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Grant Opportunity – NOAA Sea Grant Aquaculture Research Program 2012

A federal funding announcement has been made for the NOAA Sea Grant Aquaculture Research Program 2012! This is part of NOAA Sea Grant’s “overall plan to support the development of environmentally and economically sustainable ocean, coastal, or Great Lakes aquaculture. Aquaculture that occurs in the Great Lakes or its coastal zone is considered marine aquaculture for this competition.” For more information, please visit Grants.gov and search for Funding Opportunity Number: NOAA-OAR-SG-2012-2003249.

The deadline for receipt of preproposals via electronic mail at the National Sea Grant Office is 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time on February 7, 2012.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to submit your preproposal for environmentally-friendly and sustainable aquaculture practices!

Check out what experts commented in our discussion session on the research and information needed for local aquaculture practices! Click here for details!

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Caribbean Marine Biodiversity: Has much changed over the past few years?

Patricia Miloslavich and Eduardo Klein in their 2005 publication titled the Caribbean Marine Biodiversity: The known and the unknown present a general description of the major marine ecosystems and species found (referred to as the “knowns”) in the Caribbean region, an area that comprises about 2,754,000 km2 and is considered among the top five of the world “hotspots” for marine and terrestrial biodiversity. The authors also identified the “unknowns”, drawing attention to studies that must be addressed in each country to better understand the present and future status of Caribbean marine biodiversity in order to establish better resources management practices.

Overall, areas that required more studies included the taxonomy of small-sized organisms, cryptic and rare species (Table 1). Surprisingly, there were few studies regarding the biodiversity of planktonic species. Phyto- and zooplankton organisms represented the first and second trophic levels of the marine food chain, respectively.  Phytoplankton species are one of the main primary producers in the marine environment and, thus, are responsible for the uptake of carbon from the atmosphere and its transfer to other levels. It is widely known that phytoplankton composition can be used as an indicator of environmental health (i.e., ecological indicators) and, therefore, can be used as a tool for management. On the other hand, commercial and ecologically important species, such as fishes, lobsters, and sea urchins, spend most of their larval stage in the form of meroplankton. With this is in mind, they should be considered essential for studies on organisms associated with zooplankton diversity. They also represent the link between primary producers (i.e., phytoplankton) and higher trophic levels.

Marine microbes (e.g., bacteria, fungi, and yeasts) were another group of “unknowns” that required more studies. Bacterioplankton represented an important “sink” of carbon in the ocean, accounting for about half of the carbon fixation in the marine environment. In addition, they may serve as an index of water contamination, which may contribute to establishing effective management practices.

In general, a need for trained personnel, equipment, law enforcements, more research and education among the community was identified in order to establish better management policies to protect the marine environment in the Caribbean. In addition, more efforts that integrate research and collaboration among different areas of the region were highly recommended. For more details on the studies needed by countries that were assessed in this publication (Bermuda, Cuba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico), click below on Tables 2-4.

In a more recent publication (2010) by Miloslavich and a team of 16 other experts, the regional estimates and distribution patterns of the Caribbean marine biodiversity are re-evaluated based on major activities conducted by the Census of Marine Life Program (click here for access to the full text version of this article through our publication database). Over 12,000 marine species were reported in different sampling areas that mostly included shallow, nearshore waters of the region. Limited amounts of data were available from offshore and deep-sea environments since they have been less studied. Interestingly, Miloslavich et al (2010) identified four factors that made their assessment on the “true” distribution patterns of marine biodiversity practically unattainable and that particularly included “high variability among collecting methods” (Miloslavich: e11916). This statement coincides with comments made by several experts who have participated in our discussion sessions, emphasizing the need for standardized methods of collecting data necessary for establishing species inventory and baselines.

Although many marine species have been identified, being able to obtain a sufficient amount of data collection to accurately represent and describe the marine biodiversity of the region remains as a major concern. Addressing this concern may help to resolve other pertinent issues that may be directly affected by this particular need (for example, establishing baselines of commercially-important and recreational marine organisms). It is imperative that managers, scientists, and conservationists draw the attention of important local stakeholders and agencies in making extra efforts, as a region, to address these concerns and bring about the change needed for the past few years.

Table 1. General overview of the “unknowns” of marine biodiversity throughout the Caribbean region (Miloslavich and Klein 2005).

Tables 2-4. Detailed overview of marine studies needed by country (Miloslavich and Klein 2005).

References:

  1. Miloslavich P. and E. Klein. 2005. Caribbean Marine Biodiversity: The known and the unknown. DEStech Publications, Inc. Pennsylvania. 310 pp.
  2. Miloslavich, P., J. M. Díaz, E. Klein, J. J. Alvarado, C. Díaz, J. Gobin, E. Escobar-Briones, J. J. Cruz-Motta, E. Weil, J. Cortés, A. C. Bastidas, R. Robertson, F. Zapata, A. Martín, J. Castillo, A. Kazandjian, and M. Ortiz. (2010). Marine biodiversity in the Caribbean: regional estimates and distribution patterns. Public Library of Science (PLoS) 5.8 : e11916.

Written by:

Brenda Soler, PhD candidate, UPR-Mayaguez, Department of Marine Sciences

Edited by: Jasmine Seda, CRA Project Assistant

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NOAA announces Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) RFP 2012

(As cited from the original website)

: The U. S. Department of Commerce (DOC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) plans to seek proposals from small business firms for participation in Phase I of the Fiscal Year 2012 NOAA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. Phase I of the SBIR program implements the Small Business Innovation Research Re-Authorization Act of 2000. Small businesses are invited to submit research proposals in response to the Request for Proposals.

The purpose of Phase I of the SBIR program is for firms to conduct research and development which will allow the Government to determine the scientific or technical merit and feasibility of concepts, ideas and quality of performance as a prerequisite for further Government support which may follow in Phase II of the program. Any organization or individuals receiving awards under Phase I may be eligible to compete for a Phase II award. The following are the NOAA, Research and Development (R&D) topics available for Phase I: Climate Adaption and Mitigation, Weather-Ready Nation, Healthy Oceans, Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies.

The proposal response date is February 1, 2012 at 4:00pm (Central Time).

For more information regarding the solicitation forms for this RFP, please refer to the original website by clicking here.

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Dolphin Conservation RFP (Pre-proposals) – MASG

The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC) is pleased to announce a request for pre-proposals for the 2011 Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Region Dolphin Conservation.

In this competition, MASGC welcomes projects in the following funding areas:

  1. Research on Human-Dolphin Interactions; and
  2. Development of two smartphone apps:
    • Marine mammal stranding; and
    • Marine mammal identification and viewing

The deadline for pre-proposals is 4:00 p.m. Central time on Thursday, December 1, 2011.
For more information, please click here for more details on the official announcement!

Photo: UPRSG archives

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Purple Bags of Fun – UVI/VI-EPSCoR

If you’ve recently been diving in St. Thomas, you may have stumbled upon some strange purple orbs and wondered if aliens deposited their giant eggs for incubation on our reefs. Or maybe you thought you had discovered a new species of algae ripe for naming after yourself (or maybe you thought had indigestion and were hallucinating).

Actually, the Purple Bags of Fun, as dubbed by Dr. Marilyn Brandt of the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI), are an important part of the research project titled Towards modeling the trajectory of US Virgin Islands coral reefs – Scleractinian growth and recruitment rates along an onshore-offshore gradient. Funded by the Virgin Islands Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR), Dr. Marilyn Brandt and Dr. Angela Dikou are quantifying the growth and recruitment rates of several reef-building corals in reefs exposed to different levels of human impacts. This information is lacking in the Caribbean and as human population expands, the need to understand human impacts on coral growth, and ultimately coral reef resilience, is particularly vital.

“Purple Bags of Fun” – Plastic bags filled with cinder blocks attached with several coral nubbins. Alzarin red stain fills the volume of water inside the bag and will be absorbed into the corals’ skeleton in order to create a marker for measuring growth rate.

To do this, a team consisting of Dr. Brandt, Dr. Dikou, and a group of helpful graduate students were permitted by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources to collect nubbins, or fragments, of particularly important Caribbean coral species from local reefs: Porites astreoides, Siderastrea siderea, Favia fragum, Porites porites, Montastrea annularis, and Agaricia agaricites. These nubbins were then attached with special cement to cinder blocks submerged at the different reefs. After time for acclimation was given to the coral nubbins, divers descended upon each site to envelop the nubbins with large, clear, plastic trash bags. Why the plastic bagging? For a dye job, of course; even corals want a little color in their roots.

Graduate students Gabby Renchen and Rob Brewer working together to lift coral-covered cinder blocks into plastic bags before tying them shut and injecting the alizarin red stain.

Background: Divers placing coral-covered cinder blocks into plastic bags in preparation for alizarin red stain injection at different reef sites in St. Thomas. Foreground: A post-injection coral-covered cinder block inside a plastic bag. These corals are left in the bag overnight to absorb the marker dye.

All jokes aside, the corals were being marked, or banded, with a dye. After bagging, the divers used a hypodermic needle to inject a purplish dye called alizarin red stain through the bag and into the volume of water that surrounded the corals. This is a careful process – not ripping the bags while manipulating them around cinder block and hard coral takes skill, especially while diving under the influence of current and other ocean elements. Checking for leaks, divers closed any accidental holes in the plastic with small pieces of wire and, after a few underwater high fives and fin taps, divers ascended.

Diver injecting alizarin red stain into plastic bags. The needle penetrates the plastic bag and the dye plumes inside the water surrounding the corals.

The bags were left in place throughout the sunlight of day to allow for the coral skeletons to absorb the dye via photosynthesis, a process we know on land as something that plants do to get energy from sun. In the ocean, coral animals rely on their zooxanthellae-algal symbionts (plant partners that live inside the coral) to absorb energy from the sun. Because the sun is needed for the absorption process, using clear bags that allow sunlight to penetrate to the corals was an important detail anticipated by Dr. Dikou and Dr. Brandt’s team, and the researchers that created this methodology (Barnes 1970).

A close up look at P. porites inside the clear plastic bag as the alizarin red dye spreads. Transparency of the plastic bag is important because it allows for sunlight to penetrate through to the photosynthetic algae-zooxanthellae that live in the coral animal. Photosynthesis is the mechanism by which the coral will absorb the red stain and, in turn, mark the skeleton so that the researchers can later measure growth rate.

The following day, the divers returned to their sites and removed the plastic bags. A reddish-purple band will be incorporated into the corals’ respective skeletons and this band will be a reference point for growth. After six months, the team will repeat the injection process to create another marker within the coral. The distance between the bands divided by the time between dye jobs will provide the researchers with growth rates that can be compared among sites. This information, coupled with existing water quality, coral community composition, and coral reef health data, will ultimately be inputs for predictive modelling of Caribbean reefs over time.

Even with today’s technology, the underwater world remains mysterious. You never know what you could encounter while diving or snorkeling, a thrill that keeps most people coming back for more. As scientists like those working at UVI continue to study nature, we become more capable of applying our knowledge to conserve the natural resources we rely on.

Reference:

Barnes, DJ. (1970) Coral skeletons: An explanation of their growth and structure. Science 170:1305–1308

By Christine Settar, UVI Sea Grant Marine Outreach Program

Edited by J. Seda, CRA Project Assistant

Posted in: Research

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New tools and models for social and ecological analyses of MPAs – IMCC 2011

The 2nd International Marine Conservation Congress – “Making Marine Science Matter” (IMCC 2011; http://www.conbio.org/imcc2011/), sponsored by the Society for Conservation Biology Marine Section (http://www.conservationbiology.org/marine) on 14-18 May 2011 at the University of Victoria (Victoria, Canada), provided an exciting opportunity for scientists and experts worldwide to share their knowledge on marine conservation. It also gave us the opportunity to identify the current trends, gaps and information needed to better management and conservation strategies. Topics that have been discussed in the past, such as sustainable fisheries, the effect of climate change, and the efficacy of marine protected areas, were contemplated upon once again.  Interestingly, this year’s IMCC explored other issues that highlighted the importance of incorporating a historical perspective when assessing the state of the marine environment and the need to communicate to key audiences about marine conservation.

Technological advances for socioeconomic analyses of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

Throughout the conference, special emphasis was made on the social aspects that significantly influence management and planning strategies. Several experts presented marine environmental assessments that incorporated these components with the help of recent technological advancements. For example, a new version of the widely-used MARXAN software for managers, MARXAN with Zones (developed by Matt Watts, Ian Bell, and Hugh Possingham at the University of Queensland, Australia; http://www.uq.edu.au/marxan/ index.html?page=77654), was designed to enhance the previous features of the previous version, and provides “alternative multiple-use zoning options in geographical regions for marine conservation”. Another software, Marine InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs; http://www.naturalcapitalproject.org/InVEST.html), was recently developed by the Natural Capital Project as an ArcGIS-based tool for mapping, and modeling coastal and marine ecosystem services that can: (1) illustrate the cost and benefits of resource management; (2) assess changes in renewable energy based on ocean waves; (3) determine which coastal habitats can serve as buffers for storm waves; and (4) create relevant scenarios that can provide better alternatives to management strategies. Resource managers and scientists alike will benefit from these advancements in software, which provide more information and enhanced tools to make better informed decisions regarding marine and coastal spatial planning.

Video – Marine InVEST training at the IMCC 2011

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxyBwcKlb3s&rel=0

An innovative decision framework, known as Integrated Ecosystem Assessments (IEA), is currently being used to better spatial planning, scientific information and management of marine ecosystems. Presently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States encourages the use of IEAs to support an ecosystem approach to management (EAM) strategy (http://coastalscience.noaa.gov/about/iea.aspx). This approach includes a formal synthesis and quantitative analysis of information about natural and socioeconomic factors associated with specific ecosystem management goals. With the help of this approach, several studies have incorporated local knowledge from small-scale fishing activities using geographic information system (GIS) as a tool to help build a useful source of information.

Although several methodologies have been used efficiently to assess the condition of MPAs, the “Ecological Scorecard” approach initiated by the North American Marine Protected Areas Network (http://www.cec.org/Storage/98/9685_Marine_scorecard_en.pdf) is pleasantly surprising. Consisting of 14 questions divided into three categories (Water Quality, Habitats, and Living Marine Resources), it is capable of assessing the “current ecological status of an MPA in understandable terms from assigning expert judgment value scales” (IMCC2011, Full Program, p. 62) that can be used to take specific actions needed to improve the “value judgment” over a certain period of time (about 5 years). By incorporating current monitoring data, another Scorecard can be later developed. When assessing MPAs, it is important to understand the social values of these areas. With this in mind, several yearly assessments have taken into account the comments made by key stakeholder groups to help identify changes in resource use, perceptions and attitudes towards MPAs.

Tools for Habitat and Ecological Models in Ecosystem-based Management

Current approaches to planning strategies that include ocean utilization patterns are focusing on protecting critical habitats, such as deep-sea corals and sponge beds, to avoid conflicts between ecosystem management and energy development (e.g., use of tides and waves).  However, information concerning seafloor habitats is either scant or of poor quality, especially for deep water coral ecosystems. With this in mind, the use of one-person submersibles to explore areas that have been identified as consisting of corals and commercially-important fish species is currently underway and is of great interest to local stakeholders. Meanwhile, spatially-explicit models are being developed to generate maps that identify potential areas of conflict for management.

One of the most ambitious approaches to resilience and ecosystem-based management (EBM) was presented by a group that supported the establishment of Gwaii Haanas in 2010, Canada’s first National Marine Conservation Area. Three collaborative research projects are currently underway, which include an integrated “contemporary quantitative ecology with traditional knowledge and archaeological data to reveal the long-term dynamics of these social-ecological systems, inform their conservation, and sustain the adaptive capacity of coastal communities.” (IMCC2011, Full Program, p. 75) The latest version of the Reef Resilience (R2) Toolkit (http://www.reefresilience.org/), developed by The Nature Conservancy, was also presented as an excellent tool that provides a guideline for managers of coral reefs and MPAs on how to build resilience in their local communities. To predict reef resilience, several studies have applied reef resilience factors with multivariate analysis to determine which indicators are the most useful.

Regarding ecological monitoring of MPAs, Hypoxia Online (IMCC2011, Full Program, p. 153) was presented as an innovative tool to assess the rapid decrease of dissolved oxygen in coastal and estuarine areas due to human activities and climate change. This technique involves analyzing photo transects for community composition, species behavior and sediment characteristics. The model CORSET (Coral Reef Scenario Evaluation Tool; http://www.reefscenarios.org) is another great online tool for predicting future responses of reef ecosystems to multiple threats and for evaluating the effectiveness of alternative management strategies. The emphasis remains that there is a need for the effective protection of marine benthic habitats, which are difficult to define and identify in well sampled areas. Therefore, the challenge for resource managers and researchers is to discover general patterns that could be applied to habitats that are currently unidentified and lack sufficient data.

 

“Blue Carbon” Payments and Conservation Agreements

The use of monetary payments for “blue carbon – carbon that is captured and stored by coastal wetlands or is converted to avoid emissions” – was presented as a practical method to help improve policy changes that favor the protection of coastal habitats, such as mangrove and seagrass beds (IMCC2011, Full Program, p. 87). By defining economic values in terms of blue carbon, payments for ecosystem services may be established for those marine environments that are considered economically viable. A “contract-theoretic model for conservation agreements” (IMCC2011, Full Program, p. 87) was also presented, which characterizes the efforts made by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local communities for marine conservation in terms of cost and availability of funds. Conservation agreements may provide ecosystem services, particularly for biodiversity protection, that prevent certain areas from being further exposed to incompatible activities. These agreements may also help to change local user’s habits, making their activities more compatible and sustainable for marine ecosystems.

Efforts for Public Awareness and Outreach

Innovative ideas for public awareness activities and outreach efforts were also an essential part of the IMCC’s theme. For example, REDMAP is a web-based database and mapping facility (http://www.redmap.org.au/) that allows the public to submit data (photos and sightings) of different marine species that are uncommon along the Tasmanian coast or other coastal zones. This database is an excellent example of obtaining valuable information from researchers, communities, and stakeholders to increase data availability and public awareness. Contributions made by recreational divers, referred to as potential citizen scientists by several experts, serve as an important source of data and may help evaluate the relative success of management strategies. The development of science blogs (e.g., SouthernFriedScience.com) was also shown as an effective way for scientists to create public awareness and to promote marine science education. A more modern twist to public awareness and outreach efforts is the use of music to educate local communities, promote public consciousness and attract sponsorships for marine conservation.

Written by: Daniel Matos Molina, Graduate student, UPRM-Department of Marine Sciences

Edited by: J. Seda, CRA Project Assistant

Reference:

Second IMCC 2011. Full program. http://www.conbio.org/imcc2011/docs/IMCC2011_FullProgram_Web.pdf

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Survey – Ten Year Build-Out Plans – CariCOOS

CariCOOS (http://www.caricoos.org/drupal) is the observing arm of the Caribbean Regional Association for Integrated Coastal Ocean Observing (CaRA; http://cara.uprm.edu/). This effort, funded by the NOAA IOOS office, is one of eleven coastal observing systems and regional associations, which along with federal agencies constitute the national coastal component of the US Integrated Ocean Observing System.

In the implementation of the Integrated Coastal Ocean Observation System Act (ICOOS Act), NOAA, the lead Federal Agency, requires that CariCOOS complete a “10 year build out plan”. To date, CariCOOS has focused largely on providing coastal climate information. The requirement for a 10-year term plan gives us the opportunity to meet other needs aligned to the objectives of promoting commerce, improving security and ensuring sustainable use of coastal resources.

In order to identify further needs for data and products, CariCOOS has designed a BUILD-OUT SURVEY for stakeholders, experts and local community members.

To complete this survey in English, please click here.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

El Sistema Regional de Observación Oceánica Costera del Caribe, CariCOOS (http://www.caricoos.org/drupal) por sus siglas en inglés, es uno de los once sistemas regionales de observación oceánica costera que constituyen el Sistema Integrado de Observación Oceánica estadounidense, IOOS. El sistema IOOS proporciona datos y productos para satisfacer las necesidades de las partes interesadas en la región.

En la implementación de la Ley del Sistema Integrado de Observación Oceánica Costera (ICOOS Act), promulgada el año pasado por el Presidente Obama, la NOAA, Agencia Federal líder, requiere que CariCOOS diseñeun plan de desarrollo (“buildout plan”) a 10 años plazo.

Hasta el presente, CariCOOS se ha enfocado mayormente en proporcionar información de clima costero. El requerimiento de un plan a 10 años plazo nos brinda la oportunidad de atender otras necesidades alineadas a los objetivos de promover el comercio, mejorar la seguridad, y garantizar el uso sostenible de los recursos costeros.

La siguiente encuesta está dirigida a la identificación de necesidades eventuales a mediano y largo plazo (horizonte de 10 años) de datos y productos para continuar la construcción del sistema CariCOOS.

Para completar la encuesta en español, por favor oprima aquí.

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Ciguatera and Lionfish – Should we worry?

Ciguatera poisoning is caused by ciguatoxins produced by certain microscopic algae associated with reefs, can accumulate in certain fish species that eat these algae and can be life threatening when consumed by humans. Presently, efforts from CaribCATCH.org (a project consisting of 5 major institutions and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration along with the Schneider Regional Medical Center and the St. Thomas Fishermen’s Association) are being made to study ciguatera poisoning associated with changing environmental factors in St. Thomas. However, with the rapid increase of lionfish in seawaters, some concern has come up regarding the possibility of ciguatera poisoning associated with lionfish consumption. A short article on the incidence of ciguatoxins found in lionfish at the Virgin Islands was previously reported (click here to read more).

Despite this recent information, no conclusive statements have been made about ciguatera poisoning associated with lionfish. Inconclusive information on ciguatera in lionfish may be a deterrent to one of the few tools that we have to manage with this particular invasive species: promoting its consumption. In Puerto Rico, lionfish has been promoted and eaten by local fishers. Puerto Rico Sea Grant provides information on how to process the fish safely and how to eat it based on local knowledge and experience (click here to read the Fuete y Verguilla Special Edition on how to prepare lionfish for human consumption). So far, no incidences of intoxication nor of ciguatera (which is perhaps a localized and seasonal occurrence) have been reported in the island. The USVI effort on the understanding of the environmental factors that may precipitate ciguatera are important indeed. However, the association between lionfish and ciguatera is only based on the possibility of the occurrence and a handful of fish sampled, but there is no information on ciguatera intoxication by consumption. We all must be wary, but also assertive on the possibilities of lionfish as a food source.

Contributed by: J. Seda and M. Valdes-Pizzini

Want to read more about lionfish in the Caribbean? Access these resources from our publications database:

Lionfish Tissue Repository (LTR) (Website)

Maljkovic, A., T. E. Van Leeuwen, and S. N. Cove. “Predation on the invasive red lionfish, Pterois volitans (Pisces: Scorpaenidae), by native groupers in the Bahamas.” Coral Reefs 27.3 (2008): 501.

Schofield, P. J. “Geographic extent and chronology of the invasion of non-native lionfish (Pterois volitans [Linnaeus 1758] and P. miles [Bennett 1828]) in the Western North Atlantic and Caribbean Sea.” Aquatic Invasions 4.3 (2009): 1–23.

The Lionfish Invasion (Website)

Schofield, P. J. “Update on geographic spread of invasive lionfishes (Pterois volitans [Linnaeus, 1758] and P. miles [Bennett, 1828]) in the Western North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.” Aquatic Invasions 5.Supplement 1 (2010): S117–S122.

Caribbean Invasion. 2009. J Slayer. (Film)

Johnston, M W. and S J. Purkis. “Spatial analysis of the invasion of lionfish in the western Atlantic and Caribbean.” Marine Pollution Bulletin Article in press (2011).

Mumby, P J., A R. Harborne, and D R. Brumbaugh. “Grouper as a natural biocontrol of invasive lionfish.” PLoS One 6.6 (2011): e21510.

International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) Advisory on the Lionfish Invasion in the Wider Caribbean (Website)

Video – How to filet a Caribbean Lionfish (Ocean Foundation)

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Helpful Search Tips for the Best Results from our Database

The Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Publication Database consists of reliable sources of information found in peer-reviewed scientific journals, books, websites, thesis/dissertations, and government documentation associated with marine/coastal management and conservation in the Caribbean region from 1998 to the present. Over 50% of the resources found in the database are freely available online.

However, it is NOT a comprehensive database of all of the marine studies performed in the Caribbean. The purpose of this database is to serve as a reliable portal of information for studies that focus on managing and conserving our natural marine and coastal resources in the Caribbean, including international countries.

There are presently 15 categories (subjects): Biogeochemical studies; Climate change; Coasts; Communities/Populations; Conservation; Contamination/Pollution; Coral reefs; Fisheries; Management/Policy; Mangroves; Marine ecology; Marine protected areas/Reserves; Ocean circulation; Sediments; General

Here, we include some helpful search tips to get the best results from our publication database:

  • Please do not use terms such as “marine” and “Caribbean” for your keywords. The publication database is dedicated to marine and coastal studies in the Caribbean. Therefore, unless these words actually appear in the title or abstract of your article or resource, using them in your search will greatly reduce your final results.

For example, if you search for “Mangroves Caribbean”, you’ll get 18 resources.

But if you eliminate “Caribbean” and search for “Mangroves”, you’ll get 36 resources! That’s twice the number of resources!

  • We recommend that you use English terms. Although several of our resources may have some Spanish translations or versions, most of the resources listed are in English.
  • Search by the author’s last name. Some references are easily found by the name of the author(s) of the report or article you are searching for.
  • Search by using ONE keyword or “root” word that summarizes the main topic or subject of your inquiry. For example, when searching for a certain type of coral species and you have trouble finding it, try searching using “coral” for a broader range of results. If you’re using a keyword that is very specific, you may be limiting the number of resources that may be associated with your main topic.
  • Use Advanced Search to narrow down search hits and customize your search based on your interests. With this option, you can select from a list of options (e.g., keywords, resource type, creator, etc.) along with your keyword.
  • Use our “Select” option from our Resource Menu if you’re still having limited results. This search option gives you a list (from different types of fields) of all of our resources to choose from.
  • If all else fails, send us an e-mail with the information that you’re searching for and we’ll try to help. Our quick tutorial on how to use the publication database can also be very helpful. You can access this tutorial at any time from the CLME database Homepage.

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Cooperative science research network needed! – AMLC

The Association of Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean (AMLC) celebrated its 35th Scientific Meeting in the Universidad de Costa Rica at San José, Costa Rica on May 23-27, 2011. With more than 30 institutions involved in marine research, education and resource management, the AMLC aims to encourage the production and exchange of information between researchers and resource managers, increase marine and environmental awareness and promote assistance and collaborative efforts among its members. Representatives from several universities, governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations participated in the conference.

Dr. Kurt Grove, CRA team member, carried out a scoping session with about 35 participants of the annual meeting in regard to what efforts (research/information) are currently needed to better management and conservation strategies in the Caribbean. In general, the group suggested that a cooperative science research network is urgently needed to disseminate important data that is critical for making decisions in management and that transbounds all sectors (private and public) and political interests (national and international). They emphasized that the transfer of knowledge should be a transdisciplinary and transboundary endeavor made by researchers, resource managers and governance at all levels in order to integrate the efforts of all sectors into conserving our local resources. Most participants voiced their need for more vertical and horizontal communications between research laboratories and agencies/organizations, which should also help to influence policy makers when making decisions that affect local communities. Efforts to convey the results of scientific research to resource managers in layman’s terms so that it is understandable and applicable to management was also considered a main concern. One of the most frequent obstacles mentioned by the group was the lack of participation or representation from important organizations/agencies that could make an impact on science policy. An interesting comment that had not been made in previous discussion sessions is the need for resource managers to use locally-obtained data (which may not be available or doesn’t exist), not necessarily regional, and that can be applied to their area. An area of research that was emphasized as a need was the inventory and population status of important coastal species (e.g., land crab Cardisoma).

AMLC members expressed their interest in continuing efforts to exchange research information and data among the marine laboratories in regard to management and conservation of marine resources. A proposal was made to continue discussing topics that involve questions that are relevant for governance and for local or regional issues.

To address the concern about finding information/data pertinent to marine and coastal studies in the Caribbean by way of a web portal, the UPR-SG currently provides a publication database with more than 700 resources (and growing!) that includes reports, thesis, documents, peer-reviewed articles and websites, regarding management and conservation in the Caribbean. We have over 10 different subjects (categories such as climate change, coral reefs, mangroves, sediments, etc.) for you to review!

AMLC holds its Scientific Meetings every other year, of which peer-reviewed Proceedings are published as Supplemental Editions of the International Journal for Tropical Biology (Revista de Biología Tropical) and publish newsletters (in English and Spanish) twice per year. For more information on AMLC’s contributions to the community of marine researchers and resource managers, please visit their website here!

Contributed by: K. Grove (Thanks to those that helped take notes of the session!)

Edited by: J. Seda

Posted in: Sessions

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