Characterizing uncertainty in climate impact projections: Morley et al. paper out in ICES JoMS

Ensemble mean projections across 18 Earth system models and 6 niche models for the RCP 8.5 scenario for Pacific halibut (a, b), Pacific ocean perch (c, d), summer flounder (e, f), and American lobster (g, h). For each species, the left panel shows projected suitable habitat for the initial time period of 2007–2020, and the intensity of the blue represents habitat suitability while grey represents areas of the projection grid that are not suitable. The right panels show projected change in habitat suitability between the 2081–2100 time period and 2007–2020. For the right panels, red represents a decline in habitat suitability, blue represents increases in habitat suitability, and grey represents areas of no change; increasing intensity of blue (red) represents a proportionally greater increase (decrease) in habitat suitability.

Former Pinsky Lab Post-doc, Dr. Jim Morley, collaborator, Dr. Thomas Fro¨licher, and Dr. Malin Pinsky assessed and quantified the uncertainty in climate impact projections in their new paper out in ICES Journal of Marine Science. Using a case study approach, the team conducted 8964 unique projections for shifts in suitable habitat of seven important marine species occurring on the North American continental shelf, including American Lobster, Pacific Halibut, Pacific Ocean Perch, and Summer Flounder. They found that projection uncertainty arose from Earth system models (ESMs), and the niche modelling approach used to represent species distributions for all species, but variation associated with the parameter values in niche models was insignificant. Greenhouse gas emissions scenario contributed to uncertainty for projections at the century scale. The characteristics of projection uncertainty differed among species and also varied spatially, which underscores the need for improved multi-model approaches with a suite of ESMs and niche models forming the basis for uncertainty around projected impacts. Ensemble projections show the potential for major shifts in future distributions. Therefore, rigorous future projections are important for informing climate adaptation efforts.

Read the full article here.

Using multiple natural tags provides evidence for extensive larval dispersal across space and through time in summer flounder: Hoey et al. paper out in Molecular Ecology!

Jennifer Hoey, a Pinsky Lab PhD candidate, and a team of collaborators published a paper exploring larval flounder dispersal last week in Molecular Ecology. They used both SNP genotypes and otolith core microchemistry from 411 archived summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) samples collected between 1989 and 2012 at five locations along the U.S. east coast to reconstruct dispersal patterns over time. While neither genotypes nor otolith microchemistry alone were sufficient to identify the source of larval fish, they used otolith microchemistry to identify clusters of larvae that originated in the same location, which allowed them to make genetic assignments of clusters with more confidence. They found that most larvae likely originated near Cape Hatteras, a biogeographic break, and that larvae were transported both north and south of the break. Larval sources did not move north over time, despite the northward shift of adult populations over the same time period. Their novel, multi-tag approach, demonstrates that summer flounder dispersal is widespread throughout their range, on both intra‐ and inter‐generational timescales, and may be a particularly important process for synchronizing population dynamics and maintaining genetic diversity during an era of rapid environmental change. Broadly, their results reveal the value of archived collections and of combining multiple natural tags to understand the magnitude and directionality of dispersal in species with extensive gene flow.

Postdoc available in population genomics and global change

A three-year postdoctoral position is available in the Global Change Ecology & Evolution Lab at Rutgers University. The postdoc will join a NSF PIRE-funded project to study micro-evolutionary responses to a century of habitat degradation and intensive exploitation in Southeast Asia. The project is using DNA sequencing from a unique historical collection of coastal marine fishes in the Philippines from the R/V Albatross expedition (1907-1909), complemented with modern re-collections of the same species and locations. The postdoc will join a team of researchers that includes Kent Carpenter and Dan Barshis (Old Dominion University), Chris Bird (Texas A&M), Beth Polidoro (Arizona State), Robin Waples (NOAA), Jeff Williams (Smithsonian), Angel Alcala (Silliman U.), and others.

The postdoc will lead analyses of multiple population genomic datasets through time, including changes in diversity and signatures of selection, compare impacts and changes across species, and conduct trait-based analyses to understand characteristics of populations more or less prone to genetic bottlenecks. The postdoc will also contribute to summer population genomic workshops in the Philippines. Extensive opportunities for collaboration across the multi-institutional team, across Rutgers, and in the region are available, including within the Rutgers Genome Cooperative, the Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, and the Genetics Department. The postdoc will have the opportunity to mentor undergraduate and graduate students.

The position is ideally suited to quantitative researchers with a strong background in population genomics, bioinformatics, data science, and global change. No experience in marine biology required, though experience with population genomic modeling, Approximate Bayesian Computation, database management, and/or hierarchical modeling 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 valued. 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, with preferred dates between May and October 2020. Salary starts at $50,000 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 twice (three years total), contingent upon satisfactory performance. Applicants must have a PhD at the time of employment.

**Application process**
Review of applications will begin on December 16, 2019 and will continue on a rolling basis. Interested candidates should email to 1) a one­page cover letter that describes their interest in the position and their relevant background, 2) a CV, and 3) the names and contact information for three scientists familiar with their work.

**Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey**
Rutgers is situated in New Jersey at a crossroads of American innovation, commerce, and culture and with a history entwined with that of the nation. Chartered in 1766, the university is the only one in the United States that is, at once, a colonial college, a land-grant institution, and a state university. Located within an easy drive of New York City, there are nonetheless an exceptionally wide array of marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems nearby, from the continental shelf and estuaries to barrier islands, coastal plains, the piedmont, Precambrian highlands, and ridge and valley geological provinces. Ecology & evolution at Rutgers consists of approximately 60 faculty and 50 graduate students pursuing research and training in conservation biology, ecosystem ecology, evolutionary biology, marine biology, microbial ecology, population and community ecology, population genetics, and restoration ecology.

Malin Pinsky
Associate Professor
Global Change Ecology & Evolution Lab
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources
Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ 08901


Jennifer joins Chris Chambers (NOAA) to raise larval summer flounder

Jennifer has been helping out Chris Chambers (NOAA collaborator) and his team raise larval summer flounder through to metamorphosis under a range of different temperatures. These larvae have parents caught off of New Jersey, and their growth development and survival will be compared with that of larvae with North Carolina parents. The goal of this project is to compare the thermal performance of summer flounder throughout the species range and involves taking many photos of metamorphosed larvae (which are sometimes very iridescent!).

Metamorphosed summer flounder larvae shot by Emily Olson (NOAA)

Pinsky Lab members at the United Nations

Pictured left to right, Zoe Kitchel, Becca Selden

This past week postdoc Dr. Becca Selden and graduate student Zoë Kitchel traveled to New York to attend the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea with the Nereus Program. In line with the meeting’s focus on promoting a decade of ocean science for sustainable development, the Nereus fellows presented on Interdisciplinary and Equity. Composed of early career scientists, the group reflected on the value of working across disciplines in their work, and how collaborations with scientists, managers, and stakeholders have improved their questions, and the interpretation of their results. Dr. Selden spoke about her work looking at adaptation strategies in fishing communities in response to shifting biomass of target species, and highlighted the need to work across disciplines during every step of the research process. Highlights included a peek into the UN general assembly, in addition to conversations with the diverse audience of UN policy advisors, diplomats, and NGOs.

Dr. Becca Selden presenting at the United Nations

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.