I’m Iris, and I used to blog over at From Alevin to Adult. An alevin is a newly-hatched salmon and, as you might guess, my current research is fairly salmon-centric. I’m studying factors that influence estuarine and early marine growth of salmon, and how growth links to overall survival.
Salmon are anadromous, meaning that they move between freshwater and saltwater at different stages of their lifecycle and, as such, they depend on a variety of habitats. Furthermore, salmon are often subject to intense size-selective mortality – meaning that a fish’s growth can determine whether or not it survives. Several studies have shown that the time spent and size gained in estuarine and early marine environments affect overall survival for salmon. Growth is largely determined by feeding success, and faster early marine growth has been associated with higher marine survival for salmon.
So, what could influence salmon feeding in these early life stages? Surely what they’re eating might play a role – where is their food, and how much food is there?
Most juvenile salmon eat primarily zooplankton in these early life stages and switch to a fish-based diet as they grow.
Environmental stressors may affect feeding. High temperature and low-oxygen waters can be inhospitable to salmon. This can physiologically affect the fish so that it does not get as much net energy from its prey, or it can prevent the fish from reaching its prey altogether.
Continue reading Inaugural post: issues facing Puget Sound Chinook salmon
I am thrilled to officially announce Science Online: Oceans, which will take place in Miami this October! ScienceOnline: Oceans is affiliated with the North Carolina based ScienceOnline organization and meeting, and we hope to incorporate much of what makes those meetings so special, but there is one key difference that regular ScienceOnline attendees should be aware of. ScienceOnline: Oceans will focus exclusively on ocean science and conservation (and, of course, how these topics relate to the internet and social media).
Who can attend? Anyone! Any interested scientist, journalist, student, blogger, communicator, activist, or member of the public is welcome. Due to logistical limits, we will have to cap total attendance at 200 (previously it was 150), including organizers, presenters, and attendees. Registration will open in March, stay tuned!
Continue reading Introducing ScienceOnline: Oceans!
I am thrilled beyond measure to announce that, after 3 years blogging as a trio, we are welcoming four new authors to the ranks of Southern Fried Science. You will, know doubt recognize these familiar faces from around our humble corner of the ocean blogosphere. The incredible Southern Fried Science Class of 2013 includes:
Chuck is a former Rhode Islander attending graduate school in North Carolina. He combines his dual interests in sharks and seafood by researching the interactions between marine apex predators and fisheries, with a focus on U.S. fisheries management. Chuck’s field misadventures and older posts on fisheries science can be found at Ya Like Dags?, and he can be followed on Twitter (@SpinyDag) and Google+.
Lyndell comes to us from People, Policy, Planet and Save Our Sharks. She is currently finishing her M.Sc. in Biology, using genetic techniques to investigate the feeding ecology of cownose rays in North Carolina and Chesapeake Bay. You can follow her on twitter at @lyndellmbade and on Google+.
Iris joins us from Alevin to Adult, where she blogs about salmon. She is currently finishing her MS in Aquatic & Fisheries Sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle where she studies causes of variable growth and survival of Puget Sound salmon. You can follow Iris via twitter and LinkedIn.
Michael is finishing up his PhD in Biology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He works on the visual ecology of the mantis shrimp, a specious order of marine crustaceans that boast the fastest strike, worst disposition, and most complex (convoluted) visual system in the world. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+.
The least-impacted places in the ocean are mainly in the deep sea, but as fishing technology has improved, even seamounts, sponge gardens and deep-sea coral beds are no longer out of reach of our appetites for seafood. Bottom trawling, which involves dragging a heavy weighted net along the seabed, is so destructive to benthic habitats that it has been compared to clear-cutting a forest. Bottom gillnetting catches almost anything that swims into them (and isn’t smaller than the mesh size), resulting in enormous levels of bycatch.
A (simplified) schematic of a bottom trawl. This one (on the NOAA vessel Henry Bigelow) is used for scientific sampling, not fishing, but it’s the same principle on a smaller scale. Image via Wikimedia Commons
The deep-sea fishing fleet of the European Union is one of the largest in the world, which is why it was so heartening to see the European Commission call for a phase-out of trawls and bottom gillnets recently. The Marine Conservation Institute, a longtime leader in marine protected areas, has obtained over 100 signatures (including mine) from marine scientists supporting a phase-out of bottom trawls and bottom gillnets by the EU fishing fleet. If you are a scientist who supports this measure, please consider adding your signature. This can be done by e-mailing [email protected] and including your name, institutional affiliation, degree, title, and full mailing address. Please note that MCI is primarily interested in signatures from the scientific community, and that simply posting a comment on this blog post is not equivalent to signing the petition.However, feel free to post a comment letting us know that you contacted MCI!
The full text of the petition can be seen after the jump:
Continue reading More than 100 marine scientists call for protecting the deep sea from trawling. Will you join us?
The combination of increasing extreme weather and social media has created, if you’ll pardon the pun, a perfect storm for sharing photos that show post-hurricane devastation (both real and fake). Many of them take the form of of a shark swimming through flooded city streets. For better or for worse, I’m known as “the shark guy” among my friends and family, which means that every time one of these pictures pops up, I get it e-mailed to me on the order of 50-100 times.
With the hopes of lightening my inbox and edu-ma-cating our loyal readers, presented below is a simple guide to determine if any given “shark after the storm” photo is fake.
1) Use your vast knowledge of shark biology to determine if a shark that size of that species could possibly be in water that deep.
The image above was one of the first “shark after a storm” pictures to go viral. It claimed to show a great white shark swimming through the flooded streets of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Irene in 2011. Take a look at how high the car’s side view mirror is above the water. That means the water level, while more than high enough to be destructive to cars and buildings, is not nearly high enough for a shark of that size to be comfortably swimming in. Also, great white sharks are not typically found in the Caribbean in August.
Continue reading How to tell if a “shark in flooded city streets after a storm” photo is a fake in 5 easy steps
President, Shark Advocates International
Sonja Fordham founded Shark Advocates International as a project of The Ocean Foundation in 2010 based on her two decades of shark conservation experience at Ocean Conservancy. She is Deputy Chair of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group and Conservation Committee Chair for the American Elasmobranch Society, has co-authored numerous publications on shark fisheries management, and serves on most of the U.S. federal and state government advisory panels relevant to sharks and rays. Her awards include the U.S. Department of Commerce Environmental Hero Award, the Peter Benchley Shark Conservation Award, and the IUCN Harry Messel Award for Conservation Leadership.
The last twelve months added up to another exciting year in shark and ray conservation policy. We certainly saw and should herald a lot of great progress in 2012. I think it’s also important to acknowledge what went wrong so we know where we stand and how best to move forward. I’ve taken a look back and compiled a top ten list of what I see as the best and worst events in shark fisheries management for 2012, based on my work at Shark Advocates International. I’m starting with the low points, but keep reading! It ends on a high note.
Continue reading Guest post by Sonja Fordham: The ten best and worst events in shark fisheries management of 2012
Southern Fried Science is taking its annual December Blogcation. A few pre-scheduled posts will leak through over the next week, but we’ll resume regular service in January.
In the meantime, please check the Best of SFS page for our favorite posts from the last 4 years.
Feel free to use this comment thread to wish the Frientariate happy holidays, tell Andrew that Frientariate is a terrible term for our readers and commenters, or discuss whatever you like with the rest of the readership.
Figure 1- math is hard
How many of you asked “when am I ever going to need to know this” in math class? While basic mathematical literacy is essential for life in the modern world, most people can achieve success in their careers if they can’t remember the difference between pi and apple pie.
One of the exceptions to this comes from my own career path- scientists absolutely, positively need to have strong quantitative skills in order to perform research. However, many scientists struggle with math. I can’t even count how many conference presentations I’ve attended that included a statement along the lines of “don’t worry about all the complicated equations here”, or how many students or journal club attendees have told me that they just skipped over the section of a paper focusing on models and equations. See what I did there? Can’t even count? Anyway, while math may be more directly relevant to our jobs than it is to some of yours, we still find it hard.
Continue reading Math is hard: the use of complex equations decreases the chance a paper will be cited
Communique from Southern Fried Science contributor Megumi Shimizu.
Scientists with Stories is a collaborative project by PhD students affiliated with the Duke University Marine Laboratory (DUML) and the UNCʼs Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) to help young scientists develop the skills needed to communicate mediums of communication: digital photography, web videography, podcasts, and blogging.
We have successfully achieved intensive filmmaking workshop in this summer, and going to have film and photography exhibition in UNC Chapel Hill on November 29th and 30th.
There are two ways to join our Festival. First, you can submit your works in film, photography and audio to our Exhibition (Duke and UNC students only). Please see our website today and contact to Rachel Gittman, one of our student leaders to tell that you are submitting. Second this event is open to public, please visit UNC’s Fedex Center for Global Education. We have keynote speakers, film screening in addition to our exhibition. Details in below.
Continue reading Science as Story — two-day event exploring science, media, & the environment
The New England Fishery Management Council‘s Groundfish Advisory Panel (GAP) met recently in Peabody, Massachusetts to discuss plans and priorities for the coming year. NEFMC, one of 8 fisheries management councils in the United States established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, is tasked with creating management plans for local fisheries, which must be approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service. The GAP is one of several advisory panels which specialize in particular fisheries.
This year’s meeting summary was largely straightforward, with discussions of changes in quotas for several of the species NEFMC is responsible for. However, one line has gone largely unnoticed. On page 10, halfway through the “motion to substitute”, you can see that one of the Groundfish Advisory Panel’s priorities for the next year is to “find a legal way to kill more elasmobranchs”. An audio file of the meeting reveals that the groundfish committee, made up of fishing industry representatives and government officials, neither questioned nor objected to this bizarre and irresponsible motion. It is likely that the elasmobranchs referenced are spiny dogfish and various skates, some of which are considered Threatened regionally by the IUCN Red List. Dogfish and skates are killed in New England as a result of both directed fisheries and bycatch in the groundfish fishery. Quotas for some have increased by an order of magnitude in the last decade.
If you believe, as I do, that fisheries are struggling not because of overly restrictive regulations but because of decades of overfishing that have dangerously reduced fish stocks, and that all marine species deserve both respect and responsible stewardship, I invite you to leave a public comment on the recent Groundfish Advisory Panel report. You can do so by contacting one (or both) of these two people and ask them to share your concerns with NEFMC and the GAP:
NEFMC Public Affairs Officer Patricia Fiorelli, pfiorelli AT NEFMC DOT ORG
Groundfish Advisory Panel Committee Chair Terry Stockwell, Terry.Stockwell AT Maine DOT Gov