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.
Ed Tekwa (postdoc in the lab) led a study just out in PNAS, “Path-dependent institutions drive alternative stable states in conservation.”
We hear almost every day in the news about environmental disasters, but the world is also full of many environmental success stories. Why do we succeed at conservation some of the time, but fail other times? In our paper, we studied people’s decisions about whether to conserve or to over-harvest a renewable resource like fish or timber. Surprisingly, we found that people often get trapped by their past decisions. If they start out over-harvesting, they tend to continue over-harvesting. But the opposite is also true: once people start conserving, this behavior is also self-perpetuating. We built a mathematical model for this behavior, and showed that it explains global patterns in fisheries decisions better than any previous theory. Our results challenge the conventional expectation that collapse of fast-growing resources is unlikely, but also offer hope that conservation is much easier to continue once we start.
Reuters released the results of a more than year-long investigation into climate change, fish, and fisheries called Ocean Shock that we supported throughout. The data in their visualizations are from OceanAdapt and their summer flounder story builds from our NSF-funded Coastal SEES research with Kevin St. Martin, Bonnie McCay, Eli Fenichel, and Simon Levin. We’re all excited to see Mo Tamman and the rest of the team’s wonderful storytelling and science communication skills brought to bear on this important issue!
- University of British Columbia (also in French)
- National Geographic
- Washington Post
- Boston Globe
- Huffington Post
- Le Monde (France)
- National Fisherman
- The Inquirer (Philadelphia)
- Press of Atlantic City news (front page 6/21) and editorial (New Jersey)
- Negocios (Portugal)
- Ecodiario, RT, and Urgente 24 (Spain)
- Mondiaal Nieuws (Belgium)
- The Weather Channel
- Climate News Network
- Homeland Security News Wire
- National Science Foundation
Jim, Becca, and Malin’s paper, Projecting shifts in thermal habitat for 686 species on the North American continental shelf, was published in PLOS ONE last week (and featured in their Climate Change Channel). The paper details how species’ habitat will shift to cooler waters in the face of climate change.
Press coverage included
- NPR’s Morning Edition
- Science Magazine
- Rutgers University
- The Pew Charitable Trusts
- The Canadian Press
- El País (Spain)
- The Independent (UK)
- Boston Globe
- The Philadelphia Inquirer
- The Cordova Times (Alaska)
- Portland Press Herald (Maine)
- Inside Climate News
- E&E News
- NOAA Fisheries
- Texas Climate News
- The Silver Times
- Fish Information & Services
Check it out at:
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:
- Read a story from the docks of New England: What’s changing?
- Meet a scientist and think like one: How do we collect data on the oceans?
- Think like a fish: Use data to model changes in fish populations.
- Make predictions: Use your model to make predictions and inform the community
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).
The Rutgers Climate Institute and the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance have put together two videos that do a nice job illustrating the impacts of climate change on the Jersey shore and fisheries:
- Climate Change and the Jersey Shore: Impacts on Coastal Communities, Ecosystems and Economies (24 min)
- Fisheries, Aquaculture and Climate Change: A New Jersey Perspective (10 min)
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)
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.