Sea-ice loss boosts visual search: fish foraging and changing pelagic interactions in polar oceans

By Nicole Suren, SRC Intern Light availability is one of the most important factors in the success of visual foraging. It can be controlled by many variables such as turbidity or weather, but in polar ecosystems ice cover and seasonality are the primary controls for light availability. Climate change has had and will continue to have a huge effect on polar ecosystems through temperature and weather changes, but one of the most notable side effects examined in this study is how increased light availability caused by receding ice and reduced snow cover will affect the success of polar visual foragers. … Continue reading

Polar Bears are Vulnerable to Loss of Sea Ice

By Rachael Ragen Polar bears are currently facing a major problem: declining sea ice. As greenhouse gases continue to increase due to anthropogenic factors causing temperatures to rise and ice to melt. Since polar bears rely on sea ice as they search for prey, the decline in sea ice makes hunting much more difficult. The current population of polar bears is estimated to be 26,000 with 19 subpopulations in 4 ecoregions (Figure 2). It is very difficult to properly assess each subpopulation of polar bears as they live in extreme environments. Therefore, no global assessment has been done and the … Continue reading

The need for MPAs in the Antarctic

By Haley Kilgour, SRC Intern With global climate change in effect the Arctic ice sheet has been losing area and has gone from 7.5 million km^2 in 1979 to 4 million km^2 in 2016 (Figure 1). The loss of ice coverage is detrimental to many species, but on the other hand opens up areas to new fishing grounds, oil and gas deposits, deep sea minerals, and shorter shipping routes that were previously inaccessible. While economically it is beneficial to exploit these now accessible resources, it is also necessary to designate Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to preserve habitat and biodiversity. Geomorphic … Continue reading

2017 SRC Highlights

SRC had a productive 2017. Here are some of the highlights we are proud to share with you. We published 17 research papers in scientific journals, more than any other year for SRC. These papers ranged in scientific topics from evaluating levels of mercury toxicity in sharks to understanding the physiological capture stress responses of sharks to fishing. Two of our research papers were featured on the covers of scientific journals, viewed below. We conducted over 99 research field trips out of Miami supporting our ongoing research projects. Our team brought over 1250 Citizen Scientists, mostly school kids, on our … Continue reading

Does marine debris affect tourist perception and tourism revenue?

By Casey Dresbach, SRC Intern The top worldwide providers of ecosystem services of both leisure and recreation include coastal areas such as beaches and estuaries (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005). These natural environments are home to hundreds of thousands of marine organisms, all of which require clean domains to flourish, thrive, and grow in. Unfortunately, human pollution has made its way into these areas, as depicted in Figure 1. “Marine debris” can be defined as any solid, persistent, human-created waste that has been deliberately or accidentally introduced into a waterway or ocean from shorelines to the ocean floor (Oregon Coast STEM … Continue reading

Investigating Atlantic Salmon Dive Behavior in the Norwegian and Barents Seas

By Grant Voirol, SRC Intern Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, are both an economically and ecologically important organism. An anadromous fish, Atlantic salmon spend most of their lives at sea before swimming into freshwater rivers to spawn. While at sea, Atlantic salmon periodically migrate to depths deeper than 10 meters. One proposed model of their diving behavior is that the salmon dive to deeper colder waters to feed before returning to shallower warmer water to digest. In this way, they can maximize their energy conservation (Reddin et al 2004). However, in colder waters of the most northern Atlantic, temperatures of shallower … Continue reading