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Three new studies describe concrete actions to prevent or reverse abrupt ecological shifts

From coral reefs to prairie grasslands, some of the world’s most iconic habitats are susceptible to sudden collapse due to seemingly minor events. A classic example: the decimation of kelp forests when a decline of otter predation unleashes urchin population explosions. Three studies published in the Nov. 24 special issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society—Biological Science hold the promise of helping resource managers predict, avoid, and reverse the tipping points that lead to degraded habitats, economic losses, and social upheaval.

The studies are the initial findings of the Ocean Tipping Points Project, an international research collaboration.

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on November 24, 2014 - 11:28am, by nwehner

Via Surfrider

"The Surfrider Foundation, in partnership with Point 97 and SeaPlan and under the direction of the Northeast Regional Planning Body, has launched a recreational use survey for anyone 18+ years old who has visited the New England coast at least once in 2014.

“The data collected in this survey will allow us to identify spatial information for recreational uses in the Northeast,” says Melissa Gates, Surfrider Foundation’s Northeast Regional Manager.  “As demands on our coastal and marine areas grow, this data will be integral to planning for the health of the ocean and recreational areas.”

The Surfrider Foundation is collecting information from recreational users through this survey from November 13, 2014 to midnight on April 30, 2015.  Information collected will include where and how people recreate along New England’s coast, including beach going, wildlife viewing, surfing and non-motorized boating.  

Register to take the survey: http://bit.ly/NE_Rec"

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on November 24, 2014 - 9:26am, by nwehner

Via GRID-Arendal

"In response to the call by the United Nations to provide innovative solutions to address the climate challenge and to prevent global biodiversity loss, GRID-Arendal, a centre collaborating with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and Blue Climate Solutions, a project of The Ocean Foundation, have produced a report on the potential of marine vertebrates to readily fill this void. 

Fish Carbon: Exploring Marine Vertebrate Carbon Services  is a key step in increasing our understanding of the ways that marine vertebrates contribute to the global carbon cycle, one of the vital functions of our life support system,” stated Dr. Sylvia Earle, Founder of Mission Blue and a former Chief Scientist of NOAA, who provided the report’s preface."

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on November 24, 2014 - 6:27am, by nwehner

Via FIS

"Unanimously, the Chamber of Deputies approved a bill to create a National System of Marine Protected Areas.

This initiative will seek to protect certain maritime zones of the Argentine Sea."

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on November 24, 2014 - 6:20am, by nwehner

Via Pacific Sun

"In April if all goes well, the county, Autodesk, a San Francisco-based nonprofit called Climate Access and a company called Owlized, will participate in the installation of virtual reality viewers. The viewers will allow people to see what sea-level rise will look like. The viewers look like ones seen at many tourist spots, kind of like oversized flattened binoculars on a pedestal. Sears says that the site for two Owlized viewers is still being determined, but she would like them on the Sausalito/Mill Valley path at Tam High. Looking through them will present a view of the landscape as it will look with sea-level rise. People will be able to interact with the viewers and contribute comments. The viewers will come to Marin thanks to a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Proving that developing adaptive strategies doesn’t have to be a dry exercise, and in addition to helping visualize the effects of sea-level rise and add to public awareness, the viewers, Sears says, “are just the coolest darn things.”"

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on November 24, 2014 - 6:08am, by nwehner

Via Abu Dhabi City Guide

"The Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative, AGEDI, supported by the Environment Agency ­ Abu Dhabi, EAD, has launched Phase II of its ‘Blue Carbon’ Project, expanding the project to a national level in an effort to link local natural coastal ecosystem management with climate change mitigation.

The commencement of Phase II of the project will result in a baseline carbon assessment of Blue Carbon ecosystems in the Northern and Eastern regions of the UAE that will help guide local policy with timely, actionable information about the environment."

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on November 21, 2014 - 12:50pm, by nwehner

Via The Working Waterfront

"On Nov. 5, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section met in Portland and, after a scientific presentation, voted unanimously to close the shrimp fishery for another year. The handful of fishermen and processors in the room pleaded for a short season—anything to keep boats on the water.

However, the results of the annual survey and stock assessment showed the second lowest biomass on record (the lowest was in 2013). The scientific Technical Committee left the shrimp section with a strong message: "Long term trends in environmental conditions are not favorable for northern shrimp. This suggests a need to conserve spawners to help compensate for what may continue to be an unfavorable environment."

Managers had no choice but to keep boats tied up for another season."

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on November 21, 2014 - 12:24pm, by nwehner

Via PLanetOS (formerly MarinExplore)

"Dr. Jonathan Trent works at NASA Ames Research Center, where he is the project scientist for OMEGA (Offshore Membrane Enclosure for Growing Algae). OMEGA is a coastal marine system to produce biofuels, clean water, capture CO2, and expand food production. The goal is to deploy OMEGA worldwide using an “open source” model."

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on November 21, 2014 - 11:36am, by nwehner

Via PTLeader

"NOAA’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary is seeking applicants for six seats on its advisory council. The council ensures public participation in sanctuary management and provides advice to the sanctuary superintendent.

The advisory council consists of 22 seats with 42 primary and alternate members representing a variety of public interest groups, state and federal agencies, and tribes, including: research, commercial fishing, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Ecology, U.S. Coast Guard, Olympic National Park, U.S. Geological Survey, four Coastal Treaty Tribes and others."

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on November 21, 2014 - 11:33am, by nwehner

Via New Times

"It’s been a while since this area was in the running for such a designation. The first effort happened in the early 1990s, which was the last time NOAA considered new designees. The Central Coast National Marine Sanctuary, as it was titled then, didn’t make it through the process, but the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to the north did. Before that, in 1980, the agency designated the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary down south.

Now, almost 25 years later, there’s a rejuvenated effort to create the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary, attempting to “close the doughnut hole” between the two sanctuaries on either side, further expanding protections to the ecosystem that will guard cultural heritage and biodiversity, while potentially warding off new offshore oil drilling.

The nomination will propose an area of ocean that covers 90 miles of coastline and veers west 70 miles, to include prolific upwellings and the Santa Lucia Bank."

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