NEWPORT, RI / ACCESSWIRE / November 28, 2018 / At its fall meeting in Middletown, Rhode Island, the Industry Advisory Board of the Science Center for Marine Fisheries (SCeMFiS) awarded over $164,000 in grants for promising new marine science research.
The projects cover the impact of climate change on shellfish populations; how to properly determine the age of one of the ocean's longest-lived species; and how offshore wind energy is likely to affect fisheries. All of the funded projects further the mission of the Center, which connects leading researchers and their partners in the industry to address critical marine science needs.
As part of the National Science Foundation's Industry/University Cooperative Research Program, SCeMFiS used this meeting to set the shared priorities of our researchers from around the country and the industry advisors from the shellfish and finfish fisheries who approved the research.
"We see this as a great opportunity to partner with the scientific community, and we are looking forward to continue working with SCeMFiS on projects that affect our fisheries," said Meghan Lapp, the Fisheries Liaison for Seafreeze, one of SCeMFiS' Rhode Island members.
A full description of the funded projects is included below:
- "The influence of global warming on the Atlantic surfclam and the ocean quahog" - Dr. Eric Powell (University of Southern Mississippi) and Dr. Roger Mann (Virginia Institute of Marine Science) will lead the study, which will examine the extent to which the populations of surf clams and ocean quahogs have shifted offshore in response to changing ocean temperatures. The study will sample and date ocean quahog and surfclam shells to identify the likelihood of a continued future shift in the species' range. ($56,197 in funding approved)
- "Ocean quahog population dynamics: validation of estimation procedures for an age-at-length key - supplement" - Dr. Powell and Dr. Mann will follow up on previous SCeMFiS research on how to properly age ocean quahogs in the northwest Atlantic. Ocean quahogs can live to over 200 years old, but their growth rates vary considerably over time. The study would continue efforts to develop a reliable way to estimate ocean quahog ages at particular lengths, known as an age-at-length key. ($29,037 in funding approved)
- "Oceanography special issue on the effects of wind energy development on fisheries and the ecology of the continental shelf" - Dr. Eileen Hofmann (Old Dominion University) and Dr. Powell will work to develop a special issue of the scientific journal Oceanography, that will include 10-12 peer-reviewed papers presenting an overview on the state of research related to offshore wind development. They will cover, among other topics, the challenges faced by offshore wind development and the effect it has on nearby fisheries, fish populations, and the broader ocean ecology. ($79,200 in funding approved)
The SCeMFiS mission utilizes academic and fisheries resources to address urgent scientific problems limiting sustainable fisheries. SCeMFiS develops methods, analytical and survey tools, datasets, and analytical approaches to improve sustainability of fisheries and reduce uncertainty in biomass estimates. SCeMFiS university partners, University of Southern Mississippi (lead institution), and Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, are the academic sites. Collaborating scientists who provide specific expertise in finfish, shellfish, and marine mammal research, come from a wide range of academic institutions including Old Dominion University, Rutgers University, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, University of Maryland, and University of Washington.
The need for the diverse services that SCeMFiS can provide to industry continues to grow, which has prompted a steady increase in the number of fishing industry partners. These services include immediate access to science expertise for stock assessment issues, rapid response to research priorities, and representation on stock assessment working groups. Targeted research leading to improvements in data collection, survey design, analytical tools, assessment models, and other needs to reduce uncertainty in stock status and improve reference point goals.
Dr. Eric Powell
Gulf Coast Research Laboratory
University of Southern Mississippi
SOURCE: Science Center for Marine Fisheries