Fog Horn (A Call to Action)
Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)
- “Thirty years ago, I discovered a new world. I wanted to conquer it when I should have protected it. It’s not too late.” An uncompromising Jacques Cousteau biopic starring Lambert Wilson? Yes, please!
Jetsam (what we’re enjoying from around the web)
Herring and other fish hung out to dry on a trawler in Klaksvík. Photo by ADT.
A small collection of islands in the North Sea, a few hundred miles south of the Arctic Circle, is preparing for war. The European Union, under the auspices of an international fisheries management agreement, is ready to levy heavy trade sanctions against the Faroe Islands, an independent protectorate of Denmark. The Faroes, with a population of less than 50,000, intends to fight these sanctions, defy EU authority, and defend their economic independence. The object of contention is the right to fish Atlanto-Scandian Herring; the driving force behind this dispute–dramatic shifts in fish distribution brought on by warming seas and altered currents. This may be the first international conflict directly attributable to climate change. It will not be the last. Regardless of the outcome, this confrontation will set a precedent for future climate conflicts. Welcome to the Herring War.
Despite their uninspiring name, herring are a rather handsome fish. Atlantic herring, Clupea harengus, are relatively small with a classically “fishy” (fusiform) body shape. They are among the most abundant fish in the ocean, forming schools that can number in the billions. Along with other planktivorous fishes, such as menhaden, that convert phyto- and zooplankton into higher trophic-level biomass, herring are critical to ocean food-webs. They are considered to be among the most important fish in the sea. Herring are the dominant prey species for many large, pelagic predators like tuna, sharks, marine mammals, salmon, and sea birds, among others. Their dominant predator, unsurprisingly, is us.
#SciFund is a month-and-a-half long initiative to raise funds for a variety of scientific research projects. Project leaders post a project description and an appeal for funds, and members of the public are invited to make small donations to projects that they deem worthy. Donations come with rewards such as access to project logs, images from fieldwork, your name in the acknowledgements of publications, among other possibilities. Many of these projects are marine or conservation themed. Over the next week, we’ll highlight some of our favorites. Please take a look at these projects and, should you so desire, send some financial support their way. If you do make a donation, let them know how you found out about their project and leave a comment (anonymous if you’d like) on this post letting us know.
Tracking the migration of the Atlantic Puffin
Dr. Robin Freeman is a post-doctoral researcher investigating the movement and behaviour of seabirds, including the Atlantic Puffin. Her project tracks the movement of migratory Atlantic puffins and she is interested in determining how stable puffin migratory tracks are over multiple years and what effect climate plays during their journeys. Funding for this project would be used to purchase and deploy tracking devices.
One thing I like to see is that her past research is published open access, so that anyone interested in contributing can dig a little deeper into the science – A Dispersive Migration in the Atlantic Puffin and Its Implications for Migratory Navigation. So go check out Dr. Freeman’s project for yourself and help support marine science.