… drumroll, the final report came out this May, 2014, all 829 pages of it (don’t be too intimidated, though: the website they put together is beautiful and accessible). Wow, that was a long process. But if it has the power and authority to affect the actions of our federal, state, and local governments, plus change public attitudes and business planning, it’s entirely worth it. Oh, and that box on New England fisheries? Find it here, in the Oceans chapter of the final National Climate Assessment.
As ocean temperatures change, fish that provide food for people around the world are moving into new territories. While it’s been common to talk about broad expectations like species shifting towards the poles as the climate warms, the problem has been that many species are not shifting towards the poles, and even of those species that are, some are shifting quickly and others slowly. In a paper out today in Science, we show that the trick to more precise forecasts is to follow local temperature changes, expressed as climate velocities.
Climate velocities are the rate and direction that temperatures move across the seascape. The findings suggest that climate velocity will be a powerful tool for forecasting future range shifts and have implications for marine conservation and fisheries management. Transient populations are especially vulnerable to overexploitation.
As one example, lobster in the northeastern United States (above) moved north at a pace of 43 miles per decade. (Video by Leah Lewis and D. Richardson, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)