NOAA's Ecosystem Goal Team Newsletter

January 2009


Spotlight On

In The News

Announcements

Publications

Upcoming Events

Migrations

 

"Spotlight on"


Protected Species Program

The Protected Species Program (PSP) is the EGT management program responsible for the conservation and recovery of marine and anadromous species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), and various international treaties. PSP is one of three programs, along with the Ecosystems Observation and Ecosystems Research Programs, that carry out the missions of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Office of Protected Resources. Through PSP, NOAA shares responsibility for implementation of the ESA and MMPA with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Science to support PSP is conducted primarily through ERP, which identifies causes and consequences of change leading to species decline, and EOP, which focuses on recurring activities that generate data, assessments and forecasts. PSP is a non-matrix program and is housed fully within NMFS and EGT.
PSP implements five main capabilities:

  1. Proactive Conservation. Efforts aimed at "at-risk" species to prevent the need to list them under the ESA. Actions might include all planning and conservation measures to improve the status of a species of concern or candidate species, as well as grants and contracts to others to undertake conservation actions.

  1. Listing. When a species is thought to have become "threatened" or "endangered," PSP is responsible for determining if it warrants listing under the ESA or, for marine mammals, designation as a strategic stock, or as "depleted" under the MMPA. Actions include all management assessments and determinations of whether or not to list a species, critical habitat designation, ESA five-year status reviews, and development of guidance and regulations. Science activities, such as collection of data to determine species status or economic analyses related to critical habitat designation are usually undertaken by EOP or ERP. 

  2. Recovery and Conservation. The majority of PSP's work is to implement conservation actions to eliminate identified threats to listed species. Activities include recovery or conservation planning, development of policy guidance to interpret statutes and regulations, development of conservation regulations, and issuance of permits and authorizations to protect species. Scientific support for recovery and conservation, including stock assessments, monitoring and mortality estimation, and cause and effect scientific research activities are conducted by EOP or ERP.

  3. Outreach and Education. This capability includes actions to enhance public awareness, understanding and stewardship for protected species. Activities include providing formal and informal education opportunities, implementing outreach programs to increase awareness of the need for protected species conservation and stewardship, and establishing partnerships to maximize community exposure and supplement education and outreach efforts.

  4. International Conservation. International actions include development of bi-lateral and multilateral program relationships, the transfer of information and conservation tools, investigation of the use of international conventions to help protect transboundary and shared resources, and making educational and outreach programs internationally accessible to increase global awareness of protected species issues.

Some of the major PSP accomplishments during 2008 included:

  • Prepared biological opinions to govern federal agencies' operation of 14 hydropower dams in the Columbia River basin and 12 other northwest dam irrigation projects on the Snake River in Idaho, which affected 13 populations of salmon.

  • Responded to thousands of dead or distressed marine mammals, including animals impacted by diseases, Harmful Algal Blooms, starvation, entanglement in fishing gear or marine debris, and injured by collisions with vessels.

  • Drafted recovery plans for Steller Sea Lions, Southern Resident Killer Whales, Sperm Whale, Mid Columbia Steelhead, smalltooth sawfish, and white abalone.

  • Convened Take Reduction Teams for Harbor Porpoise, Bottlenose Dolphins, and Atlantic Large Whales.

  • Prepared listing determinations for ribbon seals, Cook Inlet Belugas, white marlin, Atlantic salmon, Pacific herring, and Atlantic sturgeon.

  • Conducted various education and outreach actions including educating commercial fishermen on the regulations implementing the Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan throughout the mid-Atlantic, implementing the Spinner Dolphin Community Education and Monitoring Program, and developing an outreach strategy to inform mariners about the final North Atlantic Right Whale ship strike rule.

  • Engaged in various international activities including submitting a proposal to the International Maritime Organization to create an Area To Be Avoided, negotiating and signing cooperative agreements with the Russian Federation and the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, and providing technical assistance and training to non-certified nations in the use of Turtle Excluder Devices.

For more information about PSP you can visit http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr or contact Phil Williams (Phil.Williams@noaa.gov), PSP Program Manager, or Philip Hoffman (Philip.Hoffman@noaa.gov), PSP Program Coordinator.

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In the News

CRCP Data and GIS Products Support Designation of Pacific Marine Monuments

Data generated by the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program's (CRCP) coral reef ecosystem mapping program and Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (RAMP) significantly contributed to the designation of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, and the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument by President Bush's proclamations on January 6, 2009. Since the beginning of the CRCP in 2000, scientists from NOAA's Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and the Biogeography Branch of the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, in collaboration with federal, state, and territorial partners from across the Pacific, have collected a wealth of data during biennial Pacific RAMP research cruises on NOAA vessels and from aerial and satellite remote sensing imagery. Collection, analysis, and publication of integrated biological (coral, fish, algae, and non-coral invertebrates), oceanographic, acoustic, and optical data sets support critical ecosystem-based management needs for federal, state, regional and local management agencies.

The CRCP-generated data sets, which are the only recent information that exists for many of the coral reef ecosystems across the Pacific, demonstrates that the new marine monuments contain some of the largest areas of live coral cover, highest biomass, and greatest abundance of reef fish and apex predators in the country. This NOAA research highlights the need to preserve these large relatively "pristine" ecosystems due to their increased resilience to global climate change, particularly ocean warming and ocean acidification, and other anthropogenic threats. Scientists from the Biogeography Branch and CRED provided scientific information, photographic data, and extensive GIS map products to support the President's decision to establish the three Marine National Monuments, which will protect over 195,000 square miles of the ocean habitat across the Pacific Ocean.

Contacts: Mark.Monaco@noaa.gov, NOS National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, (301) 713-3028 x160; and Rusty.Brainard@noaa.gov, NMFS Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (CRED), (808) 944-2115

 

Coastal Services Center Assists First Meeting of West Coast EBM Network

Representatives of six ecosystem-based management projects in California, Oregon, and Washington convened on San Juan Island, Washington, for the first annual meeting of the West Coast Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) Network. Center staff members led the planning and facilitation of the meeting, which was hosted by coordinators of the San Juan Initiative. The Center is coordinating communication among West Coast EBM practitioners to help them create project linkages, share successes, find solutions to common obstacles, and strengthen the effective use of EBM principles.

Contact: Rebecca.Pollock@noaa.gov, NOAA Coastal Services Center, (510) 251-8326


MIT tests self-propelled cage for fish farming

Fish farms account for more than half of the seafood produced globally. As much as 40 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States is farmed in other countries and imported. However, very little of this seafood comes from ocean-based farms. A self-propelling underwater cage developed and recently tested by MIT Sea Grant could not only reduce costs for offshore ocean-based fish farms, but could also aid the movement of such operations into the high seas, avoiding the user conflicts and compromised water quality of coastal zones. In conventional offshore fish farming, cages are routinely repositioned to control disease. Sea Grant is exploring a different approach to moving the cages. By placing large, slow-turning propellers directly on a cage, the system is freed from the normal constraints of a boat. Electrically powered propellers are powered through tethers to the surface attached to a diesel generator and a pair of motor controllers mounted on a small boat. The approach was recently tested at Snapperfarm Inc., an offshore fish farm in Culebra, Puerto Rico that grows cobia in submerged cages. The tests demonstrated that the concept of mobile cage operations is technically feasible. The project is funded by NOAA's Marine Aquaculture Program, aimed at demonstrating the technology needed to raise fish in the vast portions of the oceans that are too deep for conventional anchored fish cages.

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MPA Center Begins Nomination Process for National System of Marine Protected Areas

Last month, the Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Center officially started the process of nominating eligible federal, state and territorial sites to be included in the National System of Marine Protected Areas. Using existing information from the MPA Inventory, the MPA Center identified sites that meet the following entry criteria for inclusion:  1) meets the definition of an MPA, as defined in Executive Order 13158; 2) has a management plan (can be site-specific or part of a broader programmatic management plan); 3) contributes to at least one priority conservation objective, as listed in the Final Framework; and 4) conforms to criteria for the National Register for Historic Places (for cultural heritage MPAs only).Managing entities of potentially eligible sites were sent a nomination package and invited to nominate some or all of their sites for inclusion in the national system.All nominated sites will be available for public comment, and the MPA Center will receive, evaluate and forward public comment to the relevant managing entity(ies), which will then reaffirm or withdraw the nomination based on public comment received and other factors deemed relevant.After final MPA Center review, mutually agreed upon MPAs will be accepted into the national system.To determine if your site is eligible for inclusion in the national system, and for more information, visit http://www.mpa.gov/national_system/nominating_mpas.html.

Contact: Lauren.Wenzel@noaa.gov, NOAA National Marine Protected Areas Center, (301) 713-3100

 

NWHI Submersible Collections Yield Six New Genera of Deep Corals  

Analysis of specimens collected at Twin Banks in the southern end of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (Monument) in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) has yielded a treasure trove of previously unknown biodiversity. Eight specimens of bamboo coral were collected on a Monument-sponsored submersible cruise last year at depths between 1100m and 1400m. Taxonomic analyses have just been completed and they indicate that seven of these specimens are new species. Even more amazing is that six of those species also represent new genera, not conforming to any of the currently recognized genera of bamboo coral. The number of genera now recognized as occurring in Hawai`i is thus increased from four to ten. The eighth specimen, while not a new species or genus, is a new record and had not been previously recorded in the North Pacific. Preliminary results were presented by staff from the NOAA Undersea Research Center's Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory at the Deepsea Coral Symposium 2008 in New Zealand during the first week of December.

Contact: Randall.Kosaki@noaa.gov, NOS Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, (808) 694-3943

 

New Conservation Measures for Endangered Right Whales

Collisions with vessels are a significant threat to the recovery of North Atlantic right whales, causing serious injury or death to an average of about two right whales a year. With only 300 to 400 in existence, North Atlantic right whales are among the most endangered whales in the world, and their slow movements and time spent at the surface and near the coast make right whales highly vulnerable to being struck by ships.
 
NOAA is taking steps to reduce this threat, including new regulations that will reduce the chances that ships will collide with whales, injuring or killing them. Since December 9, 2008, all vessels 65 feet or greater in overall length are subject to a 10-knot speed restriction at certain times of the year in certain locations along the eastern seaboard of the United States.

In addition to protecting whales, vessels in all classes and sizes can be damaged in a collision with a whale. Mariners report cracked hulls or damaged propellers, propeller shafts, and rudders resulting from such collisions. In some cases, particularly those involving small and fast-moving vessels (e.g., ferries), passengers were knocked off their feet or even thrown from the boat upon impact with a whale.

Studies indicate that both the likelihood of such a collision and the severity of injury to a whale can be reduced when vessel speed is 10 knots or less. Based on scientific data and the immediate need to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales, NOAA has established vessel speed restrictions in times and locations, also known as Seasonal Management Areas, of high whale and vessel densities. Additional information on the rule is available at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/shipstrike.

The rule is part of NOAA's broader ship strike reduction efforts. Existing protective actions include surveying whale migration routes by aircraft and mandatory ship reporting systems that provide advisories and information on right whale locations to mariners.

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Two Oceans and Human Health Scientists Featured on the Today Show

Two world-renowned scientists that partner with NOAA were featured on the Today Show to highlight how ocean and marine animal health are important indicators for human health. Dr. Frances Gulland of the Marine Mammal Center and a partner with NOAA's Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program (MMHSRP) and the Oceans and Human Health Initiative (OHHI) among other programs can be seen here discussing sea lion health with Meredith Vieira.

Dr. Lou Burnett of the College of Charleston and a partner with the NOS Hollings Marine Laboratory, also a NOAA Oceans and Human Health Center, can be seen here discussing shrimp health and treadmill stress tests with Meredith, Matt and Al.

 

Cooperative Conservation with States

NOAA's Protected Species Program recently completed a report outlining the numerous and diverse accomplishments of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) section 6 Cooperative Conservation with States Program. The report covers program activities from fiscal year (FY) 2003, when the program first received dedicated funding, through FY08. This report will be made available online at  www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/conservation/states.

When passing the ESA in 1973, Congress recognized the importance of the states' role in conserving species listed under the ESA by including section 6, titled "Cooperation with the States"; thus providing a mechanism for establishing federal-state conservation partnerships.
Specifically, section 6 of the ESA authorizes the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to form cooperative agreements with state natural resources agencies and to provide financial assistance to those agencies in developing programs for the conservation of threatened and endangered marine and anadromous species.

Among the major accomplishments of the program since 2003 is the more than doubling of the number of cooperative agreements with states; 14 coastal states now hold section 6 agreements with NMFS (Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, the US Virgin Islands, and Washington). Beginning in 2003, NMFS also instituted a grant program for states that has since provided a total of $4.7 million in federal funding to support research, management, and outreach projects for listed species and candidates for listing. Together with state matching funds, the program has provided an annual average of almost $1.2 million in support of marine and anadromous species conservation efforts.

Funded projects have ranged from small management measures to large multi-year research projects. Projects have involved development and implementation of management plans, scientific research, and public education and outreach efforts. This work has already benefited over a dozen species, including Hawaiian monk seals, elkhorn coral, loggerhead sea turtles, smalltooth sawfish, and shortnose and Atlantic sturgeon. A complete list of funded ESA section grants is available at the NMFS Office of Protected Resources website.

For more information please contact: Lisa.Manning@noaa.gov, NMFS Office of Protected Resources, (301) 713-1401.

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Announcements

MPA Center Extends Call for Nominations for Federal Advisory Committee 

The Marine Protected Areas Center has extended its call for nominations for 14 new members for the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee (FAC). Nominations are now being accepted until January 31, 2009 for natural and social scientists; state and territorial resource managers; and representatives of ocean industry, commercial and recreational fishing, and environmental organizations and others. Members serve a four-year term, and meet twice yearly at coastal locations around the nation. The Committee advises the Departments of Commerce and the Interior on the development and implementation of a national system of marine protected areas. Click here for more information, and instructions on how to apply.

Contact: Lauren.Wenzel@noaa.gov, NOAA National Marine Protected Areas Center, (301) 713-3100

 

NOAA and DOI Publish Final Framework for National System of Marine Protected Areas

On November 21, NOAA's MPA Center, together with the Department of the Interior (DOI), formally released the final Framework for the National System of Marine Protected Areas of the United States, completing a cooperative, multi-year effort to provide a comprehensive approach to the protection of the nation's natural and cultural marine treasures. The announcement of the publication was made during a ceremony where NOAA Deputy Assistant Secretary Tim Keeney, and others representing the Department of the Interior, the state of California, Congressman Sam Farr, and the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee (MPA FAC) spoke about the importance of working together to conserve our ocean heritage.

The Framework outlines key components of the system, including goals and priority conservation objectives, and was developed with extensive involvement from Federal, State, tribal, and nongovernmental stakeholders, including the MPA FAC. It outlines key components of the national system, including overarching national system goals and priority conservation objectives; MPA eligibility criteria; a nomination process for existing MPAs to be included in the national system; and a science-based, public process for identifying conservation gaps in existing protection efforts where new MPAs may be needed. The Framework is online at www.mpa.gov.

Contact: Joseph.Uravitch@noaa.gov, NOAA's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, (301) 563-1195

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Critical Habitat Designation for Threatened Acropora Species

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service published the final critical habitat designations for elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and staghorn (A. cervicornis) corals in the Federal Register (FR) on Wednesday, November 26. This rulemaking is mandatory under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The four areas designated as critical habitat for threatened corals are: (1) Florida area; (2) Puerto Rico area; (3) St. Thomas/St. John area; and (4) St. Croix area. The critical habitat for threatened corals includes water depths up to 98 feet. Within these areas, the feature essential to the conservation of threatened corals is natural consolidated hard substrate or dead coral skeleton that is free from fleshy and turf macroalgae cover and sediment cover to maximize the potential for successful recruitment and population growth. The effective date for this rulemaking is December 26, 2008. To download a copy of the FR notice, the economic analysis, or Frequently Asked Questions, please click here.

Contact: Sarah.Heberling@noaa.gov, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, (727) 824-5312

 

Coral Bleaching Prediction Lesson Added to UNESCO-Supported Training System

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) Bilko project is a virtual system for learning and teaching remote sensing image analysis. Since 1987, it has produced several modules of computer-based lessons and distributed copies to over 500 marine science laboratories and educational establishments and more than 3000 individual users in over 90 countries. Bilko is available to registered users free of charge and is used by students of remote sensing around the world. Current lessons teach the application of remote sensing to oceanography and coastal management, but Bilko routines may also be applied to the analysis of any image in an appropriate format, and includes a wide range of standard image processing functions.

NOAA Coral Reef Watch (CRW), a component of the Coral Reef Conservation Program, has developed a new lesson for Bilko that teaches users how to predict coral bleaching from satellite sea surface temperature data.The step-by-step lesson follows the operational CRW methodology, so users will gain in-depth knowledge of how CRW data are produced, as well as how to utilize the data to predict coral bleaching. This lesson will soon be added to Bilko; in the interim, this product is available on the CRW Web site. The addition of this NOAA product to the Bilko system indicates the level of confidence scientists in this field have in the product and will increase use of this and other CRW satellite products by coral reef managers and scientists, as well as other interested parties.

Contact: Mark.Eakin@noaa.gov, NESDIS Coral Reef Watch, (301) 713-2857 x109

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Publications

Publication Focuses on West Coast Ecosystem and Hazards Management

State coastal programs on the West Coast have ranked ecosystem impacts and hazards resilience as primary concerns. To address those concerns, a new literature review focuses on West Coast needs related to the sound management of ecosystems and natural hazards. Produced by the Center and the California Ocean Science Trust, the "Literature Review for the West Coast Regional Needs Assessment" is part of an ongoing regional assessment that will identify priority needs and outline NOAA's role in addressing them.

Contact person: Chris.Ellis@noaa.gov, NOAA Coastal Services Center, (843) 740-1195

 

NOAA Participates in the Launch of Two Global Coral Reef Reports

NOAA recently participated in events for the U.S. release of two NOAA-supported Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) reports: the ‘Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2008' and ‘Socioeconomic Conditions along the World's Tropical Coasts: 2008,' (pdf, 1.89 mb). DAS for Oceans and Atmosphere, Timothy Keeney, and NOS AA, John Dunnigan, gave speeches during an evening reception at the Washington D.C. National Aquarium on December 9. On December 10, the Coral Reef Conservation Program Director, Kacky Andrews, and the report's editors, Drs. Clive Wilkinson and Christy Loper, attend a press event at the Australian Embassy during which Congressman Baird (D-WA) spoke. Reporters from seven news outlets attended the events, generating over 50 international articles. Additional partners for the launch events included the U.S. State Department, GCRMN, Conservation International (CI), Project Aware, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and World Resources Institute.

‘Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2008,' a product of 370 contributors in 96 countries and states, is the most authoritative report on the world's coral reefs. The report documents how human activities continue to be the primary cause of the global coral reef crisis. It also discusses major stresses to coral reefs and new initiatives aimed at reversing reef degradation. Both NOAA and the State Department contributed funding to this quadrennial report and NOAA's national coral reef status makes up a portion of the data presented. You can find the press release online; the report will soon be available on the GCRMN Web site.

Synthesizing data from close to 14,000 household interviews in 29 countries, ‘Socioeconomic Conditions Along the World's Tropical Coasts: 2008' highlights dependence on coral reefs by local communities in developing countries, provides information on perceived threats to coastal resources, and points to the inability of coastal managers to effectively implement decades-old recommendations as a significant barrier to coral reef protection. It is the first-ever comprehensive analysis of data from the Global Socioeconomic Monitoring Initiative (SocMon) and was produced in partnership with CI. You can find the press release online.

Both reports will be extremely useful and in-demand tools for coral reef managers and scientists around the world.

Contacts: Christy.Loper@noaa.gov, NOS Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (CRCP), (301) 713-3155 x155; and Scot.Frew@noaa.gov, NOS International Program Office, (301) 713-3078 x220

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The Interagency Oceans and Human Health Annual Report for Fiscal Years 2004 - 2006 is Now Available

The "Interagency Oceans and Human Health Annual Report for Fiscal Years 2004 - 2006" was delivered to Congress the week of September 15th, 2008. The report highlights interagency collaboration and coordination of oceans and human health (OHH) research, programs, and activities aimed at reducing human health risks and increasing health and economic benefits. The FY 04 - FY 06 report features individual agency annual reports such as NOAA's Oceans and Human Health Initiative (OHHI) and showcases OHH program development/implementation; improvements in seafood safety, beach monitoring & forecasting; new tools to detect and source track harmful microbes and HABs; and disease tracking in marine mammals among others. This report is required by the Oceans and Human Health (OHH) Act of 2004 (Public Laws 108 - 447) and is a product of the Interagency Working Group on Harmful Algal Blooms, Hypoxia and Human Health, which is chaired by NOAA and chartered through the Joint Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology. The report is available for download from the Council on Environmental Quality - Committee on Ocean Policy Web site: http://ocean.ceq.gov/about/sup_jsost_iwgs.html and NOAA's OHHI website: http://www.eol.ucar.edu/projects/ohhi/.

Contact Carolyn.Sotka@noaa.gov for more information.

 

Caribbean Connectivity - Implications for Marine Protected Area Management

The Marine Sanctuaries Conservation Series recently compiled  "Caribbean Connectivity: Implications for Marine Protected Area Management", the proceedings for a special symposium held at the 2006 annual meeting of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute. The purpose of the symposium was to share cross-cutting research and management approaches for understanding biological connectivity in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. The symposium also provided a forum for resource managers and the academic community to discuss how to apply scientific information to better manage MPAs in the region. The volume includes nine peer-reviewed papers as well as summaries of oral presentations and panel discussions.

Contact: Brian.Keller@noaa.gov, NOS Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (FKNMS), (305) 809-4700

 

Ecological Characterization Supports Puerto Rico's Research and Management Efforts

NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) recently published the first of a two-part series characterizing the marine resources of Vieques, Puerto Rico to improve future monitoring, research, education and management activities. The report provides resource managers and island residents with a synthesis of historical data and information about the physical environment, habitat types and major groups of animals living in the waters off of Vieques. It also identifies gaps where future research is needed. This effort coincides with the recent transfer of a former Naval training range and munitions storage facility to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the local municipality, both of which expect potential changes in marine zoning and increased development and tourism. For more information on the study and partner organizations, click here.

Contact: Laurie.Bauer@noaa.gov, NOS National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, (301) 713-3028 x236

 

NOAA Oceans and Human Health Initiative (OHHI) Distinguished Scholar Dr. Rita Colwell publishes, "Environmental signatures associated with cholera epidemics" in PNAS

Dr. Rita Colwell (University of Maryland) is one of two NOAA Oceans and Human Health Initiative (OHHI) Distinguished Scholars and published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science (PNAS, November 2008) on how to use ocean-observing systems such as satellite sensors to predict outbreaks of cholera. Cholera is a major health threat and cause of death among developing countries such as in the recent outbreak in Zimbabwe. 

The Distinguished Scholars program builds NOAA's OHH capacity by bringing world-renowned scientists to work with the OHHI on cutting-edge science and its applications. Following a competitive peer-review process that assessed cumulative scientific achievement, proposed collaboration with OHHI Centers, and expertise and engagement in interdisciplinary OHH research, OHHI management recognized two outstanding scientists as OHHI Distinguished Scholars with 18-month project awards in early FY06.

In her latest publication, Dr. Colwell and her colleagues found that ocean and climate patterns were found to be useful predictors of cholera endemics, with the dynamics being related to climate and/or changes in the aquatic ecosystem such as the proliferation of the cholera's copepod host during seasonal rises in sea temperature. This model serves as a robust health early warning system for cholera in the endemic regions of the world, and a useful tool for public health planning and decision-making to implement warnings about drinking water contamination. Also, this study can help inform other health early warning systems for seafood related pathogens (V. vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus) being developed in the United States by OHHI funded scientists and partners.

Contact Juli.Trtanj@noaa.gov for more information on the OHHI Distinguished Scholars program.

PNAS Article #08-09654: "Environmental signatures associated with cholera epidemics," by Guillaume Constantin de Magny, Raghu Murtugudde, Mathew R.P. Sapiano, Azhar Nizam, Christopher W. Brown, Antonio J. Busalacchi, Mohammad Yunus, G. Balakrish Nair, Ana I. Gil, Claudio F. Lanata, et al.

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Upcoming Events


The Seafood Summit

On Feb. 2, 2009, Dr. Michael Rust of NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center will be moderating a workshop on alternative feeds for aquaculture at the 2009 Seafood Choices Summit being held in San Diego, California. The workshop will feature the latest scientific advances in developing alternatives for fish meal and fish oil in aquafeeds. The Seafood Summit brings together wide-ranging stakeholders with the goal of making the seafood marketplace more environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable.


World Aquaculture Society's Aquaculture America Conference

NOAA Aquaculture Program manager, Dr. Michael Rubino, will represent the agency in two town hall-styled panel discussions at the U.S. Chapter of the World Aquaculture Society's Aquaculture America Conference in Seattle, to be held February 15 - 18, 2009. The first is a panel of federal aquaculture program managers while the second is a discussion of the issues facing U.S. marine aquaculture. This annual event is the largest aquaculture conference and exposition in the United States.
NOAA Aquaculture Program staff will participate in the National Shellfisheries Association's 101st Annual Meeting in Savannah, Georgia, from March 22 - 26, 2009. The program for the conference covers a variety of sessions and can be found at http://www.shellfish.org/annualmeeting/2009meeting/2009program.

 

21st U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Meeting

During the week of February 23, the 21st meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force will be held in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Department of the Interior, as co-chair of the USCRTF, is serving as the official host of this meeting. Deputy Undersecretary Mary Glackin has been invited to serve as NOAAs co-chair representative. The All Islands Committee will meet on Monday and the USCRTF Steering Committee will meet on Tuesday. The business meeting will be held Wednesday afternoon and associated side meetings will continue into Thursday. This meeting, the first in the new administration, provides a unique opportunity to begin shaping the administration's coral reef conservation agenda and to foster a strong leadership presence for these issues.

Contact: Beth.Dieveney@noaa.gov, NOS Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (CRCP), (301) 713-3155 x129.

 

OHHI Panel at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2009 meeting

 "Fighting the Rising Tide of Antibiotic Resistance: Causes and Cures in the Sea" Organized by Carolyn Sotka and Paul Sandifer (OHHI) Friday February 13, 2009.

Contact Carolyn.Sotka@noaa.gov for more information

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Migrations

Chris Botnick Joins the Aquaculture Program

The NOAA Aquaculture Program recently welcomed Chris Botnick to the staff as an Outreach Specialist. In his role with the program, Chris will focus on outreach to internal and external stakeholders. He brings past experience from the Fish & Wildlife Service, the Office of Management & Budget, a private-sector public affairs firm, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Chris holds a Master of Public Policy and a Master of Science in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Economics from Cornell University. Chris' email is - Chris.Botnick@noaa.gov.

 

Farewell to Dr. John Boreman

NOAA's Ecosystem Observations Program (EOP) said farewell to Dr. John Boreman, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology and the EOP Program Manager. Dr. Boreman, who retired in December of 2008, came to NOAA in 1980 to work on coastal migratory and anadromous fish in the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. He became the director of the NEFSC in 2002 and moved to the Office of Science and Technology and EOP in 2006. In recognition of his professional activities, Boreman has received the Department of Commerce's Bronze Medal (2003), and in 2001 was honored as an Agency employee of the year. He received the NOAA Administrator's Award in 1984 for his striped bass work, and the NOAA Fisheries Service Assistant Administrator's Award in 1988 for unusually outstanding performance. In 1999 he received the Dwight A. Webster Award of Merit from the Northeastern Division of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) and the AFS Meritorious Service Award. The EOP wishes Dr. Boreman the happiest of retirements.

 

Personnel Changes in EOP

The Ecosystem Observations Program is pleased to announce several personnel changes. Dr. Steven Swartz has been named the Protected Resource Science Coordinator in NOAA's Office of Science and Technology. In this role, Dr. Swartz will work in collaboration with the Office of Protected Resources, all of the NMFS Science Centers, and the relevant Ecosystem Goal Team Programs to develop and coordinate protected species stock assessments, lead implementation of the Protected Species Stock Assessment Improvement Plan, and advocate for inclusion of protected species science in the agency's ecosystem programs. Dr. Swartz took on his new role in December, 2008. He is also currently the Acting Program Manager for EOP. Additionally, Eric Breuer has been named as the EOP Program Coordinator. Eric has been a part of the EOP since 2005, after joining NOAA from the Scottish Association for Marine Science where he did marine geochemical research and taught undergraduate classes.

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Best Wishes to Elizabeth Ban

The Ecosystem Observations Program extends its best wishes to our good friend and dedicated colleague Elizabeth Ban as she moves on to new challenges as the Ocean Science Education Specialist for the Smithsonian's new Sant Ocean Hall. We are sad to see Elizabeth go and wish her well in her new position.NOAA is a strong partner in the Ocean Hall, so we hope to be able to continue our relationship with Elizabeth in her new role. Her replacement as Assistant Coordinator of EOP has not yet been named, but will be introduced here when the time comes.

Ecosystem Research - Changing of the Guard

Chelsea Lowes, a member of the 2009 Knauss Sea Grant Fellowship, has been selected as the next Co-coordinator for the Ecosystem Research Program. She will be joining us from University of Wisconsin where she received her M.S. in Biological Sciences. Please join us in welcoming Chelsea!

Aaron Kornbluth, the current ERP fellow, will be returning to the University of New Hampshire, where he will be finishing his M.S. in Environmental Conservation. He hopes to return to D.C. this summer, and would greatly value the opportunity to return to NOAA (so if any of you are hiring...).

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Next Issue Guidance

The Newsletter is an email newsletter of the Ecosystem Goal Team highlighting accomplishments and activities. The Newsletter is produced every other month by the NOAA Ecosystem Goal Team staff to facilitate communication within NOAA and serve as a source of ecosystem information. The NOAA Ecosystem Goal Team supports effective management and sound science to promote an ecosystem approach to management.

Questions or comments? Contact Karen Eason, NOAA Ecosystem Goal Team, karen.eason@noaa.gov.