Nereus Program research associate Juan José Alava (UBC) wrote a blog for The Conversation about the rise in mercury concentrations in top marine predators due to climate change and overfishing, and the effect this has on human health, the fishing industry, and marine food webs.
School of Marine and Environmental Affairs (SMEA) master’s student Sallie Lau (University of Washington) wrote a blog about her experience at the recent Nippon Foundation Nereus Science Conference. Both English and Chinese versions are posted here.
School of Marine and Environmental Affairs (SMEA) master’s student Karin Otsuka (University of Washington) wrote a blog about her experience at the Nippon Foundation Nereus Program Ocean Science Conference in September, as well as her research this past summer in Miyakojima, Okinawa, Japan.
Leah Burrows (Science and Technology Communications Officer) of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) wrote an article about Elsie Sunderland’s and Colin Thackray’s recent publication on methylmercury bioaccumulation in marine predators for The Harvard Gazette.
Nereus research associate Lydia Teh (UBC) writes a blog about her and other Nereus colleagues attending the Integrated Marine Biosphere Research Conference (IMBeR) Future Oceans Open Science Conference in Brest, France.
Nereus Fellow Zoë Kitchel (Rutgers University) writes about fellows Katy Seto, Julia Mason, Tiff-Annie Kenny, Becca Selden and Harriet Harden-Davies discussing critically important themes concerning equity and interdisciplinarity in relation to how the ocean is studied at the United Nations building, during an Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea.
Nereus alumnus Rebecca Asch (East Carolina University) writes a blog about her upcoming publication in the journal Global Change Biology, which focuses on how climate change is influencing seasonality, thereby creating critical mismatches in the timing between fish spawning and phytoplankton blooms in marine food webs.
Nereus Program Manager/Research Associate Vicky Lam (University of British Columbia) wrote a blog about using a modeling approach and scenario analysis to help project future biodiversity and ecological scenarios and identify approaches to achieve long-term ecological, economic and socially sustainable ways to utilize marine resources.
Nereus Fellow Matilda Petersson (Stockholm Resilience Centre) wrote a blog about her most recent research and publication concerning non-state actor participation in tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO) committee meetings, and their influence on decision-making.
Nereus Fellow Kisei Tanaka (Princeton University) writes a blog about species’ suitability to their surrounding habitat and how traditional ecological models take into account a species’ habitat preference and known geographic distribution. His research focuses on incorporating species’ evolutionary aspects and adaptations into models, to better reflect their suitability to a changing habitat and environment.
Nereus Research Associate Colette Wabnitz (University of British Columbia) wrote a blog about the Sargassum mass bloom event that occurred in 2018, and how it impacted countries throughout the Caribbean. She discusses the origins of Sargassum, factors that trigger mass blooms, and what can be done about it.
Nereus Fellow Brooke Campbell (University of Wollongong) wrote a blog about leaders among the Pacific Islands coming together to create policies to protect their coastal fisheries and resources for future generations of Pacific Islanders, and how they are monitoring and evaluating the progress of such policies.
Nereus Fellow Solène Guggisberg (Utrecht University) wrote a blog about Japan withdrawing from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), and what, if any, international legal obligations they may have violated, as well as any potential policy responses from other States.
Nereus Research Associate Lydia Teh (University of British Columbia) writes a blog about the Bajau Laut in Malaysia and their struggles with fishing and way of life. She discusses the balance between marine biodiversity conservation and the social side of the Bajau Laut communities, to include securing basic rights such as food, shelter, education, and an adequate standard of living.
Nereus Fellow Solène Guggisberg (Utrecht University) writes about Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMO) and the challenges they face managing fish stocks, such as non-members fishing in areas under their management and insufficient sustainable and conservation measures. Some RFMOs, such as the South Pacific RFMO, have adopted measures to address these challenges.
School of Marine and Environmental Affairs (SMEA) Masters student Samantha Farquhar (University of Washington) writes about other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs), as well as other international goals and practices (e.g. Marine Protected Area implementation) that international organizations use to conserve biodiversity, including the skepticism that surrounds their effectiveness.
Nereus fellow Colin Thackray (Harvard University) discusses how toxic methylmercury (MeHg) bioaccumulates within marine food webs, beginning with phytoplankton and zooplankton. This ultimately leads to some larger marine predators, such as fish, having much higher MeHg concentrations than the surrounding seawater.
Nereus fellow Fernando Gonzalez Taboada from Princeton University writes about how the painting ‘And They Still Say Fish are Expensive!’ by Joaquín Sorolla is still relevant to modern fishing culture and practices, as well as different approaches to predicting future fish abundance in the ocean.
The Blue Economy consists of new marine-based industries that could provide alternatives for isolated or marginalized coastal communities to improve their well-being, and ocean health overall. However, this once equitable and sustainable concept has gradually lost its focus and is shifting toward more conventional industrial development.
The negotiations on the fate of biodiversity in 46% of our planet, or the high seas, have begun. Since the aftermath of World War II, the distribution and intensity of anthropogenic pressures on biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) have been increasing almost continuously. After almost two decades of discussions about the need to better protect the high seas, the international community mobilized.
What happens when some of the most vulnerable populations on the planet are forced to flee the impacts of climate change without legal backing or clear definition of their rights?
On the surface, it’s a joy to see students take ownership of research and form a connection with the ocean. But now, against a backdrop of cuts to programs supporting low-income communities and erosion of policies protecting marine ecosystems, this kind of community-oriented science education is incredibly urgent.
One hundred and twenty five nations gathered from July 9-13 at the Committee on Fisheries meeting at the Food and Agriculture Organization headquarters in Rome, Italy, to examine international fisheries and agriculture issues.
In a Q & A session with Nereus researcher Dr. Richard Caddell, we delve deeper into the policy implications of the projected mass migration of fish towards the poles.
Is the ocean a biological continuum or are there distinct ecological units? Nereus researchers are delving deep into this question, exploring how climate-change will change the answer and untangling what it will all mean for the ocean resources humans rely on across the globe.
Twenty six million tons of seafood, worth $23 billion is illegally caught, unregulated and unreported every year. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, this is a “huge threat to all efforts to bolster sustainable fishing in the world’s oceans.”
A story of marine genetic resources with an unusual set of characters: a fuzzy little five-inch worm, the doomed Roman city of Pompeii, the world’s largest chemical company, and a cosmetic skin cream.
All the big names in the field were in attendance; the 5 days of presentations crystallized how far we have come in understanding what climate change will mean for ocean systems. But we still have a long way to go before we achieve climate-ready ocean resource management.
As coastal and surface fisheries are depleted and fishers turn to the deep sea to fill their nets, scientists are developing innovative ways to locate and protect undiscovered deep-sea habitats.
Who controls the narrative on the environment? Nereus researchers have been delving deeper into work on coastal Indigenous fisheries and as they develop relationships with Indigenous community members around the world, some are starting to rethink many of the core concepts of ocean governance.
The excitement around Sustainable Development Goals has faded somewhat since the United Nations meeting in 2015, and now comes the less inspiring dirty work of analysis and policy-setting to achieve them.
Sustainable marine fisheries seem to tick all the boxes. They can fill your belly, fill your wallet, and do it all for a fraction of carbon emmissions generated by conventional agriculture. Getting marine fisheries “right” could also help to reduce the loss of biodiversity in the ocean, and increase equity among coastal populations.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Australia, Fiji and New Zealand, in partnership with US-based tech innovator ConsenSys, tech implementer TraSeable and tuna fishing and processing company Sea Quest Fiji Ltd, has just launched a pilot project in the Pacific Islands tuna industry that will use blockchain technology to track the journey of tuna from “bait to plate”.
By Andrés Cisneros-Montemayor, Nereus Program Manager and Research Associate
From shore you can see the windmills that provide electricity to the whole town, just behind the desalination plant that supplies freshwater to most of the region. The adjacent bay is where the fishing boats—fishing sustainably, of course—come to unload at the seafood processing centers that take in both wild captured fish and the products from integrated mariculture, where multiple species are grown, simulating an ecosystem. This is the vision for the Blue Economy fostered by the World Bank, the UN, and some of the largest global financial and conservation foundations.
By Robert Blasiak, Nereus Program Fellow at Stockholm Resilience Centre
Fachidiot! This wonderfully direct word from the German language describes a person who knows their subject (Fach), and nothing else. It was on my mind recently as I read articles in a new special issue of the journal Ecology & Society on “Reconciling Art and Science for Sustainability”. The issue is filled with contributions from scientists and artists who have in some sense travelled into unknown and unfamiliar territory, and discovered along the way that this was feeding innovation and adding value to their work.
Women working in natural resource extraction face many challenges, which hinders countries in efforts towards sustainable development and from achieving gender equality. This is especially true in the context of small-scale fishing communities.
When the European Space Agency (ESA) launched a satellite into orbit on Oct. 13, it did so despite opposition from Inuit leaders in Canada and Greenland over its potential to contaminate an important Arctic area.
By Julia Mason, Nereus Program fellow at Stanford University
There’s a tendency among conservation scientists to attribute the world’s environmental crises to the growing global population. Fisheries science is no exception—the issue of overfishing is often condensed to one of “too many fishers chasing too few fish,” leading to inevitable fisheries declines.
By Julia Mason, Nereus Fellow at Stanford University
I got to spend a few weeks this August doing my very favorite activity: playing field assistant for a friend in a beautiful place. The closest I get to fieldwork for my own research is interviewing fishermen—fun and exciting in its own way, but it’s still a treat to put on my ecologist hat (or rather, mask) and jump in the water.
By Guillermo Ortuño Crespo, Nereus Program Fellow at Duke University
Due to their wide-ranging swimming behaviors, migratory fish, marine mammal, seabird and sea turtle species experience a variety, and an increasing amount, of anthropogenic pressures over the course of their lives. These threats, including climate change, overfishing, and marine pollution, combined with conservation strategies that largely fail to consider spatial connectivity over the life cycle, are resulting in declining populations worldwide.
It’s fairly common knowledge that tuna is high in methylmercury, a neurotoxin that bioaccumulates in marine food webs. This means that methylmercury magnifies further up the food web – tuna eat smaller fish that eat even smaller fish or plankton — all of which could contain the contaminant.
Nereus Fellow, Rachel Seary, a PhD Student at the University of Cambridge and the United Nations Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre, has just returned from Cambodia, where she conducted a month long fieldwork period aimed at understanding the links between mangroves and fishing community livelihoods.
By Robert Blasiak, Nereus Program Fellow at Stockholm University
Let’s turn the clock back 113 years. The prominent German zoologist Franz Doflein is about to embark on a two-year journey with the dream of becoming one of the first scientists to study the marine flora and fauna of the deep-sea trenches off the coast of Japan. Reports that the Japanese and Russian empires have just declared war on each other are troubling, yet months of preparation cannot be abandoned, and in the summer of 1904, he boards the Prince Heinrich, a steamship bound for East Asia.
The high seas — also called international waters — comprise 64% of the world’s oceans and 45% of the earth’s surface. They are shared by the world but governed by no one country. That means that the incredible biodiversity of the high seas, from seaweeds to fish to sharks, is not currently protected.
By Colin Thackray, Nereus Fellow at Harvard University
The oceans are very expansive. Their enormous size and distance from where people stay long term presents a challenge for scientists monitoring the oceans. Unlike many atmospheric measurements for meteorology which we can make just outside of cities, often at airports, to get good measurements for ocean science, a journey on the sea is often required. Around the world, there are many ships designed or outfitted specifically for bringing scientists to the ocean – so called Research Vessels (RVs).
Traditionally, Indigenous people have resisted research, especially quantitative research that has fed into the imposition of discriminatory socio-economic and political policies to the detriment of Indigenous communities. However, having access to a global database that quantifies fish consumption specifically by Coastal Indigenous peoples around the world, is a critical contribution to Indigenous struggle on a number of fronts.
Dellmuth received her PhD in political science from the University of Mannheim. Her research as part of her fellowship focused on understanding when, how and why advocacy groups mobilize and gain influence in global marine governance.
Heatwaves are occurring not only on the land but also in the sea, notably “The Blob” in Northeast Pacific and a shorter heatwave on Australia’s west coast in 2010 and 2011.
We know the oceans are quickly changing; we are at a point in time where very different future oceans could be laid out in front of us.
This blog explores the collaborative process I followed as a Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program consulting artist. I was commissioned to create 17 illustrations celebrating the beauty and complexity of our planet’s oceans and fisheries.
It’s important to address the activities of transnational corporations in global fishery reform, argues a new letter co-authored by Nereus Program Principal Investigator Henrik Österblom, Stockholm Resilience Centre, and published in PNAS.
Aquaculture, the farming of aquatic species, is gradually becoming an important aspect of solving the challenge of global food security. The supply of seafood from fisheries is declining; fish stocks can only be increased if we reduce our fishing pressures, yet governments continue to subsidize the fishing industry for us to fish more. Hence, the open window we have is aquaculture.
n the lead up to last week’s referendum on whether the United Kingdom should remain in the European Union, immigration often seemed to be at the forefront at the debate. But the fishing industry was also a hot topic, even leading to demonstrations and bitter exchanges on the impact of EU membership, including from boats on the Thames.
More than 10% of the global population could face nutrition deficiencies in the coming decades due to fish catch declines, says a new Nature commentary published today co-authored by Nereus Director of Science William Cheung.
Japanese call it shun (?), the seasonality of food. It refers to the time of year when a specific type of food is at its peak, either in terms of harvest or flavour. It is not unique to Japanese culture, as The Byrds reminded us in the mid-1960s with their, now classic, rendition of “Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season).”
My mother is an abstract expressionist painter who creates art using oil paints, acrylics, watercolors, and pen and ink. My father has a Masters degree in physics and spent most of his career working as a software engineer. As a result, I have born witness to many conversations about the intersection between art and science throughout my life.