Please select your home edition
Nebo 728x90 3

Science Center’s top five stories of 2017

by NOAA Fisheries 5 Jan 10:26 UTC
A Cuvier's beaked whale with the R/V Hugh Sharp in the distance © NOAA Fisheries / Danielle Cholewiak, NEFSC

Think of this as the Science Center “unplugged” or “the story behind the story.” We recently sat down with science writer Shelley Dawicki to find out what her top five favorite feature stories and science spotlights were in 2017. We asked her why they were her favorite and what she learned along the way. In the end, Dawicki said it’s, “Hard to pick just a few favorites as I liked all of them!”

Milford's Green Rooms: Growing Microalgae for Shellfish Aquaculture

I think of this unique facility as raising the algal version of laboratory mice. It has been serving a wide community of researchers, not only at our Center but at academic research organizations and in the shellfish industry worldwide, for more than half a century by providing a very basic ingredient for shellfish survival and growth: the right food. The demands for pure and controlled culture conditions are essential for the scientific integrity of experiments, ranging from biochemical analyses to shellfish nutrition and disease studies. The facility’s impact is enormous, yet few in the general public know about it and the dedicated staff who keep it going.

Drifters May Help Improve Regional Harmful Algal Bloom Forecasts in Gulf of Maine

The drifter project is a great example of citizen science. Students of all ages get involved, building the surface drifters from very simple materials. Other members of the public volunteer to launch them. In the process the students learn about ocean currents and various sciences and can track the drifter as it moves around the ocean. In this article the drifters help test a scientific hypothesis about the leaky gyre in the Bay of Fundy and the impact it may have on harmful algal blooms that affect shellfish and the commercial shellfish industry in Maine. These student-built drifters may help improve regional bloom forecasts in the future, showing the impact a simple device and citizen scientists can have given the opportunity. It’s a win-win situation - the scientists get needed data and the students get an opportunity to participate in a fun, educational yet meaningful project.

From Beaches to the Bottom of the Sea, Microplastics are Everywhere

This article focused on an important issue in society - plastic pollution - and how it can impact marine species. It also showcased some of the expertise at our Center's Sandy Hook Laboratory, where chemists are using sophisticated instruments to study a variety of issues, from ocean acidification and its impacts on fish and shellfish to mercury and other industrial contaminants in fish. I hope this article helped broaden the public’s view of the range and diversity of research projects conducted by the Center’s various facilities.

Following the Fish: Where New England's Catch Goes and Why it Matters

Most of us don't know where the fish caught at sea ends up besides the local fish market. The journey can be short or thousands of miles long, depending on the species. Learning what happens to various species, and how they are used in different parts of the world, was interesting to me as a seafood consumer. This project is an example of how social sciences contribute to our understanding of the commercial fishing industry and its social and economic impacts.

Beaked Whale Cruise a Success Despite a Hurricane

Planning a research cruise is just one part of a long process, one that requires patience, persistence, the ability to adapt, and sometimes just plain luck. What if you have only one chance to do your study, and you are not sure you will even find what you are looking for? This feature highlights some of the challenges of conducting research at sea, how technology is helping us learn about some of the more elusive marine mammals, and the importance of teamwork. I've written a number of stories about marine mammal research, but this one showed a bit more about the realities and human side to the effort.

Related Articles

Final rule to modify Gulf of Mexico mutton snapper
NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule modifying commercial and recreational mutton snapper NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule modifying commercial and recreational mutton snapper and commercial gag management measures in the Gulf of Mexico. Posted on 30 Jun
Pinpointing marine ‘Hotspots of Risk'
Real-time tracking of eddies and currents could help fishermen avoid protected species Increased computing power has given fisheries researchers new tools to identify "hotspots of risk," where ocean fronts and eddies bring together masses of fish, fishermen and predators, raising the risk of entangling non-target fish Posted on 29 Jun
Saildrone begin test to improve West Coast surveys
The two Saildrones will first head to the northern end of Vancouver Island The two Saildrones will first head to the northern end of Vancouver Island and will then turn south, following a series of transects along the Coast south to San Francisco. Posted on 29 Jun
Final rule to increase spiny lobster catch levels
NOAA Fisheries announces Regulatory Amendment 4 NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule for Regulatory Amendment 4 to the Fishery Management Plan for Spiny Lobster in the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic (Regulatory Amendment 4). Posted on 29 Jun
Enjoy fishing, responsibly!
Tips to avoid contributing to marine debris when enjoying this summer hobby. Hopefully, you've had a chance to enjoy the warm weather by spending some time outdoors with your family and friends. Perhaps you're planning on spending these last dog days partaking in one of summer's most popular activities—fishing. Posted on 28 Jun
Clues at fish auction reveal new species of Opah
Fish buyer Garrett Kitazaki noticed something curious about the opah changing hands Karen Underkoffler and Megan Luers, then contractors for NOAA Fisheries, followed up by measuring and taking tissue samples from the circular fish that are becoming an increasingly popular dish in restaurants. Posted on 22 Jun
Oyster Reef Alternative Substrate Literature
Would you prefer porcelain or concrete? Limestone or sandstone? Or good old-fashioned oyster shells? If you were an oyster, would you prefer porcelain or concrete? Limestone or sandstone? Or good old-fashioned oyster shells? Posted on 21 Jun
Wet a line at National Fishing and Boating Week
There is nothing better than being out on the water with friends and family This week kicks off National Fishing and Boating Week which, for me personally, is a great week to celebrate. I love saltwater fishing, especially in my home state of Texas as well as my other home state of Alaska. Posted on 7 Jun
Searching for Sawfish
Tagging smalltooth sawfish in Florida NOAA Fisheries scientists were in the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge and Everglades National Park (Florida) conducting a monthly smalltooth sawfish field expedition. Posted on 7 Jun
Share the shore with seals
It's harbor seal pupping season off the coasts of Maine It's harbor seal pupping season off the coasts of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. During pupping season, it's quite common to see a seal pup resting on the beach alone. Posted on 31 May
Hydrive 660x82 1Nebo 660x82 2