In absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2), the oceans play a crucial role in regulating the climate, a role yet to be fully understood. However, the oceans’ ability to contribute to climate regulation may decline and even be reversed in the future. The oceans that are now the blue lungs of our planet, could end up contributing to global warming.
From the desk of CSI: Miami (Fish Edition): Solving an eDNA mystery. NGI Associate Research Professor Luke Thompson and NGI Postdoctoral Associate Sean Anderson have been studying the environmental DNA (eDNA) left behind by fish at the University of Miami dock (pictured), near the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami, Florida. When they analyzed the data, while many of the fish species detected were expected for the area, they were surprised by several unexpected species, such as rainbow trout. To help solve this mystery, Luke and Sean sent out a survey to fish biologists with expertise in this region.
From March to May, NGI Postdoctoral Associate Sean Anderson is taking part in two legs of a NOAA Fisheries survey in the Gulf of Mexico on board NOAA Ship Pisces. The NOAA project, “Environmental DNA Enhancement of Fisheries Independent Monitoring Cruises for Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management”, seeks to improve ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) with the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) sequencing. Camera traps (pictured) placed at the seafloor in the Gulf of Mexico capture video of passing fish, while bottles collect seawater that the fish have passed through, leaving behind DNA traces.
Over the past 10 years, scientists from all over the world and in the United States have achieved incremental successes in using the Integrated Ecosystem Assessment approach. This approach allows them to build relationships with scientists, stakeholders, and managers and balance the needs of nature and society for current and future generations.
Scientists are heading to sea on the R/V Walton Smith to sample areas where red tide blooms are commonly present off the west Florida coast. Karenia brevis, the organism that causes red tide, forms blooms when elevated concentrations (>100,000 cells per liter) are present in the water. K. brevis produces toxins called brevetoxins that can cause massive fish kills, weaken or kill marine mammals, and (if the toxin becomes aerosolized and inhaled) cause respiratory distress in humans and marine mammals. The team of scientists will be comprehensively sampling a series of transects along the West Florida Shelf.
The U.S Army Corps in partnership with NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, and NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center are testing a new ecological forecasting tool known as the ‘Environmental Information Synthesizer for Expert Systems’ (EISES). This new tool is being tested for the first time in a maintenance dredging project in Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Florida in a multi-agency collaborative effort to help capture water quality effects which may be associated with dredging operations.
On December 11, 2020 researchers with the Global Carbon Project released their annual update for the Global Carbon Budget. Daily global CO2 emissions are estimated to have decreased by a maximum of about 17% by early April 2020 compared to average levels in 2019. About half of this change is due to changes in surface transport, especially road transport, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recently the UN Environment Programme Report on coral bleaching projections for 2020 was published, updating work that was done in 2017 using a previous generation of global climate models to project coral reef bleaching globally. The report shows some interesting new results. Ruben van Hooidonk, a coral researcher at AOML and the University of Miami Rosenstiel School Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, was the lead author of the report.
In February 2020, the NOAA ‘Omics Strategy was launched. The Strategy was informed by a whitepaper that recently became available on the NOAA Institutional Repository. This document titled NOAA ‘Omics White Paper: Informing the NOAA ‘Omics Strategy and Implementation Plan, identifies NOAA’s priorities in ‘omics research, promotes integration and communication among line offices, and proposes possible solutions to implementation challenges in this quickly advancing sector of research.
NOAA launched a new National Marine Ecosystem Status web tool, on Monday October 19. This tool shows the status of marine ecosystems across the U.S. It provides easy access to NOAA’s wide range of essential coastal and marine ecosystem data in one location for the first time.