• Title A-Z
  • Author A-Z
  • Date
  • Developing a Living Shorelines GIS Database for South Florida

    Williams, Aneese View Abstract

    The Living Shorelines GIS Database for South Florida incorporates 2,767 digitized dune features and 62 shore protection projects. The spatial extent of the database encompasses Palm Beach County, Broward County, and the Miami-Dade County shoreline up to Key Biscayne. The database is a tool to study and promote shoreline resilience along the Southeast coastline. The Living Shorelines GIS Database for South Florida was intended to serve as a pilot study to support development of a spatially-explicit decision support tool for shoreline management that can enhance coastal resilience and sustainability. Vegetated shorelines or a combination of plant communities and shoreline stabilization projects can attenuate wave action, dissipate wave energy, and mitigate erosional forces. The successful implementation of such projects is particularly important in the context of sea level rise which will most likely amplify the shoreline management challenges faced by residents, planners, coastal managers, and decision makers. The database and this report reflect my understanding of the importance of dune vegetation and shore protection projects designed to improve our response to coastal hazards and protect economic and cultural resources.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Broward County Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division

    MPS Track:
    FMC

    Keywords:
    Shoreline resilience | sustainability | sea level rise
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  • A Study of Consumptive and Non-Consumptive Methods of Sea Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica

    Pollom, Jennifer View Abstract

    The decline in populations of sea turtles world-wide has led to controversy between two strategies for their sustainable use and management, especially within Costa Rica: consumptive use versus non-consumptive use. This study investigates management techniques within two communities in Costa Rica, including consumptive and non-consumptive uses, to determine best practices and the likelihood of long-term conservation success within each community. Face-to-face interviews were conducted in two communities (Pacuare and Ostional) during June-September, 2015. The research found that in each community differing practices accomplished the goals of moving away from exclusionary policies for conservation, promoting sustainable use, promoting community-based conservation, and employing conservation agents. Given the differing areas, it appears that no single strategy is appropriate for diverse nesting habitats and species, however accomplishing all four goals is necessary for long-term conservation success.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Latin American Sea Turtles

    MPS Track:
    CZM

    Keywords:
    sea turtles | management | conservation
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  • Signature whistle similarity among related and unrelated Tursiops truncatus

    Jones, Michelle View Abstract

    The signature whistles of 10 Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in a managed care population were compared by untrained human observers to judge their similarity. The signature whistles from two distinct family units, each with two parents and three offspring, were extracted and pairwise comparisons were made among all individuals in the study. Related individuals had more similar signature whistles than unrelated individuals. Exposure had a grater impact on signature whistle similarity than relationship. Offspring signature whistle contours were found to be more similar to their mother’s signature whistle contour than their father’s signature whistle contour. Offspring reared without their father in their first year of life had a higher mean rank score than offspring that were reared with their father. Female offspring had more similar signature whistles to their mother’s signature whistle than male offspring. Relatedness was shown to be a strong predictor in signature whistle similarity, especially among siblings. For the entire population this was shown to be true, with offspring raised with their siblings showing a higher mean similarity score than offspring not raised with their siblings. This proposes a new signature system in place for kin recognition utilizing audition and signature whistles in bottlenose dolphins and suggests there may be a genetic as well as learned component to calf signature whistle development.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Dolphin Plus

    MPS Track:
    MMS

    Keywords:
    Dolphins | whistle | relatedness
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  • An Applied Approach to Macroscopic Gonadal Assessment in Invasive Pterois volitans and its Application in Citizen Science and Data Collection at Biscayne National Park

    Davenport, Megan View Abstract

    The study of reproductive traits of fishes can contribute to estimates of population size and to predictions of population growth or decline (Lowerre-Barbieri et al. 2011). While often applicable to the management and assessment of fisheries stocks, understanding a species’ reproductive traits can also be useful in the management of invasive, pest, or overpopulated species. Determination of sex and reproductive phase are primary steps in assessing population demographic parameters, and macroscopic techniques allow for low cost data collection. This study incorporates aspects of applied fish reproductive biology (Kjesbu 2009) with the development of an applied tool for data collection, and contributes to the population assessment and management of invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles) in Biscayne National Park, FL.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Latin American Sea Turtles

    MPS Track:
    CZM

    Keywords:
    Lionfish, reproduction, population
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  • The Development of a Coordinated Response Plan for Cetacean Mass Strandings

    Winters, Julia View Abstract

    Cetacean mass stranding events are generally complicated and challenging to manage, with limits imposed on first responders by limited personnel, the need for specialized equipment, logistical difficulties (e.g., transport and coordination), and financial strain. To address some of these issues, a Mass Stranding Response Manual was created for the Stranding Team of Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA). The content of this manual includes basic guidelines and protocols for CMA staff, interns, and volunteers, accompanied by the following: a detailed contact list for resources and equipment available within CMA’s stranding coverage area, a general support kit equipment checklist, various forms associated with streamlining the organization of CMA personnel on-site, and a quick-reference health assessment sheet for stranded cetaceans. In addition, Stranding Team volunteers were educated and trained regarding the basics of mass strandings and their potential responsibilities during a response. The goal of the manual, training, education, and additional components of this project was to ensure that CMA’s Stranding Team is thoroughly prepared for and adequately trained to respond to a mass stranding of cetaceans at any given time. Increased safety, preparedness, and efficiency will ideally lead to a better overall outcome for each mass stranding response, including improved animal care and maximized data collection. The Mass Stranding Response Manual can be adapted for use at other stranding facilities with different resources and needs.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Clearwater Marine Aquarium

    MPS Track:
    MMS

    Keywords:
    strandings | training | response
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  • Aquatic Invasive Plant Species: Risk Assessments in the State of Michigan

    Weibert, Cecilia View Abstract

    This project analyzed the risk of nine freshwater aquatic plant species to freshwater ecosystems. These nine plants comprise the list of prohibited aquatic plant species in the state of Michigan. The analysis utilized the USDA-APHIS-PPQ Weed Risk Assessment protocol. All of the species assessed resulted in a risk rating of high risk.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MES

    Location:
    Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

    MPS Track:
    CZM

    Keywords:
    aquatic plants | freshwater ecosystems | Weed Risk Assessement protocol
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  • Ocean heat content variability analysis in the Brazil Current recirculation gyre,

    Webber, Vinnicius View Abstract

    The primary goal of the proposed internship will be to understand the interannual variability of the western boundary current in the subtropical South Atlantic Ocean (Brazil Current) observing the ocean heat content and mixed layer depth in this region, and its relations to the recirculation gyre. A complementary focus will be to determine through temporal series analysis of extreme events or relevant anomalies in the western South Atlantic region. To accomplish this goal, we will use a synthesis of in-situ and satellite (e.g., altimeter) oceanographic data. The collection of data from the AX97 XBT transect that crosses the South Atlantic Ocean at the 22°S, and is carried out in partnership between NOAA/AOML and FURG/Brazil, will be an important resource for the study. Another goal expected with this internship will be to learn how to work with a large amount of oceanographic data, and how to use a software to process and visualize this data. This will be very important for foster my future career. Information obtained with this research will provide a better understanding for the Brazil Current variability and therefore a better climate predictability for the region. In addition, this work will contribute to the multi-institutional collaboration between NOAA/AOML, University of Miami/RSMAS, and the Brazilian universities FURG and UFRJ. Information obtained with this research will provide a better understanding for the Brazil Current variability and therefore a better climate predictability for the region. In addition, this work will contribute to the multi-institutional collaboration between NOAA/AOML, University of Miami/RSMAS, and the Brazilian universities FURG and UFRJ.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MPO

    Location:
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Atlantic Oceanographic and Meterological Laboratory

    MPS Track:
    WCS

    Keywords:
    Currents | gyre | altimeter
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  • An analysis of Florida’s long-term sea turtle stranding dataset from 1980-2013

    Van Doornik, Tina View Abstract

    All seven extant species of sea turtle are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). These populations are impacted by boating and fishery interactions, habitat destruction, pollution, direct takes and global climate change. On average, sea turtle strandings increase by 46.7 events annually; more than 36,000 strandings occurred from 1980-2013 in Florida. There are significantly (p<0.05) more strandings per mile on the eastern (NE, E, SE) coast of Florida than in other coastal zones (NW, W, SW, S). Stranding densities are significantly (p<0.05) correlated to strength of the Florida Current and size of the sea turtle, leading to increased densities in areas on the east coast, near the Gulf Stream. Many of these strandings are due to boat strikes (20%), cutaneous fibropapillomatosis (7%), fishery gear interactions (6%) or ingestion of anthropogenic marine debris (0.3%). Human activities have caused losses in sea turtle populations that were at one point abundant and thriving. Conservation management strategies are needed in areas of high stranding densities along the coast of Florida.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Biscayne National Park

    MPS Track:
    TME

    Keywords:
    sea turtle | standings | conservation
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  • Expanding Lionfish Outreach and Interpretation in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties: Informing Key Stakeholders on the Significance of the Invasion and Importance of their Eradication

    Tricarico, Dana View Abstract

    Background: A variety of outreach approaches were utilized in order to spread awareness to both visitors to and residents of Miami-Dade counties about the problematic invasion of the Indo-Pacific lionfish to the Tropical Western Atlantic Ocean, more specifically in Biscayne National Park. This project was created due to the fact that this invasive species is growing into one of the world’s top conservation issues, and one, which needs to be shared to those who could help in the management of them. Biscayne National Park is unique in that it can utilize both its resource management division, which conducts research and management of wildlife, and its interpretation division, which shares information with park visitors and members of the local public. Methods: Three activities were organized in order to spread more awareness about the local lionfish invasion. A personal comparison was made following the termination of each of these activities in order to determine outreach success. Activity 1 focused on face-to-face interactions with groups of local stakeholders within the diving community in Miami-Dade, in addition to family groups. By leveraging an existing organization’s missions, tourists to Monroe county were heavily targeted to spread lionfish awareness. Activity 2 focused on the media portion of outreach using film, for purposes of creating a video for the park’s Visitor Center as well as an episode for broadcast television. Additionally, activity 3 focused on the benefits associated social media as a conservation news outlet. Results: While social media reached the largest amount of people, reaching over 1,000 people depending on the post, the most engaging of the three activities was face-to-face interactions using presentations and booth setups at various events throughout South Florida. This project saw that 598 were spoken to in an engaging way, which allowed for questions and interactive learning. Media outreach, while harder to determine the quantifiable reach to stakeholders, inspired more action and conversation through the impactful films and footage. Conclusion: Results from this project should help to inspire others to focus on all forms of outreach to convey the importance of conservation issues and how the public can help with them. Further research should be done to discover the far-reaching implications with each of these outreach forms in greater detail.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Biscayne National Park Resource Management Department

    MPS Track:
    MCO

    Keywords:
    Outreach | lionfish | invasive species
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  • Assessment of Effects of Climate Change on Fisheries Vulnerability Worldwide (Case study: Increasing Adaptive Capacity in Grenada)

    Sundaram, Rumya View Abstract

    Climate change is causing large-scale alterations in the world’s oceans that are disproportionately affecting communities located in coastal areas or island nations. Ocean acidification, sea level rise, and other major climatic events have gradual but long-term effects on these communities and the ecosystems on which they rely. More specifically, many coastal and island communities rely heavily on fisheries as a source of income and protein intake. As oceans warm and ecosystems change, many fish species are migrating farther towards the poles, or changing their breeding habits, or experiencing other physiological changes, making fishing in areas closer to the tropics more difficult. Assessing the vulnerability of a country’s fishery in relation to climate change can be done by investigating indicators of risk exposure, sensivity, and the adaptive capacity of both the fishery and the communities or countries reliant on the fishery. A country’s membership to regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) could be an indicator of adaptive capacity, since the primary functions of RFMOs tend to coincide with many of the goals of adaptation plans (e.g. sustainability of resources, ability to cope with change, etc.). RFMOs are created to aid in keeping fisheries sustainable for all interested parties. They manage the gear used, the quota of fish catch, the seasons for fishing certain species, and many other important facets of a fishery. This report investigates the possibility of including RFMO membership of a country as a specific indicator of adaptive capacity, which in turn is used to measure the vulnerability of that country in relation to climate change.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MBE

    Location:
    The Nature Conservancy

    MPS Track:
    FMC

    Keywords:
    Climate | Fisheries | regional fisheries management organizations (RFMO)
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  • Temporal and Spatial Distribution of Marine Megafauna in Southwest Ireland

    Roberts, Jennifer View Abstract

    Ireland is scientifically recognized as one of the top sightings locations for marine mammals in Europe. There are 24 species recorded to utilize these waters throughout some portion of their life cycle, with eight of these species commonly seen seasonally throughout the southwest waters of Ireland. LH Marine Sea Synergy is a marine awareness and activities center driven with the desire to educate the local and visiting public on the importance of marine conservation, while also participating in research to determine the marine megafauna abundance in local waters. The ultimate goal of Sea Synergy is to create and establish a marine ecotour for the southwest region, to connect people with the sea and the marine life that inhabits it, in hopes of inspiring the public to conserve the waters they call home. Through boat surveys, questionnaires and educational workshops and lectures, baseline data were obtained and a template created to further this research in the future. The 2015 season was the platform, which in the future, can potentially be presented to local supporters to create the ultimate desire of establishing a sustainable marine ecotour in southwest Ireland.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    LH Marine Sea Synergy

    MPS Track:
    MCO

    Keywords:
    conservation | ecotourism | education
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  • Marine Aquarium Fish Aquaculture at the New England Aquarium

    Quist, Marissa View Abstract

    Marine aquarium fish aquaculture is a growing area of research due to negative connotations which are associated with collecting specimens off of natural reef systems in the oceans. Scientists throughout the world have been working for years to develop ways to raise marine aquarium fish from egg to adult in captivity. Many species have been successfully cultured and have even replaced wild-caught specimens in the aquarium trade. This project focused on starting a larval rearing system in the Tropical Gallery at the New England Aquarium and on developing the basis for the elaboration of a standard operating protocol (SOP) to use as a guide for raising marine fish eggs and larvae which may be collected out of the systems. Our attempts at rearing specimens collected from the Pacific Reef Community tank were unsuccessful but we were able to determine some of the problems which may have led to their demise. In the end, a SOP, with both proven protocols and recommended protocols, was created which can be used to assist aquarists throughout the aquarium and provide access to some basic information required to raise marine fish species, including broodstock care, egg collection and examination, early developmental stages of fish, developmental biology, reproduction, larval rearing, and live feeds.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    New England Aquarium

    MPS Track:
    AQU

    Keywords:
    aquaculture | captivity | aquarium
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  • Use of moist diets for Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) when transitioning from fresh to sea water

    Owen, Stephen View Abstract

    A study was designed to test the efficiency of a novel moist diet (49% moisture) against a conventional dry diet (3% moisture) during the period when Atlantic salmon transition to seawater. Four experimental diets were produced. A moist diet was produced using fish meal as well as a moist diet containing 50% inclusion of poultry meal and 50% fish meal. Two dry diets were produced using the same formulations. It was hypothesized that the moist diet would alleviate stress due to osmoregulatory pressures experienced by the smolts introduction to seawater and increase palatability and feed consumption, thereby increasing survival. Four experimental groups consisting of four replicates of 40 smolts each were fed to satiation using the four experimental diets twice daily for 109 days. After trial period one (day 0 – day 72), all moist feed groups were switched to the corresponding dry diet (trial period 2; day 73 – day 109). The fish were bulk weighed periodically to obtain average weights and to determine survival. At the conclusion of the study survival and FCR were not significantly different and average weights of the moist feed groups were smaller than the dry feed groups. There were no differences between diets containing poultry meal and diets used containing full fish meal. During trial period one, dry feed groups showed higher dry matter intake while energy efficiency in the moist feed groups was trending towards being significantly higher. Shelf life of the moist feed was also examined and it was determined that vacuum packing shows great promise in increasing the shelf-life of the moist feed. This study has opened new questions that can be used to guide further research in the use of moist feeds during the seawater transition phase in Atlantic salmon smolts.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    USDA Agricultural Research Service The National Cold Water Marine Aquaculture Center Franklin, ME

    MPS Track:
    AQU

    Keywords:
    aquaculture | salmon | diet
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  • Planning and Execution of Port Lafito Bathymetric Survey Expedition

    Neumuller, Kyle View Abstract

    he objective of this report is to detail the work completed by Kyle Neumuller, in his internship with Land and Sea Surveying Concepts, Inc. from May 11, 2015 thru November 25, 2015. Specifically, the work done on the planning and execution of a bathymetric survey of Port Lafito in Lafiteau, Haiti for Land and Sea’s client Gilbert Bigio Group to determine the progress on the current dredging project taking place at the port. Gilbert Bigio Group, a U.S. based company, is a “diversified group of industrial and trading companies” that is providing its resources, capabilities, and experience to attract international investors to Haiti, a country where infrastructure is lacking (Gilbert Bigio Group, 2014). The expedition took place from July 28, 2015 thru August 1, 2015. This report will include the planning of the expedition beginning with the proposal for the work, the funding of the job, and the transportation to Lafiteau, Haiti from Merritt Island, Florida. The report will discuss the objective of the job; the equipment and tools needed to complete the job; and how the equipment and tools were transported to, or obtained in Haiti. An overview of Land and Sea Surveying Concepts, Inc.’s surveying capabilities will also be discussed. The expedition will then be examined to determine what went well and what could be improved upon for future expeditions with a similar objective. A single-beam sonar system was used to complete the bathymetric survey. A return expedition that occurred from November 22, 2015 thru November 24, 2015 will also be discussed to compare what was learned from the planning and execution of the first expedition.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Land and Sea Surveying Concepts, Inc

    MPS Track:
    ECS

    Keywords:
    Bathymetry | survey, Haiti
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  • Marine Mammal Education in Aquariums: Developing a Life History Model for Use at Shedd Aquarium

    Matusich, Audrey View Abstract

    My primary goal of this project was to create an interactive model that engages and educates visitors on the life history of Shedd Aquarium’s resident marine mammals and the importance of coastal and ocean conservation. I created an Species Bibliography featuring the marine mammals living at Shedd Aquarium. The bibliography provides updated information, using peer-reviewed literature, about an array of marine mammal topics, ranging from dive behavior to conservation efforts. The second component of my project involved the development of an inteactive model that emulated the IPad applications present throughout Shedd Aquarium, excluding the Oceanarium where the marine mammals reside. This model educates visitors about marine mammal life history and conservation, with the goal of fostering passion for our oceans and wildlife and the desire to be a part of conservation efforts.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    John G. Shedd Aquarium

    MPS Track:
    MMS

    Keywords:
    education | conservation | bibliography
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  • Recolonization rates of invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans [Linneaus 1758] and P. miles [Bennett 1828]) on natural and artificial reefs: Implications for migration and management

    Hoffman, Michael View Abstract

    Invasive lionfish have invaded the vast majority of the Atlantic and Caribbean Oceans, resulting in profound negative effects on native marine species and ecosystems via interspecific competition, direct predation, and trophic cascades. While complete eradication of these ravenous predators is now widely considered an impossible feat, controlling lionfish populations in sensitive and ecologically important areas may help to mitigate the pressure on native species in certain ranges. This study evaluated the recolonization rates of lionfish after removals were performed at seven natural and four artificial reefs throughout Biscayne National Park. The number of fish observed and removed from each study site was recorded to determine if significant differences existed in the recolonization of lionfish at varying depths and habitat types. Additionally, the size of each lionfish removed from each study site was recorded to ascertain whether the size of invasive lionfish changed significantly due to the repeated removals throughout the study. Overall, 212 lionfish were removed with a mean size of 29.46±7.21cm, and a removal success rate of 86.15%. A slight significant increase in the size of the lionfish collected throughout the course of the study was found coinciding with trends of increasing lionfish sizes since the beginning of the invasion of Biscayne National Park. Furthermore, a trend of increasing lionfish size with depth was discovered. No significant patterns in the recolonization rates of lionfish could be determined on artificial reef study sites, likely due to interference from public divers and spear-fishermen. However, an increase in lionfish recolonization on natural reef sites corresponded with increasing depth. Differences in the recolonization of lionfish and their respective sizes were also compared on a seasonal basis, between fall (July 16th 2014 – the last date a site each site was visited in November 2014), and winter (the last date each site was visited in November 2014 – April 30th 2015) seasons. No significant seasonal differences in the size or recolonization rates of invasive lionfish were found. These findings were used to form recommendations on the most effective weekly schedule of removals needed to prevent more than three invasive lionfish from inhabiting these areas.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Biscayne National Park

    MPS Track:
    TME

    Keywords:
    Lionfish | Invasive Species | Recolonization
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  • A General Approach to Estimate the Number of Sea Turtle Interactions with Pelagic Longline Gear in the ICCAT Convention Area

    Gray, Katherine View Abstract

    A potential approach for the estimation of the number of interactions of longline fleets operating in the ICCAT convention area with sea turtles is presented. Information on the area of operation of 19 longline fleets fishing in the Atlantic in 2009 was obtained from the ICCAT EFFDIS database. From a literature review, sea turtle bycatch rates were identified for 6 fleets. Bycatch rates were assigned to the 13 fleets without sea turtle bycatch rates based on their temporal and spatial overlap with fleets with known bycatch rates. Total number of sea turtle interactions were estimated using the assigned sea turtle bycatch rates to each fleet as well as the total number of hooks deployed by the fleets. Catch per unit effort values from ICCAT longline fleets were then compared to other gear types in the Atlantic to determine the relative impacts of longlining on sea turtles. Bycatch is a significant threat to many marine species, including sea turtles. For mitigation measures to be adopted and successfully implemented, the negative effect of fisheries on sea turtle populations needs to be determined and quantified. Further advancing this work will require updating the current ICCAT EFFDIS database so it can be used as source of effort (number of hooks) information.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    NOAA

    MPS Track:
    MCO

    Keywords:
    sea turtle | longlines | International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)
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  • Experimental shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) production using clear water and biofloc systems.

    Drury, Thomas View Abstract

    This internship project focused on the culture of pacific white shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei, specifically shrimp performance within two types of production systems: clear water RAS (CW) and biofloc technology (BFT). These two approaches were examined due to their congruent characteristics enabling the production of high densities of shrimp within biologically secure and minimal-exchange systems. The clear water RAS system is defined as a method in which water is cycled through multiple filter types, and then is returned and reused in the system. In contrast, the biofloc system employs the use of a dense microbial community within the system to maintain water quality. The biofloc particles contain an array of nitrogen assimilating organisms that may inhibit or subdue the production of pathogens, supplement shrimp nutrition, and control water quality by cycling nutrients. The study used six 360-gallon fiberglass tanks within a climate controlled greenhouse There were three replicate tanks of each of the two different system types. Shrimp performance was interpreted by calculating growth and FCR. Water quality parameters were measured weekly to help compare the performance of the two system types. The study also analyzed stable isotope levels from the shrimp, biofloc, and prepared feeds. These samples allowed us to compare the unique nutritional contributions from the feeds and the biofloc particles. Currently, the study has found that the growth values were higher in the clear water systems. The isotope samples are currently being analyzed, but will provide great insight towards the nutritional value of biofloc in comparison to the prepared feeds.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Kentucky State University’s Aquaculture Research Center

    MPS Track:
    AQU

    Keywords:
    Shrimp | aquaculture
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  • Outreach in the Classroom: Using ESRI’s mapping tools in a curricular design to aid Miami-Dade County middle school students in understanding and communicating local sea level rise

    Le, Laura View Abstract

    In the context of studying sea level rise in Miami-Dade County and Biscayne Bay, classroom use of geospatial technologies can teach middle school students about environmental issues by providing tangible examples in their local environments. This project aims to improve the students’ understanding of how these environmental issues are relevant to their lives. To accomplish this, I created a 2 week-curriculum unit that incorporates ESRI’s Geographic Information System (GIS) software, ArcGIS Online SM and Story Map SM. These geospatial, web-based tools allow students to see and make geographic connections between impacts of sea level rise and the integrity of freshwater resources. The end product, a Story Map-based presentation, conveys what the students have learned by combining simple data and mapping technologies with storytelling elements, such as narrative text and digital media. With assistance from educators and using “Backward Design” principles, the curriculum was aligned with appropriate school standards and included elements of scaffolding to support students’ diverse learning abilities. Through these curricular activities, students tell an interactive “story” of how their way of life is connected to environmental issues. This curriculum unit maximizes classroom learning and promotes environmental stewardship among middle school students. Ultimately, the goal of this science outreach is to build capacity, foster mutual trust, and facilitate the students’ understanding of a focused topic.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Miami Waterkeeper

    MPS Track:
    MCO

    Keywords:
    Sea Level Rise | GIS | Biscayne Bay
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  • Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean: A Comparative Analysis of Policy Instruments and Implementation Methods for Reduction in Single- Use Plastic Bag Consumption

    Larash, Cosette View Abstract

    Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean is recognized as one of the best diving places in the world because it has one of the healthiest and most resilient coral reef systems in the Caribbean. However, single-use plastic bags (SUPBs) threaten the island’s marine life, society, and tourism, which is the economy’s main source of income. To determine the best strategy on how to reduce SUPB consumption on Bonaire, this study completed a comparative analysis of policy instruments and implementation strategies of three regions that currently ban. The analysis revealed that gradually changing attitudes and behaviors towards SUPB consumption using a combination of top-down and bottom-up strategies is the best approach to decrease usage. Providing information, stimulating education, and putting laws into place is the way Bonaire’s local government in collaboration with environmental organizations will move Bonaire forward in reducing SUPB consumption, keeping Bonaire’s reef systems healthy and its economy thriving.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire and Boneiru Duradero

    MPS Track:
    MCO

    Keywords:
    Plastic | consumption | policy
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  • Historical Changes in Abundance of Acropora Corals in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Between 2005 and 2015

    Kerr, Katryna View Abstract

    Coral reefs have become exposed to an increasing number of stressors. Temperature extremes, increased ocean acidification and human impacts such as ship groundings have become almost common. These stressors have had a significant impact on coral abundance and caused increasing coral reef decline. Since 2005, Acropora corals located in U.S. waters have received improved monitoring attention due to the listing of Acropora cervicornis and Acropora palmata as “threatened” under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. These corals are vital to the framework structure of reefs and instrumental to shoreline protection. In 2014, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to help assess the current status of Acropora corals and devise actions to foster species recovery, drafted a recovery plan. One such action is to compare current Acropora coral populations and distribution to that of past surveys to evaluate historical trends in the Florida Keys. Reefs of the Florida Reef Tract have been exposed to two high-temperature anomalies in 2005 and 2014, one cold-water anomaly in 2010, as well as increased human impacts. In this study, twelve reefs located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary were chosen as study sites based on available historical Acropora data. Each reef was surveyed to document the present abundance and condition of Acropora colonies. These survey data were incorporated and then converted into maps using ArcGIS software. These maps provide insight into the current and historical state of the reefs with respect to Acropora abundance as well as an increased understanding of how reefs and coral populations respond to multiple stressors. The results of this analysis showed that the reefs have experienced either positive or negative change over the years with respect to Acropora abundance and spatial distribution on the reef itself. A second aspect of this project was to assess the impact of active Acropora restoration efforts on Acropora abundance. Active propagation and restoration of Acropora have become extremely popular to help recover reefs to a pre-degraded state. At eight reefs were restoration was undertaken, we shown that the transplantation efforts overall had a positive effect with regards to Acroporid abundance at the reef scale. The results of this study support the work of programs such as the Coral Restoration Foundation, which supplement natural occurring coral populations with healthy transplanted corals. These techniques improve the genetic diversity of the reef as well as its overall health. Active restoration, such as population enhancement, has almost become vital to help reefs recover from disturbances.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Southeast Fisheries Science Center

    MPS Track:
    TME

    Keywords:
    Coral | endangered | GIS | restoration
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  • Utilizing Single Beam Sonar Systems for Evaluating Port Construction Dredging Operations in Port Lafito, Haiti

    Jenkins, Zachary View Abstract

    Port Lafito, a new port under construction by Gilbert Bigio Group (GB Group), in Lafeatu, Haiti was surveyed using single beam sonar technology. The goal of the survey was to inform GB Group of their dredge progress in Phase 1 of their port construction project. This internship report outlines how the project was executed. First, the importance of ports and the history of how they are surveyed is discussed. The report then discusses what was done prior to leaving for the field, including installation and testing of the equipment to be used on site. Information on how the equipment was installed and tested on site is provided, followed by how the project data was collected and processed. Finally, the results of the survey and the certification of the newly constructed port are discussed along with limitations faced during the project and suggestions for modifications for future projects. This project has the potential for implementation, as I will continue working with the company and we will return to the project site for a second survey in the coming weeks.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Land and Sea Surveying Concepts, Inc

    MPS Track:
    ECS

    Keywords:
    Sonar | Haiti | Port Lafito
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  • Enhancing the Rescue A Reef Program through Social Media, Education, and Outreach

    Hesley, Dalton View Abstract

    My internship focused on developing effective strategies for facilitating the growth and success of the Rescue A Reef (RAR) program, a Citizen Science (CS) project that enlists non-professionals to assist in efforts to restore populations of the ‘threatened’ coral species Acropora cervicornis (staghorn coral) along the Florida Reef Tract. Social media platforms, educational events, and public outreach were employed as educational tools to enhance program success for raising ocean conservation awareness. These were supplemented by hands-on coral restoration expeditions. The combined effect of these diverse activities was the development of a successful CS program that was able to reach a large audience of individuals interested in learning about coral reef conservation. At the end of the 6-month study, the cumulative reach of our social media platforms (2,895), educational seminars (682), and coral restoration expeditions (67) was 3,644 individuals. In addition, our citizen scientists successfully outplanted 421 staghorn colonies totaling to 150 meters of nursery-grown coral added to local coral reefs. The large number of individuals reached and the large amount of new coral added to depleted reefs show that the dynamic model utilized for the Rescue A Reef program was highly effective.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Rescue a Reef Program

    MPS Track:
    TME

    Keywords:
    Citizen Science | education | social
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  • Communicating Science: Updating the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna Glossary

    Fujimoto, Rachel View Abstract

    Communication between scientists, policy makers, and stakeholders is vitally important in the effort to conserve and maintain important aquatic stocks such as the Atlantic tunas. In order to facilitate dialogue between diverse parties, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) developed a glossary fifteen years ago that explains ICCAT terminology in basic scientific terms. Although new technical terms and methodologies are now employed by ICCAT, they have not been added to the glossary, which limits understanding and creates the need for a glossary update. Using a text analysis software and manually reading through the Executive Summaries on fish species and the Report of the Sub-Committee on Ecosystems published since 2000, a list of potential terms for addition to the ICCAT glossary were acquired. Accompanying definitions were synthesized after the study of other relevant glossaries. This study produced forty-seven terms that are now put forth for further review and, pending acceptance, addition to the ICCAT glossary.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

    MPS Track:
    FMC

    Keywords:
    Tuna | policy | stakeholders
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  • The Spatiotemporal Relationship between Cetacean Sightings and Strandings in and around Puget Sound, Washington

    Frederickson, Andrew View Abstract

    With the challenges and costs associated with conducting surveys to estimate cetacean abundance, recent efforts have considered the use of opportunistic sighting and stranding data to estimate stocks. This study compared sightings reported by members of the public (n = 6934) and stranding data (n = 458) using both spatial and temporal analyses for ten species of cetaceans in the inside waters of the state of Washington from January 1995 through June 2015. The main goal of the project was to see where sightings and strandings overlapped and examine potential influences in cases of disagreement in order to evaluate the value of opportunistic data in determining cetacean abundance. The species with enough sightings and stranding data to support spatial and temporal analysis of sufficient power were gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus), harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena), and Dall’s porpoises (Phocoenoides dalli). Gray whales represented the largest sample size for sightings and exhibited the strongest positive relationship between sightings and strandings both spatially and annually. Harbor porpoises represented the largest strandings dataset and there was a positive relationship between strandings and sightings annually, but little to no relationship spatially. For Dall’s porpoises, the opposite was observed. When comparing the data seasonally, no significant trends were observed. Other species such as humpback whales (Megaptera novaengliae) and minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) were sighted regularly but had few to no documented strandings. Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), on the other hand, were associated with several stranding records, although not regularly sighted, as a result of ship strikes and subsequent transport of the carcass. These results suggest that opportunistic sighting and stranding data can be utilized to estimate the abundance of some cetacean species, but not without inherent limitations.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Cascadia Research Collective

    MPS Track:
    MMS

    Keywords:
    whales | strandings | sightings
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  • Proposed Aquaponics System Design and Aquaculture and Aquaponics Curricula Development for the Miami Science Barge

    Evans, William View Abstract

    This project is focused on a proposed design of an aquaponics system to be a part of the living systems for the Miami Science Barge. The Miami Science Barge is a floating laboratory that will be located in Museum Park in Miami that focuses on STEM education through marine experiments, living systems, renewable energy and sustainable technologies. The purpose is to design a system that has minimal effluents and is energy efficient. Designing the system, deciding and locating the proper materials, and getting them to the Barge for construction is an intensive process, as well as determining how to properly maintain fish in the aquaponics system. Additionally, this project will focus curricula development for the aquaculture and aquaponics systems for the Barge. Aquaponics and aquaculture curricula will be created to align with the systems on the Barge and the goals of what the team decides should be taught in reference to aquaponics and aquaculture. The curricula will also correlate with specific core standards for teaching, specifically Ocean Literacy Principles and Florida Science Standards. The Miami Science Barge is going to be an integral part in increasing sustainability efforts in Miami and will educate visitors about their local marine life, urban agriculture, renewable energies, and sustainable practices.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    CappSci-Miami Science Barge

    MPS Track:
    AQU

    Keywords:
    Aquaponics | effluent | energy
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  • Assessment of Caretta caretta and Chelonia mydas Nesting Activities to Determine if East Key Should Become a Marine Protected Area at Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida.

    Claycomb, Kara View Abstract

    Dry Tortugas National Park is a 99 square mile area, inside which are important nesting grounds for Caretta caretta and Chelonia mydas marine turtles. Both species of marine turtle are endangered, and the park helps protect these turtles by the utilization of a research natural area (RNA). Two beaches within the park are of major importance to the marine turtles nesting habits, Loggerhead and East Key. Loggerhead Key is an index beach (indicator of marine turtle population numbers) found within the RNA, while East Key is the site of hundreds of marine turtle nests, and is found outside of the marine protected zone. The Dry Tortugas sea turtle nesting behaviors and the environmental effects on these behaviors are key to determining the need for higher protection of East Key. Overall themes that support this need of protection of East Key include higher nesting density, lower predation, and increasing erosion. It is recommended to expand the RNA or to create a separate protected area around East Key in order to alleviate the environmental stressors on these endangered marine turtles.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    National Park Service – Dry Tortugas National Park and GoPro, Inc.

    MPS Track:
    TME

    Keywords:
    Turtles | nesting | protection
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  • Manatee and Human Interactions in the Three Sisters Springs Unit and Banana Island Waters of Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge

    Barrett, Melissa View Abstract

    Despite recent increases in marine wildlife-based tourism, interactions between humans and marine mammals are not well understood. Human interactions with manatees, in particular, have not been thoroughly studied. The main objective of the project was to determine if, and when, human interactions affect manatee behavior during manatee season, or manatee distribution during the off-season. Analysis of video data focused on the behaviors of a focal manatee in response to surrounding human activities. The majority of neutral responses indicated that the manatees did not alter their immediate behavior in response to humans. However, manatees did appear to spend more time, on average, stationary and milling in the presence of humans, and less time resting and slow traveling. An analysis of the frequency and types of human and manatee uses within Refuge waters in Kings Bay during the manatee off-season indicated that public use, regardless of frequency, was not a significant factor determining the presence or absence of manatees during the off-season. Temperature is the driving factor for manatee use of the springs, but there are still manatees present during the off-season when they are not dependent on the springs for warm water refuge.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge

    MPS Track:
    MMS

    Keywords:
    Manatees | tourism | behavior
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  • Small, Medium, and Revolutionary Advances to Global Ocean Geographic Information Systems

    Barbuzano, Ramiro View Abstract

    Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have modernized the way we conceptualize ocean science. This study involved three, innovative applications of ocean GIS: bathymetric mapping, three-dimensional thermocline production, and geodesic discrete global grid system application. In the first project, high-resolution rasters were added to a mosaic dataset and edited to reflect hillshade transparency and appropriate color ramps. This technique emphasized the most efficient way to accurately outline sections of ocean floor topography. Updating existing bathymetric data with the most recent advances in benthic terrain mapping ensures navigational safety, maintains precise political boundaries, and reflects physical changes over time. The second project utilized a maximum cell statistics function to determine maximum temperature change. Values of the differences between temperature layers were stacked together and run through Model Builder and a Python interation program to identify maximum temperature change per depth. A three-dimensional visualization of the global thermocline was created to highlight information about annual changes and create a foundation for other stratification layers, e.g., haloclines and pycnoclines. Since ocean temperatures are in constant flux, thermocline models can generate early warnings regarding environmental anomalies and potentially identify precursors in areas prone to anoxic and euxinic conditions. The last project employed DGGRID software to transform the typical latitude-longitude system into hexagonal sections on the surface of the earth. Vertical stratification of these hexagons to the ocean floor created a water column framework that is continuously revised with ocean attribute information per depth. This organized ocean attribute repository is the first step in the development of an Ecological Marine Unit that will, ideally, identify significant relationships between abiotic environments and species biogeography.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MBE

    Location:
    ESRI

    MPS Track:
    MMS/TME

    Keywords:
    Geographic Information Systems (GIS) | Bathymetry | thermocline
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  • Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Invasive Lionfish in the Dry Tortugas National Park

    Baloch, Jasmine View Abstract

    Since the 1980s, the introduction of the Indo-Pacific lionfishes, Pterois miles and P. volitans, into the Atlantic Ocean has resulted in a rapid population growth. Their rapid establishment and potential adverse effects on reef ecosystems is of great concern as they pose a serious threat to reef communities. The purpose of this project was to aide in the removal and research of Indo-Pacific lionfishes in the Dry Tortugas National Park waters. To sustain the removal of lionfish in the park, timed surveys were conducted at random sites via Scuba diving or snorkel during the months of June through October 2014. For 2014, the dive team performed 174 surveys in 64.2 hours and a total of 79 lionfish were removed and 102 observed. The calculated CPUE was 2.03, higher than the previous year (2013) CPUE of 1.37. The CPUE for each survey was compared and revealed that the CPUE for high relief habitat is significantly different from all other habitats. The number of lionfish for shallow depth is significantly different from deep depths and the size of lionfish also increases with depth. These results indicate that the number of lionfish and the effort is greater in depths below 40 feet and high profile habitats. From 2011 to 2014 the majority of lionfish were observed in high relief coral habitat for all years. The most frequent lionfish length was 25-30 cm for all but the first survey year in 2010. The recorded behavior of lionfish shifted from mostly resting to hiding from 2013 to 2014. This suggests that predation on lionfish may occur within the park and be altering their behavior. The hotspots of lionfish per site from 2011 to 2014 fluctuated from 4 to 21 lionfish per survey site and shifted from the outer to inner boundaries of the park.

    The importance of this study was to verify whether the current management effort of lionfish is effective. This study helps to identify trends in lionfish population and provide a baseline of lionfish abundance and expansion for the Dry Tortugas National Park to aide in future management efforts.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    National Park Service – Dry Tortugas National Park and GoPro, Inc.

    MPS Track:
    TME

    Keywords:
    Lionfish | Invasive Species | National Park Service
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  • Visual Science Communications: Disseminating Timely Marine Conservation Issues to Increase Awareness Among the General Public

    Armstrong, Hannah View Abstract

    Marine biodiversity is rapidly decreasing worldwide, primarily due to anthropogenic stressors. Marine scientists recommend strong protection for 20-30% of the world’s oceans in order to combat those stressors and to ultimately save marine life from extinction. Marine Conservation Institute, with offices in Seattle, Washington, Washington D.C., and California, is an organization dedicated to securing permanent, strong protection for the oceans’ most important places for future generations. Most notably, their Global Oceans Refuge System (GLORES) initiative is designed to catalyze strong protection for at least 20% of the ecosystems in each marine biogeographic region of the world’s oceans by the year 2030. In order to ensure further development and success of the GLORES initiative, and ultimately conserve the world’s oceans, Marine Conservation Institute fully understands the need to continue developing and increasing their science communications efforts. As a result, the primary goal of this fellowship was to use visual and social media to effectively communicate their goals, as well as to effectively interact with scientists, key stakeholders and the general public. Tactics to communicate included creating and managing current news, social media and visual content, analyzing engagement and overall reach, and disseminating critical information as efficiently as possible. Throughout the duration of the project it was important to monitor the impact of Marine Conservation Institute’s increased online media presence. Individual scientists and organizations are finally harnessing the power of visual and social media to enhance the rate at which they are developing and distributing knowledge, both to raise awareness among the general public and to elevate support, and this fellowship contributed to just that.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Marine Conservation Institute

    MPS Track:
    MCO/CSU

    Keywords:
    Biodiversity | stakeholders | social media
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  • Investigating the Economic Viability of Collecting Sargassum horneri

    Rus, Brandon View Abstract

    The coastal ecosystems of Southern California and the Channel Islands are falling victim to what scientists and researchers have referred to as “devil weed.” Sargassum horneri, a native alga to the rocky reefs of the Northwestern Pacific, has found its way from the coast of Japan across the Pacific to the coast of California. S. horneri poses threat to the vulnerable Giant kelp Forests (Macrocystis pyrifera) and removal is critical in order to preserve the livelihood of the natural ecosystem. The challenge is how to accomplish this removal. This paper investigates the viability of marketing Sargassum as a desirable product, which would incentivize its removal; essentially creating a self funded marine conservation initiative. The methodology of this project was comprised of four major constituents. First, the legal implications that have been set forth by the state agencies was thoroughly researched, in order to pursue an initiative that would be deemed legal. Second, a team of American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) credentialed divers had to be assembled in order to physically remove Sargassum from the reefs. Once the Sargassum had been collected, it was incorporated as a primary ingredient to a compost pile, with the intent to ultimately be sold. Developing a business plan, investigating the viability of creating an entrepreneurial conservation initiative was the final step of this project, and is designed to provide a fundamental approach on how to carry out a continuous effort behind the removal of “devil weed,” and the conservation of our marine environment.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MES

    Location:
    Brown Rudnick LLP & Los Angeles Waterkeeper

    MPS Track:
    CZM

    Keywords:
    Economic Viability | Sargassum horneri | "devil weed" | Giant kelp Forests | entrepreneutial conservation initiative | non commerical use of marine plants | scientific collection permit | commerical license
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  • Data management and auditing of the Biscayne Bay bottlenose dolphin photo ID catalog

    Nagy, Christine View Abstract

    As a photo-ID intern with the NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center, my project consisted of data management relevant to a longitudinal abundance study of common bottlenose dolphins, (Tursiops truncatus), in Biscayne Bay, Florida. As a result of a previous data conversion effort, some of the historical sighting records in the catalog were missing data (e.g. image files, certain data fields, and dorsal fin quality scores). The first part of my project included data auditing and completion of the historical records to ensure a complete, accurate historical data set. I also participated in field work in Biscayne Bay in October/November 2015 and March 2016, in which photographs of dolphin dorsal fins were collected. These new photos were then uploaded into the catalog using the software FinBase and the corresponding information from the sighting sheets was entered. Dorsal fin photos were matched to historical records. Once an updated catalog was established, I used descriptive statistics to help characterize the population, including the number of sightings and dolphins per field season and the mean latitude and longitude coordinates for each sighting according to the NMFS criteria. Through this internship, I gained valuable data management experience, learned photo-identification data collection and processing techniques, and became familiar with photo-ID catalog maintenance and basic summary analyses.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MBE

    Location:
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Southeast Fisheries Science Center

    MPS Track:
    MMS

    Keywords:
    Data Management | Auditing of the Biscayne Bay | bottlenose dolphin photo - ID catalog | FinBase | basic summary analyses | data standardization | mark - recapture study | Quality Assurance/Quality control
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  • Spatial Mapping of Sea Turtle Disorientation Due to Artificial Lighting on the Nesting Beaches of Broward County Florida

    Marrero, Lauren Taylor View Abstract

    This study is important because the impact artificial beachfront lighting has on sea turtle survival. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between hatchling disorientation and artificial light use on the beaches of Broward County during nesting season, March to October, in 2014 and 2015. Spatial analysis will be used to target areas where hatchlings experience the most disorientation, and where they may be most vulnerable to disorientation, due to artificial lighting. Spatial analysis will be completed using data in geographic information systems (ArcGIS 10.4).

    Sea turtles are of great importance to Florida’s ecosystem and as artificial beachfront lighting contributes to their decline, the need to protect and preserve sea turtle populations becomes imperative. Broward County beaches are essential for sea turtle reproduction and we must strive to protect their critical life stages. It is well known of the effects of introduced light to nesting beaches and we must extend that knowledge for local application in Broward County. This study will target high vulnerability areas so that efforts to alleviate this problem will be most effective. This has implications for keeping our beaches sea turtle friendly and allowing populations to recover and sustain.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MES

    Location:
    Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division

    MPS Track:
    MCO

    Keywords:
    Spatial Mapping | Sea Turtle Disorientation | Artifcal Lighting | Nesting Beaches | Broward County | Threats to Sea Turtles | Sea Turtle Species and Distribution
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  • An Investigation of the Cyclogenesis Forecast Ability of the Basin-Scale HWRF Model by Invoking the GFDL Vortex Tracker

    Ko, Mu - Chieh View Abstract

    The purpose of this project is to validate the capability of the basin-scale HWRF model to predict cyclogenesis events using the GFDL vortex tracker. To accomplish this, the data generated by the basin-scale HWRF for the 2015 hurricane season were used. Using the GFDL vortex tracker, the cyclogenesis forecast cases were detected and written in ATCF-format outputs. Then, a temporal post-processing filter was applied on those forecast events. Through comparing the HWRF cyclogenesis forecast outputs to the NHC Best-Track data, the cyclogenesis location errors were computed. The location bias helps to regroup the genesis results into three categories – “Hit”, “Miss”, and “False Alarm”. The HWRF cyclogenesis forecasts showed a significant increase on accuracy at day 3 from day 4 validation. Moreover, the function of the post-processing filter is discussed. The advantage of the filter is to increase the cyclogenesis output quality, although some right predictions may be removed. Overall, these analyses may allow further improvement upon current hurricane genesis forecasting abilities with the forecast guidance.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    ATM

    Location:
    Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory and Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies

    MPS Track:
    WFC

    Keywords:
    Cyclogenesis Forecast Ability | Basin - Scale | HWRF | GFDL Vortex Tracker | ATCF - format | forecast | post - processing filter
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  • Design and Development of Aquaponics, Seagrass/Mangrove, Oyster, Coral, and Constructed Wetland Systems on the Miami Science Barge

    Coogan, Michael View Abstract

    The Miami Science Barge is a floating educational innovation platform and marine laboratory, showcasing sustainable food production and technology. This paper discusses the design and development of various zero discharge, recirculating living systems, using only solar energy, collected rainwater and seawater on the Miami Science Barge. Using high efficiency mechanical components and natural filtration processes, the team was able to successfully develop healthy systems, using less than 30-kilowatt hours per day.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MES

    Location:
    CappSci-Miami Science Barge

    MPS Track:
    AQU

    Keywords:
    Aquaponics | seagrass/mangrove | oyster | constructed wetland | coral systems | Miami Science Barge | living systems
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  • Marine Natural Resource Management: Invasive Plant Species Mitigation in a South Florida Mangrove Ecosystem

    Ash, Spencer View Abstract

    Oleta River State Park (ORSP), located in the city of North Miami Beach, FL. (Miami-Dade County), is a reclaimed natural area (i.e., conservation land set aside for the purpose of preserving or restoring natural communities) under the management authority and responsibility of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Division of Recreation and Parks under Chapter 258, Florida Statutes, and Chapter 62D-2, Florida Administrative Code (Figures 1,2). The park, which is the largest urban park in the State of Florida, contains significant terrestrial and marine natural resources within the 1,032.78 acres under its jurisdiction and is designated as a single-use property for the primary purpose of resource-based outdoor recreation and conservation (ORSP Unit Management Plan, 2008).

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MES

    Location:
    The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Recreation, Bureau of Natural and Cultural Resources, Florida Conservation Corps

    MPS Track:
    MCO

    Keywords:
    Nautral Resource Management | invasive plant spcies mitigation | mangrove | Florida Mangrove Ecosystem | monitoring efforts | Australian Pine | Beach Naupaka | Brazilian Pepper | Seaside Mahoe
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  • Citizen Science for Global Marine Litter Monitoring

    Zhang, Jing View Abstract

    The marine litter pollution is a global issue of international concern. Marine litter comes from both land and sea-based sources and it can be observed in seas around the world, and poses a number of problems as it brings physical harm to aquatic organisms that ingest and become trapped in debris; litter acts as a vector for pollutants that can bioaccumulate up the food chain; and in many cases it is extremely difficult and costly to remove from aquatic bodies. Currently, monitoring efforts for marine litter occur at different levels, with most endeavors being localized. UNEP tries to explore the possibility to within the framework of the Global Partnership on Marine Litter establish a global monitoring system for marine litter.  To develop this kind of the monitoring system a citizen science approach can be developed in order to better assess key influx zones, identify areas for priority intervention, allow for initial measurement/estimate of macro litter, and increase public awareness concerning the marine litter issue. As part of my internship with UNEP, GPA, Marine litter unit, I was reviewing the current citizen science efforts have been done to monitoring marine litter.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MES

    Location:
    United Nations Enviromental Programme

    MPS Track:
    MCO

    Keywords:
    pollution | monitoring system
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  • The influence of birth order, developmental stage, and sex of a calf on interactions and aggression in Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)

    Wallace, Bethany View Abstract

    The effect of birth order and/or sex on the frequency of aggression received by conspecifics and proximity to conspecifics within the first year of development in Atlantic bottlenose dolphin calves (Tursiops truncatus) has not been fully documented. We assessed the frequency of interactions of the calf with its mother, as well as other conspecifics, and the frequency of aggressive behaviors directed towards four offspring of a single mother.  We analyzed the first year of each calf’s life, divided evenly into four developmental stages. Earlier born calves typically received a higher frequency of aggression and maintained a closer proximity to conspecifics. In theory, this could reflect maternal style and accrued experience with each, successive calf. Additionally, aggression targeted at the calf and the calf’s proximity to individuals other than its mother increased with each developmental stage. Male calves were the recipients of significantly more aggression and exhibited a closer proximity to conspecifics when compared to females, which supports other published literature. With time, as a calf became more independent and spent more time solo, the time spent in close proximity to the mother decreased. The frequency of interactions with conspecifics varied depending on the relation to the calf. The frequency of interactions with the calf’s mother significantly differed from all other conspecific categories while the father and siblings only differed from alloparents and non-related juveniles/calves. These results provide a baseline for continued research on the influence of sex and birth order in social development, as well as calf survivability.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MBE

    Location:
    Dolphins Plus Oceanside, Dolphins Plus Bayside, Island Dolphin Care

    MPS Track:
    MMS

    Keywords:
    dolphin | development | birth order | aggression | social development
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  • Developing a Protocol for Rotifers (Brachionus plicatilis) for use in Larval Rearing of Sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria)

    Wakamatsu, Emilia View Abstract

    Larval fish are sensitive to pathogenic bacteria which can be transmitted through live feeds, such as rotifers (Brachionus plicatilis). This paper reviews the methods of disinfection of live feeds that have been developed in the literature, and describes the testing of a few methods experimentally. The experiments conducted analyzed the effect of rinsing, peroxide, and the product Sanocare SURE for the effect on the bacterial load and composition of rotifers. The rotifers received these treatments in a “harvester” as part of a potential industry protocol, and bacterial samples were sent off site for analysis. This study also found a concentration of peroxide at which the rotifers did not regurgitate, as well as its lethal level. The study found no difference between total bacteria load for varying peroxide concentrations. The peroxide treatments pooled together and Sanocare SURE were found to have a weakly significant effect on the total bacterial load of rotifers (p=.058, p=.059 respectively). Rinsing had an apparent trend of decreasing the bacterial load over time. The analysis of composition showed three predominant bacteriums: Pseudoalteromonas sp, Listonella anguillarum (or Vibrio anguillarum), and Marinomonas sp. The control was combined with the rinsing samples and compared against the peroxide group and Sanocare SURE group, and the effect on composition of bacteria by the groups was found to be highly significant (<.001). In a subset analysis, peroxide was found to be significantly effective at reducing Pseudoalteromonas sp. (p=.057) Rinsing eliminated L.anguillarum in both samples. The results of the study recommend further experimentation to confirm the efficacy of rinsing, peroxide, and Sanocare SURE, but suggest that low levels of peroxide may be as effective as SURE at reducing bacterial load, and do not cause regurgitation. The study also suggests rinsing may be more effective over longer time periods, and further research should determine the maximum efficacy.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MES

    Location:
    Golden Eagle Sablefish

    MPS Track:
    AQU

    Keywords:
    larval fish | bacteria | disinfection | rotifers
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  • GoPros in Science: Can you be a Hero and a Scientist?

    Tomcho, Ian View Abstract

    The purpose of this investigation was to determine the viability of GoPro, Inc. camera systems as effective, practical, and unique (i.e., application and capture) instruments for field-based marine research. Data were collected through field observations of camera use and by eliciting feedback from ten, diverse experts via an open-ended questionnaire. These questionnaire responses and personal observations were then analyzed to identify camera limitations and possible solutions to meet the unique needs of marine scientists. Results generally indicated that the GoPro HERO is a valuable instrument for observational research in coastal marine settings, with some limitations. Elements of product design, functionality, and performance were assessed to determine what, if any, improvements could be made for increased use to support scientific goals. The goal is to improve the potential uses of GoPro’s by the scientific community.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MES

    Location:
    National Park Service – Dry Tortugas National Park and GoPro, Inc.

    MPS Track:
    ECS

    Keywords:
    GoPro | marine research | questionnaire
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  • Marine Exploited Invertebrates Monitoring – Spiny Lobster

    St. Clair, Matthew View Abstract

    The South Florida / Caribbean Network’s Marine Exploited Invertebrates Vital Sign includes the following species: spiny lobster, pink shrimp, queen conch, crabs, sponges, oysters, and whelk.  This protocol development summary outlines the background, rationale, and sampling design for monitoring the Caribbean spiny lobster ((Panulirus argus)  in parks within the South Florida/Caribbean Network (SFCN).  The SFCN is one of 32 networks of parks within the National Park Service (NPS) Inventory and Monitoring Program.  The network consists of seven national park units spanning south Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands: Big Cypress National Preserve (BICY), Biscayne National Park (BISC), Buck Island Reef National Monument (BUIS), Dry Tortugas National Park (DRTO), Everglades National Park (EVER), Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve (SARI), and Virgin Islands National Park (VIIS).  The Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument (VICR) was created after the establishment of the SFCN, and so far has not been incorporated into the network.  This protocol is focused on those parks (VIIS, BUIS, SARI, BISC, and DRTO) that contain marine habitat suitable for spiny lobster.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MBE

    Location:

    MPS Track:
    TME

    Keywords:
    spiny lobster | life history | fisheries
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  • Engaging Youth in Field Research and Environmental Conservation

    Szpak, Kristen View Abstract

    Experiential learning is knowledge gained through experience.  Evidence shows that certain knowledge and understanding is best acquired through experiential learning.  National and state education standards strongly promote the application of inquiry-based learning objectives inside the formal classroom.  However, students are rarely provided full exposure to credible scientific investigation.  Providing high school students the opportunity to work alongside scientists and researchers will teach them the rigors of data collection, analysis, and communication.  It also creates the opportunity to engage students in the management of local ecosystem and resources.  The purpose of this project was to develop and implement a Field Studies Program at Gulliver Preparatory School.  The Field Studies Program (FSP) helps build academic connections between scientists, teachers, and students in a collaborative effort to engage in local marine and coastal research and conservation activities.  The pilot project for the FSP was an on-going photo-identification study of the resident bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) population in Barnes Sound between Biscayne Bay and Florida Bay.   The ten high school students that were accepted into the Field Studies Program spent five months training as research assistants for the photo-identification study.  During the following four months, students conducted field surveys in Barnes Sound.  These research activities proved to be a valuable learning tool for science education as students integrated skills taught in the field into their traditional science classes.  Some of the students have even declared a new college major in the sciences based on the Field Studies Program experience. This study shows that fieldwork can be an engaging way to learn science and that giving students ownership of their learning process promotes academic and personal development to become a life-long learner.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MBE

    Location:
    Gulliver Preparatory School

    MPS Track:
    MMS

    Keywords:
    experiential learning | dolphins | fieldwork.
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  • The Design and Construction of a Zero Discharge, Solar Powered, Recirculating Aquaculture System For the Miami Science Barge

    Teal, Chad View Abstract

    This project is the design, budget, and build out of a saltwater recirculating aquaculture system, featured on the Miami Science Barge. The Miami Science Barge is a nonprofit (501c3) floating environmental education platform, which is located on the waterfront of Museum Park in Downtown Miami.  The Barge, which operates fully on solar energy, exhibits multiple living systems that showcase restoration, conservation, and sustainability initiatives taking place across South Florida and worldwide. The Miami Science Barge is under the administration of CappSci, a non-profit with the mission to apply science and engineering towards tackling today’s most pressing challenges.
    The goal of my project was to create a saltwater recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) for the grow out of marine finfish.   The system is powered exclusively by solar energy.  This system is a short-phase grow out tank which will be stocked in rotations with juvenile mahi mahi (Coryphanea hippurus), Florida pompano (Trachinotus carolinus), and cobia (Rachycentrodon canadum).  The system is designed to maintain 25-50 kg of fish in a 4000 L system.  Fish will be sourced from the University of Miami’s Experimental Hatchery (UMEH). Fish will undergo grow out in the Barge RAS for two to six months before being disposed of or returned to UMEH.  The RAS must be virtually effluent free and features energy efficient technologies in order to stay within the barge’s energy budget.  This system is a proof of concept design which will be used as an educational tool to teach people about the potential sustainability of recirculating aquaculture practices, as well as the role aquaculture plays in food security and marine conservation. K-12 students will learn about recirculating aquaculture systems during Miami Science Barge field trip programs and the general public will be open to view and learn about the aquaculture exhibit during evening and weekend programming.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MES

    Location:
    CappSci-Miami Science Barge

    MPS Track:
    AQU

    Keywords:
    Aquaculture | science barge | solar energy
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  • Ten Year Prospectus of Trends in Length and Abundance of Centropomus undecimalis (Common snook) in Everglades National Park

    Starr, Kandice View Abstract

    Everglades National Park (ENP), established in December 1947, has collected recreational fishing data since 1958.  By gathering information about where an angler fished, what species and how many individual fish were caught, as well as collecting lengths of harvested fish, biologists can examine trends in a particular species life history and abundance.  These trends can then be used to implement new or update old regulations.  Centropomus undecimalis (common snook) is one of the most sought after fish by anglers within ENP.  By analyzing data from fishing guide logbook reports, CREEL interviews and fork lengths of harvested fish, trends within the population were examined. Trends in abundance of the population determined there was a significant effect on the population from the 2010 cold snap (p<0.001) and potentially the escalation of salinity levels in 2014. The ANOVA also determined significant differences (p=0.019) in the fork lengths of harvested C. undecimalis between 2005 and 2014.  The decrease in average fork length of the harvested individuals potentially correlate to the south Florida cold event of 2010.  Although the results for trends in both the abundance and lengths do not show significance for 2014, continuation of monitoring the population for significant changes may be vital for the conservation of the individual snook within ENP due to climate change surges in temperature and salinity levels.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MES

    Location:
    Everglades National Park

    MPS Track:
    MCO

    Keywords:
    fishing | snook | abundance | population
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  • Biocontrol of the Invasive Lionfish Population as an Indicator of Marine Protected Area Success

    Siana, Ashley View Abstract

    Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are important conservation tools for sustaining marine resources through a range of potential ecological benefits. However, MPAs may also have unforeseen benefits, such as controlling invasive species.  Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles) are a successful invasive species in the western Atlantic.  Some grouper and snapper species are believed to prey on lionfish.  MPAs should increase the density and occurrence of these potential lionfish predators, resulting in a decrease of the invasive lionfish population.  Reef Visual Census (RVC) data from 2010-2015 and National Park Service lionfish removal data from 2011-2015 were used to spatially analyze temporal changes in lionfish distributions as well as potential predator distributions throughout Biscayne National Park (BISC) and the Dry Tortugas as an indicator of MPA success.   Population trends demonstrated that lionfish population metrics were higher in unprotected areas than in protected areas.   The catch per unit effort (CPUE) of lionfish in Dry Tortugas National Park (DRTO) has decreased each year since lionfish data collection commenced in 2011.  For multiple species of potential lionfish predators, statistically significant differences in occurrence and density were found between BISC and the Tortugas North Ecological Reserve (TNER).  Lionfish declines in DRTO, lionfish population trends, and the statistically lower population metrics of potential lionfish predators in BISC than in TNER, may reflect the benefits of MPAs.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MES

    Location:
    The National Park Service

    MPS Track:
    CZM

    Keywords:
    MPA | Lionfish | invasive species | National Park Service | CPUE
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  • Cape Sable Threat Assessment: Analyzing the Threats to Cape Sable’s Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) Nesting Population in Everglades National Park

    Pechtl, Charlotte View Abstract

    Loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) that nest in Everglades National Park are most prevalent on Cape Sable, a remote coastal landmass on the western side of the park that is one of the last remaining nesting locations in Florida not directly disturbed by human activity. However, this nesting population faces threats from depredation and overwash and inundation from coastal erosion, which has been exaggerated from anthropogenic influence. Nesting surveys were conducted during 2014 and 2015 nesting seasons, nest inventories were completed on each confirmed nest, threats were ranked using scope and severity measures and the results from each nesting season were totaled and analyzed using statistics and spatial analyses. This data was also compared with previous studies. In 2014, 234 crawls were observed where 99 of those crawls were confirmed as nest sites and in 2015, 237 crawls were observed where 80 of those crawls were confirmed as nest sites. Forty-four of the total 99 nests in 2014 were impacted from depredation mainly from raccoons (Procyon lotor marinus) and 8 of the total 80 nests in 2015 were impacted from depredation mainly from fire ants (Solenopsis invicta). There were no confirmed overwashed or inundated nests in 2014 and there were 3 confirmed overwashed and inundated nests in 2015. Depredation abundance dropped from 44% in 2014 to 10% in 2015 and overwash and inundation abundance was 0% in 2014 and 3.8% in 2015. Overall depredation impact was ranked as “High” and overall overwash and inundation was ranked as “Low” for 2014 – 2015 nesting seasons. However, these ranks may only represent each threat’s short-term impact and long-term data collection and analysis will provide further information on each threat’s impact. The rate of coastal erosion on Cape Sable is increasing due to an altered hydrologic regime, climate change and rising seas, extreme weather events and tidal surges, and this may significantly impact sea turtle nesting activity in Everglades National Park in the future. Nest relocation is one potential management strategy to help mitigate the impacts from depredation and overwash and inundation and long-term spatial analysis of nesting activity may help determine potential nest relocation sites on Cape Sable where threat impacts are low.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MES

    Location:
    Everglades National Park

    MPS Track:
    MCO

    Keywords:
    sea turtle | loggerhead | Caretta caretta | Everglades National Park | Cape Sable | depredation | inundation | coastal erosion
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  • The Ocean Health Voyage: An International Examination of the Ocean Health Index through Film-based Coursework

    Northrop, Emily View Abstract

    Traditional classroom education is steadily opening its doors to modern media. Despite the many advantages of online education, including flexibility and scalability, both formal and informal online courses tend to suffer from lack of student engagement. It is critical that providers of online education commit to offering tailored programs that truly take advantage of the power of the digital platform. The Ocean Health Index initiative, an international assessment of marine sustainability, provided the ideal framework with which to create just such a course: The Ocean Health Voyage.
    Filmed over two years in seven countries, the course is composed of documentary-style video segments, fundamental slides, quizzes, expert scientist case studies, critical thinking questions, filmed round-table discussions, outreach assignments, and supplementary materials for the nine modules of Biodiversity, Climate Change & Carbon Storage, Coastal Protection, Clean Water, Food Provision & Commercial Fishing, Artisanal Fishing Opportunities, Port Economies & Livelihoods, Tourism & Recreation, and Iconic Species & Natural Products.
    This course is the first of its kind in terms of educational content and delivery design. Given concerns over the current status of marine ecosystems and the impacts felt by coastal communities, it is important for every undergraduate student to understand basic marine, environmental, and conservation science and use this background to relate to and critically evaluate current events. If successful, the high caliber film-based online course model, adaptable to a wide range of subjects, may become an institutional standard of online education.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MES

    Location:
    The Herbert W. Hoover Foundation & The University of Miami School of Communication

    MPS Track:
    CZM

    Keywords:
    online education | marine sustainability | documentary
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  • Building Debris Free Oceans: Inspiration through Education

    Nolan, Tracy View Abstract

    Due to the promising increase of plastic pollution in the worlds oceans, the level of education and outreach associated with this isssue must also increase.  Miami, Florida is a hotspot for marine debris with a great need for additional educuation and clean ups as it pertains to marine debris.  Debris Free Oceans was created in 2014 by Caiti Pomerance and two former University of Florida classmates to tackle the marine debris issue in Miami.  This project was created to build Debris Free Oceans in reference to the short term goals of the six pillars designated under the mission statement: (1) education, (2) policy, (3) research, (4) lifestyle awareness events, (5) sustainability consulting, and (6) beacn clean ups.  These goals were accomplished using three methods: (1) partnerships and collaboration, (2) organizational content and outreach and (3) social media.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MES

    Location:
    Debris Free Oceans

    MPS Track:
    MCO

    Keywords:
    pollution | education | outreach
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  • Contributing Factors to Long-Term Citation Count in Marine and Freshwater Biology Journals

    Nash, Joshua View Abstract

    Knowledge dissemination is the underlying purpose of scientific research. Citations are the means by which new research builds upon prior research. Also, citations are a means by which the reach of dissemination may be measured. This study investigated six Web of Science marine and freshwater biology category journals to idenitfy factors that contribute to long-term (10 year) citation counts. In doing so, it provides insight into important factors contributing to knowledge dissemination in the field of marine science. Factors cosidered in this study included country of origin of institution of lead author, publication type, distinct citing journals, citations within an early time frame (< 5 years), highest impact factor of early citing journals, and whether or not the first citation was a self-citation. Using Scopus’ article database, 340 marine science articles originating from six different journals were analyzed. I found that publication type, number of distinct citing journals, highest impact factor of early citing journals, and whether of not the first citation was a self-citation are factors that affect long-term citation counts. Country of origin of institution of lead author and the number of citations an article receives within an early time frame did not influence long-term citation counts. Ultimately, These findings are compiled into a list of suggestions for students and researchers on how to maximize the long-term visibility and reach of their research.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MBE

    Location:
    Bulletin of Marine Science

    MPS Track:
    TME

    Keywords:
    research | citations | database
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  • Marketing MSC certify sustainable skipjack tuna from the Maldives to the United States Market

    Lin, Jerry View Abstract

    This internship project is focused on examining an MSC certified sustainable fishery and analyzing the sustainability of the fish species, fishing method, socioeconomic benefits to the fishing community, and marketing of a canned skipjack tuna product in the U.S. market.  The fishery being examined is the skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) fishery in the Maldives, which will be researched in collaboration with the Maldives Industrial Fishing Company (MIFCO) and Fortuna Sea Products, Inc.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MES

    Location:
    Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (MIFCO)

    MPS Track:
    AQU

    Keywords:
    Fishing | Sustainability | Skipjack | Maldives
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  • Using Ethnography to Analyze Incongruities in a Conservation Non Profit Organization in the Galapagos Islands

    DiPietro, Ayssa View Abstract

    The Intercultural Outreach Initiative is a Florida-based 501(c)(3) registered, international not for profit organization that seeks to help establish an ecologically sustainable and socially stable local economy in the Galapagos via programs in conservation, education, social development and public health. Organically growing from the roots up, IOI’s employees and projects have been added on a needs basis. Thus, incongruities between IOI’s organizational structure, operational system and communication channels occur. These anticipated incongruities hinder the efficiency that local initiatives have on their mission in Isabela.

    In an effort to deliver a political ecology analysis of IOI’s integration into Isabela and identify structural, operational and communicative discrepancies—data was collected and analyzed on IOI’s employees and various interest groups within Isabela. Data collection tools included participant observation and interviewing and analytical tools included situational analysis, triangulation and interest group mapping.

    Using these ethnographic tools garnered insight into the relationship between IOI’s organizational structure, operations, communication channels and surrounding network. Insights aided in the refinement of job descriptions that solve incongruities in organizational structure; in the determination of workflows that streamline operational efficiency; and in navigating competition, uncertainty and a lack of trust in communication channels—which allows for more to be accomplished at a grassroots level.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MES

    Location:
    Intercultural Outreach Initiative

    MPS Track:
    CZM

    Keywords:
    Galapagos | conservation | economy
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  • Development of a Digital Data Collection Methodology for Coral Monitoring Surveys

    Langweiser, Cailtin View Abstract

    The goal of this project was to develop a more efficient methodology for coral monitoring data collection resulting in reduced data entry times and improved data accuracy. My project utlilizes South Florida and Caribbean Networks (SFCN) Coral Monitoring Protocol V. 1.0 which depicts the current methodology of coral data collection and data input. I have applied advances in technology to create a modified coral data collection process, by transforming the current paper collection method into a digital format on an iOS-based tablet computer (iPad). This process was aided through a program called FileMaker Pro Advanced 14, which combines an interactive data entry form as well as a database to hold the collected coral data. FileMaker Pro has an extension to its’ desktop software, called FileMaker Go, which allows the mobile use of desktop created databases. The data entry form is then transfered to iPad and secured within the iDive housing- allowing underwater in situ collection of coral disease and species data and photographs. A series of quality assurance checks have been programmed into the data entry process to reduce user error. Data files are exported from FileMaker into xls format and merged with the primary SFCN Access coral database. Photos are also exported automatically and assigned with SFCN standarized file nomenclature. This new digital data collection methodology is designed to greatly reduce time, task loading, and data incosistencay associated with the current coral mointoring protocol.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MES

    Location:
    South Florida/Caribbean Network: National Park Service

    MPS Track:
    CSU

    Keywords:
    coral monitoring | data collection |
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  • Live Algae Substitution Trial for Larviculture Production of L. vannamei Penaeid Shrimp

    Grevers, Daniel View Abstract

    This project aims to add an alternative protocol for the algae feed requirements of Litopenaeus vannamei (White leg shrimp). Maintaining a continuous culture of healthy live algae throughout the larviculture period can be difficult and fraught with failures. During these trials, frozen dead algae are used as a partial (50%) and complete replacement for live algae. The algae being used is Thalassiosira Weissflogii. The live algae are provided by the algae department at Shrimp Improvement Systems and the dead algae are provided by Reed Mariculture (TW 1200). The trials are graded based on their survivals throughout the larviculture process as well as a final survival taken at the Postlarvae-6 stage. Additionally the animals will be judged using a post larvae health check developed at Shrimp Improvement Systems. The results of the trials were statistically insignificant. The 50% algae replacement trial returned survivals higher than previous commercial trials with the same algae paste replacement as well as higher survivals than the 100% replacement trials. In both trials, the animals in the trial tanks were comparatively underdeveloped compared to the control tanks. This includes under developed gills, gill fouling, decreased size and increased size disparity.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MES

    Location:
    Shrimp Improvement Systems

    MPS Track:
    AQU

    Keywords:
    aquaculture | algae | shrimp
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  • Program Evaluation in an Informal Enviro-ed Program: Shark Research and Conservation at UM

    Cain, Stephen View Abstract

    Many shark populations globally are declining due to overfishing and other human stressors, thus underscoring the need for their conservation. Several studies in the field of environmental psychology suggest links between levels of knowledge and public concern for sharks. A larger body of research addresses the problem differently by examining the pathways to pro-environmental behavior. Informal environmental education programs, especially those that get students into the field, are found to generate knowledge and positive affect toward the environment, as well as foster student interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In fulfillment of my M.P.S. degree I used the theory of planned behavior to analyze the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of secondary school students who participated in a one-day shark-tagging program. Because of the environmental education program’s location in multicultural Miami, and its interaction with thousands of students annually, analysis of its participants represented a unique opportunity to explore the efficacy of such programs in encouraging pro-shark attitudes and pro-environmental behaviors.

    Report Year:
    2016

    Department:
    MES

    Location:
    Shark Research and Conservation

    MPS Track:
    MCO

    Keywords:
    sharks | overfishing | behavior | tagging
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  • Evaluating the Effectiveness of Marina Signage Along Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves

    Garcia, Elizabeth View Abstract

    Miami-Dade County is consistently a top-ranked county in Florida for boating accidents and fatalities. It is also home to Biscayne Bay, filled with unique, fragile marine resources that are both ecologically and economically significant. Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves is tasked with preserving the natural ecosystem and providing public access to the resources for the present and future generations. However, communication with boaters is difficult, yet important for disseminating information about protecting the natural resources and boat safety. One of the most common methods of communication is educational, non-regulatory signage in boat ramps and marinas. An intercept survey and mail surveys were conducted to determine the boaters’ level of use of signage. The results of the surveys suggest that boaters do not use signs to plan trips on the boat and signage is an inefficient use of an agency’s resources. This study highly recommends that BBAP’s Resources should instead be focused on other forms of communications such as internet campaigns and partnerships with other government agencies as well as news and weather stations.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves Florida Coastal Office, Florida Department of Environmental Protection

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Zone Management (CZM)

    Keywords:
    natural ecosystem | boater communication | boating accidents
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  • Spatial Inventory and Monitoring for Sustainable Aquaculture Development

    Luce, Jean-Baptiste View Abstract

    Across the globe the availability of and access to aquaculture zones and sites with favorable characteristics, including those areas that minimize interactions and conflicts with other activities, represent constraints for the expansion of the sector. Meeting the future demand for food from aquaculture will largely depend on the availability of space for aquaculture. In several countries where aquaculture is already well established, the spatial distribution of the sector has not been well planned. Moreover, in countries where aquaculture is a novel activity, a comprehensive and coordinated spatial plan to secure an adequate allocation of space in waters and land for sustainable growth of aquaculture is under development. Managing space is then of high importance whether it is for sustainable or economic development of the industry. A well-organized spatial planning will improve farms’ production, reduce environmental impacts, ease permitting process, encourage funding from private or public organizations, and bring confidence among workers (who usually work part-time in developing countries). It is important for countries to know the initial steps in spatial planning when their areas offer some potentials and advantages of developing the aquaculture industry. Countries need to do an inventory at each main stages of their development before moving forward. Site inventory is a basic step when a country wants to structure its part of sea, ocean or inland area for aquaculture purposes; it enables them to know what have been done, and what remains to be done. Sites inventory provides essential information when evaluating environmental, social, and economic feasibility of an aquaculture facility. It can enhance facility siting and management, assess environmental impacts to sensitive ecosystems and habitats, and monitor illegal farming and facility licensing process. There are several ways to conduct an inventory; it can be done through field work or through imagery analysis. Field work data collection mainly consists of going on sites so as to collect basic information that would be delivered by farmers. Primary data gathered on site include geographical coordinates, name of the farms, administrative levels, and other information that farmers would be willing to provide. On the other hand, additional data can be collected from spatial analysis using a variety of spatial tools. For instance, Travaglia et al. (2004) have shown that inventory through Satellite imaging radar (SAR) was successful to correctly identify fishponds and fish pens with a precision of 95% and 100%, respectively. However, analysis through SAR is quite expensive, and other assessment tools using imagery are now being offered at reasonable costs. In this study, the program Google Earth was the assessment tool to collect spatial information and support field project. In contrast to SAR, Google Earth is really user-friendly, simple to use, cost-efficient, and support field study. The utility of gathering such data help international organization make statistical estimates for countries in order to evaluate the countries’ economic state in general and the contribution of aquaculture to their economy. However, many farmers do not report, misreport, or incorrectly report data from their production, size of farms, or number of cages, etc. There are many reasons for this lack of data reporting especially in countries where aquaculture businesses are mostly family owned. It could be either due to scarcity of assessment capacity coming from the lack of education or workers availability. The role of FAO in aquaculture is to promote the sustainable development of the industry with an Ecosystem Approach to Aquaculture (EAA), share information and knowledge through analysis and reporting, and improve socio-economic feasibility by promoting and implementing legal guidelines and policies for aquaculture planning and management. FAO also procures information on aquaculture governance, resources, and technology. The statistical department (FIPS) working closely with the aquaculture department (FIRA) is also responsible for making global production data of member countries available through an online query. Finally, the National Aquaculture Sector and Legislation Overview (NASO & NALO) fact sheets consist of synthesizing information of different subjects on member countries and provide complementary data such as statistics, graphics, and profiles.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    Marine Ecosystems & Society (MES)

    Location:
    Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United-Nations

    MPS Track:
    Aquaculture (AQU)

    Keywords:
    aquaculture | sustainability | spatial planning
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  • Assessing Fisher Perceptions of Algal Bloom Impacts on Biscayne Bay- Dependent Fisheries

    Jones, Elizabeth View Abstract

    The status and health of Biscayne Bay has become of recent environmental concern due to three significant unprecedented algal bloom events that have occurred over the past decade (6). Although Biscayne Bay remains relatively healthy, it experiences periodic disruptions that have reduced the Bay’s ability to recover, resulting in prolonged algal bloom events. Algal blooms affect water quality within the Bay. These can have negative impacts on the local economy and Bay dependent businesses, property values, recreation and tourism, human health, and many ecologically and economically important ecosystems and associated organisms (10). If the scale and duration of such events continue to become more extreme, the long-term health and sustainability of the Bay is at risk. Through partnership with the Florida Sea Grant Extension Program, participants from three fishing sectors in South Florida were surveyed to identify perceived changes in the health of Biscayne Bay. Survey responses were analyzed to identify perceived changes and threats to the Bay’s water quality, fisheries, and persistence of algae and algal blooms throughout their lifetime as fishers. Results were analyzed within and among each fishing sector; recreational, commercial, and charter to assess trends and relationships among user groups. This study is the first of its kind to qualitatively assess perceived threats and changes of Biscayne Bay from the perspective of the fishing sectors. Identifying user perceptions and perceived threats to these sectors allows scientists, policy makers, and governments to understand these concerns and work to address them. These findings will provide a platform for further discussion among industries and allow policy makers and researchers to address issues of algal blooms and the negative impacts they may have on the future success of Biscayne Bay’s fisheries, as well as other water-dependent sectors of the economy.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    Marine Ecosystems & Society (MES)

    Location:
    UF/IFAS Sea Grant Extension Office: Miami Dade County, FL

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Sustainability (CSU)

    Keywords:
    algal blooms | fisheries | Biscayne Bay | water quality
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  • An analysis of sea turtle strandings in Zone 25 from 1980-2013

    Rivard, Sarah View Abstract

    Sea turtle strandings are often associated with anthropogenic impacts. This study aims to quantify those impacts and observe any trends in overall sea turtle strandings within the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network (STSSN) zone 25 from 1980-2013. This study focuses on six main questions: 1) Are overall stranding events increasing over time?, 2) Is there seasonality to strandings?, 3) Are there significant differences in size and species distributions over time?, 4) Are there significant changes in the documentation of fishing gear/marine debris over time?, 5) Are there significant changes in the documentation of boat interactions over time?, and 6) Are reports of fibropapillomatosis increasing? A total of 1,747 stranded turtles were reported during the 1980-2013 time period for zone 25. The overall number of strandings was found to have significantly increased in the past but stabilized in recent years. A non-significant but visible trend in monthly strandings was also apparent in the data. No prominent changes in sea turtle size or species were found. No trends in fishing gear or marine debris were found. Boat interactions greatly increased from 1980-2004 but began to show a decrease in more recent years. Reports of fibropapillomas remained relatively constant over the time period starting around 1996. In conclusion, statistical tests on a larger data set are needed to determine if these trends hold true for the entire state of Florida.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    Marine Biology & Ecology (MBE)

    Location:
    NOAA SEFSC (Miami, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystems (TME)

    Keywords:
    sea turtle stranding, anthropogenic impacts, fibropapillomas
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  • Exploratory Analysis into the Temporal and Spatial Distribution Patterns Among Humpback Whales and Dolphins in the Southern Gulf of Maine

    Petracca, Anna View Abstract

    Despite being on the Endangered Species List since 1973 the humpback whale (Megaptera Novaeanglia) species is still in danger of extinction.  For this reason, understanding fully the habitat use and distribution of these whales is critical to protecting them efficiently. The Gulf of Maine area off the coast of New England, United States is a rich habitat for humpback whales as well as other species of baleen whales such as fin and minke whales and other smaller cetaceans such as harbor porpoises, common dolphins and Atlantic white -sided dolphins. This area, in particular the Stellwagen Bank region, was the focus of this study. Data from 2009 to 20133 provided by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Group was analyzed to describe the spatial and temporal habitat use of the species mentioned previously. Using geographic information systems (GIS) important habitat use patterns were revealed. There were high density areas of humpbacks close to the shore of Provincetown, in between the southern edge of Stellwagen Bank and the coast. Importantly, this area is outside of the protection of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Additionally, increasing numbers of humpback whales have been sighted along the back side of Cape Cod and within the Great South Channel region. This study has revealed important habitat areas in need of protection for all cetacean species

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF

    Location:
    Gulf of Maine (Stellwagon Bank)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation (MCO)

    Keywords:
    Stellwagon Bank | humpback whale (Megaptera novaeanglie) | GIS
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  • Spatial and temporal changes in lionfish distribution in Biscayne National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and the greater Florida Keys 2009-2012

    Peebles, Kelly View Abstract

    Indo-Pacific lionfishes (Pterois volitans and P. miles) are the first non-native marine fish species to become established in the western Atlantic and are now abundant along the eastern seaboard of the United States, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.  To help resource managers control and mitigate the negative impacts of lionfish populations on coral reef ecosystems, the South Florida/Caribbean Network is monitoring invasive lionfish populations in Biscayne National Park (BISC) and Dry Tortugas National Park (DRTO) using Reef Visual Census (RVC) data.  Utilizing RVC data from 2009-2012, this study spatially analyzed temporal changes in lionfish distributions throughout BISC, DRTO, and the Florida reef tract.  Since 2010, there has been an overall increase in lionfish density, occurrence, and abundance.  During this period, both mean and maximum observed lengths have also increased.  Comparison of percent occurrence by depth and stratum in the Florida Keys region suggests a habitat preference for deep (>18m) low-relief forereefs.  A similar comparison in the Dry Tortugas suggests habitat preferences for isolated and contiguous reefs with medium-high levels of relief.  It is likely that, due to limited lionfish detectability and relatively few surveys in some locations, RVC data significantly underestimate lionfish population metrics and the extent of the species’ distribution within the sampling domain.  However, our ability to identify and interpret trends in lionfish population changes will improve significantly in the future, as additional datasets become available.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    Marine Biology and Fisheries (MBF)

    Location:
    National Park Service, South Florida/Caribbean Network

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystems (TME)

    Keywords:
    Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans & Pterois miles) | RVC data | coral reef ecosystems
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  • The Development of an Innovative Citizen Science Initiative at a Marine Mammal/Zoological Facility

    Nicholson, Katherine View Abstract

    Citizen science is an invaluable tool for engaging the general public in scientific and conservation efforts. Citizen science activities can educate, entertain, and inspire. There have been many successful citizen science projects hosted within zoological facilities and successful citizen science projects focused on marine mammal behavioral data collection, but to date there are no efforts that effectively combine the two. In this project, I synthesized existing information regarding citizen science projects focused on marine mammals, citizen science projects within zoological facilities, key components of successful citizen science projects, how to account for error in citizen science projects, and useful and relevant marine mammal data within a zoological facility. I also conceptualized a citizen science project, Cetacean Observation, for bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) behavioral data collection within a zoological facility, Jungle Island. The goals of the project were to address problems associated with marine mammal behavioral data collection within the framework of a citizen science project, and to create an engaging, educational, and inspirational user experience that simultaneously provided valuable data to the Jungle Island staff members with the goal of improved animal care.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    Jungle Island (Miami, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation (MCO)

    Keywords:
    citizen science | marine mammals
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  • R & marine fish communities: development of semi-automated data analysis and reporting procedures

    Murdock, Meagan View Abstract

    The goal of this project was to streamline and partially automate methods of data analysis and summary reporting for a natural resource, making it easier to relay important information about resource status to policy-makers and other stakeholders. My project utilizes coral reef fish data (species identification, abundance, and estimated size) collected in the United States Virgin Islands by the National Park Service, NOAA, University of Miami, and other partners. The process developed involves downloading and checking data from the NOAA National Coral Reef Monitoring Program Database and importing, storing, and manipulating it in Microsoft Access to create an analysis-ready dataset. Then, the statistical analysis software R is used to efficiently analyze the data and link it to existing graphing routines. The process was tested using datasets ranging from 2003 to 2013. The R code analysis step takes approximately 2 minutes to process 10 years of data for over 200 fish species and generate graphical summaries for each. The R code and process are documented and usable by other researchers. By making analyses more efficient and uniform, the time between data collection and development of data summary reports is minimized and important information can be rapidly conveyed to natural resource managers and relevant stakeholders.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    Marine Biology & Fisheries (MBF)

    Location:
    National Park Service, South Florida/Caribbean Network

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystems (TME)

    Keywords:
    R software | automating data analysis | coral reef fish
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  • Environmental Compliance and Policy in the Cruise Line Industry

    McCall, Morgan View Abstract

    Prestige Cruise Holdings Inc. is a global cruise company and parent company to Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises, whose corporate office is located in Doral, Florida. The focus of this internship was to gain experience and knowledge about the cruise industry, and to also see how an industry that is subject to different national and international regulations and laws is able to function smoothly. Different projects were completed for the company ranging from the creation of ArcGIS maps for fuel and sulfur emission visuals, to analyzing monthly waste landing for different ships and comparing those values to the prior year. In order to maintain the allure of cruising to exotic destinations, the cruise industry has to ensure it works to protect the seas and destinations that allow the industry to be so successful.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    Prestige Cruise Holdings (Doral, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation (MCO)

    Keywords:
    cruise industry | ArcGIS | waste and fuel emissions
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  • Advancing Hatchery Technology of Cobia, Rachycentron canadum, in support of commercial offshore aquaculture

    Gabrielli, Matthew View Abstract

    Open Blue Sea Farms is a commercial aquaculture operation that has been focused on the production of cobia, Rachycentron canadum, a tropical marine finfish, since the company’s inception in 2007. Operating on the Caribbean coast of Panama since 2009, Open Blue has developed into one of the pioneers of offshore aquaculture. A company with primary goals of sustainability and full vertical integration, until recently Open Blue operated utilizing the outdated infrastructure of a hatchery in Puerto Lindo, Panama, with additional support from the University of Miami Experimental Hatchery.

    Due to the increase costs associated with operating aquaculture offshore, the only way such a visionary company like Open Blue could become competitive is through economies of scale and vertical integration. Open Blue’s projected scale-up production demand required the construction of a larger hatchery that would be custom built from the ground up. The advent of offshore aquaculture is still a relatively new venture and the hatcheries that supply these offshore farms, while not fundamentally different, nevertheless vary slightly in some aspects. This paper details the creation of Open Blue’s Viento Frio Hatchery from the planning and design phase through construction and finally the commissioning and operation of the site. The completion of the Viento Frio hatchery was an important step for Open Blue to achieve the production scale required for an offshore aquaculture firm to become economically viable. The hatchery is now complete and in full operation and this report describes all steps of project development, from its inception to the operational stage.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF

    Location:
    Open Blue Sea Farms (Puerto Lindo, Panama)

    MPS Track:
    Aquaculture (AQU)

    Keywords:
    Open Blue Sea Farms | offshore aquaculture | hatchery design and operation
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  • A More Resilient and Sustainable Miami-Dade County

    Gleason, Megan View Abstract

    Miami-Dade County municipalities are limited in what they can do in order to fight for climate resilience and sustainability due to scarce funding, lack of political support from the state, and lack of the jurisdiction that some issues require, but there are still things they have done and can do to work independently. A survey completed by 31 of 34 municipalities in the County showed that each municipality is on a different level when it comes to actions each has been able to take towards climate resilience and sustainability. Miami Beach has taken the most actions and can be looked to as a leader by other municipalities. Municipalities can also look to municipalities outside the County and even the Country’s Climate Action Plans as models for change and inspiration for what can happen in the future.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    The Village of Pinecrest, Miami-Dade County (FL)

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Sustainability (CSU)

    Keywords:
    Miami-Dade County | coastal resilience | sustainability
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  • Old Smokey: A Case Study in Environmental Justice

    Eads, Andrew View Abstract

    The purpose of this study was to highlight the potential use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in environmental justice projects with the use of the former Old Smokey Incinerator site of the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, FL as a case study. Geographic Information Systems are systems designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and/or present all types of spatial or geographical data. GIS is widely used across professions including urban planning, crime modeling/analysis, resource management, and population modeling, among many others.

    A study area site of with a one mile radius from the current location of the Fire Training Center was established to include areas with high traffic including parks and schools. Soil Samples taken at intervals of 0 – 0.5 ft and 0.5 – 2 ft below the ground were performed at random sites within the Fire Training Center. Measures for arsenic (As), barium (Ba), cadmium (Cd), and lead (Pb) were interpolated using GIS to create a surface depicting estimates of pollutant levels. The IDWs estimate that Arsenic is the most expansive contaminant by far, followed by Lead and Barium, with Cadmium levels being largely below the cleanup target level. Additionally a general trend of pollution is found in the first quadrant, northeast of the Fire Training Center. This area contains two known parks and several residential areas and could provide an area for further focus.  Lastly it is noted that additional sampling measures are required to provide a more representative estimate of the intended area of study.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    Coconut Grove, FL

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation (MCO)

    Keywords:
    Geographic Information Systems (GIS) | Old Smokey Incinerator | environmental justive projects
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  • The Documentation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Nonhydrostatic Icosahedral Model (NIM)

    Bonfanti, Christina View Abstract

    The Nonhydrostatic Icosahedral Model, NIM, is a new grid mesh global weather model still in its final stages of development. I have developed the beginning documentation which involved working closely with Dr. MacDonald to clean up and add comments within the NIM Fortran code; create a public website, user guide, and modeler’s guide; develope figures to illustrate the fundamentals of the model; learn to run the model; collaborate with the model’s developers and team to innovate new documentation methods. In order to successfully document and publicize the model, I developed a strong foundation in the comprehension of the model itself, including the code/variables/routines. This required understanding the fundamental NIM equations, their representation in finite volume form and analytical mehtods used to solve them, andthe type of computational and parallelization methods used within the model. NIM has been sucessfully documented so that the entire community, and in particular modelers, users, and the public, can clearly understand and use the model as well as benefit from the model’s forecasts and research advances.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    Meteorology and Physical Oceanography

    Location:
    NOAA - David Skaggs Research Center (Boulder, CO)

    MPS Track:
    Computational Meteorology and Oceanography (CMO)

    Keywords:
    Nonhydrostatic Icosahedral Model (NIM) | program guide | global weather model
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  • Effects of Low pH on Juvenile Bay Scallop Survival Rates

    Witczak, Devon View Abstract

    The Bay Scallop (Argopectan irradians) is an important commercial species with a key ecological role in Sarasota Bay (Arnold et al., 2005). As filter feeders, bay scallops help keep the bay clean as well as serve as indicators of the Bay’s overall health. They’re also a popular seafood, but commercial and recreational harvests of bay scallops have been halted since their decline starting in the 1950’s (Stephenson, Parker and Geiger, 2013). Restoration efforts are underway by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, and Sarasota County government. To support the restoration of this species, further understanding of the variables that may be harmful to the recovery of this species is needed. One concern for this species is whether reduced pH levels may have a negative effect on juvenile bay scallops. A controlled laboratory experiment was established to address specifically the impacts of low pH on scallop survivorship. The scallops were separated into a control group and an experimental group. The control group had “ambient” water flowing in with a pH of about 8.1, and the control group had “acidic” water flowing in with a pH of about 7.6. The experiment lasted twelve weeks. Growth was low for both groups, suggesting that the scallops were underfed. However, there was a higher survivorship rate for the juvenile scallops that were kept under control conditions. While the results of this study were not as robust as desired, the findings provided initial support of future hypothesis on the factors influencing the survivorship of juvenile bay scallops under changing environmental conditions.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    Marine Ecosystems & Society (MES)

    Location:
    Mote Marine Laboratory: Sarasota, FL

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation (MCO)

    Keywords:
    scallops | pH | survivorship | acidic water
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  • Implementation of the Impacts Catalog at the Miami Weather Forecast Office

    Rodriguez, Kevin View Abstract

    NOAA’s Weather Ready Nation Initiative is to improve the NWSs forecasts, warnings and information for events that threaten lives and livelihood through the implementation of Impact-Based Decision Support Services. Decision-makers use information from the NWS forecasts on a daily basis to make potentially life saving decisions. There is a growing need for more information about the probability or likelihood of a high-impact event in order to make more informed decisions, and to commence communications between forecasters and emergency managers days before a disaster strikes. The Impacts Catalog identifies the thresholds for high-impact weather events, and brings attention to the forecaster of the location where these thresholds are being met. Forecasters then initiate communication with emergency managers and other local officials. This project describes the implementation of the Impacts Catalog at the Miami Weather Forecast Office. It also focuses on the technical aspects of the Impacts Catalog interface, the regional and national development of the Catalog, and feedback from experienced forecasters on the Catalog’s usefulness and effectiveness.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    Atmospheric Sciences (ATM)

    Location:
    National Weather Service: Miami, FL

    MPS Track:
    Weather Forecasting (WFC)

    Keywords:
    weather forecasting | Impacts Catalog | weather prediction
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  • Investigation of Harvest Productivity at Healthy Earth Sarasota’s Siberian Sturgeon Recirculating Aquaculture Farm

    Odin, Joelle View Abstract

    A study was conducted at Healthy Earth’s Siberian Sturgeon (Acipenser baerii) farm in Sarasota, Florida to examine caviar harvest productivity in recent years. Productivity was quantified as a measure of a mature female’s caviar yield and ovarian waste at the time of harvest. Numerous farming practices, including the aspect of feeding, are known to affect reproductive physiology and oocyte development in mature female sturgeon. This study investigated how changes in commercial diet composition influenced egg and fat production in sturgeon ovaries. Two-thousand six-hundred and sixty-eight fish were sampled in this study. Samples were broken up by year of harvest, by harvest run, and also by diet treatment to identify and compare productivity trends. Mean caviar yields were significantly higher in 2013 than in 2014 and 2015. Mean ovarian waste was significantly reduced in 2015 from what it was in 2014 and 2013. Fish sampled that were on the Original diet performed significantly better at harvests than fish on the Intermediate (second and third) diets. No change in yield or waste was detected between fish on the second or third diet. Fish on the fourth diet performed relatively similarly to those on the Original diet. Fish harvested in 2015 had significantly improved caviar yields and reduced ovarian waste. Roughly half of the fish harvested in 2015 were on the fourth diet and half were on one of the Intermediate diets. While the fourth diet change could be responsible for the enhanced productivity of fish on the fourth diet, the productivity improvement in fish on the Intermediate diet cannot be attributed to a diet change. Considering these results, continued research is necessary to confirm dietary effects on egg production and ovarian waste accumulation.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    Marine Ecosystems & Society (MES)

    Location:
    Healthy Earth Sarastoa INC: Sarasota, FL

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation (MCO)

    Keywords:
    sturgeon | cavier | diet | egg production | aquaculture
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  • Recolonization rates of invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans [Linneaus 1758] and p. miles [Bennett 1828]) on natural and artifical reefs: Implications for migration and management

    Hoffman, Michael View Abstract

    Invasive lionfish have invaded the vast majority of the Atlantic and Caribbean Oceans, resulting in profound negative effects on native marine species and ecosystems via interspecific competition, direct predation, and trophic cascades. While complete eradication of these ravenous predators is now widely considered an impossible feat, controlling lionfish populations in sensitive and ecologically important areas may help to mitigate the pressure on native species in certain ranges. This study evaluated the recolonization rates of lionfish after removals were performed at seven natural and four artificial reefs throughout Biscayne National Park. The number of fish observed and removed from each study site was recorded to determine if significant differences existed in the recolonization of lionfish at varying depths and habitat types. Additionally, the size of each lionfish removed from each study site was recorded to ascertain whether the size of invasive lionfish changed significantly due to the repeated removals throughout the study. Overall, 212 lionfish were removed with a mean size of 29.46±7.21cm, and a removal success rate of 86.15%. A slight significant increase in the size of the lionfish collected throughout the course of the study was found coinciding with trends of increasing lionfish sizes since the beginning of the invasion of Biscayne National Park. Furthermore, a trend of increasing lionfish size with depth was discovered. No significant patterns in the recolonization rates of lionfish could be determined on artificial reef study sites, likely due to interference from public divers and spear-fishermen. However, an increase in lionfish recolonization on natural reef sites corresponded with increasing depth. Differences in the recolonization of lionfish and their respective sizes were also compared on a seasonal basis, between fall (July 16th 2014 – the last date a site each site was visited in November 2014), and winter (the last date each site was visited in November 2014 – April 30th 2015) seasons. No significant seasonal differences in the size or recolonization rates of invasive lionfish were found. These findings were used to form recommendations on the most effective weekly schedule of removals needed to prevent more than three invasive lionfish from inhabiting these areas.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    Marine Biology & Ecology (MBE)

    Location:
    Biscayne National Park: Miami FL

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystems (TME)

    Keywords:
    invasive species | lionfish | recolonization rate | removal
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  • Projecting Oil Dispersion in the Gulf of Mexico, Straits of Florida, and Caribbean Sea Using Climatological Data from Drifting Buoys and Surface Winds

    Dolk, Shaun View Abstract

    Oil spills are a serious threat to coastal neighborhoods and businesses that rely on nearby marine resources, including tourism. Most existing oil spill models focus on real-time prediction to aid response efforts, but are not ideal to forecast the impact of spills from existing, or proposed exploration sites, into the future. Therefore, to improve seasonal to annual oil response preparations for potential upstream threats from oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico, Straits of Florida, and Caribbean Sea, I created an oil spill projection model using climatological records, including historical drifting buoy and surface wind databases. Utilizing climatological data is a statistical advantage, as it provides historical perspective in the region and allows me to measure the effects of data-based ocean current and wind velocities on oil dispersion. Incorporating data from the earliest drifters in the region, December 1992 to present, strengthens the model, which better projects oil trajectories and identifies areas of concern. A critical component of this project is community outreach and public awareness. Therefore, upon completion of the interactive oil spill projection model, I worked with the director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Adopt a Drifter Program (ADP) to illustrate the use of drifter data to analyze this critical issue. I chose NOAA’s ADP as a key partner to communicate the results of this model and to illustrate the use of drifter data to analyze this critical issue because the ADP is dedicated to establishing scientific partnerships between schools around the world and to engage students (grades K-12) in activities and communication about ocean climate science. Therefore, in addition to assessing the impacts from oil spills and improving long-term planning, the partnership with the ADP is designed to inspire students to use similar data to tackle this, and other key issues facing our communities.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    Atmospheric Sciences (ATM)

    Location:
    NOAA AOML, Adopt a Drifter Program: Miami, FL

    MPS Track:
    Weather, Climate and Society

    Keywords:
    oil spill | outreach | climatology | surface winds | drift buoy | Gulf of Mexico
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  • The Use of BOIVerify at the National Weather Service in Miami, FL to Enhance the Accuracy of Temperature and Precipitation Forecasts

    Byrd, Jacob View Abstract

    The purpose of this project is to verify the official forecasts and the different models used as guidance by the NWS in Miami, FL, after the implementation of the Southern Region Grid Policy in November 2014. It is believed that by using forecasts blends the official forecast can be made with an improved accuracy. The data is obtained from the AWIPS II system which houses numerous models for use with BOIVerify, which Jenks defines as a forecast weighting system that incorporates bias-corrected versions of the direct and statistical model output, and then compares the mean average error (MAE) of each of them. In our analysis, we compared the maximum and minimum temperature for the winter season of 2014-2015. Our results show that the National Weather Service in Miami, FL is already generally matching or outperforming the SuperBlend model in both the maximum and minimum temperature fields. In addition we compared model probability of precipitation forecasts (PoP) with the NWS’s PoP forecasts and found that the NWS overestimates low PoP values and underestimates high PoP values. Hopefully this study can be used to improve forecasts of high temperature, low temperature, and precipitation for the South Florida Forecast Region.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    Atmospheric Sciences (ATM)

    Location:
    National Weather Service

    MPS Track:
    Weather Forecasting (WFC)

    Keywords:
    Weather | forecast | model precipitation | BoiVerify
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  • A Statistical Package in R for the South Florida Reef Visual Census

    Ganz, Harry View Abstract

    The Reef Visual Census (RVC) is a multi-agency survey of reef fishes carried out biennially in South Florida. In the past, anyone wishing to produce summary statistics from the RVC data would either have to request it from someone familiar with the survey design, or they would need to produce their own, which required detailed knowledge of the survey design. In order to reduce the bottlenecking and duplication of effort in this process, a statistical package was produced in the programming language, R, which computes standard summary statistics used by scientists and managers familiar with the RVC data. In addition, an RVC database and web application were produced using the Rails framework in the Ruby programming language to serve as the back-end of the R package, and to allow for further development of software capable of analyzing the RVC data.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center (Miami, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Fisheries Management and Conservation (FSC)

    Keywords:
    Reef Visual Census (RVC) | R Software | Rails framework
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  • Promoting Climate Change Adaptation Through Legal Action: Climate Change Law, Climate Action Plans, and Governmental Liability

    Maloney, Jessica View Abstract

    As climate change impacts become more severe, and scientific certainty improves, climate action plans are being developed in an attempt to mitigate or adapt to a changing environment. In South Florida, where sea level rise and flooding issues have become part of the daily conversation, these action plans are especially important tools. However, the adoption of climate action plans may have made Florida governments vulnerable in a different way. By adopting these plans, they have acknowledged local climate change impacts and accepted that there are reasonable actions that can be taken to address them. Yet in many cases, the plans are not implemented or seriously acted upon. As shown through the study of past legal cases, this inaction may result in costly or lengthy litigation and will ultimately lead to communities that are not resilient in the face of climate change. It is therefore recommended that climate action plans in Southeast Florida be amended or developed to enforce meaningful actions with clear implementation steps, strict timelines, and regulation or state oversight. By doing so, and by making real efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, Florida governments will avoid liability associated with failure to prepare for known climate change impacts. It is also recommended that national legislation, such as the National Environmental Policy Act and Coastal Zone Management Act be revised to include specific climate change considerations. Attention to climate change at every level of government will allow for truly resilient communities.

    Report Year:
    2015

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Miami Waterkeeper; Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence, Florida

    MPS Track:
    CZM

    Keywords:
    Climate Change
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  • Prioritizing EPA’s Procurement Using Life-Cycle Hotspot Analysis

    Rella, John View Abstract

    In 2011, the General Services Administration did the first exploration on behalf of the federal government to find the environmental impacts associated with products and services it procured. The agency used an Environmentally Extended Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment and other methods to rank industry sectors based on measures of environmental impact and purchase volume. This project replicated and refined the GSA’s approach by creating a roadmap for the Environmental Protection Agency to prioritize its purchases so that it reduces its overall environmental profile. This process laid out a series of questions: What EPA purchases generate the greatest overall environmental impacts? What are their significant impacts? What are the best products/services to target? What are the sources of the impacts? What opportunities exist to reduce these impacts? After creating specific criteria and rank ordering the purchases based on aggregate environmental impact, the data shows that the sectors Waste Management & Remediation Services and Scientific Research & Development Services are the most impactful. These two sectors along with other crucial data has been given to the EPA so they can provide funding and guidance to identify the sources of the impacts and the opportunities to reduce those impacts.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    U.S. EPA (Washington, D.C.)

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Zone Management (CZM)

    Keywords:
    EPA, Environmentally Extended Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment, environmental impacts
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  • Development of Behavioral Milestones in Rehabilitated Southern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) Pups at Monterey Bay Aquarium

    Kurtz, Jaclyn View Abstract

    This project involved a thorough, first-time analysis of recorded “Behavioral Milestone” data for rehabilitated southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) pups in the Sea Otter Research and Conservation (SORAC) program at Monterey Bay Aquarium. Fifty mutually exclusive developmental milestones, intended to quantify specific stages of behavioral development for both males and females otter pups, were identified, operationally defined and grouped into six “Behavior Categories”. Age of onset and the total number of developmental milestones were identified for each pup until 8 weeks of age (n = 53). The total population achieved three key milestones that often predict post-release success if performed proficiently before introduction with a surrogate: self-sufficient grooming, diving to the bottom of the trough, and retrieving food items from the water. Age class 5 was associated with the highest diversity of milestones achieved, while age classes 1 and 8 represented the most limited diversity of milestones achieved. Pre-swimming behavior decreased in initial onset over the study period, while diving and foraging behavior increased over time. Females (n = 31) and males (n = 22) exhibited 49 and 47 milestones, respectively, of the comprehensive list of 50. Females displayed foraging behavior earlier than did male pups but did not exhibit any swimming behavior during age class 1, in which males achieved significantly higher milestone counts than females. Results were also compared to wild and captive literature on pup development, indicating similar developmental patterns among these different environments. These findings will be used as an updated baseline reference for behavioral monitoring in the SORAC program in order to better understand pup behavioral ontogeny and thus increase the likelihood of pup survival and reproduction post-release. A final product of this project included a new SORAC template for recording developmental pup behavior data that can be utilized across various wild and captive study settings.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Biology and Fisheries (MBF)

    Location:
    Monteray Bay Aquarium (Monteray, CA)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science (MMS)

    Keywords:
    southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis), Sea Otter Research and Conservation (SORAC) program, behavioral milestone
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  • A Qualitative Analysis of Billfish Angling Relative to Tagging Practices in the Western Atlantic Ocean

    Katz, Adrienne View Abstract

    Billfish are challenging to study in part due to the wide geographical area that makes up their habitat and their complex migration patterns. These qualities also make it difficult to conserve and manage billfish stocks. The data provided by traditional billfish tagging programs endeavors to fill in knowledge gaps surrounding growth rate, migration patterns and habitat usage at a relatively low cost. Data was gathered for this study from the National Marine Fisheries Service and NOAA’s  Cooperative Tagging Center, as well as commentary provided that indicates the percentage of billfish being released has increased over the last three decades. In contrast, The Billfish Foundation (TBF), who maintains the largest private billfish tagging database, shows a decrease in the amount of fish being tagged. This internship report will focus on tag and release activity within the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the western North Atlantic. A survey was distributed to billfish anglers in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Orange Beach, Alabama, as well as by email to TBF members. The primary objective of the survey was to reveal indications that explain the decline in tagging. Of 126 surveys that were completed, 83% of respondents who no longer tag, indicated that better information about how their data is being used would be the incentive needed to return to tagging. Although the survey didn’t yield the precise results intended, perhaps almost as important, it did reveal which factors were not causing the decline. Combined with valuable demographic information gathered, the results will benefit the cultivation of approaches designed to gain new membership as well as encourage current members to continue their participation.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    The Billfish Foundation (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Sustainability (CSU)

    Keywords:
    billfish, tag and release, U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ), public survey
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  • Enhancing AOML Science Communications via Social Media Platforms

    Jones, Shannon View Abstract

    With the development of more affordable technology, the presence of online informative and social media websites promoting public awareness of science has increased. The communications department at AOML began using two new forms of social media, Twitter and Publiscize, to enlighten the public on its science policy issues. To gauge if Twitter and Publiscize are effective tools for AOML to increase the traffic on its website, we analyzed both forms of social media during the summer of 2014. We also looked at the use of Publiscize as a tool for individual scientists to use in promoting their own research and over the course of five months we consistently updated the both sites with new content. Using websites such as Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics, etc., we learned both Publiscize and Twitter, compared to the previous year, increased in not only the number of sessions via social media on AOML’s website, but enhanced the amount of energy put into AOML’s online presence. Due to the relatively recent introduction of Publiscize to the scientific community, individual scientists did not make using this website an immediate priority, but with a continued effort within the site, we believe it can become a valuable transitioning tool from the scientific community to the public. We recommend a continuation of these analyses and constant updating of protocols on both sites to ensure and demonstrate how these social media sites can benefit AOML in terms of informative output.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    AOML (Miami, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation (MCO)

    Keywords:
    AOML, social media, public awareness
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  • Pirate Fishing and Politics: Getting Congressional Support for Illegal Fishing Legislation

    Jennings, Lindsay View Abstract

    Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a global threat facing the achievement of sustainable fisheries. While not a new phenomenon, this great ocean heist accounts for estimates of between $10 and $23 billion annually in revenue losses worldwide. IUU fishing leads to environmental degradation, political instability, corruption, slave labor, and smuggling of illicit cargo. Acknowledging the often-opaque nature of fishing enforcement and prosecution, illegal fishermen are adept at skirting the laws and evading authorities. As a result, the main goal of this fellowship with the Marine Conservation Institute was to affect policy change within the current Congress to pass three pieces of IUU legislation (H.R. 69, S. 267, and S. 269) – all aimed at streamlining current laws, strengthening enforcement, and denying IUU imports from entering the United States. Campaign tactics to move these bills out of Congress included lobbying and educating Congressional staff about IUU fishing and the impacts of the bills, identifying Republican and Democratic ocean champions, engaging in outreach through various platforms, attending Congressional hearings and meetings, and developing recommendations to deliver to federal agencies. While the campaign’s ultimate goals to pass all three bills are still in progress, the Marine Conservation Institute has been successful in moving H.R. 69 forward for a final vote by the House of Representatives, opening dialogue with new Congressional ocean champions, and positioning the bills to move out of Congress to later be signed into law by the President, ideally before the 114th Congress is sworn into office.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    Marine Conservation Institute (Washington, DC)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation (MCO)

    Keywords:
    illegal/unreported/unregulated fishing (IUU), Marine Conservation Institute, policy
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  • The Socioeconomic Importance of Fishing in Port Salerno, Florida

    Flinn, Austin View Abstract

    Port Salerno is an unincorporated town in Martin County, Florida with a population of 10,091 (Port Salerno CDP, 2014). Over the past few decades, the once thriving commercial fishing hub has undergone many changes due to local and external pressures. Fishing regulations have had a major impact on the community. Because of the regulations, Port Salerno’s economy shifted from predominantly commercial fishing to a resort and recreational fishing economy (Community Development: Port Salerno, 2010-11).  A community profile was created by interviewing stakeholders using the Snowball Method to learn how local and external events impact Port Salerno socioeconomically. The data collected provided perspectives on the importance of fishing from commercial and recreational fishermen, marinas, bait and tackle shops, seafood businesses, and boat repair shops in the small waterfront town. Data was interpreted using content analysis methods, stakeholder matrices, and GIS; thus creating a voice for the community and useful suggestions for government policymakers. Additionally, it contributes to an objective of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MFCMA) which “requires agencies to examine the economic impacts of policies and regulations at the community level… [portraying] past and current engagement in fisheries…and also contain social and economic characteristics of these communities” (NOAA: Human Dimensions, 2014).

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    Univerity of Miami (Miami, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Zone Management (CZM)

    Keywords:
    community profile, fishing economy, Port Salerno
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  • An Overview of Principal Coastal Economic Sectors within the Southeast United States

    Fleming, Chloe View Abstract

    This report provides an overview of the key coastal economic sectors found within the southeast United States, including the Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic and U.S. Caribbean. These regions share key coastal economic areas of interest, including oil and gas production, maritime transportation, tourism, and fisheries and aquaculture. The study found that southeast region holds over 30% of the nation’s population and employment opportunities, as well as generating roughly 30% of the nation’s GDP and personal income. Oil production is the most valuable natural resource-based activity in the southeast generating $9.1 billion. Waterborne commerce and tourism are other major economic sectors. Over 52.2% of the nation’s trade tonnage passed through southeast ports, and these ports were responsible for shipping over $3.8 trillion in exports and imports. Tourism generated $206.7 billion in tourism and travel related expenditures (23.3% of the nation’s total), $31.5 billion in taxes and supported 3 million jobs. Fisheries and aquaculture were found to play a significant role in providing food, income, employment and recreational opportunities. Local commercial fleets produced 18.4% of the nation’s landings and dockside revenues. Additionally, the southeast region was responsible for 45% of the nation’s aquaculture production sales and held 52% of the nation’s aquaculture farms. The report concludes by highlighting the importance and heterogeneity of these sectors within the southeast region and the importance of considering tradeoffs when developing ecosystem based management plans.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    NOAA - SEFSC (Miami, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Zone Management (CZM)

    Keywords:
    coastal economics, southeast U.S.
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  • The Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Eleven Scleractinian Coral Species of the Virgin Islands National Park

    DiLeo, Julia View Abstract

    Coral reefs in the Virgin Islands National Park (VIIS) have undergone drastic declines in the past three decades. Moreover, but recent projections based on climate modeling have predicted increased rapid, global-scale losses will occur due to increased anthropogenic and environmental stressors. As a result of these observed and projected declines, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) proposed 20 coral species of the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic to be listed as threatened in August of 2014. Of the 20 species listed, five are important reef-building species native to the Caribbean and found within the VIIS boundaries.  To achieve comprehensive and effective protection of remaining reef resources, it is imperative to improve our scientific understanding of the abundance, condition, and trends of key Scleractinian coral species found within national park resources. The data collection and analysis methods used by the South Florida/Caribbean Network Inventory and Monitoring Program (SFCN) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have produced two substantial databases that were explored here using geospatial information systems to map the spatial and temporal trends of the following 7 ESA listed species and 4 additional reef-building Scleractinian species: Orbicella annularis, Orbicella faveolata, Orbicella franksi, Mycetophyllia ferox, Dendrogyra cylindrus, Acropora cervicornis, Acropora palmata, Colpophyllia natans, Pseudodiploria strigosa, Pseudodiploria clivosa and Diploria labrynthiformis. Monitoring by the SFCN monitoring occurs at five permanent sites that contain complex reefs with high coral cover within VIIS boundaries, while NOAA monitoring occurs at randomly selected sites within all hard bottom habitats of St. John, USVI.   Data from the SFCN and NOAA databases were used to create an interactive resource management tool to visualize the spatial and temporal changes each species has undergone at the specific and broad scales, as well as to asses the impacts of the 2005 bleaching and disease event. The mapping and visualization tool developed here is based on the percent coral cover data, collected by the SFCN and NOAA monitoring programs to represent species’ abundances at targeted and broad regional scales.  This project is accessible to all National Park Service staff and other scientists to assist with natural resource protection and interpretation goals. Mapping the spatial and temporal trends of 11 important reef-building species provides the basis for efficient marine spatial planning. This tool provides accurate and up-to-date spatial information that can be easily used and assessed by resource managers and provides valuable information needed to promote effective and affordable ways to improve the management of these vital marine resources.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    Palmetto Bay, FL

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation (MCO)

    Keywords:
    coral reef, Virgin Islands National Park, GIS
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  • Testing ROCCA (Real-Time Odonotocete Call Classification Algorithm) for Five Delphinid Species in the Western North Atlantic

    Cossavella, Julie View Abstract

    Visual shipboard and aerial surveys are the most widely used form of cetacean assessment but are limited by sighting probabilities, as cetaceans are often not readily detectable at the surface and are highly mobile, daylight, and weather. In comparison, acoustic surveys are constrained by vocal activity and the ability to identify species. The combination of both methods, however, is more powerful than either method alone; passive acoustic data can supplement visual data collection, particularly with the development of methodologies to identify species by their vocalizations with minimal constraints. An algorithm written by Julie Oswald at Bio-Waves, Inc. called ROCCA (Real-Time Odontocete Call Classification Algorithm) was evaluated using PAMGUARD to test for the program’s ability to identify and discriminate between five Atlantic delphinid species using passive acoustic data. The data used in this study were collected in the northern and southern regions of the western North Atlantic Ocean aboard the R/V Bigelow by NOAA/NEFSC and the R/V Gordon Gunter by NOAA/SEFSC in the summer of 2013 using a towed hydrophone array. Results showed regional differences in correct classification rates, with SEFSC data associated with a higher Kappa statistic (0.314) than NEFSC data (0.102), but an overall better recognition in both regions for Tursiops truncatus and Stenella frontalis than for Globicephala spp. and Stenella coeruleoalba. Contour variables were also analyzed for each species to determine unique species characteristics. The results and analyses provide developmental insight and strategies regarding how to further refine ROCCA for real-time use in both regions and to contribute to improved marine mammal management by enhancing visual abundance studies with acoustic data.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Biology and Fisheries (MBF)

    Location:
    NOAA - NEFSC (Woods Hole, MA)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science (MMS)

    Keywords:
    cetacean assessment, visual/aerial surveys, acoustic surveys, ROCCA
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  • Identification and evaluation of local, state, and federal rules to improve compliance and enforcement of regulations to protect coral reef resources and minimize reef impacts.

    Tinsley, Megan View Abstract

    This report presents an analysis at the federal level of a project completed for the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative entitled “Identification and evaluation of local,
    state, and federal rules to improve compliance and enforcement of regulations to protect
    coral reef resources and minimize reef impacts”. Federal legislation with the potential to
    impact coral reef resources was examined and an analysis of federal agency actions (such as issuing permits, participating in consultations, and salvaging grounded ships, etc.) was conducted. Legislation and corresponding analysis are discussed broken into two major categories: Fishing, Diving and Other Uses and Maritime Industry and Coastal
    Construction Impacts.  This report spans three major topics and discusses their relevance to coral reef resources: Essential Fish Habitat consultations, beach nourishment in southeast Florida, and potential projects at Port Everglades. The interaction of state legislation with federal legislation is discussed where relevant, particularly in the beach nourishment section (3.0). An evaluation of the potential of both federal and state statutes to protect coral reefs reveals that the legislative mandates necessary to do so are present. As evidenced by the decline in the health of Florida’s coral reefs, a combination of conflicting federal agency oversight and an inability of the state of Florida to protect its coral reef resources from economic pressures is preventing coral reefs from receiving maximum protection.

    Report Year:
    2007

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative

    MPS Track:

    Report Call No.:

    Keywords:
    Coral reefs, fish habitats, beach nourishment, Port Everglades, Florida
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  • Analysis of Broward County as a model for sea level rise resiliency planning in Miami-Dade County.

    Basseda, Alec View Abstract

    The purpose of this study is to examine the methodology for sea level rise planning used in Broward County in order to implement a similar framework in Miami-Dade County. Broward’s planning model consisted of a countywide vulnerability assessment, followed by a countywide mitigation plan, and finally, a consideration of sea level rise added to their Comprehensive Plan. The study first aimed to determine areas at risk to inundation after a one-foot and two-foot rise in sea level, using Geographic Information Systems software to overlay county lands with projected inundated surfaces for each sea level rise scenario. Impacts to urbanization, redevelopment, and environmental services were analyzed, and an additional vulnerability assessment at the municipal level was also conducted in order to pinpoint expected impacts for municipal governments to consider. Ultimately, mitigation techniques highlighted from Broward’s plans will be considered for prompt implementation in most at-risk areas, in order to minimize impacts to infrastructure and future land use in Miami-Dade as well.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    Broward County, Florida

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Zone Management (CZM)

    Keywords:
    sea level rise, mitigation, Broward County, Miami-Dade, GIS
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  • Detection, mapping and analysis of freshwater springs in western Biscayne Bay, Florida

    Gonzalez, Christina Joy View Abstract

    A project entitled “DETECTION, MAPPING, AND CHARACTERIZATION OF GROUNDWATER DISCHARGES TO BISCAYNE BAY SFWMD CONTRACT C-15870”
    was initiated in January 2004 under a joint effort between NOAA and the University of Miami, under a grant from the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) in order to document, categorize, and describe the nature of existing artesian springs in Biscayne Bay, Florida. The study, which spanned one year in duration, accomplished the goals of finding and documenting existing springs, studying their nature, and analyzing the sediments and water chemistry of the spring waters. We found that a few existing larger springs and many ephemeral smaller springs flow readily during the wet season and after large rain events, and diminish or cease in flow during the dry season, or when canal flood gate structures are open, because of a decrease in the fresh water head of the underlying water tables of the mainland. Water analysis revealed that spring water salinities ranged from 8 to 31 ppt and were slightly acidic in the wet season, with a pH just below 7.0. Analysis also revealed silicon contents consistent with a groundwater source. Sediment analyses revealed a foraminifera assemblage pattern similar to that which would exist from a freshwater gradient to a more saline water environment. Scanning electron microscope analyses revealed extensive dissolution on foraminifera tests, primarily those
    associated with samples obtained from closer to the springs. This dissolution coincides with the foraminifera salinity tolerability range, as well as with the low pH of the spring waters. Despite all the data obtained during the brief period of this project, recommendations include further study into the nature of these springs, exact documentation of flow and spring water sources, and a more extensive study into the increased dissolution of the carbonate sediments of Biscayne Bay.

    Report Year:
    2006

    Department:
    MGG

    Location:
    South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD)

    MPS Track:

    Keywords:
    Biscayne Bay | artesian springs
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  • Linkages between corals and fish with implications for management in Southeast Florida.

    Ender, Alexander View Abstract

    Florida coral reefs have been declining in abundance and health for many decades (McManus 2001). This report focuses on the conservation of the northern portions of the Florida Coral Reef Tract which have received less management focus than other reef resources in the past. The continuing degradation of coral reefs in southeast Florida falls under the jurisdiction of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and their Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP). The CRCP’s goal is to preserve corals by increasing the research and monitoring of them, and to help develop a management plan containing stakeholder-developed management alternatives. Due to the relationship between corals and the reef fish, a management plan needs to incorporate both resources if there is to be a positive outcome for the entire ecosystem of coral reefs. This report researches the benefits of using management alternatives towards the preservation of coral reefs in southeast Florida. Utilizing previous and current management tools for corals and fisheries, along with case studies of place-based coral reef ecosystem management, can offer stakeholders information to make improved management decisions. By incorporating more aspects of the reef’s ecosystem into the management plan as well as understanding the interactions that take place, like between reef fish and corals, we might see greater success in protecting coral reefs.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Florida Department of Environmental Protection

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    Coral reefs | Florida
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  • Designing and Implementing a Hatchery Facility for the Commercial Production of Cobia, Rachycentron canadum

    Farkas, Daniel View Abstract

    Since the Fall of 2009, Open Blue Sea Farms – a commercial operation aimed at producing cobia (Rachycentron canadum) from egg to market – has been operating in
    Puerto Lindo & Miramar, two small towns in the province of Colon, Panama, Central
    America. During the first 18 months of operation, Open Blue Sea Farms (OBSF) relied
    entirely on the production of the University of Miami’s Experimental Hatchery at RSMAS for the supply of cobia fingerlings. In late 2010, the decision was made by OBSF to begin construction on a small hatchery facility in Puerto Lindo. The site selection of Puerto Lindo was based around the acquired assets and existing infrastructure available from a previous operation (Pristine Oceans). This report describes in details the design, construction and operation of the OBSF Puerto Lindo hatchery during the first 2 years of activities. The report examines the hatchery construction and details the subsequent successful (and unsuccessful) larval rearing production trials between August 2011 and November 2012. This hatchery was an important component for OBSF to achieve independence towards commercial production and its main goal of developing a truly vertically-integrated operation to produce cobia from egg to market in Panama.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Ocean Blue Sea Farms

    MPS Track:

    Keywords:
    Cobia (Rachycentron canadum) | hatchery
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  • Nutrient management in Florida waters : constructing a policy for the implementation of numeric nutrient criteria.

    Allen , Meredith View Abstract

    In 1998, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began development of strategy to act in partnership with states to develop numeric nutrient criteria for the nation’s waters. The plan came about following a determination that nutrients were the primary cause of water quality impairment in the United States. In 2002, Florida submitted its first draft plan to the E.P.A for the development of nutrient criteria in the state of Florida.
    Nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, are essential ingredients for a healthy
    ecosystem. However, the excess discharge of nutrients from man-made sources such as wastewater treatment facilities, agricultural, industry, golf courses and residential neighborhoods are overwhelming State waters and driving the natural environment out of balance. Nutrient driven events such as eutrophication and red tide are present in both fresh and marine waters. Until now, there were no actual numeric limits placed on nutrient sources that discharged waste into the State’s waters. However, with the adoption of actual numeric criteria, sources will soon be required to meet specific numeric limits on the quantity of Nitrogen and Phosphorous they release.
    Policymakers face the daunting challenge of managing such a complicated substance.
    The problem of calls for a cooperative partnership of stakeholders, including government, NGO’s and interest groups, sources of nutrient pollutants and those impacted by the negative consequences of excess nutrient discharge. Additionally, policymakers must implement increased efficiency standards and create new cost/benefit mechanisms by means of a precautionary driven regulatory scheme.

    Report Year:
    2008

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    CH2M Hill Foundation

    MPS Track:
    None

    Report Call No.:

    Keywords:
    water nutrients | water quality
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  • Literature review and gap analysis on the sources and effects of non-extractive stressors on coral reef ecosystems.

    Louon, Laura View Abstract

    Coral reef ecosystems are under severe threat from anthropogenic stressors. Beyond
    overfishing and global warming, coral reefs are impacted by non-extractive activities, including tourism and recreational related activities, such as trampling, snorkeling, SCUBA diving and boating, and coastal development-related effects such as sedimentation and nutrient enrichment. As coastal populations boom and communities increasingly rely on these activities for their income, it is important to understand their threats and how to properly manage them for sustainable coral reef conservation. This study consists of an extensive literature review on the sources and effects of local (versus global) non-extractive stressors on coral reef ecosystems, specifically focusing on tourism-related impacts. With the aid of Geographic Information Systems, temporal and geographic trends are then illustrated and topics and regions that are under-represented in this area of research are identified. Finally, recommendations are made as to how research effort could be more effectively directed for the better understanding, management and conservation of coral reef ecosystems around the world.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Marine and Coastal Research, Corp.

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    coral reef ecosystems
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  • On sustainability criteria applicable to billfish conservation.

    Brown , Julie E View Abstract

    As apex predators, billfish occupy an important position within the context of Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management (EBFM) for the pelagic environment. EBFM seeks to protect entire systems to restore or preserve productivity, which is historically defined as a yield of consumable products. This definition, however, should be expanded to include other services to humans, such as the economic revenues generated by sportfishing. The social services provided by billfishing are directly impaired by the actions of the commercial fishing industry, which causes substantial mortality to billfish populations as bycatch in industries targeting much higher commercially valued species like tuna. Because bycatch species are not valuable for consumption, their conservation has been mostly ignored by international management institutions responsible for maintaining sustainable fish populations. The exception is the swordfish, which has a high value in seafood markets, and therefore its conservation has received priority. These institutions traditionally select biological reference points like Fmsy (the level of fishing mortality which achieves MSY) which maximize the commercial yield, and have had varied success in limiting the fishing effort which has, in some cases, reduced populations of billfish to dangerously low abundances. The low abundances witnessed in the billfish stocks diminishes opportunities for sportfishing to occur, and ultimately reduces the diversity and resilience of the ecosystem, and the ecosystem services provided.  More conservative targets for fishing have been proposed to protect stocks from overfishing due to environmental and human uncertainties. For three species of billfish (white marlin, striped marlin, and swordfish) I calculated one of these reference points, F0.1 using biological parameters from primary literature. The model also incorporated aspects of the fishery such as age at entry. The calculation revealed several sources for uncertainty in the biological growth of the individuals, and we were forced to make assumptions to more accurately model the population dynamics for each species. The resulting fishing mortality targets for white marlin, striped marlin, and swordfish are 0.24, 0.44, and 0.33 respectively. I also compared these reference points with those calculated by various management institutions, and the actual current fishing mortality. Against the backdrop of historical management decisions for each billfishery, certain actions could be taken to further protect against overfishing for these important species. Firstly, more accurate growth parameters are needed to properly asses the billfish and calculate targets for sustainable exploitation. Secondly, current regulations could be expanded to reduce the effort in various ways such as temporal and spatial bans on longlining, gear restrictions, and bycatch quotas. Management must use a precautionary approach to maximize the ecosystem capital in the pelagic environment by protecting the sustainability of both target and non-target species such as the billfish, which comprise an integral component of healthy ecosystems and productive human industries.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    University of Miami, Central American Billfish Association

    MPS Track:
    Fisheries Science

    Keywords:
    Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management (EBFM) | sustainable fish populations
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  • Evaluating Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) leukocyte differential counts with the Cella Vision DM96 versus the Hemavet 950FS Multispecies Hematology Analyzer and the manual method.

    Bradley , Christine View Abstract

    Leukocytes, or white blood cells, include neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, lymphocytes, and monocytes, and each has a distinct role in the immune system of animals. The manual leukocyte differential count is a method of evaluating leukocyte types, ratios, and morphology to monitor animal health and diagnose various diseases and conditions. Automated machinery in the form of automated cell counters and automated image analysis systems have proven useful in evaluating leukocytes more effectively and efficiently than the manual differential. The Cellavision DM96 is one of the newest automated image analysis systems available to pathology labs, while the Hemavet 950FS Multispecies Hematology Analyzer is a trusted veterinary hematological system. The goal of this study was to compare leukocyte differential counts of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) performed by the Cellavision DM96, Hemavet 950, and the manual method. Samples from 8 animals were used to compare results of the three methods. Results indicated that the DM96 corresponds well with the manual method when analyzing neutrophils and eosinophils, while the Hemavet 950 outperforms the DM96 when measuring lymphocytes, monocytes, and basophils. The DM96 exhibited lower total bias than the Hemavet. Future studies should further explore the capabilities of the DM96 with dolphin blood samples by utilizing a larger and more diverse sample of animals.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Dolphins Plus (Key Largo, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science

    Keywords:
    bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) | DM96 | Hemavet 950FS
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  • Review and Assessment of the Construction Site Runoff Inspection and Enforcement Program of a Municipal Stormwater Management Program: City of Miami Beach, Florida.

    Borski , Christine View Abstract

    Pollutants carried by stormwater and other runoff can negatively impact flora and fauna in aquatic environments and can affect the health of nearby urban residents and its recreational users. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program seeks to improve water quality by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States. For the City of Miami Beach, construction sites are recognized as a particular concern because soil disturbance activities exacerbate erosion processes and increase sediment runoff into the waters of Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve, which is designated as an Outstanding Florida Water by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. One requirement of the City’s NPDES permit is the development of a Construction Site Runoff Inspection and Enforcement Program and a written plan that includes a construction site inspection schedule, criteria for prioritization and frequency of inspections, and standard operating procedures for conducting inspections and for enforcing non-compliance. Past NPDES Annual Reports submitted by the City have alluded to potential deficiencies in the written plan for this program. This study conducted a review of the NPDES requirements and compared them to the City’s standard operating procedures and actual practices of construction site run-off inspections. The results of this assessment were then used to develop recommendations that will ensure greater control of reporting and tracking processes, the inclusion of more accurate information in the City’s future NPDES Annual Reports, and improved water quality for the residents and visitors who live, work, and play in the City of Miami Beach.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    City of Maimi Beach, Environmental Resources Management Division

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    stormwater runoff | National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
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  • Multifaceted Comparison of Highly Migratory Species Regulation in the Caribbean (the United States, the Bahamas, and Jamaica).

    Blitman , Andrew View Abstract

    Highly Migratory Species (HMS) inhabit all of the world’s oceans. Examples such as billfish, sharks, and tunas, habitually cross manmade, international boundaries. Because HMS are constantly on the move, fisheries scientists often encounter difficulties assessing their habitats, their population sizes, and their conservation status. As a result, conservationists, fishermen, and lawmakers struggle to regulate the harvest of HMS around the world. In the Caribbean, it is no different. The region, which consists of29 countries, is the junction between the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean. Fisheries resources are managed on the local level by national governments and on the regional level by international organizations. This Masters of Professional Science Internship Report examines the ways by which recreational HMS fisheries are managed by the governments of the United States, the Bahamas, and Jamaica – countries with high, intermediate, and low levels of fisheries regulation, respectively. In order to accomplish this, I created some criteria for determining the current status of HMS within those countries. In doing so, I determined which HMS laws are currently in effect and which ones need to be implemented to protect declining stocks. The results of the comparison were used to create a matrix of variables necessary for a standardized Caribbean model. To achieve this overall goal, I did the following: (1) determined the status of the HMS fishery, including a GIS-based assessment of the environmental and habitat characteristics occupied, (2) reviewed the policies, and (3) determined the criteria for comparing policies among the three countries and then created a matrix using those criteria. Where billfish were not specifically mentioned, I examined the bycatch records alongside intentionally-targeted species like tuna. Environmental data-that which pertained to factors such as chlorophyll levels, particulate organic carbon concentrations, and sea surface temperature-were taken from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) Ocean Color project. Billfish are unique as HMS because they support immense recreational fisheries in the Caribbean. The United States, the Bahamas, and Jamaica share a large proportion of the Caribbean’s billfish encounters (see the figures in Section 5.1), but differ greatly in the ways that their govennnents manage billfish stocks.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    The Billfish Foundation (TBF), (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    Highly Migratory Species (HMS) | billfish | recreational fisheries | Caribbean Sea | Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
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  • Expanding Outreach for the Isabela Oceanographic Institute, Isabela Island, Galapagos.

    Beggs , Christine N View Abstract

    The Isabela Oceanographic Institute (IOI) on Isabela Island in the Galapagos is a non-profit educational facility established within the Puetio Villamil community to help address the need for socio-economic stimulation. IOI enhances social well-being within the community by cultivating conservation through education. By providing services that the community needs to handle income fluctuations from fisheries booms, IOI aims to facilitate the local dreams for small-scale tourism ventures (Meltzoff, 2012). IOI’s effmts directly aid the development of Puerto Villamil, however, to operate within this community, IOI relies solely upon funding through UM’s study abroad program, UGalapagos. To be more resilient in the event of a study abroad program cancellation, IOI needs to diversify its funding sources. In order to achieve this goal, an eight month online outreach campaign and complete organization re-branding was launched. Defining IOI’s brand consisted of changing the organization’s name to the Intercultural Outreach Initiative, creating a new website, increasing social media activities, and preparing to launch online fundraising to a new virtual following. Increased online exposure has helped boost IOI’s visibility and will provide additional support for conservation efforts by allowing international donors to fund local projects directly.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Isabela Oceanographic Institute, IOI (Isabela Island, Galapagos)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    Isabela Oceanographic Institute (IOI) | Galapagos
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  • Biscayne National Park’s Maritime Heritage Trail Project.

    Bayliss , Jacqueline S View Abstract

    Biscayne National Park is the largest marine park in the system and protects an array of natural and cultural resources. Specifically, the waters contain shipwrecks from different countries ranging several time periods. Part of the Offshore Reefs Archeological District lies within park boundaries and protects the largest concentration of historic shipwrecks found in south Florida. With growing interest in cultural resource protection and stewardship, Biscayne National Park plans to open a Maritime Heritage Trail including six shipwrecks, which will complement the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Heritage Trail (http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/sanctuary resources/shipwreck_trail/welcome.html) and the eleven state underwater archeological preserves created by Florida since 1986 (http://www.museumsinthesea.com/). To comply with federal regulations, the Park instituted an environmental assessment to evaluate the proposed mooring buoy and marker system. A section within the assessment establishes criteria for site inclusion on the Maritime Heritage Trail and alternative management strategies. In addition, the Park will provide educational aides to visitors, including underwater dive cards, tri-folds, and site histories. This report will discuss the three phases of the Maritime Heritage Trail project and offers comparative analysis and recommendations.

    Report Year:
    2010

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Biscayne National Park (Homestead , FL)

    MPS Track:
    None

    Report Call No.:

    Keywords:
    Biscayne National Park | Maritime Heritage Trail
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  • Gut content analysis and potential herbivory effects of the western striped trumpeter, Pelates octolineatus.

    Bauer , Petter A View Abstract

    From February 20 through May 31, 2012, I had the opportunity to join the Florida International University’s research team in Monkey Mia, Shark Bay. Over a three and a half month period, I assisted Cindy Bessey, a Ph.D. candidate at Florida International University, in collecting data for her research on the effects of top predators initiating trophic cascades in marine ecosystems, with a focus on mesoherbivores and seagrasses. Field research included shark fishing, transects, exclosure experiments, tethering experiments, camera deployment, fish trapping, alga surveys, and gut content analysis. Our research team was able to successfully conduct a majority of our experiments, contributing data to Cindy Bessey’s project as well as the long-term data sets of the Shark Bay Ecosystem Research Project (Hereafter ‘SBERP’). In addition, I conducted a preliminary study on the digestive tracts of the Western Striped Trumpeter (Pelates octolineatus) collected from a neighboring habitat, the Wooramel seagrass bank. Therefore, I was able to compare the gut contents in order to relate differences in
    seagrass banks and the relative abundance of seagrass species between the two sites.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Florida International University (FIU), Shark Bay Ecosystem Research Project

    MPS Track:
    Juris Doctorate (JD)

    Keywords:
    Pelates octolineatus | Shark Bay Ecosystem Research Project
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  • Fundraising for a Critically Overlooked Archaeological Site.

    Alvarez , Camila M View Abstract

    I have always had great interest in the mysteries that lie beneath bodies of water that have been virtually unexplored since prehistoric times. When I first visited RSMAS, I met Dr. John Gifford and he set fire to the fuel I had in me to find a way to explore these mysteries by telling me about his work at Little Salt Spring. I knew from that moment that any work I could do at or for Little Salt Spring could get me closer to my dream of exploring similar bodies of water in areas that have not yet been recognized as archaeological sites. Mainly, my curiosity stems from the many bodies of water that exist around the Andes mountains, which have been inhabited for far longer than our common knowledge of human societies recognizes. In the scientific writing class I took last semester, I got to imagine myself preparing for such a venture, and the 20 pages of research that followed became my official internship proposal, reviewed by a number of experienced and credentialed professionals. I have had the great privilege of having a strong and consistent relationship with Dr. John Gifford as a mentor. Upon reviewing my internship proposal last May, he helped me realize many unrealistic expectations and set out a plan to get me much closer to making this proposal a reality. We both agreed that all my ambitions were very related to his work at Little Salt Spring, which has been having trouble staying open for research due to lack of capable entities that could continue providing the cost of maintenance. By facing this problem with an action-list of possible solutions, I learned how most archaeological projects require protection and maintenance in between research projects, what the budget for these sites look like during and in between research projects and where the money for this generally comes from. The items on that action-list that Dr. Gifford helped me prepare include creating a list of possible donors, writing a cover letter, creating stimulating media like brochures and promotional videos, applying for project-based grants and looking into selling naming rights or property titles to sponsors or state-owned organizations. All of these items could be applied to any archaeological project I would like to initiate or save from extermination in the future. I have learned so much about the harsh realities of finding funding to save cultural heritage in this modern age. I now not only have a detailed project to propose but know who to propose it to, how much I need to ask for to make it a reality and how to go about it. I would have never known how to begin to acquire this knowledge and experience without the course I took in scientific writing and the excellent guidance of my graduate school mentor, Dr. John Gifford.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science ; Little Salt Springs (Sarasota County, FL)

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    Little Salt Springs |
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  • Developing a nearshore coastal ecosystem education and outreach program for the Citizen Scientist Project of Key Biscayne.

    Burchfield , Audra N View Abstract

    Key Biscayne is the southernmost barrier island in the U.S., and its coastal and nearshore environment are characterized by valuable mangrove, seagrass, and coral reef habitats. Unfortunately, these habitats are threatened by a variety of global stressors, such as climate change, ocean acidification, and sea level rise, as well as local environmental stressors including overfishing, poor water quality, and boat groundings. Additionally, current or proposed activities occurring locally which include the Port of Miami expansion, Bear Cut Bridge construction, and the Virginia Key Waste Water Treatment Plant, can all potentially damage these habitats. To assist in developing an environmental ethic on Key Biscayne, and thereby build a constituency for a local Citizen Scientist Project (CSP) focusing on monitoring and protecting these habitats, I worked with the CSP team to establish a presence on Key Biscayne and to gain volunteers that were interested in becoming citizen scientists. To achieve this, I created a socio-economic profile of Key Biscayne, used social media and online communications to educate on environmental issues, and held two popular Youth Fishing Clinics where we taught children to be better marine stewards and ethical anglers. I also initiated workshops to teach residents about the mangrove and seagrass ecosystems of Key Biscayne. Finally, I developed a preschool and kindergarten outreach material. Together, these allowed the CPS name to reach many potential volunteers on Key Biscayne and teach these residents about their local environment.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Key Biscayne Community Foundation

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    Key Biscayne | Citizen Scientist Project
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  • Environmental Operations Development for Royal Caribbean Ltd.

    Burke , George M View Abstract

    Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) has made it a priority to become the global leader in environmentally sustainable cruises. Accordingly, RCCI operates their cruises on an ABC policy, which stands for “Above and Beyond Compliance” with regards to the international regulations. These regulations include marine discharge polices such as gray, black and ballast water quality and dumping, hull cleaning and painting, disposal of food wastes, incineration of wastes, fuel standards (percentage of sulfur) and many others. This report highlights the proposed developments of RCCL’s international regulations database and the creation of a user-friendly intranet site. This site will eventually contain all of the environmental regulatory information regarding fuel standards, waste disposal (treatment standards, dumping rules, and collection facilities), ship maintenance (above/below waterline cleaning, and hull painting), and several other environmental related issues (e.g. rules regarding live vegetation on the ship’s deck). The intranet site is a company wide website that will include port specific regulations, as well as the internationally recognized marine pollution (MARPOL 1973/78) standards for operation outside a country’s territorial waters. Additionally, a reference list of environmental contacts at every port will be developed, and the methodology for acquiring and maintaining these contacts will be established. These persons will be contacted to confirm and/or correct the regulations that are documented in the RCCL database for each relevant area to ensure the most up to date and accurate policies are collected and followed.

    Report Year:
    2011

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Royal Caribbean International Cruise Ltd

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystem Management

    Keywords:
    Environmentally sustainable cruise | Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
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  • Visitor response to the sustainable fishing exhibit at the Alaska Sealife Center.

    Canady , Candice S View Abstract

    In recent years, zoos and aquariums have become increasingly popular as centers for visitor enjoyment as well as public education and promotion of environmental stewardship. While these institutions assert that they significantly enhance visitor understanding and appreciation for wildlife, research has only recently attempted to validate these claims. Unfortunately, learning is complex and is particularly difficult to study in informal environments such as museums, zoos, and aquariums. Furthermore, visitor motivation influences learning and exhibit use more than exhibit design or institutional intent, and visitors often use exhibits in unexpected ways. It is, therefore, necessary to conduct studies within zoos and aquariums in order to determine how visitors actually use exhibits and what they take away from the experience. This study aimed to provide an overview of visitor interaction with and response to the Sustainable Fishing Exibit at the Alaska SeaLife Center. Observations of visitor interaction within the exhibit space were paired with surveys conducted at a later location in the Center in order to gauge visitor interaction with the exhibit itself and determine what visitors are taking away from this interaction. Results indicate that certain elements within the exhibit are very successful at engaging visitors, particularly the replica fishing boat and the mural along the back wall. However, some elements do not draw as much attention from visitors and are good candidates for improvement, including the introductory panel and the PFD Station. The EcoOcean video game is successful at attracting visitor attention, but needs to be improved in order to maximize visitor interaction and eliminate confusion regarding the game’s purpose. While most visitors possessed a basic understanding of sustainable fishing concepts, this knowledge is not necessarily developed from the Sustainable Fishing Exhibit and, instead, is likely pre-existing. However, this could mean that visitors are ready to be engaged on this topic and the new exhibit could reinforce this existing knowledge. Overall, the study provides insight into visitor response to this new exhibit and baseline data by which changes to the exhibit can be compared. Recommendations for future improvements to the exhibit include additions or changes to the less popular elements, modifications to the video game to increase visitor engagement and understanding, and future studies to determine how children and visitors during other times of year use the exhibit, as well
    as to determine if additions or changes to the exhibit have a measurable impact.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Alaska SeaLife Center

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    Sustainable fishing | Alaska Sealife Center
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  • Environmental security and state sovereignty in transboundary waterways : reconciling competition and cooperation.

    Carter , Andrew L. View Abstract

    This paper investigates the relationship between water, security, and government. It explores the founding of America’s government, its roots in individual liberty, and the
    ratification of the Constitution as its chosen framework for governance. It investigates how Americans have struggled to reconcile the system of federalism set forth by the Constitution with political action. It surveys the advantages and disadvantages of federalism with regard to interstate water resource management. It discusses how interstate competition offers great opportunities for progress but may sometimes hinder cooperation. The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin provides a case study, exemplifying the challenges of interstate cooperation in the United States. The paper then shifts focus to analogous challenges of international water resource management.
    Adopting the Mekong River Basin as a case study, it illustrates how competing uses and
    conflicting cultures have made cooperation challenging in that region.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Not Specified

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin
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  • Saving Sharks: Projects to Promote Conservation Awareness and Citizen Science.

    Caster , Jennah B View Abstract

    Sharks are in decline worldwide. In 2010, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources’ (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species listed 74 shark
    species as being at high risk of extinction (Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable). The biggest threats sharks face are anthropogenic exploitation, specifically via targeted catch to supply the international shark fin trade and via bycatch mortality in commercial fisheries. Despite comprehensive data indicating declining overall trends, there is a lack of recorded knowledge on specific, current shark sightings in areas where the frequency and regularity of shark sightings seems to have declined such as Florida, Massachusetts, California, Hong Kong, South Africa, and the Bahamas. More information about local shark sightings from these critical areas can help bolster conservation efforts, support sustainable ecotourism, and further engage divers and
    coastal communities in conservation. Negative media fosters fear in the public and sharks have been villainized and targeted due to misconceptions about their nature and behaviors. Effective conservation efforts need to include more positive messages about the importance of protecting sharks as marine apex predators, especially to contribute to maintaining the ecological integrity of our oceans and fisheries.  I promoted shark conservation by providing educational materials to the public while creating international support to save sharks. The goal was to change misconceptions about sharks through
    education and hands-on learning. Teaching individuals how to identify and log sightings of local shark species underwater is a fun,easy way to instill a sense of participation in exciting marine conservation. The project focused on: (1) filming and editing footage and stills, during JAWSFEST events and the Great Fiji Shark Count, for online and media content; (2) creating outreach materials (i.e. SharksCount presentations, educational materials) and social media content (i.e. blog posts, watermarked images); (3) acquiring photos and scientific illustrations and creating Shark Savers regional shark ID sheets; (4) helping to streamline the organizational communications (i.e. help coordinate SharksCount international projects’ mailing lists); and (5) assisting program managers in planning and establishing other regional counts. The ultimate goals are to provide stakeholders with the opportunity to document and value their local sharks, and to build support and gain advocates for top predators and marine conservation.

     

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Shark Savers

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    Shark Conservation
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  • Hazard and Vulnerability Database for Miami-Dade County.

    Castillo , Karina A View Abstract

    In order to limit the amount of damage caused by hazards, mitigation efforts must be made. To make the most educated decision on mitigation projects, there needs to be a tool where data on all past hazard events can be centralized. Currently, there is no such tool available in Miami-Dade County. Although the data can be easily obtained, it is hard to identify any correlations or long-term trends without the data on hazard events being centralized. By combining natural hazard event details from archived newspapers, Storm Prediction Center Severe Weather Database Files, National Hurricane Center Storm Wallet Archive, Spatial Hazards Events and Losses Database (SHELDUS), an accurate natural hazard events database can be constructed for the period of 1950- Present. Analysis of the data showed there has been a substantial increase in the number of natural hazard occurrences in Miami-Dade County in the last fifty years. The increase in number of occurrences is especially notable in the decades of 1980 to present. The research also showed a corresponding increase in the amount of property and agricultural damage in the past fifty years. Most notable are the general increases in the natural hazards of wind, hail, hurricanes, lightning, and flooding in the time period analyzed. Having a centralized database will ensure that mitigation projects that are approved and completed by the LMS Working Group address actual threats by hazards. This database will also result in the best allocation of county mitigation dollars.

    Report Year:
    2011

    Department:
    MPO

    Location:
    Miami-Dade County, Office of Emergency Management

    MPS Track:
    Weather, Climate and Society

    Keywords:
    Mitigation
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  • The frequency of vocalizations exhibited by rescued Florida manatees (Trichechus manatuslatirostris): the influence of time of day, sex, and feeding.

    Civelek , Cylia View Abstract

    The endangered Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) is a semisocial marine mammal with a low reproductive rate and high maternal investment. These life history traits have imposed selective pressures for accurate individual recognition, especially between cow and calf, and manatees use vocal cues to communicate with conspecifics. However, little is known about the occurrence and frequency of manatee vocalizations over time and in conjunction with broad behavioral states (e.g. feeding). The rescued manatee population (n = 9) at the Miami Seaquarium, in Miami, FL was assessed to examine vocalizations patterns when feeding (10 min both before and after food introduction), temporally (10 min in each AM and PM: diel effect), and between male and female manatees. The Dolphin Ear Hydrophone System and a voice recorder was used to record acoustic data, the spectrograms of which were analyzed in Raven Pro 1.5. Manatee vocalization rate was significantly greater before than after the introduction of food, but no diel effect was observed when all pools were analyzed collectively. However, AM vocalization rates were significantly greater than in the PM for 2 of 3 pools. Overall, males vocalized more often than females in general and in the AM, but no difference between sexes was noted in the PM. Variability in the vocalization patterns of manatees can potentially help us identify when manatees congregate and communicate most frequently. This information can be used to help determine the optimal time for rescued manatees to be released in order to maximize success after release and integration with wild populations of manatees.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Miami Seaquarium (Key Biscayne, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science

    Keywords:
    Florida Manatees (Trichechus manatus)
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  • Establishing a Welfare Assessment for Captive Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).

    Clegg , Isabella View Abstract

    Welfare science and public concern for animal welfare is increasing, and although the movement originated with farm animals the focus is now on species in zoos and aquaria. Ensuring high levels of welfare is a primary concern to most facility managers, but to date, there are no comprehensive assessments to measure welfare in zoos and aquaria. Bottlenose dolphins are the most common cetacean maintained in managed care, and although there is an on–­‐going, intense debate regarding the ethics of captivity, there are no objective data available regarding their welfare in captivity. The Welfare Quality® framework for farm animals was adapted to measure the welfare of bottlenose dolphins,  and was chosen for its comprehensive, practical and transparent structure. The 36 species-­‐ specific welfare measures were created following an extensive literature review and utilising expert opinion discussions and interviews, and were refined during practical application at two marine mammal facilities, which were awarded an ‘excellent’ welfare rating. The high proportion of animal-­‐based measures in this assessment (58%) enabled a more direct welfare evaluation when compared to other, resource-­‐based standards  available in the industry. An extensive document was produced detailing the methodologies required to assess bottlenose dolphin welfare and relevant scoring. The C-­‐Well assessment was established in a relatively short time period and needs further development to validate and refine the welfare measures, and weighting of the different criteria must occur before progression to a certification scheme. However, currently and as is, the C-­‐Well assessment can identify areas of attention for managers, highlighting where they are succeeding in maintaining
    high welfare standards and areas that require improvement, and functions as a meaningful ‘all-­‐or-­‐nothing’ assessment. The C-­‐Well scores can be compared among individuals, demographics, and facilities, and in addition to endless research and management applications, may reveal specific protocols that promote good welfare. As the first welfare assessment for dolphins, the goal of this project was to stimulate further research and monitoring of how management practices in zoological settings affect animal welfare, resulting in efforts to improve the lives of animals in captivity.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Dolphins Plus (Key Largo, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science

    Keywords:
    Dolphins Plus, Key Largo
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  • Using videography and geographical information systems to record the excavation of a submerged prehistoric archaeological site.

    Conklin , David W View Abstract

    Little Salt Spring (8So18) is a submerged prehistoric archaeological site located in southern Sarasota County 20 km (12 miles) from the Gulf of Mexico. In 1992, a combination of high-resolution videography and geographical information systems (GIS) software was chosen as the primary method for mapping and recording underwater excavations at Little Salt Spring due to the advantages it offers (Gifford, 1993: 167). The progress of excavation in 2×2 meter squares is recorded using a digital video camera in an underwater housing. Individual images are captured from the video and georeferenced using GIS software to create photomosaics for each excavation level. There have been many improvements in the technology of videography and GIS since it was first implemented at Little Salt Spring. This internship had as its goal the development of an updated, standardized procedure that would be used to create an accurate photomosaic for each excavation level of the site. In addition to being the primary spatial record of each level, the digital photomosaics would also serve as the primary method of documenting the spatial context (i.e., provenience) of artifacts and ecofacts once they have been recovered from the excavation levels. I have worked with Dr. Gifford in order to develop a standard operating procedure for creating the photomosaics, and the following paper is the result of our collaboration.

    Report Year:
    2010

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Little Salt Springs (Sarasota County, FL)

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    Little Salt Springs | Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
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  • Condition of Key Biscayne natural resources: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    Conner , Allison R View Abstract

    This study was created to collect and analyze data on the condition of mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs surrounding Key Biscayne, and to develop a means of dissem inating this information to residents. It comprises the following components: 1) the design of a robust sampling protocol for the ecological assessment of mangrove, seagrass, and coral reef habitats, and 2) the implementation of field surveys to assess the status of these habitats at select sites around Key Biscayne. Key findings include: Mangroves: basin mangroves at Crandon Park exhibited average basal area when compared with other mangroves in the region. High densities of R. mangle were the primary contributor to basal area, suggesting these mangroves are adversely affected by storm activity or high winds. Increased freshwater input is likely loweling soil salinity and preventing these mangroves from becoming hypersaline. Seagrass beds: Seagrass cover at study sites around Key Biscayne was low compared to recent studies of central Biscayne Bay. Maximum macroalgal cover for Key Biscayne occurred at its beaches. Epiphytes were widespread and in medium to high densities across the majority of study sites, indicating increased nutlient input in these areas. Coral reefs: Biscayne reefs were not currently undergoing significant tissue loss due to environmental
    stressors such as disease or coral bleaching, and exhibited increased surface area of scleractinian corals compared to earlier surveys of the same reefs. A small change in relative species compositions, from sediment-intolerant species to sediment-tolerant species, suggests that sedimentation might be affecting Biscayne reefs. Biscayne reefs were also dominated by dense turf macroalgae, which served as indication that both nutlient levels and herbivory are low in this area. All the data collected in this survey were incorporated into Key Biscayne’s Citizen Scientist web portal (keyscience.org), providing Key Biscayne residents ready access to ecological information about their coastal resources.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Key Biscayne Community Foundation

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystem Management

    Keywords:
    Key Biscayne
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  • Marine Mammal training protocol and behavioral inventory for Tursiops truncatus.

    Cooper , Nancy J View Abstract

    The science of applied behavioral analysis is fundamental to the maintenance of desired behavior of marine mammals in managed care facilities. Additionally, animal training in a managed care setting provides substantial knowledge to the scientific community concerning the anatomy, physiology, behavior and biology of marine mammals in both managed care and the wild. Furthermore, animal training in marine mammal parks and aquaria provides an immediate and direct benefit to the individual animal, with respect to health, clinical care, and mental stimulation. Moreover, marine
    mammal training is a tool utilized to entertain and educate the general public, while fostering a greater appreciation for marine mammals and ocean conservation.
    In order to maintain desired behavior, the cues that are trained to elicit a specific behavioral response and the criterion established to define the intensity, frequency, duration, and topography of the behavior must be described and implemented consistently. Without operational consistency utilizing applied behavioral cues and established criteria, animal trainers may inadvertently contribute to failed trials, decreased response rates, increased latencies, adventitious and superstitious behaviors, as well as resultant redirected aggression. Thus, marine mammal managers
    are challenged with the task of maintaining consistent behavioral cues, criteria and protocols amongst multiple trainers within a facility.  The objective of this project was to create a behavioral inventory and training protocol manual for the bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) housed at Dolphins Plus, a marine mammal managed care
    facility in Key Largo, Florida. This project includes behavioral descriptions that represent two training applications: Foundation and Interactive. For each application, five relevant behaviors are described. Each description includes: a behavioral model power point which defines the name of the behavior, foundation behaviors required to train that behavior, a standardized video of the behavioral cue or discriminative stimulus (SD), the criteria for the behavior, and the detailed approximations required to train this behavior from inception to completion. This project also explains techniques employed to maintain a newly trained behavior, serve as a clear, concise, and user-friendly reference to the Dolphins Plus trainers, and provide a platform for consistency with the application of behavioral cues and the understanding and maintenance of specific criteria at Dolphins Plus. Due to the increased number of marine mammal facilities worldwide, a training manual of this nature could revolutionize how information is disseminated to new and current training staff. The benefits of cataloguing and defining training language and behavioral criteria with detailed visual aide, could improve the lives of animals, trainers and handlers in marine mammal facilities, zoos, aquaria, and research facilities on a global scale.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Dolphins Plus (Key Largo, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science

    Keywords:
    Marine Mammal Training | bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)
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  • Management of Sea Turtle Nests in Biscayne National Park, Florida.

    Daddona , Rachel View Abstract

    This study provides an overview of sea turtle nests and nesting activity in Biscayne National Park (BNP) during the 2012 sea turtle nesting season. Published literature stresses the importance of threatened and endangered sea turtle conservation and the natural and anthropogenic challenges that these reptiles face in the marine environment, especially on nesting beaches. The BNP sea turtle monitoring program includes foot patrols of nesting beaches on Elliott Key, Florida, mitigation of impacts from humans and predators, and sea turtle stranding response and outreach. Seven loggerhead nests were documented during the 2012 sea turtle nesting season, six of which were partially or fully predated. The 21.8% hatchling emergence success rate and 41.9% egg predation rate are consistent with other published literature but also suggest that there is room for improvement with the management of nests and the mitigation of predators on Elliott Key. Suggestions for improved management of sea turtle nests in Biscayne National Park include increasing the duration of the nest monitoring program and the frequency of patrols to mitigate depredation effects, employing more proactive measures for predator control, and educating recreational boaters within park boundaries.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Biscayne National Park (Homestead , FL)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science

    Keywords:
    Biscayne National Park | sea turtle nesting | Elliott Key, Florida
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  • Salinity reduction of Turkey Point nuclear facilities cooling canal system; project development and implementation.

    Davidson , Chase M. View Abstract

    Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) was founded in 1925 and is currently the largest
    electric utility in Florida. It is one of the largest rate-regulated utilities in the United States. FPL serves approximately 4.6 million customer accounts in Florida and is a leading employer in the state with more than 10,000 employees. A clean energy leader, FPL has one of the lowest emissions profiles and one of the leading energy efficiency programs among utilities nationwide. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Florida based Nextera Energy, Inc (FPL website). In 2007 FPL’s Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant in Homestead, submitted a site certification application to Florida Department of Environmental Protection to Uprate (increase output) for two units. This Uprate Project was projected to slightly increase the temperature and salinity in the power plant cooling canal system (CCS). Field data have been collected, prior to the Units being Uprated, and based on those data, it has been determined there is a need to mitigate current environmental impacts of the CCS. FPL is working with technical experts to identify methods to limit the salinity and temperature rises within Turkey Point’s CCS in order to
    abate westward movement of the CCS. Multiple ideas were generated by a feasibility analysis, but the favorable and acted upon strategy is to drill new Floridian Aquifer wells, to be operated under artisan conditions to reduce the salinity of the CCS.
    My internship consisted of assisting the licensing team at FPL’s Juno Beach office obtain the requirements for the construction of these wells. For this project I had multiple responsibilities including reviewing the monitoring report and the feasibility of the wells, researching other methods of mitigation, biweekly meetings for project updates and researching animal populations within the CCS.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Florida Power & Light Company

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    Turkey Point
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  • Engaging North Carolina’s new conservationists : Developing a community outreach campaign with The Nature Conservancy.

    Dean , Jennifer View Abstract

    Community outreach can be defined as “the practice of conducting local public
    awareness activities through broad … and targeted … interaction” [1]. It is a method of reaching potential partners or members that is based in a vaiiety of social sciences. Outreach and education programs are both vital to any non-profit group because they engage the community and get that group’s message out to the public and the people who can make decisions about an issue. This can provide benefits in the form of more funding, volunteers, or even changed political policies [2, 3].  Outreach campaigns generally fall into two categories: those working for policy change, or those working for behavior change [ 4]. Sometimes a large campaign will target both of these changes, but it will require more time and different techniques. Education is a great way to
    inform people about the environment and their impacts, and is often used as a  stepping-stone within an outreach campaign. Educating the public is one way to encourage a change in attitude about a particular topic. This in turn could lead to behavior changes or even their assistance in convincing a decision maker to alter a policy. For many people, education is a way to spark their interest in a particular topic, such as the enviromnent.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Nature Conservancy, North Carolina

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    The Nature Conservancy | community outreach
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  • Integrating education and recreation to augment marine conservation and awareness of the marine mammal protection act.

    Farrell , Jamison N View Abstract

    Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is a popular family vacation destination during the summer months. The primary industry of the island is based on tourism. The barrier island boasts a large and active population of Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). The natural occurrence of dolphins in the area has proven to be advantageous to the local tourism industry in that “Dolphin Ecology” tours are one of the
    most popular boat trips as an activity for tourists during their stay. Prior to the 1994
    amendments to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (stipulating that feeding and touching wild dolphins is illegal), dolphin tours in the area fed the wild dolphins to attract them to their boats. Today there are still a number of dolphins that follow and approach vessels with open mouths attempting to receive food handouts. The behavior displayed by these wild dolphins is very similar to that of dolphins one would see at marine parks or on television. Hence, people will often treat the wild dolphins as such– by petting, feeding, or trying to swim with them. The following study addresses this misconception and by way of a marine education program, the “Eco-Venture”, aims to teach youths about proper interactions with wild dolphins. The Eco-Venture was formulated with the
    concept of integrating fun and first-hand experience of the ocean in order to provide an
    impacting education for participants. The program’s goal is to motivate a future
    generation of marine conservationists and facilitate a cross-generational impact through
    the participant’s acquired knowledge.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Not Specified

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    Marine Mammal Protection Act | bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)
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  • Corporate environmental policy : a look into an internship with Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.

    Ferguson-Brown , Sarah View Abstract

    The focus of this internship is an in depth environmental assessment of Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited, specifically focused on updating and maintaining an environmental matrix, to be used shoreside and onboard the ships by the Environmental Officers, that provides Royal Caribbean with the correct standards for the ports of call of their ships. This effort includes sending surveys to the ports at which the ships dock, as well as inputting the information into the matrix once it is received. This effort also includes following up with phone calls to specific ports if data is still needed. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a international cruise company that encompasses Azamara Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Pulmantur, as well as the Royal Caribbean ships. The companies main offices are based out of the Port of Miami.  Part of the mission at Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited is understanding that they have a ‘special responsibility to protect marine ecosystems’. The company sees it as an intelligent business plan to protect the oceans, because both the business and the guests will benefit from having a cleaner environment.  Royal Caribbean has heavily invested in state-of-the art treatment technologies, one of these being an Advanced Wastewater Purification system that helps to reduce the impact on the environment. In recent years Royal Caribbean has set the standard in the use of environmental technologies throughout the cruise industry. This has been done through their waste water discharge policy, their SaveTheWaves® campaign, as well as efforts put forth by the crew members. Royal Caribbean currently operates some of the cleanest cruise ships being used in the industry, and it is in part because of technologies such as this. The soon to be released Royal Caribbean Stewardship Report will provide greater detail on these issues.  Royal Caribbean exhibits qualities of environmental stewardship and sustainability by voluntarily working to go above the international standards that have been set. One of the aspects of this includes being a ISO 14001 company. ISO 14001 is an environmental management system that companies can elect to subscribe to; ISO 14001 specifies the actual requirements for environmental management. Notably, Royal Caribbean was the first cruise line to have an environmental management system that was certified to the ISO 14001 standard.

    Report Year:
    2009

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Royal Caribbean International Cruise Ltd

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    Royal Caribbean | environmental assessment |
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  • Balancing Environmental Health in an Expanding World: The Port of Miami Dredge Project.

    Flier , Meagan K View Abstract

    On May 03, 2012 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers received an application from the Port of Miami for the modification of its previous 2006 permit so that it might further dredge its berths and the navigation channels. The modification for the Port to expand its facilities is a response to the ever-expanding maritime world trade, specifically the expansion of the Panama Canal. Located on Dodge Island, the Port is surrounded by the richly abundant ecosystem of Biscayne Bay. Though dredging is needed in order to accommodate super post-Panamax vessels and compete on a global and nationwide level for maritime trade, deepening the Port’s channels also holds great potential to severely alter the Biscayne Bay ecosystem, as evident by the many environmental groups that have openly opposed the project. To offset the environmental degradation caused by coastal developments, the Corps was charged with balancing the nation’s need for expansion with its ecosystem health. While the Corps has the authority to deny projects that adversely affect environmental resources, it must work within the language of the law. For the Port’s dredging project, the question remains whether the dredge can be completed without permanently adversely affecting the aquatic resources within the Bay or if the multiple uses of the Bay are so conflicting as to preclude any resemblance to a symbiotic relationship or compromise. This report strives to answer the aforementioned issues by understanding the motivating factors behind the Port’s expansion, the various stakeholder claims to Biscayne Bay, and the Corps’ role in balancing each factor to ensure the most sustainable outcome.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    US Army Corps of Engineers

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Zone Management

    Keywords:
    Port of Miami | Environmental Health | Biscayne Bay
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  • Comparative Analysis of Economic Benefits and Environmental Costs for Port Operations : A Case Study of Port Everglades.

    Frease , McKenna T View Abstract

    Ports serve an indispensable role in global commerce and international relations. It is responsible for the transport of 90% of goods in total tonnage and employs over 13.3 million in trade-related positions. Ports, however, can hubs for environmental destructive and detrimental practices. The database, while serving its immediate purposes as a quick reference site, will also provide a longer term purpose in the implementation of the best management practices and green innovations. The model’s results, although corroborated the decision why high-end port development, expansion and maintenance project where economic benefits far outweigh the environmental cost are approved by the authorized agencies, do provide a measure of success for the implementation of clean initiatives. The case study of Port Everglades maintenance dredging provided supporting evidence of environmental degradation resulting from alterations in depth despite the current opinion of no impact beyond the current conditions. The Ports database provides a central location for information gathering, and when paired with the cost-benefit model and an in-depth case study, it provides insight into good practices that promote both environmental integrity and economic benefits.

     

    Report Year:
    2010

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    Port Everglades |
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  • Geographic Configuration and Conversion Facility Location for a Dedicated Energy Crop System in Florida.

    Fuentevilla , Carlos View Abstract

    Bioenergy is the number one source of renewable energy in the United States. Current sources of biomass feedstock include forestry resources and agricultural residues. Both are unsustainable, forestry resources are limited and agricultural residues provide poor conversion yields and can impact the world’s food market. Dedicated energy crops promise to increase feedstock to fuel conversion rates while providing a wide range of potential services including carbon sequestration, erosion prevention, biodiversity protection and emission reduction. This report uses GIS to locate a lignocellulosic biofuel conversion facility. Factors influencing location of a facility include proximity to feedstock, proximity to transportation network and procurement costs. The model showed that the best location for a biofuel conversion facility in Florida was Jackson County and the most suitable crop would be switchgrass. Land in central and southern Florida was found not suitable for conversion to dedicated energy crops due to the higher value of sugarcane and orange crops. The use of Conservation Reserve Program land could potentially increase the supply of biomass feedstock to the conversion facility. A dedicated energy crop system also has potential to reduce GHG emissions and protect water resources. The study is limited in its scope, and does not consider competition for feedstock, traditional crop price fluctuation or individual farmer decision making.

    Report Year:
    2010

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Not Specified

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    Geographical Information Systems (GIS) | Jackson County, Florida
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  • Lost at Sea: The Management and Protection of Underwater Cultural Resource.

    Gavalier , Cody View Abstract

    Unlike land-based sources of cultural heritage, abandoned shipwrecks have been slow to receive protection under state and federal law. Yet shipwrecks are arguably more valuable thantheir land-based brethren as they provide unique, undisturbed links to the past and are “time capsules of unmatched historical interest.” In additional to their archeological and historical value, abandoned shipwrecks are highly sought after by treasure hunters and commercial salvors for their substantial economic value. This has led to the destrnction of numerous culturally significant wrecks before proper archeological research techniques could be employed. Preserving our national historic resources should be a goal that our government actively pursues. The patchwork of legal principles that are currently applied to resolve disputes over the legal status of shipwrecks is unacceptable. There are better alternatives than the fragmented,
    disincentivized system advanced by the Abandoned Shipwrecks Act. This paper thoroughly analyzes the current legal regime governing the protection of submerged cultural resources and considers the advantages and disadvantages of existing law. Finally, several alternative policies are proposed for a streamlined management scheme that will incentivize exploration while protecting the unique cultural value.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Not Specified

    MPS Track:
    JD Coastal Zone Management

    Keywords:
    shipwrecks | Abandoned Shipwreck Act
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  • The Relationship Between Premortem Sighting Distribution and Potential Toxin Exposure of Manatees Salvaged During the Brevard County, 2012-2013 Unusual Mortality Event.

    Girt , Ashley View Abstract

    Brevard County is considered an important habitat for manatees ( Trichechus manatus latirostris) along the East Coast of the United States due to the presence of two power plants where many individuals congregate during the winter and as a travel corridor to winter aggregation sites during the spring and fall. July 25, 2012 marked the beginning of a sudden and unexplained increase in manatee deaths in Brevard County, which ultimately led to the classification of an Unusual Mortality Event (UME). The working hypothesis indicates that mortality is caused by the ingestion of an unknown toxin or pathogen. Identifying the source of the toxin or pathogen is critical to both understanding the impact of the UME as well as the management and response efforts. Since 1978, the U.S. Geological Survey has been using unique scar patterns to
    identify individual manatees and record their life histories in the Manatee Individual Photo-Identification System (MIPS) database. The goal of this study was to examine the sighting histories of carcasses previously identified in MIPS to determine if there were any associations between premortem sighting history, specifically overwintering location, and the likelihood of an animal being part of the UME. The association between overwintering location and the likelihood of being a UME animal was not significant, but the association between reproductive status and the likelihood
    of being a UME animal was significant.  Manatees residing in Brevard County year-round may have developed a tolerance to the agent while animals that only spend part of the year in Brevard County have not, and are more at risk. This UME
    may also be the result of abrupt diet changes that disrupted individuals’ gut microbiota resulting in increased susceptibility to an opportunistic pathogen in Brevard County. Although the relationship between premortem sighting history and the likelihood of being a UME animal was not statistically significant, this serves as an important baseline study for continued efforts to locate and identify the source of this UME.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    United States Geological Survey, Sirenia Project

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science

    Keywords:
    Manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) | mortality event
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  • In-lieu fee seagrass mitigation in accordance with the new Federal Mitigation Rule.

    Hammers , Jessica L View Abstract

    The New Federal Mitigation Rule sets equitable standards for permittee-responsible mitigation, mitigation banks and in-lieu fee programs with a goal of promoting predictability and consistency in mitigation. This report provides a background on the Corps Regulatory Program and mitigation requirements per the new rule. In-lieu fee mitigation is covered extensively in this document. The USACE Jacksonville District is accepting applications from prospective sponsors for the establishment of a seagrass mitigation program. Everglades National Park may be a potential in-lieu fee program sponsor, as Florida Bay is exceptionally vulnerable to seagrass scarring and other anthropogenic threats. No in-kind mitigation currently exists for seagrass functional losses permitted by the Jacksonville District. The report applies the requirements of the New Federal Mitigation Rule to a potential seagrass in-lieu fee program in Florida Bay to demonstrate the process and likely challenges that may be involved in composing a mitigation plan for scar restoration projects.

    Report Year:
    2010

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Not Specified

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    Mitigation | USACE Jacksonville District Regulatory Program
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  • The effects of ocean acidification on benthic reef communities.

    Hariharan , Sam C View Abstract

    Atmospheric C02 has been increasing since the pre-industrial era, reducing the ocean pH and causing a shift in the carbonate chemistry by ocean acidification (OA). As a result of increasing partial pressures of carbon dioxide in the marine environment, previous studies have shown that coral reef species experience decreases in growth, reproduction, and survival. In this mesocosm study, terra cotta tiles maintained at Little Conch Reef for two years were relocated to experimental tanks, including four control tanks and four tanks with elevated pC02 to assess the effects of OA on non-calcifying & calcifying organisms, and the reef community structure. There was a significant decrease in crustose coralline algae on the bottom community of the tiles under OA conditions and a significant increase in turf algae on the side community in the treatment tanks. Therefore, these results indicate that ocean acidification not only affects individual organisms, but the associations among various reef community organisms, and may cause detrimental shifts in community structure. The mesocosm methodology allows for controlled and simultaneous investigation of species-specific and multi-taxa responses to increases in exposure to pC02.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystems Management

    Keywords:
    ocean acidification | benthic reef communities
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  • Rent a Reef? How the Privatization of Florida Coral Reefs May Advance Local Conservation Efforts.

    Harrison , Natalie View Abstract

    Over the last decade, it has become increasingly clear that coral reefs are in trouble. With reefs facing a multitude of local and global threats, it has also become increasingly clear that creative solutions are necessary to address these concerns. Marine resources are frequently cited as a classic example of the “tragedy of the commons,” in which a lack of regulation or private protection result in overuse and abuse of the communal resources. Existing laws in the United States have proven ineffective to prevent this coral loss. In this note, I argue that Florida coral reefs can be privately managed through a variation of Florida’s public trust doctrine. Florida already allows private management of oyster beds, live rock, and other living resources on submerged lands. Other examples of privatization of marine resources in the United States include the lease of submerged lands for energy production and individual transfer quota fishing schemes. The existence of these private management schemes suggests that reef privatization may not be as radical or foreign to the existing legal structure.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    University of Miami, Law Review

    MPS Track:
    Juris Doctorate (JD)

    Keywords:
    Coral reefs | Florida
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  • Conservation in developing countries A Nosy Hara National Marine Park Case Study: socioeconomic conditions and co-management structures that affect conservation sustainability in Nosy Hara National Marine Park.

    Hartshorn , Judith J View Abstract

    This report is the result of an internship conducted with the Madagascar branch of Community Centered Conservation (C3) in Nosy Hara National Marine Park. Madagascar’s Nosy Hara National Marine Park is at a critical conservation crossroads. Stakeholder groups agree on basic conservation premises but disagree on management vehicles and methods. Nosy Hara villagers are becoming increasingly disillusioned with Madagascar National Park management. Residents of the area currently comply with regulations but there is an absence of village participation [and
    opportunity for participation] in other areas of governance. Villagers feel management has failed to keep promises and does not benefit them. This study investigates socioeconomic conditions, user group interactions, and formal and informal institutions within NHNMP. Results enable exploration of current relationships between park management, park stakeholders and resources in order to help C3 identify sustainable co-management potentials.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Community Centred Conservation (C3)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    Nosy Hara National Marine Park | Madagascar
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  • Marine Mammal Rescue and Rehabilitation: Evaluating Conservation Efforts through Education.

    Herring , Hada View Abstract

    A study at Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA), located in Clearwater, Florida, was conducted to evaluate stranding organizations’ contributions to marine mammal conservation. To date, there has been no attempt to quantify the education services provided by rescue and rehabilitation facilities and their impact on conservation. This study evaluated CMA’s education efforts both quantitatively and qualitatively via questionnaire surveys. Changes in guests’ marine mannnal knowledge and conservation-related behavior were investigated and data was collectively quantified using an impact score. The aquarium’s educational tools were examined to determine which were least and most info1mative to the general public. The study found that contributions to conservation via education, was negligible. These data revealed areas of improvement that can be optimized for future conservation efforts and impacts.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Clearwater Marine Aquarium

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science

    Keywords:
    Marine mammal rescue
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  • Examining the influence of traditional social codes and taboos in marine resource use and regulations in northeastern Madagascar.

    Hill , Kalah D View Abstract

    Effective and sustainable management of marine ecosystems and resources relies on both qualitative and quantitative scientific information. For many global marine populations technical scientific information is lacking. In these cases it is important to tap into other possible sources of information when dealing with marine environmental issues. One source for information can be found among local populations of a given area. Traditional or local knowledge regarding the surrounding environment is dependent on “multiple bodies of knowledge accumulated through many generations of close interactions between people and the natural world” (Drew 2004). Many local stakeholder groups (i.e. fishermen, women,local tourist businesses, village elders, spiritual leaders and local governments) retain relevant information on fish stocks, resource and environment changes over time, household characteristics, socio-economic trends etc (Obura et.al. 2002). This nature of knowledge is referred to as traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). TEK can be used in participatory management strategies as a resource for creating alliances between informal and formal institutions. It can also create links between government, local users and scientists.

    Report Year:
    2011

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Not Specified

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) | Madagascar
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  • Economic considerations for hatchery production of Google Eye Selar crumenophthalmus in Florida.

    Hoenig , Ronald H View Abstract

    The recreational fishing industry in Florida generates tens of thousands of jobs and an overall annual economic impact of more than $5 billion dollars (Steinback et al. 2004). As part of this industry, the marine baitfish market in Florida, U.S.A. offers an excellent opportunity for the development of commercial aquaculture projects. The goggle eye, Selar crumenophthalmus, has been identified as potential baitfish species suitable for culture. An enterprise budget has been constructed identifying the initial capital, operating costs, and annual net income for a hypothetical goggle eye hatchery. The expected case production model yielded an estimated production cost of $1.101 per fingerling, an annual net return of $36,261.45, and a return on investment (ROI) of 25% with an initial capital investment of $142,886.19. Labor, electricity, and feeds were the most significant contributors to annual operating expenses at 67%, 13%, and 9%, respectively. A sensitivity analysis was conducted on final fingerling survival rate and sale price. The return on investment was calculated to measure profitability for the
    various scenarios.

    Report Year:
    2009

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    University of Miami Experimental Hatchery

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    Google eye | Selar crumenophthalmus | marine baitfish | fingerling production | economics
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  • Performance of Maximum and Minimum Temperature Guidance at the National Weather Service.

    Jenks , Eric M View Abstract

    The issuance of gridded temperature forecasts by NWS Weather Forecast Offices requires an assessment of the accuracy of the various guidance products available to the forecasters. In this presentation we will report the results of an investigation of the maximum and minimum temperature guidance and forecasts made from late winter through early spring for the Miami Weather Forecast Office (WFO) County Warning Area. Cold frontal passages are most common in South Florida during that time of year, with the resulting shifts in wind flow regimes as well as temperatures. The performance of numerical model guidance during easterly, northwesterly, and southwesterly wind regimes was analyzed for both the short- and extended-period forecasts using the BOIVerify software package. The numerical guidance used in this study included direct model output from several numerical models, statistical (i.e., post-processed) model output, bias-corrected versions of the direct and statistical model output, and various weighted and unweighted combinations of the model output. The official forecasts issued by the Miami WFO were also used in the comparisons. Special attention was given to the performance of the statistical model called ADJMEX, since it is used as a reference metric by the NWS. The results of this local study were compared to those of previous studies from other parts of the country. In general, the bias-corrected direct model output, and several combinations of the dynamical and bias-corrected guidance, were the most accurate overall. They were also somewhat more accurate, on average, than the official forecasts. The errors in the minimum temperature guidance, and also those of the official minimum temperature forecasts, grew more rapidly than did those for maximum temperature. In most cases the official forecasts were more accurate than the ADJMEX statistical model. This was most evident for the short term forecasts, with an improvement in mean absolute error of 0.5-0.75 oF for the first five forecast periods. Although the bias-corrected direct model output tended to perform slightly better than the corresponding statistical model guidance for each wind regime, the greatest differences between them were in the maximum temperature guidance during times of northwesterly flow, when the bias-corrected statistical models performed much worse. For the easterly flow regime, which was the most dominant flow, the bias corrected models substantially outperformed their uncorrected counterparts. The bias-corrected dynamical models also performed better than the bias-corrected statistical models. This improvement was more noticeable for the northeasterly flow than the southeasterly flow. For the southwesterly flow regime, the findings were less clear, due in part to a smaller sample size. The official forecast did perform better relative to other models in this regime. There were no apparent differences between statistical and dynamical models or between bias-corrected and non-bias-corrected models.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MPO

    Location:
    National Weather Service - Miami Weather Forecast Office

    MPS Track:
    Weather Forecasting

    Keywords:
    ADJMEX statistical model
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  • The role of recreational fishing in the establishment of marine reserves.

    Kelly , Michael P View Abstract

    The establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) for the purpose of conserving marine biodiversity is expected to increase due to international mandates like the Jakarta Mandate. For MPAs to be an effective instrument for conserving biodiversity they must be designed and implemented in a way that will ensure the protection of critical biological and ecological conditions. The success of MPAs is also dependent upon compliance and support from stakeholders affected by the MPA. Establishing an effective management plan for a MPA therefore requires not only an understanding of the ecological and biological factors at play, but the stakeholders and important socioeconomic factors involved. Recreational and charter fishermen represent important stakeholders whose involvement in MPAs by aiding in monitoring, enforcement, and compliance can benefit the long term success of a MPA. The Billfish Foundation (TBF) works for the conservation of billfish and related species through science, research, advocacy, and by representing the interests of recreational anglers to ensure the health of oceans and improving associated economies. With the projected increased coverage of MPAs recreational fishermen are faced with being shut out of fishing grounds. TBF strives to ensure that anglers’ interests are represented and that the best management of marine resources is achieved. This report intends to give
    an overview of the background and processes associated with the Commonwealth of Australia’s proposed Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve as well as the importance and influence of recreational anglers. I hope to demonstrate the importance of ensuring that recreational and charter fishing interests are adequately represented in the decision making processes surrounding the management of marine resources. In addition, I aim to highlight the numerous potential benefits that can be accrued by the
    marine reserves in the form of scientific, monitoring and enforcement, and socioeconomic benefits by allowing recreational and charter fishing to be conducted within marine reserves. Ultimately, I intend to show that it is in Australia’s best interest to allow recreational and charter fishing within the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve and provided the benefits this activity provides it is illogical to prohibit
    this form of fishing given the lack of a sound scientific justification.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    The Billfish Foundation (TBF), (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    Marine Protected Area (MPA) | Conservation | Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve
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  • The Role of Public Aquariums in Sustainable Seafood: How Aquariums Influence Visitor Perception and Behavior.

    McDermott , Brendan P View Abstract

    There has been a recent movement towards more sustainable seafood production, as many organizations now evaluate and certify fisheries that are harvested in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner, allowing for habitat and stock preservation. Public aquariums have been influential in marine science education for decades, promoting conservation of the marine environment through their exhibits, shows, and community events. Although there is an increasing demand for sustainable seafood information and education, many aquariums have yet to address the issue of sustainable seafood in a thorough manner. The opportunity exists for aquariums to become leaders in the sustainable seafood movement because of their extensive involvement with the public as well as other conservation-minded organizations.
    This paper addresses the public perceptions and behaviors regarding sustainable seafood, focusing on visitors to Southern California public aquariums, and analyzes what relationships exist between aquarium visits and visitors’ perceptions and behaviors as they relate to sustainable seafood.  While the majority of individuals surveyed thought that overfishing was occurring to some extent, many did not know much about the subject of sustainable seafood and expressed interest in finding out more. There is evidence that aquariums can be influential in educating the public on sustainable seafood, but steps should be taken to increase the available information so that the
    public can be better educated and as a result make more sustainable seafood purchases. The results of this study showed that most aquarium visitors are interested in finding out ways to make more sustainable seafood purchases. There was a correlation between how often individuals visit aquariums and their perception of current fish populations in the United States, with more frequent aquarium visitors typically believing that most stocks are being overfished. A relationship was also observed between the frequency of aquarium visits and the likelihood of a visitor being aware of sustainable seafood cards or brochures like those produced by Seafood Watch and FishWatch. In addition, public aquariums were found to have a positive influence on
    visitor perception of aquaculture, indicating that aquariums have been successful in educating visitors and conveying information in a manner that is easily understood by a wide variety of ages and educational backgrounds. Overall, aquariums were shown to be influential in regards to visitor perceptions and behaviors, but an increased focus on the subject of responsibly sourced seafood could help aquariums realize their potential in the sustainable seafood movement.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Aquarium of the Pacific (Long Beach, CA)

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    Aquariums
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  • Quantification of tooth rake marks in captive bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) for improved aggression management.

    Kleinschmidt , Ethan Lane View Abstract

    Among the zoological industry, unmanaged social aggression may lead to decreased animal welfare, as well as negatively affect guest programs and staff safety. In order to manage aggression, baseline data are needed to better understand antecedent conditions and anomalous trends. Tooth rake marks were used to objectively compare the relative rates of intraspecific aggression among a managed care population of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Weekly rake mark frequencies were documented from 2013 to 2014 and compared between sexes and among age classes. Statistical process control was utilized to detect anomalous increases in aggression and retrospectively identify relationships between high levels of aggression and distinct animal and operational events. Rake mark frequency was significantly higher in males versus females, and calves and juveniles exhibited significantly more rake marks than adults, which may reflect age-ordered social hierarchies. Retrospective analyses indicated an increase in rake mark frequencies that coincided with the introduction of new members to the population. Thus, social aggression is not randomly distributed over time and is likely to be strongly influenced by animal management operations.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    OERCA, Dolphin Cove Research and Education

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science

    Keywords:
    bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) | rake marks
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  • Fishing piers and protected species: an assessment of the presence and effectiveness of conservation measures in Charlotte and Lee County, Florida.

    Hill , Ashley View Abstract

    The concentrated fishing activity at piers results in a variety of threats to federally
    protected marine species in the form of incidental captures and entanglement in and ingestion of fishing gear. Biological opinions issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in accordance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) state conservation measures which must be implemented in the construction of fishing piers. The databases used in the biological opinions to estimate the effects of fishing piers on protected species are highly dependent on public reporting and their comprehensiveness is unknown. Furthermore, there is currently a lack of follow up on the usage and effectiveness of conservation measures. The objectives of this study were to (1) conduct an overall characterization of the fishing piers in Charlotte and Lee counties, (2) provide preliminary results of the effectiveness of informational signs at educating pier anglers and encouraging reporting of sea turtle and sawfish incidental
    captures, (3) map and evaluate the extent of pier fishery related interactions with protected species as reported by interviewed pier anglers compared to those reported to the STSSN and ISED, and (4) investigate pier angler acceptance of additional potential sources of information.  All piers within the study area were visited twice, one a weekday and a weekend. During the first visit the overall assessment was performed and during each visit, one hour was spent conducting interviews with anglers. The pier assessments showed fishing piers in the study area varied and, overall, sawfish signs (19.2%), sea turtle signs (3.9%), monofilament recycling bins (46.2%) and pier attendants (3.9%) are lacking. Angler interviews indicated few anglers were
    aware of reporting incidental captures of sea turtles (7.5%) and sawfish (11.8%). Signs were both the highest reported current source (47.6%) and preferred source (54.5%) of protected species information. Therefore, increasing and revising the content and placement of signage at fishing piers combined with awareness raising efforts such as distributing floating keychains, stickers and koozies are likely to translate into increased reporting rates of sea turtle and sawfish encounters. Additionally, the use of traditional media, social media and smartphone applications has the potential to increase pier angler knowledge and encourage reporting of protected species encounters.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Protected Resources

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    Conservation | protected marine species
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  • Streamlining the review process of community profiles for fishery management : a study of 38 south Atlantic fishing communities.

    McNeal , Jena View Abstract

    The intent of this internship was to create community profiles and fact sheets on a
    total of 38 fishing communities in the South Atlantic States; North Carolina, South
    Carolina, Georgia and the East Coast of Florida. The fact sheets provide a clear and
    concise snapshot of each community allowing persons involved in creating fishery
    management plans and social impact statements to have a quick and easy way to better understand these fishing communities. The fact sheets include a brief history of fisheries in the community, tables showing socio-demographic data, graphs depicting fisheries catch and value data from 1993-2007 (1994-2007 for North Carolina), the top five species for the community, the number of dealers from 1993-2007 (excluding North
    Carolina), a section on current fishery management plans and regulations and a
    Geographic Information System (GIS) map that shows the community. This fact sheet
    helps to uphold National Standard eight of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act by magnifying issues in fishing communities that may have been over looked. This is shown through two case studies in Georgetown, South Carolina and McClellanville, South Carolina where issues are brought to light that warrant further investigation in regards to future FMPs and MPAs affecting their fisheries.

    Report Year:
    2009

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Southeast Fisheries Science Center

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    fishery management | Geographic Information System (GIS) | Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act
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  • Footprints of the regulatory and permitting process of horizontal directional drilling projects in South Florida.

    Metzler , Darcy N View Abstract

    Increased developmental pressure to strengthen infrastructure, support population
    growth, and meet economic needs necessitates policymakers to evaluate current environmental parameters and standards of regulation and compliance. One particular technology that has had rapid growth in infrastructure development is horizontal directional drilling (HDD). As HDD emerges as a means to implement energy, coastal development, communications, and navigation projects, it must be contextually examined regarding the environmental permit and regulation process. This study examines the role of HDD in coastal zone development and determines if the environmental processes, permitting and regulation, and execution of these
    drilling associated projects are conducted using the best management practices. Specifically, this study 1) evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the regulation process of permitted HDD projects 2) determines the utility of adaptive management in HDD technology 3) recommends best management practices for HDD projects to implement in order to minimize environmental impacts in coastal zone settings.
    This study finds that government agencies of federal, state, and local levels are
    overloaded. Government oversight is lax, and regulation needs to align itself with sustainability. To accomplish this goal, this study encourages local and public review of proposed HDD projects, as well as the use of an ecosystem based management approach. HDD management strategy also needs to facilitate adaptive management, as this is the best approach to adapt to unforeseen impacts, utilize best known methods, and incorporate precautionary steps.

    Report Year:
    2009

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Not Specified

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    horizontal directional drilling (HDD)
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  • Estimate of the Number of Global Fisheries and Comparsion of Fisheries Data Sources.

    Michaelides , Kayleigh View Abstract

    To date, few studies have attempted to estimate the number of global fisheries in terms of distinct management schemes. The main goal of this study was to emphasize management objectives as crucial components of fisheries that can thus shape their definition, governance, development, and sustainability. The number of fisheries within each fishing nation was counted using the FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profiles as the primary source. After the counts were made for each fishing nation, a number of methods were employed to analyze the numbers of fisheries reported
    within each nation and among nations. The FAO numbers derived from the country profiles were compared with numbers derived from outside sources, such as information from in-country fisheries experts or governmental fisheries management documents, and analyses were made in order to explore the presence of a trend in reporting fisheries numbers. After no apparent trends were found and all available resources were consulted, an estimate was made for countries whose FAO reports recorded unlikely, low numbers of fisheries by applying ratios of fisheries numbers from those countries that were compared. Numbers from the FAO profiles were added to the applied ratio estimates in order to achieve an estimate of global fisheries. A total
    of 4,057 fisheries were estimated from the information provided for in the FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Profiles alone. After analyzing the data and conducting the final estimate, the total number of fisheries was estimated to be between ~30,000 to ~40,000 fisheries. While this study is not the most comprehensive and complete attempt at estimating a total number of fisheries globally, it has generated information on available fisheries data resources and has highlighted fisheries data gaps that might serve as useful information for others looking to estimate fisheries numbers or quantify distinct fisheries management schemes within countries.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Environmental Defense Fund

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    global fisheries
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  • The importance of effective conservation strategies for the preservation of endangered and vulnerable penguins.

    Moore , Robert View Abstract

    This paper examines my internship over the past three months at the not-for-profit New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts. The aquarium’s penguin exhibit, outreach programs, and conservation efforts are a prime example of an organization taking steps to further protect the endangered and threatened statuses of the world’s penguin populations. Due to popular culture movies such as “Happy Feet” and “March of the Penguins,” as well as organizations like the New England Aquarium, people have become more aware of the threats towards penguin populations, and are making greater efforts for conservation. As a penguin intern, I was in charge of many aspects of the penguin exhibit: sorting the penguin food, cleaning the exhibit, cleaning to man-made rocks/penguin islands of the exhibit, feeding the penguins, recording their feed input, recording the penguin behaviors, cleaning the staff office, and communicating with aquarium patrons when they asked questions during my time in the exhibit The New England Aquarium is vital in the preservation of penguins worldwide, especially the four located in their exhibits: Little Blue penguins, African penguins, and Northern and Southern Rockhopper penguins. Through initiatives like the “Penguin Talk”, Live Blue, and Species Survival Plan, the New England Aquarium educates the public on shopping sustainably and provides suggestions how on they can contribute both physically and financially. The research at the aquarium, along with the connections between various aquariums, is ongoing with the hope that growth rates will increase with strong breeding programs and aid from the public.

    Report Year:
    2011

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    New England Aquarium (Boston, Massachusetts)

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    Penguins
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  • Historical Presence of the Roundscale Spearfish, Tetrapturus georgii, off Ocean City, MD.

    Murray , Meredith View Abstract

    Prior to 1993 there were no documented reports of roundsca1e spearfish, Tetrapturus georgii, in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Recent genetic and morphometric evidence indicates the species makes up 22% of present-day catches; however, whether these proportions have changed over time is unknown. In this study, morphometric measurements were taken of fish purported to be white marlin, Kajikia albida, which were captured from the 1930’s through the 1980’s.  Measurements were taken from the tip of the lower jaw to the end of the branchiostegal membrane (LJBR) and to the opercle (LJOP) for each fish. A published discriminant function was then used to determine the probability of the individual being a roundscale spearfish based
    on the LJBR:LJOP ratio. Using this function it was determined that four of the 46 fish examined (9.5%), had a greater than 75% probability of being roundscale spearfish. These new data do not support the notion that roundscale spearfish presence has increased in recent years.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service

    MPS Track:
    Fisheries Science

    Keywords:
    Roundscale Spearfish (Tetrapturus georgii)
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  • Broadcast Meteorology Internship Report.

    Nahmias , Amelia View Abstract

    I spent the last six months interning at CBS4 Miami in Doral, FL, supervised by David Bernard, CBS4’s Chief Meteorologist, Craig Setzer, My33’s evening Meteorologist, and Jeff Berardelli, CBS4’s weekend meteorologist and University of Miami professor. I got the opportunity to learn the day to day routine of a broadcast meteorologist in South Florida and appropriately contribute to the forecast team.

    Report Year:
    2011

    Department:
    MPO

    Location:
    WFOR-TV South Florida's CBS 4 News

    MPS Track:
    Broadcast Meterology

    Keywords:
    Broadcast Meterorology
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  • Meteorological conditions leading to the Saharan dust events observed in South Florida in July 2012.

    New , Nathan H View Abstract

    This study focuses on six separate dust events from the month of July 2012 that reached Miami, FL. Using backward trajectories, the time and location of the dust lifting from near the surface were found as well as the meteorological conditions for the surface, 850mb, and 600mb levels. This process allowed for determination of (?) the relationship between time the dust spent aloft and origin location and the strength of the dust as measured by Aerosol Optical Depth. The meteorological conditions of the entire month of July 2012 were examined against climatological averages in an effort to find a signal for the numerous dust events. Finally the daily averaged conditions were analyzed to find the transport mechanism for the dust to reach South Florida, as
    well as a comparison of the subtropical ridge during periods of activity during the month and a prolonged period of inactivity. Saharan dust has well- documented effects on people’s health and the ecosystem (Tobias et al. 2008; Walsh and Steidinger 2001). However, the effects of dust on precipitation and local weather (e.g. thunderstorms, cloud cover, etc) are not completely clear (Susan et al. 2009; Zhao eta!. 2011; Albrecht 1989) and are active areas of research. Neither the time the dust was aloft nor the origin of the dust was necessarily indicative of the strength when the dust reached Miami. Dust lifting occurred in two major locations: One on the Libya/ Algeria border, and another in Niger, with Event 2 outlying in western Mauritania. Nigerien events are all similar in strength (0.325 to 0.375 AOD), but the far North African origins ranged from the strongest to weakest events. It was also found that the 850mb chart best
    represented dust travel, and each event followed a ridge extending into the periphery of the subtropical high. The orientation of the subtropical ridge was found to be crucial for transporting dust to South Florida, with southerly and westerly maxima and an East-West elongation of the ridge most conducive for transport. The fastest movements of dust across the Atlantic came from westward expansion of the high causing a moving reference frame for the ridge carrying the dust. Forecasters at the Miami forecast office can use the results presented in this paper to increase the situational awareness during the summer months concerning Saharan dust events. This is expected to increase the accuracy of dust forecasting in South Florida.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MPO

    Location:
    National Weather Service - Miami Weather Forecast Office

    MPS Track:
    Weather Forecasting

    Keywords:
    Meterological Conditions | Saharan dust | Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD)
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  • Rapid assessment of Biscayne Bay Coastline.

    Metcalf , Michelle View Abstract

    Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves (BBAP) is a highly altered but diverse ecosystem
    comprised of nearly 70,000 acres of submerged lands within Miami-Dade County. Part of the newly developed BBAP Management Plan is to explore habitat loss due to coastal construction within the boundaries of BBAP. This study aimed to assess the habitat loss using available imagery. Imagery captured through remote sensing was used as a rapid assessment tool to evaluate the changes in Biscayne Bay’s coastline and benthic resources in 1985 and 2012. The study area includes industrial, residential, and natural features. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software were utilized to classify benthic communities of Biscayne Bay from the 1985 Landsat imagery with 30 m resolution and the 2012 aerial imagery with 30 cm Historical resource maps were also used to aid in depicting the benthic resources. From these maps and imageries, the study area was classified into seagrass, mangroves, and tidal flats. The results showed no significant increase in altered coastline. There appeared to be an increase in benthic resources, contrary to what has been documented, and likely as a result poor resolution of both 1985 imagery and documentation of historical resource maps. An alternative way habitat loss was estimated was by obtaining the information from state and county coastal construction application permits. Imagery created by remote sensing may be a useful tool to detect change in the coastline and benthic resources over time if the resolution between years is the same, but results must be verified using actual data collected to ensure accuracy.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Florida Department of Environmental Protection - Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Zone Management

    Keywords:
    Biscayne Bay
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  • Enforcement of the Marine Mammal Protection Act in the Southeast Region of the United States: A review of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) provisioning, including recommendations for improved reporting and public education.

    Nicotri , Heather L View Abstract

    With humans frequenting and populating the coastlines more often, an increase in recreational boating, wild dolphin watching, discarding of by-catch and other marine related activities, human-dolphin interactions have become more common. Over the past 10 years, from September 2001 until September 2011, the National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Law Enforcement has received over 112 complaints of a citation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (reports of marine mammal harassment cases also fall under the Endangered Species Act). Only about 29% (38 out of 130) reported complaints resulted in a punishment: written warning, settlement, sent to General Council or a citation. Most of the complaints reported lacked sufficient evidence, resources or information for the agent or officer to fully investigate. As a result of this and other investigatory barriers, 71% of the cases were left unfounded or dismissed and closed without further investigation. Contributing to this statistic, there appears to be insufficient education of the general public regarding citations of the MMPA and the risks of illegal wild dolphin interactions, especially in areas where these marine mammals frequent. With greater exposure to the necessary information needed when reporting an illegal act or citation, it is hypothesized that law enforcement agents would be better able to investigate reports more thoroughly, possibly resulting in a higher percentage of cases being closed and completed. With more effective enforcement, aided by improved reporting from the general public, decreases in MMPA citations would seem possible.

    Report Year:
    2011

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service / Office of Law Enforcement

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science

    Keywords:
    Marine Mammal Protection Act | bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)
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  • Response of the Caribbean staghorn coral Acropora cervicomis transplanted to low and high density stands of conspecific colonies in the Dry Tortugas National Park.

    Ondrasik , Katherine View Abstract

    Coral reefs throughout the Caribbean have declined dramatically over the past few decades due to a variety of interacting threats, including disease outbreaks, coral bleaching, ocean acidification, and poor water quality. These declines have led to the 2006 listing of the staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) as ‘threatened’ under the Endangered Species Act. As a result of this listing, restoration of A. cervicornis has been implemented as a mitigation strategy in many parts of the Florida Keys. In the Dry Tortugas National Park, naturally recovering populations, although rare, occur as either sparse groups of individual colonies, or as dense thickets. In this project, I tested the influence of colony density on the growth and survival of transplanted nubbins in the field. The density of corals in naturally recovering populations was measured, and patches of high and low colony density were identified. The growth of nubbins transplanted to these patches was measured, and their Symbiodinium identity and density was compared to evaluate if colony density in naturally recovering populations affected growth of transplanted nubbins. Eighty days after transplantation, I found that transplanted nubbins at the sparse sites increased in symbiont densities (measured as symbiont cells per cm2 coral tissue) and grew significantly faster than those at the dense sites, which exhibited a decrease in symbiont density and grew more slowly. Molecular assays of the Symbiodinium communities in experimental corals revealed that all colonies hosted only Symbiodinium in clade A (most likely A3), regardless of colony density. These findings may be used to improve restoration effo1ts by identifying site characteristics that promote growth and survivorship and by establishing target colony densities for restoration projects.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystem Management

    Keywords:
    staghorn coral | Acropora cervicornis
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  • Climate variability, future climate change, and harmful algal blooms in the southeastern United States : challenges for research and precautionary policies.

    Ordway , Lauren View Abstract

    The term harmful algal bloom (also known colloquially as ‘red tides’) refers to the rapid growth or production of a small minority of toxin producing phytoplankton (or microalgae). Blooms can potentially have human health consequences, economic ramifications, and reduce overall ecosystem resilience. Over the past few decades, there has been increased observation of harmful algal blooms on a global scale. Whether this data represents a tangible change, or is simply a function of increased monitoring remains inconclusive. There are a number of driving factors associated with bloom initiation, both natural and as a result of human activity. However, in light of anthropogenically mediated climate change, scientists are attempting to better understand how aspects of a changing climate may interact with bloom dynamics.
    The southeastern United States is hypothesized to be one of the most impacted areas of the country as a result of global climate change. Incidentally, the region is also affected by a numerous types of HABs. High levels of coastal development and reliance on coastal resources makes it particularly vulnerable to such events, and an important region to elucidate upon potential links between climate and HABs. This paper discusses the interactions of both climate variability and change with harmful algae species by reviewing studies done throughout the world, but as they pertain to HABs in the southeastern United States. While a number of papers speculate about the potential of increased sea surface temperature, increased stratification, ocean acidification, changes in precipitation, upwelling and vertical mixing to favor harmful species dominance, or in promoting suitable conditions for HABs, very few studies to date have been done to empirically support such claims. The myriad of challenges to such research are discussed, as well the importance of precautionary policy-making in the face of scientific uncertainty.

    Report Year:
    2009

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Southeast Climate Consortium

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    harmful algal blooms | Climate Change
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  • Reliability of 3hr Probability of Precipitation Forecasts Produced by the National Weather Service Office in Miami, Florida.

    Ortiz , Ana View Abstract

    In early 2013, the National Weather Service (NWS) Office in Miami, Florida implemented a new three-hour probability of precipitation (PoP) forecast. The short-term threehour forecasts provide the general public with more frequently updated PoP values in addition to the twelve-hour and six-hour PoPs. The reliability of the new three-hour PoP forecasts was examined to provide feedback to the NWS with an objective to increase the situational awareness in the areas where the results suggested improvement was necessary. Approximately nine months of data were analyzed from June 13th, 2013 to March 12th, 2014. Reliability plots and frequency distributions were analyzed for the entire time period, as well as the wet and dry season for the airports of Naples, West Palm Beach, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale. High impact events in which precipitation amounts were above normal were examined to analyze how the precipitation forecasts performed in these extreme events. PoP forecasts for the entire time period were reliable with a small bias depicting a tendency to overestimate. Forecast PoP values ranging from 5% to 30% were overestimated for both seasons. The dry season PoPs were less reliable and showed more of an overestimation compared to the wet season. Certain PoP values, mainly around 50%, 70% and 80%, were underestimated, thus showing a dry bias. High impact events were well predicted, shown by trends of increasing PoP values as radar indicated precipitation entering the forecast areas. The high impact events did support the claim for a bias towards underestimating PoP values around 50% and 80%. A detailed analysis of each high impact event is presented.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    MPO

    Location:
    National Weather Service

    MPS Track:
    Weather Forecasting

    Keywords:
    Precipitation Forecasting
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  • Gulf Coast Marine Life Center: advancing sustainable aquaculture in the U. S.

    Pelaez , Melissa C. View Abstract

    This report documents my work as Program Coordinator for the Gulf Coast Marine Life Center (GCMLC) in Destin, FL. The GCMLC is a start-up venture focusing on sustainable aquaculture to meet the restoration needs of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as jump starting the United States domestic aquaculture industry to meet future seafood demands. As the only full-time employee thus far of GCMLC, my responsibilities encompass many aspects of a start-up organization. Initially the center’s focus was on the development of two major grant proposals. The proposals required the inclusion of a basic business plan, including a budget proposal that included capital costs, operating costs, and production costs. It was essential throughout the process to coordinate meetings with the architects, engineers, and university partners to draw up site plans, develop waste management plans, and ensure that the layout, equipment, plumbing, etc. would be in accordance with the planning phases. It was essential to coordinate with different government departments and agencies to acquire the necessary pennitting for the Center’s aquaculture operations. Another major responsibility is within the realm of communications such as public relations, networking, and marketing. The GCMLC routinely meets with different universities to forge partnerships or further solidify existing partnerships while formulating the next steps in the development process. Participation in county meetings is also vital in gaining support for the GCMLC. These meetings encompass county, state, and regional levels. Lastly, the GCMLC participates in Sea Grant extension meetings to inform others on the center’s goals and initiatives, as well as to forge partnerships with regional restoration experts. Many of those meetings also provide a wealth of information that is later incorporated into the planning. A substantial part of the GCMLC’s marketing efforts is the development ofa user-friendly working website providing a wealth of information on our project, links to partner universities, pictures and videos. On the social media front a Twitter account and Facebook account were created, as well as Vimeo and YouTube for video sharing.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Gulf Coast Marine Life Center

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    Aquaculture | sustainable
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  • Is market value of targeted species increased with the use of circle hooks in the NW Atlantic pelagic longline fishery?

    Pohlot , Bruce G View Abstract

    The Northwest Atlantic’s pelagic longline fishing fleet has been required to use circle hooks since 2004, following research indicating the use of these hooks to reduce bycatch release mortality of elasmobranchs, marine mammals, sea turtles, and juvenile target species. Although much research has been invested in examining the effects of circle hook use on catch rates and factors affecting release mortality, no studies have examined the effect on the quality of retained target species, such as swordfish and bigeye tuna . This study evaluates the veracity of the suggestion made by several researchers that improved quality fish product will result from the increased jaw hooking and live boarding of fish associated with the use of circle hooks (Watson et al. 2005; erstetter and Graves 2002; Serafy et al. in review). An analysis of swordfish and bigeye tuna quality grades was performed using observer recorded information regarding individual fish characteristics, such as if the fish was alive or dead, how the fish was hooked, and what type of hook and bait combination was used . In 5 circle hook to J- hook comparisons, 4 demonstrated that circle hooks obtained significantly higher quality grades in 2002 and 2003. In all comparisons, circle hooks either improved, or were equivalent in, resulting fish quality. The contentions made by Watson et al. (2005) and Kerstetter and Graves (2002) were confirmed with live boarded swordfish displaying significantly higher grades in 2002 and 2003, while bigeye tuna were graded significantly higher only in 2002. Mouth hooked swordfish and bigeye tuna obtained significantly higher quality grades in 2002. These results highlight the potential benefit of circle hook use to the resulting quality of fish product brought to market by the fishermen . It is likely that high quality fish will obtain a higher price, possibly
    improving fishermen’s revenue and supporting expanded circle hook use beyond US regulatory boundaries.

    Report Year:
    2011

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service / SEFSC

    MPS Track:
    Fisheries Science

    Keywords:
    longline fishing | circle hooks |
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  • The pilot spreader swale project environmental assessment.

    Porter , Abigail View Abstract

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recommended the
    construction of spreader swales to improve flow downstream of the
    existing culverts under Tamiami Trail into Northeast Shark River Slough
    in Everglades National Park (ENP). Additional technical information from
    the USACE, South Florida Water Management District, and National
    Park Service differs in the amount of potential benefit that can be
    attributed to swales. Therefore, ENP agreed to evaluate the effectiveness
    of swales through potential modeling and/ or construction of pilot swales.
    The potential environmental impacts associated with this project were
    analyzed through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process
    and preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA).
    In this report, I will provide some background of ENP and the Pilot
    Spreader Swale Project, as well as an overview of the NEPA process. I will
    also describe the Pilot Spreader Swale Project EA and my involvement, as
    well as my primary responsibility, which involves the coordination and
    preparation of documented Categorical Exclusion level projects, using
    the Tamiami Trail Swales Topographic Survey as an example.

    Report Year:
    2009

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Everglade National Park (Homestead, FL)

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    environmental assessment | Pilot Spreader Swale Project
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  • The Effects of Georgia’s Watershed on Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary: An Outreach Campaign.

    Rigdon , Abbigail View Abstract

    Gray’s Reef is a National Marine Sanctuary located 20 miles off the coast of
    Georgia. The discontinuous clumps of rocks and ledges found at Gray’s Reef provide surfaces for various temperate and tropical marine flora and fauna to grow upon. The location of the sanctuary makes it the most southern point for many temperate species, and the most northern point for numerous tropical species. The distance of the sanctuary from the mainland, however, creates difficulties for residents of Georgia to have a connection with the reef, and prevents them from understanding how their actions can affect its health. Gray’s Reef seeks to create awareness of the
    reef, and encourages environmentally conscious behavior. Many outreach activities are already in place, such as Remote Operated Vehicle (ROY) competitions and workshops, the Gray’s Reef Ocean Film Festival (which features a short film competition), and various exhibits on display throughout Georgia. While these events and activities reach many people and cover a variety of topics, there is still a
    need for watershed outreach focused on the general public. My project focused on fulfilling Gray’s Reef s need for watershed outreach. To achieve my goal, I provided alternative ways to engage the public in Georgia’s watersheds and how they affect Gray’s Reef. This assortment of methods included fact sheets containing information about watersheds, runoff, household poll ution and their relation to Gray’s Reef, a cartoon addressing the issue of anthropogenic causes of eutrophication, and a step-by-step guide for creating a rain barrel. Additionally, I distributed a survey to determine the effectiveness of the fact sheets on readers. The survey revealed that the fact sheets that I created were successful in informing my audience, and they felt persuaded to practice several of the suggested methods of individual pollution
    reduction. The products I created are easily distributed, and will be placed on the Gray’s Reef website and used by a range of non-profit organizations. This project was challenging, and allowed me to actively use the knowledge gained from schooling for a real outreach campaign.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    National Marine Sanctuary | watershed | Georgia
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  • Evaluation of attractants and traps as potential mitigation method for Lionfish management.

    Rogers , Kristian View Abstract

    The Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles) is a highly invasive marine fish
    species that has been rapidly spreading throughout the western Atlantic Ocean for the past two decades. Currently, the primary method used to manage lionfish populations is
    removal by roving diver surveys but this method has several constraints such as depth,
    time, and air supply that limit removals from occurring throughout the entire invaded
    region. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a recently developed lionfish trap that
    utilizes live bait as an attractant to assess whether this could be a viable means of removing lionfish. The removal efficiency of this trapping method was compared to the current technique of roving diver surveys. Traps were deployed throughout Biscayne National Park and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary at seven different sites of varying depth and habitat. Over the course of these deployments, no lionfish or incidental by-catch were caught in any of the traps. In order to assess lionfish capture efficiency, removal and observational (control, non-removal) surveys took place throughout the park at 16 different sites in different habitats (continuous vs. isolated shallow patch reefs) and depths. The overall capture efficiency for all participating divers was 78.3%. The mean capture time was 01:18 ± 01:04 while the mean time until a lionfish was encountered on a survey was 08:10 ± 05:38. A significantly higher amount of lionfish was observed on the deeper continuous reef sites over the course of these surveys. No significant correlations were found regarding the number of observed lionfish over time or the observed length of lionfish over time. Between the two methods of removal, roving diver surveys were the more efficient method. This specific trap design had a number of flaws, which contributed to its ineffectiveness in the area where it was tested. Additional studies are needed to assess whether other trap designs could prove to be a viable management alternative.
    i

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Biscayne National Park (Homestead , FL)

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystems Management

    Keywords:
    Mitigation | Lionfish
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  • Creating Comprehensive Protected Areas: The Ecology of the Pūpūkea Tide Pools and Their Value to the Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District.

    Rosinski , Anne E View Abstract

    The aims of this project were to assess the biological community and environmental variables in the Pūpūkea tide pools on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. These data were compared to a historical baseline and relevant literature to better understand the ecological role of the Pūpūkea tide pools within the Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District (MLCD). Depth and tide were significant factors effecting fish abundance in the Pūpūkea tide pools. The fish community was dominated by large schools of Kuhlia spp. (āholehole), and the tide pool fauna differed significantly between day and night. Depth data were used to improve the bathymetric resolution of existing maps of the study area, and bottom composition results suggested the important role of macroalgae in the tide pools. Results indicated that the Pūpūkea tide pools are habitat for several nearshore fish species, has maintained and possibly increased biological diversity since the 1970’s, and is unique from the surrounding MLCD and nearby intertidal areas
    on Oahu.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Malama Pupukea Waimea (MLCD)

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystem Management

    Keywords:
    Marine Protected Areas | Pupukea
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  • City of Miami Beach dune management plan.

    Ross , Jordan View Abstract

    Miami Beach is highly developed, ranking in the top three most urbanized barrier islands in the United States (Siffin 1981). As such, the city has a unique opportunity to balance preserving its natural ecosystems with improving the quality of life for its residents and visitors. Stutz and Pilkey (2005) classify Miami Beach as an, “island terminated”. They use a Relative Anthropic Index (RAI) that compares the geomorphology of the island against human pressures and development, and prove that the long-term preservation of the island rests largely on the recovery of natural coastal processes. Miami Beach will benefit from a clear dune management plan to protect one of the only natural ecosystems left on the island. How can a highly urbanized city with minimal funding, and multiple stakeholders balance the needs of science and culture when managing their dune system? The purpose of this paper is to describe how I developed the dune management plan. The paper also answers the questions of why Miami Beach needs a formal dune management plan, how the city can best implement a plan, and to what extent science and culture play in the governance of such a unique coastal ecosystem. Simple policy solutions will help minimize the costs, improve interdepartmental communications, and ensure compliance of federal, state, and local laws. Analysis of effective management plans of other coastal sand dune ecosystems offer ideas, but Miami Beach’s goals for enhancing the dune habitat will have to have creative and innovative solutions to deal with the city’s specific character and threats. A proposed dune management plan is included.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    City of Miami Beach, Environmental Resources Management Division

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    dune management | coastal ecosystems
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  • The Challenge of Managing Recreational Boating Facilities In South Florida.

    Saiontz , Steven J View Abstract

    The recreational boating business is a significant economic driver both on a national and a local scale. Recreational boating storage facilities play a crucial role in providing access to the water and safe storage for boats. However, a myriad of challenges including competing “higher-value” uses for waterfront properties (particularly in South Florida) threaten the viability of these facilities. This study reviews management practices employed locally by a South Florida based marina management company in its efforts to survive the recent economic recess ion, mitigate environmental issues and position its marinas for financial optimization in order to remain competitive on a go-forward basis.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Miami-Dade County, Sea Grant Extension Office

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Zone Management

    Keywords:
    recreational boating | marina management
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  • Queen Conch Recruitment in the Florida Keys.

    Sandbank , Einat View Abstract

    The queen conch (Strombus gigas) is a large gastropod found in the waters of the Florida Keys. Due to harvest pressure, its population in Florida has declined dramatically leading to the closure of the Florida fishery in 1986. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has been conducting yearly surveys of adult breeding populations located in the back-reef of the Florida Keys from 1992-2013. Yet, patterns of larval dispersal and recruitment in the area are still mostly unknown. In this study, the relationship between egg-mass densities and juvenile densities three years later was examined using regression and correlation analyses. A significant positive correlation exists between the egg-mass densities and juvenile densities three years later within the Keys (p=0.04). A further analysis of regional recruitment patterns showed a weak positive relationship between egg-mass densities and juvenile densities three years later between almost all regions of the Florida Keys except for two regressions which showed a negative relationships between these two variables. My findings suggest that queen conch are self-recruiting within the Florida Keys, but that spatial patterns within the different regions of the Florida Reef Tract aren’t clearly present. Due to the limitations of this study, a detailed planktonic larval survey and a DNA analysis of conch in the regions should be done to give a more accurate picture of larval sources and recruitment patterns.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute ; Student Conservation Association

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystem Management

    Keywords:
    queen conch (Strombus gigas) | Florida
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  • Descriptive epizootiology of parasites from the 1991-2005 mass strandings of rough-toothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis) in the Southeastern United States.

    Scorcia , Veronica M View Abstract

    Parasites are commonly encountered during necropsies of mass stranded wild dolphins, however, due to a lack of standardized investigation and collection techniques, they are not always systematically described. This retrospective study describes parasites identified in 166 roughtoothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis) that mass stranded along the Florida coastline between 1991 and 2005. Encountered parasites were separated by type (i.e. trematode, nematode, cestode, crustacean, protozoan, and unknown) and burden (mild, moderate or severe, and singular infection or multiple infections). Variables of interest that could potentially have an effect on parasite type and burden were sex, age class, length range, and geographic region. Of the mass stranded S. bredanensis, 94.9% exhibited parasitic infections, and the most commonly identified parasites were trematodes, followed by nematodes and larval cysts of cestodes. Most of the stranded animals identified with parasitic infections presented with either 1 infection in 1 organ or 2+ infections in multiple organs. Although, each stranding event was represented by a distinctive set of parasites, it is not clear as to whether or not this was a result of the time of the stranding (varying by months and years), the geographic stock of the animals, the water temperature, or possibly the prey type. Sex, age class, and length range of the animals had no effect on the number of parasitic infections or parasite type exhibited by an individual, although females were the dominant sex represented at all strandings. Serendipitous collection of
    information from post-mortem examination by different evaluators makes it difficult to thoroughly interpret the data, and future efforts should be expanded upon and standardized.

    Report Year:
    2011

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Protected Resources and Biodiversity Division

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science

    Keywords:
    parasites | stranded dolphins
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  • Key to identifications of common species of larval sea basses and hamlets (Family Serranidae, Subfamily Serraninae) in the western Atlantic and the Caribbean.

    Shiroza , Akihiro View Abstract

    Species of the subfamily Serraninae, such as sea basses and hamlets, are abundant in ichthyoplankton samples from the US Virgin Islands and Leeward Islands, as well as those from South Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. However, these larval stages are poorly described; of 35 species recorded in the area, only five are fully described. One of the difficulties in identification of these larvae to species through meristics is a high degree of overlap in meristic characters among species. Further, pre-flexion larvae are often not sufficiently developed to obtain accurate fin counts for species or even genus level identification. Genetic barcoding techniques have been developed to overcome such difficulties but are not cost-effective. Preliminary study of the larval stages of the subfamily Serraninae suggests that distinct pigment patterns exist, even at the preflexion stage, that may be useful for visual identification following genetic confirmation. The goal of this project was to 1) determine, with genetic confirmation, whether species-specific pigment patterns exist, and if so, 2) build several practical stage-specific identification keys. Out of 380 larval serranines, only 119 specimens were successfully sequenced. Eight species and two unidentifiable species were identified. Hierarchical clustering was used to reveal groupings of species at three flexion stages by their pigment patterns, and Canonical Analysis of Principal Coordinates was used to determine discriminating pigment location(s) for the species by their flexion stage. No distinction could be made with pigment patterns for the three Hypoplectrus spp. and between Serranus baldwini and S. tigrinus; they were treated as Hypoplectrus spp. and the S. baldwini-tigrinus species group. Three identification keys were made for each flexion stage for the three species and the two-species group.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service / SEFSC , Early Life History Lab

    MPS Track:
    Fisheries Science

    Keywords:
    Serranidae | Serraninae
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  • Communicating Climate Change in Everglades National Park.

    Short , Amanda View Abstract

    With a landscape susceptible to climate change and sea level rise, Everglades National Park aims to be proactive in addressing climate change and educating its visitors about the subject. This internship project extended park communications about climate change to help fulfill that goal. The breadth of information about climate change on the park’s website was expanded and allows visitors to learn at their leisure or before they travel to the park. Signs were posted to highlight and explain the “green” and “carbon friendly” practices within the park. Children’s activities incorporating climate change were created for use by environmental education staff or the Junior Ranger Program. The abundance of information about climate change and what the park is doing to address it is unparalleled by any other National Park Service unit.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MPO

    Location:
    Everglade National Park (Homestead, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Weather Forecasting

    Keywords:
    Climate Change | sea level rise
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  • Depredation Mortality of Red Snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) in the Gulf of Mexico Recreational Fishery.

    Stelter , Sarah E View Abstract

    Red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) has been classified by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) as an over fished species since the 1980s. To rebuild depleted stocks, regulations have been established for the commercial and recreational sectors of the fishery. In the recreational fishery those regulations includes: bag limits, seasonal and area closures, the use of venting tools, and size limitations. A source of mortality that is presently unstudied and unquantified is depredation, the active feeding off the line of hooked fish of bait or target species by predators. This study aims to give a first look into the issue of depredation in the northern Gulf of Mexico’s red snapper recreational charter industry by use of underwater video to capture depredation and begin to quantify the potentially significant loss of caught red snapper to predators. This study was composed of 27 fishing trips taken off the coast of Destin, Florida from February 2010 through July 2011 on a recreational charter vessel in which 692 sets were filmed using underwater cameras. The majority of the catch, 77%, was comprised of red snapper.  Red snapper also accounted for a significantly higher CPUE and depredation rate over all other species. Red snapper had 5.6% of the total hooked species depredated by dolphins and sharks. Dolphins depredated the catch 11 times more than shark species, with dolphins becoming accustomed to the presence of fishing activity with learned behavior for depredating on fish over time and learning from other dolphins how to successfully depredate. When CPUE was tested against CPUE with 5.6% depredation added back in, this result was significantly different. If
    depredation were not occurring and 5.6% depredation of the catch was caught but not landed then these fish were not accounted for in the quota. This unaccounted loss may affect population abundance estimates and mortality rates for red snapper. Further studies are necessary to fully quantify the extent of depredation in the Gulf of Mexico and will give managers a clearer picture of the depredatory sources of mortality for red snapper.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service

    MPS Track:
    Fisheries Management and Conservation

    Keywords:
    Red Snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) | recreational fishing
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  • Can buoys used to mark permanent water quality sites act as bird stakes?

    Thyberg , Travis B View Abstract

    The University of Miami Benthic Ecology Research Lab has been monitoring and mapping submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) for the central and southern portions of Biscayne Bay as part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) since 2003. This project evaluates the role of salinity and nutrients on the abundance and distribution of seagrasses within permanent water quality stations operated by Biscayne National Park. Specifically, this experiment was designed to determine if the presence of seagrass species is an artifact of nutrient deposition rather than salinity regime. Offshore sites within this network of loggers are typically unaffected by major fluctuations in salinity from terrestrial freshwater sources, yet display seagrass community structure dynamics inconsistent with current salinity patterns (i.e., these sites are dominated by species that are not expected based on salinity regimes). We also determined that with contributions of waterfowl nutrients to the water column, nutrients may be acting as the dominant driver for seagrass population dynamics. At sites with large marker buoys, we found T. testudinum biomass with a greater percent phosphorus content (sig. p <0.0001) near the buoy than biomass collected farther than 6 m away. H. wrightii coverage was limited offshore (only present in halo near buoy), and nutrient variation was limited through the experiment (inshore to offshore and near and far from buoy). However, weight per blade exhibited higher nutrient availability at offshore buoyed sites. Based on these preliminary results of the data, we can generally conclude that nutrient deposition impacts seagrass community structure. This information has the potential to greatly improve SAV data resolution for BNP and more accurately describe seagrass community structure.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Biscayne Nature Center (Key Biscayne, FL) ; Lirman Laboratory, RSMAS

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystem Management

    Keywords:
    Biscayne National Park | buoys | bird stakes
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  • Protecting sharks : ecological importance and conservation strategies.

    Torkelson , Natalie View Abstract

    Shark populations are declining worldwide, and some shark populations have
    decreased over 90 percent around Florida. There are many conservation strategies that
    can be employed to help protect these animals, including: citizen science and ecotourism. This internship explored using these strategies to make a difference for sharks. SharksCount is Shark Savers’ citizen science program in Florida that employs these two strategies. This rep01i documents my internship with Shark Savers.
    SharksCount trains citizen scientists and provides them with identification and data
    sheet to record opportunistic shark sightings or zero shark sighting while diving recreationally. As an intern, I was tasked to write a report on data collected in Florida
    from February 2011 through the present. The data from Februaiy 2011-August 2013 was compiled, organized and analyzed, and l wrote a repmi on the results of the analysis of these data. The results showed that the largest number of sharks seen were in Palm Beach, but Juno had the highest number of sharks observed per dive. The dive site with the highest number of observations was “Tunnels”, in Jupiter. The data also shows that there could be a small increase in the probability of seeing a shark during longer dives, and also at reef dive sites. Continued data collection may yield more accurate and interesting results, but more citizen scientists need to be recruited and trained to increase the amount of reliable data being submitted.  The Adopt-A-Bull-Shark Initiative was a fundraising campaign using the crowdfunding platform lndiegogo. I helped develop the campaign by creating different donation levels and perks associated with these levels, and also created the budget and all of the materials for this campaign. I also wrote a blog post that was circulated in the Shark Savers’ newsletter and on the Internet, and promoted the campaign via social media. The campaign goal was $22,000 in the two-month period Indiegogo allows. We raised $11,600, and discovered that the most popular perk level was the $25 level. Ifwe
    ran this campaign again, a less ambitious goal would be a better option. However, money was still raised to aid SharksCount and the Great Fiji Shark Count, and further shark conservation.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Shark Savers, Shark Count Program

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    Sharks | conservation
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  • Improving fisheries management through governance and incentives for habitat conservation.

    Trainor , Mary View Abstract

    Fisheries provide a number of goods and services worldwide. Poor fisheries management results in decreased food and fewer jobs while costing society billions of dollars annually. We address two aspects of fisheries management: governance and habitat protection policy. We map the governance of coastal fishing in the Spanish Mediterranean, an area with high biodiversity and extensive coastal fishing pressure, and analyze it using Eleanor Ostrom’s principles for successful common pool resource management. We also discuss the impacts of destructive fishing practices, current habitat protection policies, and potential incentive-based policies to improve habitat protection and meet the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act goal to protect essential fish habitat. Our methods consisted of speaking with professionals in the field and searching published literature via Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar. We find that both Spain’s highly devolved hierarchical governance structure and current habitat protection methods are on the right track for successful fisheries management. A possible opportunity for improvement in both governance and habitat protection is to more fully incorporate and incentivize users. We expect that the next step in fisheries management will involve a stronger emphasis on integrating and motivating users.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Environmental Defense Fund

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    fisheries management | conservation
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  • Wetland regulation in south Florida : an environmental consultant’s perspective.

    Tust , Michael View Abstract

    Wetland regulation in South Florida is spread across multiple agencies and multiple
    jurisdictions requiring environmental professionals to know the requirements at each
    level in order to successfully navigate through the extensive regulatory permitting
    process. Wetland permitting requires multiple tasks such as delineating jurisdictional
    wetlands within a project study area, assessing impacts, designing compensatory
    mitigation plans to offset unavoidable impacts, coordinating with appropriate regulatory
    agencies, and monitoring construction activities to ensure permit compliance. Case
    studies from the private sector show that the current wetland permitting system is flawed due to (1) weakened agency oversight due to streamlining efforts, (2) errors in
    jurisdictional delineation methods, (3) lack of accountability for addressing cumulative
    impacts, (4) abuse of compensatory mitigation as a safety net investment, and (5) price
    being the major factor in the evaluation of contractors bidding on public projects. These
    issues must be addressed to improve wetland protection in South Florida and will require contributions from all sectors.

    Report Year:
    2009

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Sandra Walters Consultants, Inc. (SWC)

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    wetland planning, environmental impact, mitigation
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  • Volunteer Internship with the Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (FIRA) of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

    Van Senten , Jonathan H. View Abstract

    Given the current state of world fisheries and the growing role of aquaculture as a global provider of fish for human consumption, it is essential that the development and management of the sector be coupled with sustainable practices; as well as in compliance with international standards, to reduce the risk of negative impacts on the environment. It is also crucial to consider the role of climate change and the impacts of aquaculture activity, and the future of the sector in response to a changing climate. This internship, in collaboration with the FAO, was centered around the work of the organization as it developed a new aquaculture specific questionnaire; to assess the compliance and development of policies within member countries and adherence to the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF). As a secondary task, a table-top study investigating the relationship between climate change and bivalve mariculture was initiated, with the goal of producing a summary output of the potential impacts of climate change to bivalve mariculture. At the end of the three month internship period, a fully working aquaculture specific questionnaire was submitted to the Fisheries and Aquaculture Service of the FAO, including alternate language versions of the newly created “References and Tools” sheet, and an associated member country contact list. The climate change and bivalve mariculture study, suffered several set-backs due to the high priority awarded to the completion of the primary task; but several intermediate outputs were produced as a result of the literature review process. The completed aquaculture questionnaire will be forwarded to member nations this year as part of the FAO’s biennial reporting process, and will continue to be developed over the next several cycles as the organization moves to improve reporting and support aquaculture development.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United NationsFIRA ServiceFood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FIRA Service (Rome, Italy)

    MPS Track:
    Aquaculture

    Keywords:
    Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (FIRA) | Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
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  • Making science sensible : integrating interdisciplinary science into public education.

    Verhagen , Joelle Lauren View Abstract

    This internship was conducted through a National Science Foundation science education fellowship entitled Science Made Sensible (SMS). The fellowship entails a year long collaboration between a Miami-Dade Public School System middle school science teacher and a University of Miami graduate student fellow who is pursuing an advanced degree in science, technology, engineering or math discipline. This partnership was formed in order to develop and implement an enhanced science curriculum guided by the graduate student’s experience in science and current field of study. SMS emphasized a curriculum based on National Science Education Standards and Florida Sunshine State Standards. In addition, the graduate fellow taught science that stressed the interrelationship between science, technology and science-related
    social issues.  Year long observation and informal interviews with the students along with end-of-the year surveys were conducted to evaluate the impacts of the teaching method and new curriculum to middle school students. It was observed that by connecting science directly to its function and purpose in society, student interest and participation increased. Student engagement and attitude towards the interdisciplinary curriculum was extremely optimistic, showing high student involvement and positive attitudes.

    Report Year:
    2009

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Science Made Sensible

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    Science Made Sensible (SMS) | National Science Foundation
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  • Lionfish Colonization Rate at Preferred Sites Following Removal.

    Vilmar , Christina View Abstract

    Invasive lionfish in the Caribbean and western Atlantic are adversely impacting coastal ecosystems through negative effects on reef fish abundance and diversity. Complete eradication is unlikely; however, maintaining control of lionfish populations at targeted sites can reduce negative effects in those selected areas. Also, some sites regularly support a higher density of lionfish and focusing removal efforts on these preferred sites could increase efficacy and the cost-benefit of removal efforts. This study determined the optimal timeframe for repeated lionfish removal effmts at sites in Biscayne National Park that regularly exhibit high lionfish abundance, which will improve the efficiency of lionfish management efforts. Lionfish were completely removed from the following
    study sites: Shrimpboat (SB), Boca Chita South (BCS), Boca Chita North (BCN), Stiltsville Miami Springs Power Boat House (MS), and Stiltsville-Ellenburg House (EB), which were then surveyed for the presence of Iionfish (i.e. colonization post-removal) weekly for 12 weeks; this process was repeated twice. Linear regression equations were used to determine the number of weeks post-removal needed in order to observe three or more newly colonized lionfish at each site. BCN should be revisited every three weeks to conduct removals; SB, BCS, and EB should be revisited every six to eight weeks; and MS every 12 weeks in the summer. In the winter, BCS and BCN should be revisited every five to eight weeks to remove lionfish, and SB, MS, and EB should
    be visited every 12 weeks. If MS and EB are considered as a single site (i.e. Stiltsville), removal efforts should be conducted every ten weeks in both seasons. There was no difference in lionfish colonization rate between MS and EB, likely because the sites are very similar in site characterizations. The colonization rate of lionfish at BCN and BCS was significantly greater than the rate at Stiltsville, because the wrecks support higher densities of lionfish.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Biscayne National Park (Homestead , FL)

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystem Management

    Keywords:
    Lionfish
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  • F.A.C.T. : Florida Atlantic Coast Telemetry : coordinating a multi-agency estuarine and coastal research project.

    Whitcraft , Samantha R View Abstract

    The Florida Atlantic Coast Telemetry Project (FACT) is a multi-agency research
    collaboration employing acoustic telemetry to study movements, life-history patterns and habitat-use of commercially, recreationally, and ecologically important fishes along
    Florida’s Atlantic coast ecosystem. Large-scale passive acoustic telemetry is increasingly applied to animal movements within and among ecosystems and can provide new opportunities to investigate comparative and wide-ranging fish movements across a mosaic of aquatic coastal habitats. Acoustically tagged fishes include gray snapper (Lutjanus griseus), common snook (Centropomus undecimalis), red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris}, and several species of rays (Dasyatis sp., Gymnura sp. ). Fish movements are tracked by > 130+ acoustic receivers covering an approximately >300 km2 area including river, estuary, and off-shore reef habitats. All fish position detections are shared across multiple telemetry projects. This internship report is a product of the FACT collaboration where I served as the NOAA-Fisheries FACT Project Coordinator, in partnership with the state FWC
    coordinator, from 2006-2008. As a collaborative effort, data for each section of the
    manuscript, along with some initial text were contributed by various FACT collaborators.
    As FACT Project Coordinator, I initiated and guided the concept of the paper as a whole, pulled all the sections together, and created a coherent, publishable manuscript. I also included and analyzed my tagging data and included those comparative results in the gray snapper section of the paper. And finally, I added my research on the concept of largescale acoustic telemetry and its growing applications in coastal environments.
    The report reviews three applications of, and initial results from, this coastal ecosystem scale collaboration, including: 1) comparing nocturnal/diurnal movement patterns of
    juvenile and adult gray snapper; 2) detecting large-scale movements of a snook between adjacent river systems; and 3) increasing location detection resolution of lemon shark movements with overlapping arrays. We conclude with a discussion of potential expansions of the acoustic array along the Atlantic seaboard. Initial results from the FACT Project and other large-scale passive acoustic telemetry arrays suggest they may provide an increasingly important tool in understanding fish movements at a coastal ecosystem-scale. A final, condensed manuscript of this report will be submitted for publication either as a NOAA Technical Memorandum or as an article in Florida Scientist.

    Report Year:
    2009

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    United States Fish & Wildlife Service

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    Florida Atlantic Coast Telemetry (FACT) Project | animal radio tracking
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  • Verification of the FSU/FPL Lightning Model and Analysis of the Meteorological Conditions Leading tothe Highest Frequency of Lightening during the 2012 Convective Season.

    Wilson , Michelle L View Abstract

    The results presented in this study will allow forecasters in the NWS Miami Weather Forecast Office, in a more quantitative basis, to increase their knowledge on the atmospheric conditions suitable for active lightning days and provide a better understanding of the performance of the Florida State University/Florida Power and Light Corporation (FSU/FPL) model in predicting lightning. The FSU/FPL model produces statistically-derived forecast spatial fields of categorical lightning occurrence at various times throughout the day using meteorological parameters as input. This presentation will outline how the lightning forecasts for the 2012 convective season (1 June-30 September) were analyzed in two ways:
    1) comparing the forecast lightning from the FSU/FPL SREF model to the observed lightning from the National Lightning Detection Network in South Florida; and 2) analyzing the weather conditions that caused the highest frequency of lightning. The FSU/FPL model predicted 53% of all the lightning in the highest probability range for 15Z, 67% of all the lightning for 18Z, and 57% of all the lightning for 21Z in the highest probability range indicating that the model was able to predict the general area where lightning was observed for the 2012 convective season. Large fluctuations in 500 mb temperature can explain one of the impmiant physical processes related to lightning activity over South Florida. Decreases in 500 mb temperatures were generally correlated with an increase in lightning activity. However, a decrease in 500 mb temperature did not result in an increase in lightning activity if sufficient moisture was not available, if cloud cover inhibited surface heating, or if the surface wind speeds were too strong to allow for intensification of sea breeze fronts. Diagnosing the 500 mb temperatures alone was not sufficient to explain why lightning occurred on certain days but not others, as there are many atmospheric variables to consider. The combination of low 500 mb temperatures with a moist airmass at the leading edge of a Saharan air mass led to increases in lightning activity in South Florida. In addition to these results, images of detailed weather patterns intended to help the NWS Miami forecasters identify the days with the greatest potential of active lightning will be presented.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MPO

    Location:
    National Weather Service - Miami Weather Forecast Office

    MPS Track:
    Weather Forecasting

    Keywords:
    Meterological Conditions | Lightning
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  • Development of a Formal Sea Otter Internship Program at the Audubon Aquarium of Americas – New Orleans, LA.

    Winchester , Elizabeth View Abstract

    Internships have become an integral and critical part of career development, particularly in the marine mammal field. It has been shown that the hosting organization, the students, as well as university partners benefit from internship programs. The Audubon Aquarium of the America’s has a well-established internship program in their husbandry department but not one specifically designed for the sea otter department. A formal sea otter internship program and manual was created for the Aquarium, including a variety of learning and teaching tools organized into weekly plans, in addition to an intern job description and an intern evaluation. The weekly lessons include readings from relevant sources (predominantly peer-reviewed articles), animal care and facility operations guidelines, research information and conservation strategies, rehabilitation procedures at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and quizzes to test for proficiency each week. With the added structure and updated content, the Aquarium, the students, and the otters will directly benefit, and the comprehensive program can be implemented immediately.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystem Management

    Keywords:
    sea otter |
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  • Balancing business and sustainability.

    Winn , Joseph View Abstract

    Corporate environmental responsibility, known to the consumer as “going green”, is
    rapidly becoming a required aspect of a successful business. Purchases based on
    minimizing environmental impacts rise annually, from the growth of hybrid and other
    low emission vehicles to increased concerns regarding a company’s sustainability ideals. As a result, businesses large and small alike are striving to market themselves as environmentally responsible. However, many do not realize that going green (both in
    marketing and practice), as with any other business strategy, requires proper guidance
    and comprehensive planning. Otherwise, the effort can produce costly and unimpressive results with only minor, if any, benefits to their consumers. As a result, efforts may be abandoned due to an inability to procure appropriate procedures or supplies. When only minor (if any) changes are made, yet the business begins to market an incomplete or false green image, they are considered to be engaging in greenwashing. This can be either an unintentional or deliberate form of mis-/disinformation to the consumer that serves to confuse the true meaning of green practices. Such acts threaten to damage the entire market by potentially producing a negative connotation of any environmental claims. This internship addresses the difficulty of many businesses in implementing a comprehensive green campaign. It is among the goals of the internship to help eliminate greenwashing and expand the adoption of environmentally friendly products and practices through the creation of an environmental consulting business.

    Report Year:
    2009

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Not Specified

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    environmental impacts | green campaign | greenwashing
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  • Whale Watch Education and Impact: Development and Assessment of Educational Techniques in Stellwagen Bank, Massachusetts.

    Wolf , Anne E View Abstract

    Education is a vital component of ensuring the health of our oceans and the animals within it. On a whale watch boat, there is a unique opportunity to ensure that passengers leave having learned something about the whales as well as help them understand the impact they have on the whales and the marine environment. The first part of this project was designed to assist in achieving that goal by utilizing new educational activities to present to guests during the portion of the trip before encountering whales. In order to have a broader impact, adult- and kid- oriented activities were developed and facilitated throughout the second half of the whale watch
    season. These activities received positive feedback and will be used in subsequent seasons to educated passengers during trips. The second part of this project used the principles of action research to assess the impact of the current educational methodology used during the whale watch trips. Verbal, behavioral, and physical cues were used to interpret passenger engagement and ultimately rate engagement on a 1 to 5 scale in order to explore the null hypothesis that there was no difference in levels of engagement between the pre-contact, contact, post-contact, and the Naturalist/Intern post-contact phases of the trip. The results indicated a lack of statistical significance, which results in accepting the null hypotheses.

     

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    New England Aquarium (Boston, Massachusetts)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science

    Keywords:
    Whale Watching | educational assessment
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  • Developing various types of ocean education programs in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History

    Yasunaga , Christina Monica View Abstract

    Interactive, or dialogue-based exhibits are becoming more prominent in science museums (McCallie et al. 2009). As museums start using advanced technology as a teaching medium in interactive exhibitions, visitors can anticipate audio/visual experiences as part of what museum education has to offer. As an ocean education intern for the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), I assisted in the development of the following educational activities meant to inform visitors about themes in ocean science: I.) self-guided microscope activities for an interactive exhibit space Q?rius in NMNH 2.) an open discussion about ocean
    acidification with high school interns, and 3.) an ocean acidification activity cart to be used in the Sant Ocean Hall by docents and volunteers. This internship at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History was an evaluation of these types of interactive engagement with museum visitors (mainly adolescents), with the ultimate objective of the internship being to gain experience in museum education. The educational activities and programs were assessed largely through volunteer
    comments and questions, program coordinator evaluations and observations to measure visitor engagement potential. From the three activity/program types, it was detennined that young visitors generally enjoyed interaction and dialogue with scientists and expressed increased levels of interest in scientific careers, particularly those in marine conservation. Further assessment is still needed for all activities, but most importantly for the Q?rius self directed microscope activities in anticipation for the new exhibit space’s public opening date at NMNH. Main recommendations for further pursuit of ocean education programming at NMNH would be to expand technological resources, develop a comprehensive visitor survey format, and evaluate visitor retention of interactive exhibits at this museum in comparison with other museums in the United States.

     

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (Washington, DC)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    Educational programming | Smithsonian
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  • Developing a Skin Care Line that has Marine Algae as a Main Active Ingredient and Gives Partial Proceeds to Non-Profits that Focus on Ocean and Marine Life Conservation

    Ray , Leah N View Abstract

    With the creation of a skin care line, R? Skincare, the intention is to increase environmental awareness and conservation through development and marketing of a natural marine-based skincare line. By creating a line based on scientifically researched wild-crafted, sustainably harvested marine ingredients, R? Skincare can attempt to save the coral reefs, marine algae and ocean life. The mission of the line is to inform the public that R? Skincare has utilized pharmaceutical research on marine ingredients that have been sustainably harvested in an effort to help eliminate the eradication of the marine resources which are rich in healing nutrients. R? Skincare intends to link the public understanding of conservation to the marketing of marine products that heal the skin from the inside out, on a cellular level. By targeting conscious educated consumers who rely on scientific research to finalize their skincare purchases, R? Skincare will help to bridge the advertising and sale of the product with the fight to preserve the health of the oceans.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Not Specified

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    marine algae | skin care
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  • The Value of Biscayne Bay to Local Recreational Businesses.

    Youngquist , Ashton View Abstract

    Biscayne Bay is surrounded by the large and diverse metropolitan area of Greater Miami and Miami Beach. Biscayne Bay is an important component of the County’s quality of life and economy. The Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves share the bay with Biscayne National Park, formerly Biscayne National Monument. The Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves (BBAP) recently developed a management plan to outline their goals and objectives for managing the bay. The goals include improving management
    effectiveness through consistent evaluation reassessment. Since the Biscayne Bay Economic Study of 2005, there has been no reassessment of Biscayne Bay’s economic contribution to Miami-Dade County. The recreational sector is a major contributor to the bay’s overall economic worth, as seen from the 2005 study. Building upon the available information surrounding the recreational industries, this study determined the present value of Biscayne Bay-related recreation and determined from the businesses’ point of views how much the bay is worth. The study provides valuable information for the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves and management of Biscayne Bay. An improved understanding of the economic role of the bay provides greater insight into which recreational activities should be promoted in the development of the area’s economy. From the survey results and the new value for Biscayne Bay-related recreation, Biscayne Bay clearly remains a big contributor to Miami-Dade County’s economy, not only from revenue at state parks and Biscayne National Park, but as an extremely important asset to the success of local businesses.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Friends of Biscayne Bay and the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Zone Management

    Keywords:
    Biscayne Bay | Biscayne National Park
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  • Expanding Biscayne National Park’s Indo-Pacific Lionfish Outreach and Education: communicating the significance of the lionfish invasion to Miami-Dade County stakeholder groups.

    Zangroniz , Ana N. View Abstract

    The year 2009 marked the well-established invasion of the Indo-Pacific lionfish within Biscayne National Park waters. At that time, management practices addressed removals and monitoring but did not actively address education and outreach goals. The implementation of the 2012 National Park Service Lionfish Response plan recognizes the need to engage citizens, and create an “active public.” By collaborating with the Park’s Interpretation division, this project has furthered educational and oub’each efforts by delivering lionfish presentations and dissection labs to middle and high school students, and similar presentations for local businesses such as dive shops, clubs, and other community organizations. Over 1,110 local stakeholders participated in this program, effectively achieving and exceeding all set goals. Evaluative surveys completed by student participants indicate program success.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Biscayne National Park (Homestead , FL)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    Biscayne National Park | Indo-Pacific lionfish
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  • Biscayne National Park Derelict Trap and Debris Removal Program: 5-Year Status Review, Analysis, and Public Education Video.

    Martens , Justin A View Abstract

    As a consequence of intense commercial fishing activities across the world’s oceans, lost fishing gear commonly act as a secondary stressor to marine life in coastal and oceanic waters. In South Florida, coral reefs and associated benthic habitats of Biscayne National Park (BNP) are littered with derelict traps and associated debris that compromise reef resources. To address these threats, the BNP Damage Recovery Program (DRP) implemented a Derelict Trap and Debris Removal Program (DTDRP) in 2007, with the goal of decreasing the amount of marine debris that threatens submerged resources. From 2007 to 2011, contractors have been working with DRP personnel to remove debris from coral reef habitat areas. A five-year analysis of the data collected in these efforts indicated a significant difference in the amount of debris collected by year, and a significant difference in the quantity collected by two different contractors. A spatial analysis showed that 135km2 out of 332km2 area surveyed represent areas of potentially high debris deposition, with most of these areas characterized as shallow seagrass habitats. Using this model, 13.21km2 out of 332km2 were identified as potential areas of high-debris collection on hard-bottom habitat types. Lastly, a public announcement video was developed to educate the public and increase awareness about this important project and the effects of marine debris on natural and cultural resources.

    Report Year:
    2011

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Biscayne National Park (Homestead , FL)

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystem Management

    Keywords:
    Biscayne National Park | Damage Recovery Program (DRP) | Derelict Trap and Debris Removal Program
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  • Financial feasibility study for the commercial aquaculture production of Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares)

    Mauser-Kassel , Enrique View Abstract

    Demand for high-grade yellowfin tuna is rising while the supply obtained from capture
    fisheries has remained steady. Developing an aquaculture yellowfin tuna operation will satisfy demand and reduce the need to obtain this valuable resource from the wild. An aquaculture group in the region of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is in possession of the land, permits, and financial resources to fund such a project, and is willing to invest, provided that the operation is financially feasible. For my internship, I looked at production plans from hatchery to grow-out and developed a financial feasibility study for the commercial production of yellowfin tuna. The results of this study showed that for scaling a production from 305 to 1,030 metric tones in 10 years, the operation will realize an Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 3.20%, a Return on Investment (ROI) of 14%, a Total Net Cash Flow of $3,487,428.05 with positive net cash flows coming in at year 4, and a Payback Period of 9 years. While some of these metrics don’t favor the investment, it is important to consider the limitations of the project which are the assumption that the investment group has no infrastructure in place, such as boats, processing plants, sales
    channels, etc., and the valuation of the company once a spawning population of yellowfin are held in captivity and cages in the water. The risk involved in this project is high but with a bright future ahead as it will improve with rising demand, a stagnant wild capture supply, and constant innovation on tuna technology.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    University of Miami Experimental Hatchery

    MPS Track:
    Aquaculture

    Keywords:
    Aquaculture | Yellowfin Tuna
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  • Sustainable aquaculture and coastal management in Armacao, Santa Catarina, Brazil : perspectives, status, and its future growth.

    Martinson , Eric View Abstract

    This study identifies and characterizes the environmental management and governmental issues associated with mariculture development in Penha, Santa Catarina, Brazil. The area presents opportunities for positive progress and policy development. The roles and interactions of coastal stakeholders are viewed within the context of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM). Issues facing mariculture development in Penha, SC are illustrative of generalized challenges and opportunities in ICZM faced by local communities. Lessons learned in this study will help address similar developmental challenges faced by coastal communities in Brazil.

    Report Year:
    2009

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    CTTMAR of Univali do Itajai

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    environmental management | mariculture
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  • Mangroves in a Changing Climate: Establishing Baseline Data and Comparisons of the Forest Structure of Mangrove Ecosystems in Broad Key, Florida, and Isabela Island, Galápagos.

    Mastropole , Kristen A View Abstract

    Although there is a significant body of literature that describes the relationship between human activities and mangrove health, relatively few studies assess the in situ effects that global climate change may have on mangrove forests. The goal of this study was to establish baseline data as the initiation of a long-term monitoring project to assess the effects of global climate change on mangrove forest structure, and to fill in knowledge gaps that existed about the structural characteristics of forests in Broad Key, Florida and Isabela Island, Galápagos. I used the Point Centered Quarter Method (PCQM) to analyze forest structure and complexity, and I used leaf data to determine the stress experienced by the mangroves. The forest at Broad Key is very uniform throughout, with Rhizophora mangle contributing almost entirely to forest structure. In contrast, the forest at Isabela Island exhibited two separate zonation patterns, and Laguncularia racemosa was the dominant species. Along three of the five transects at Isabela Island, white mangroves were dominant along the shoreline, with red and black mangroves scattered throughout white mangroves further inland. Along the other two transects, red mangroves occupied the zone closest to shore, white mangroves occupied the zone furthest inland, and the zone between the two was occupied by a ban of mangrove associates. Leaves at Broad Key were smaller than those at Isabela Island, indicating higher stress levels due to the proximity of Broad Key to the northernmost range of mangrove distribution. Between the two sites, climate, substrate and topography are likely responsible for the differences between the two forests.  Global climate change is one of the greatest contemporary threats to ecosystems worldwide, and it is important to understand how mangrove forests will respond to the associated environmental changes. Continued annual monitoring of these sites will help us detect the long-term effects of global climate change on mangrove ecosystems.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystem Management

    Keywords:
    Mangroves | Climate Change | Galapagos
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  • Assessing the effectiveness of freshwater wetland compensatory mitigation in Miami-Dade County.

    DiSilvestro , Anthony Michael View Abstract

    Freshwater wetlands provide many benefits to humans and wildlife including: natural stormwater management, wildlife refugia during the dry-season, habitat for federally threatened and endangered species, increased water quality for human consumption, decreased nutrient loads entering Biscayne and Florida Bay, recreation, and nursery grounds for important recreational and commercial fisheries. Due to their wide
    reaching benefits wetlands are managed by federal, state and local government agencies in order to avoid, minimize, reduce and replace their functions through a federal policy of a no-net-loss in wetland acreage and function. The act of replacing wetland acreage and
    functions is defined as as “compensatory mitigation”. Very few studies if any have been completed that show how effective Miami-Dade County is at replacing the acreage and functions of permitted freshwater wetlands and therefore is the scope of this study. Using data from the class IV wetlands database, 621 permits from 1983-2008 were analyzed to determine overall trends in the amount of wetland acres permitted, and the location and types of compensatory mitigation. In addition, six compensatory mitigation projects were assessed using the Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM) in order to offer suggestions on how to improve the replacement of wetland functions. Approximately
    14,000 acres of freshwater wetlands were impacted from 1983-2008, but 26,300 were permitted as compensatory mitigation. Based on these findings Miami-Dade County is meeting the federal no-net-loss of acreage policy. Further analysis suggests however that further research is needed to determine if Miami-Dade County is meeting a no-net-loss of wetland function. Despite this, data revealed that 77% of the projects assessed in this
    study occurred at a mitigation bank or other Regional Offsite Mitigation Area, while only 6% occurred at the impact site or within the boundaries of the project. Out of the 77% of off-site mitigation projects approximately 48% of them mitigated for impacts in the northern part of the County by using mitigation banks in southern portions of the County.  As a result of this trend, local functions like fish and wildlife habitat and local water quality may not be mitigated for since compensatory mitigation occurs in ecologically disconnected areas from the impact site. Moreover, approximately 39% of the projects assessed in the study were mitigated for in a different watershed. Under the current wetland management approach an increase in local watershed functions can be increased by permitting more on-site mitigation or by developing ROMA’s that can compensate for local watershed impacts. Furthermore, the no-net-loss policy itself relies on compensatory mitigation or the creation of wetlands that can be risky. Future wetland management should focus on determining a defined core area of wetlands that must be protected within Miami-Dade County’s two main watersheds to ensure the sustainability of wetland benefits to Miami-Dade County.

    Report Year:
    2009

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Miami Dade County, Wetland Resources

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    Mitigation | Biscayne Bay
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  • Aquanauts.

    Birghenthal , Kaitlin A View Abstract

    Over 7 billion people live along the quarter of the Earth that is covered by land, and the remaining three-quarters is dominated by oceans, which the world’s populous relies on for sustenance, communication, and trade. Despite the inseparable connection humanity shares with the ocean, education strategically focused on the marine environment is uncommon. The Government of the United States stipulates the funds and intended curriculum for national education, however science is not paramount, with marine education having no formal representation. This dichotomy is particularly disparate in coastal areas where marine interactions account for the majority of the local economy. In the ecologically unique environment of the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), along the Eastern Central coast of Florida, the mission of the New Smyrna Beach Marine Discovery Center is to rectify the inconsistency between marine science and education. The Aquanauts project was developed for the expressed purpose of introducing marine education to elementary school students in the IRL county Vol usia, in order to integrate the local youth in the preservation of these essential, natural resources.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    New Smyrna Beach Marine Discovery Center

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    Marine Conservation | Indian River Lagoon
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  • Aquaculture in Florida: A review of the legal and regulatory environment for commercial, scientific research, and stock enhancement aquaculture projects in Florida

    Grubman , Joshua View Abstract

    The aquaculture industry has the potential to provide jobs, food security, and stock
    enhancement of dangerously-depleted fishery resources. Technologies for hatchery and growout facilities, including offshore submerged cages and net pens, are constantly improving, and can be used for stock enhancement research and commercial sales effmis. In the United States, before an aquaculture facility can catch a single fish for their operations, they must obtain legal and regulatory approval for their plans. The regulatory oversight is extensive; especially so if a facility seeks to utilize offshore finfish growout cages in waters belonging to the State of Florida and/or the United States of America’s federal te1Titory within the Gulf of Mexico. To date, no project has ever received the necessary approvals and commenced operation of an offshore finfish cage within the State of Florida’s waters in the Gulf of Mexico. In part, this is due to the fact that so many different regulatory agencies need to be involved for different aspects of such a project. It seems that most projects interested in offshore finfish aquaculture in the Americas wind up in Central or South America due to a perception of excess regulatory intervention in the United States of America. To address this apparent problem, the State of Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has established a certification process and a path for entities interested in establishing a net pen in Florida waters, and will provide centralized assistance with the various other agencies that will be involved in the
    licensing process. The regulatory hurdles standing in the way of offshore aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico are significant and complicated. However, with sufficient attention to detail throughout the process, and the assistance of the responsible govermnental agencies (as thoroughly detailed herein), it should be possible to secure all the necessary approvals for aquaculture facilities in Florida, capable of both commercial production and meaningful and responsible stock enhancement activities.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Aquaculture

    MPS Track:
    Aquaculture

    Keywords:
    Aquaculture
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  • An evaluation of pathology and pod structure of the 1995 mass stranded Stenella clymene in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Deveau , Aimee M View Abstract

    Clymene dolphins (Stenella clymene) are a poorly understood, pelagic species, for which most of the current knowledge has been garnered from stranding events. On June 15, 1995, a group of 18 clymene dolphins stranded near Tarpon Springs, FL. Five were released from the beach immediately (Group 1), 7 were taken to Clearwater Marine Aquarium for rehabilitation (Group 2), and the remaining 6 animals (Group 3) were
    found dead on the beach or died shortly after the response. Pathology, hematology, stomach contents, and morbillivirus data collected during the stranding event were examined and compared between groups. Additionally, the demographics of this mass stranding were compared to those of previous mass stranding events of this species in the southeast United States using Level A data obtained from the NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center. All animals tested for morbillivirus were negative, and the majority of the stomachs were empty upon examination. One animal had several dozen unidentified otoliths in its stomach. Several pathological findings were noted (e.g. organ congestion, hemorrhage, and parasitic evidence) but were incidental. Significant increases were seen in MCHC both before and after rehabilitation and total protein was increased prerehabilitation. No clear cause of stranding was determined from the analyses, but a new pod structure for the species (i.e. a breeding pod) was described. Even without determining a cause of stranding, this evaluation provides valuable information on a little known species.

    Report Year:
    2011

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Mote Marine Laboratory

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science

    Keywords:
    Stenella clymene | Gulf of Mexico | morbillivirus
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  • An analysis of coral reef restoration of acroporid corals as a potential coral reef management tool : a Caribbean perspective.

    Young-Lahiff, Chelsey View Abstract

    Coral reef restoration in the Caribbean region is a fairly new field. It recently gained popularity in response to the steady decline of Acroporid corals and the recognition that Caribbean coral reefs may not be able to recover naturally without some type of human intervention. In order to gain collective knowledge, opinions and lessons learned from various coral reef restoration scientists, practitioners, managers, etc. a large literary database containing approximately 120 references regarding coral reef restoration was developed along with a Caribbean Acropora projects database. From the Caribbean Acropora projects database, an interactive GIS map containing 69 individual project sites (each accompanied by its own data page) was also developed. Additionally, a coral reef restoration survey instrument was developed, disseminated among various reef restoration participants, and the results analyzed. Results of this study indicate that coral reef restoration can be a cost-effective coral reef management tool given the right circumstances. This includes the availability of sufficient funding as well as strong coral reef management plans in place in the form of enforced no-take marine protected areas, community-based management/stakeholder involvement, and public participation in the form of heightened awareness and education.

    Report Year:
    2009

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Counterpart International

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    Coral reef management | acroporid corals
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  • Affecting change in offshore drilling policies in Florida through outreach and advocacy.

    Good , Zachery View Abstract

    The United States depends on fossil fuels to generate electricity and fuel automobiles.
    However, the process of finding, extracting, refining, and combusting fossil fuels is often
    detrimental to the marine environment. Organizations such as Oceana campaign to protect the marine environment from harmful effects. I worked with Oceana’s climate and energy campaign fighting a proposal from the Department of the Interior (DOI) allowing seismic airgun testing along the East Coast. Seismic airgun testing is the first stage in oil production, so the proposal would essentially open up the coast to offshore drilling. Through the collection of photo petitions, production of letters to the editor and op-ed pieces, production of a community report, and completion of lobby visits I helped convince policy leaders in Florida to express their opposition to the DOI proposal.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Oceana

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    Offshore drilling
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  • Analysis of Tire Extraction Pilot Study in Osborne Reef.

    Crawford , Stephanie C View Abstract

    In recent years there has been a mixed review on the success of artificial reefs and
    their effects on the environment. The design, application, and management of these reefs
    vary according to the reefs purpose. An example of contentious use of material for
    artificial reef is scrap tire. Scrap tires have been used around the world to construct
    artificial reefs. However, information on the environmental impacts of tires in the marine
    environment has been very limited. Osbome Reef in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida has been a
    controversial artificial reef for decades. The reef was built from the wreckage of a 60-foot
    barge, tires bound by steel clips and nylon ropes, and concrete ero-jacks. With time, the
    steel clips and nylon ropes failed resulting in the drifting of the tires. These “rogue tires”
    have were blamed for the destruction of surround natural reefs.  Blue Water Initiative
    (BWI) is a South Florida based non-profit organization, which aims to remove rogue tires
    from Osborne reef. BWI began to tackle the problem that has been ignored for so many
    years by conducting their first tire retrieval pilot project in May 2012. Before BWI,
    several attempts were made to address the issue, notably those made by the US military
    and NOVA Southeastern University. In 2012, BWI selected a small site in Osbome Reef
    and tires in this site were extracted using lift bags. The data collected during this project
    were stored in and analyzed using geographic information systems (GIS). It is hoped that
    the analysis of the data will be helpful in subsequent permit applications for additional
    sites for tire extraction and the planning of a more efficient tire extraction project.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Blue Water Initiative

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    Osborne Reef | artificial reef
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  • A Comprehensive Analysis of Ciguatera Fish Poisoning in Miami-Dade County from 2000-2010

    Zhang , Lan View Abstract

    Ciguatera is the most common coral dwelling, fish associated poisoning and is endemic in most tropical and sub-tropical regions. Exposure to ciguatoxin, the toxin responsible for the human illness ciguatera, is increasing worldwide due to the expansion of the international fish trade and environmental changes. Ciguatoxin cannot be destroyed by cooking (heat) or freezing. The toxin is also fat-soluble and may change the normal sodium channel permeability, triggering a series of health issues, including gastrointestinal, neurological and cardiovascular distress. Globally, there is a significant lack of awareness and misdiagnosis of ciguatera, which may become more evident as the global incidence of ciguatera fish poisoning rises. Miami-Dade County has the highest incidences of ciguatera in the United States due to its geographic location, seasonal
    character and demographic distribution. A detailed assessment of ciguatera cases in Miami-Dade County was conducted in this report using SAS system and incorporating 10 years of data (2000-2010) from the Miami-Dade County Health Department. In the summary, ciguatera fish poisoning has no bias in gender, and there is no obvious quantitative difference between the different age groups. Barracuda predominates the ciguatera fish poisoning in Miami Dade County, and Caribbean ciguatoxin mostly trigger the GI symptoms and Pacific ciguatoxin more likely trigger the neurological symptoms. Amount of the toxic fish that patients consumed may affect the symptoms, but there is no direct association between alcohol and symptoms.

    Report Year:
    2011

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Miami-Dade County, Health Department

    MPS Track:
    Oceans and Human Health

    Keywords:
    Ciguatera | ciguatoxin
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  • A Projected Sea Level Assessment ofTutuila and Aunu’u Islands, American Samoa

    McIntosh , Robert Duncan View Abstract

    Like global mean sea level (GMSL), the local sea level in American Samoa has been
    rising as far as empirical evidence indicates, and though the instrumental record is limited in the Pacific Island region, the rate of rise, like that of GMSL, also appears to be accelerating. As a result of the steep topography of the main American Samoan islands, the majority of the territory’s population, infrastructure, and arable land are found on low-lying coastal plains, leaving them vulnerable to inundation and increased erosion. As sea level rises, visualization tools can help coastal managers and other decision-makers plan for associated problems including salt-water intrusion of freshwater sources, inundation of valuable land and infrastructure, and loss of habitat. To this end, and as the first part of an effo1t to meet the science needs of the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, a series of passive­-inundation maps depicting incrementally elevated sea levels was produced for 22 selected coastal areas of Tutuila and Aunu’u islands highlighting areas, populations, and infrastructure vulnerable to inundation. The data were then spatially analyzed to quantify land area and land cover types likely to be affected under different inundation scenarios. Of land cover types represented on Tutuila and Aunu’u, wetlands are clearly the most vulnerable, with virtually 100% of estuarine forested and estuarine scrub/shrub wetlands (in their cmTent locations) inundated under a 2 m
    rise in MSL. Impervious surface and developed open space land types represent a good indication of where development is concentrated on the islands, and these two land classes both show significant inundation percentages (> 10%) under 2 m of SLR.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MPO

    Location:
    The East-West Center Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments

    MPS Track:
    Computational Meteorology and Oceanography

    Keywords:
    sea level | American Samoa
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  • A GIS Analysis of Manatee Habitat Use Relative to Watercraft-Related threats and Boating Facilities in Brevard County, Florida.

    Honaker , Allison R View Abstract

    The purpose of this study was to assess the potential impacts of marine facility development on the manatee population of Brevard County, Florida between 1994 and 2003. Shapefiles for boating speed zones, manatee mortalities, boating facilities and other significant map layers from 1994 and 2003 were compared to measure changes over time. Additionally, due to the fact that speed zones established in 1994 were valid until1997, manatee mortality data were analyzed in timeframes (i.e. 1994- 1997 and 2003 to 2006). A shapefile of the 1994 boating speed zones was created using ESRI’s ArcMap mapping program. Analysis focused primarily on changes in the number and dispersion of marine facilities, manatee watercraft-related mortalities and injuries within speed zones, and trends in watercraft-related mortalities at 4 distances (i.e. 0.5, 1, 2.5, and 5 miles) from marine facilities. The number of marinas and ramps increased between time periods, but the marine facilities identified in 2003 were not as dispersed throughout the county compared to those present in 1994. More watercraft-related manatee mortalities occurred between 2003 and 2006 than 1994 and 1997. There were also more watercraft-related mortalities within speed zones during 2003 than in 1994, although this may have reflected the comparatively larger area encompassed in the 2003 speed zones. The same was found when evaluating marine facilities both completely within and within 100 feet of the 1994 and 2003 speed zones. The data also indicated that Brevard County exhibited an increase in the number of watercraft-related mortalities over time, and an increase in the number of marine facilities from 0- 33 m of a speed zone, which created an county wide increase in access to the water. If the speed zones in Brevard County are altered in the future, spatial statistical analysis, including but not limited to Directional Distribution and Average Nearest Neighbor, and Cluster and Outlier Analysis and Hot Spot Analysis, should be applied to assess relevant changes.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Save the Manatee Club

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science

    Keywords:
    Manatee | Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
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  • Biotic and abiotic associations of the invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans & P. miles) on hard bottom habitats in and adjacent to Biscayne National Park, Florida.

    Fura , Ryan B View Abstract

    The invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles) were first observed in the waters of Biscayne National Park in June 2009. Further sightings did not occur until May 2010, when sightings began to regularly. Under the National Park Service Lionfish Management Plan, focused removal efforts of the lionfish began in June 2010. During removal efforts and postmortem processing, basic data were collected regarding macro-habitat type, depth, total length and gut content. In an effort to meet the objectives of the lionfish management plan, as well as add to and expand on the existing lionfish data set or base, this study focused on mutli-scale abiotic and biotic associations of the lionfish on hard bottom habitats within and adjacent to the boundaries of Biscayne National Park. Based on nearly three years of removal effmis and surveys, lionfish associated most frequently with reefs deeper than 40ft. (72% of sightings), compared to inshore patch reefs (14%), crest reefs (8%) and channel reefs (6%). At a macrohabitat level, lionfish were found to associate most with the ledge/wall habitat (40%) and low relief spur and grove (21 %), followed by inshore patch reefs (14%), high relief spur and groove (8%), aggregate patch reefs (6%), and individual patch reefs (4%). Total length of adult lionfish (greater than 18cm total length) increased with distance from shore, while sub adult (less than 18cm total length) sizes did not differ significantly with distance from shore. At the microhabitat scale lionfish were most associated areas with a minimum relief of 0.5m and 20-65% live cover. Lionfish were found associating with ledges 42% of the time and general hard substrate 41% of the time. The three native fish species that were observed the most, within a lm radius sphere, when a lionfish was sighted were, Bicolor Damseltish (Stegastes partitus), Bluehead wrasse (Thalassoma bifasciatum), and Masked/Glass Goby (Coryphopterus personatus/hyalinus). Results from this study not only contribute to a basic understanding of lionfish associations within Biscayne National Park, but also inform the adaptive management strategy laid out but the National Park Service Lionfish Management Plan.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Biscayne National Park (Homestead , FL)

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystem Management

    Keywords:
    Biscayne National Park | Indo-Pacific lionfish
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  • Recovery of the endangered Caribbean staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis following predation by the fireworm Hermodice carunculata in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary: Testing intervention strategies to mitigate damage and increase survivorship

    Marmet , Christina View Abstract

    The staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis was historically one of the principal branching reef-building species in the Caribbean, and was once a dominant species in shallow reefs of the Florida Keys. However, over the last ~35 years, white band disease, hurricanes, bleaching, corallivorous predation, and additional anthropogenic impacts such as sedimentation, have all contributed to its decline.  For this project I tested the effectiveness of human intervention to mitigate and increase the recovery potential of 16 colonies of A. cervicornis after an episode of heavy predation by the fireworm Hermodice carunculata. Installing a wire shield over preyed tips did not have a significant influence on colony recovery, but removing the preyed branch tips entirely decreased the time of recovery by 50% compared to untreated controls. This suggests that removing dead tips, rather than leaving them to bioerode, is a useful strategy to increase A. cervicornis recovery from
    predation. A survival analysis of photographs from 2011, 2012 and 2013 indicated a probability of ~60% that preyed tips were not healed after 130 days of monitoring. The mean time to healing for natural recovery was about 110 days +/- 6 days (95% confidence). For human-influenced recovery, the mean time to formation of an apical tip was 46 days (range: 22 – 92 days). In 2013, 80% of the branches whose tips had been cut showed signs of re-growth, while only 16.5% of the control branches which had not been cut showed signs of healing. Manually cutting the preyed branches may help increase the survivorship and/or growth of coral nursery and restoration projects. Future work should continue to monitor the influence of predation on A. cervicornis and assess the effectiveness of this mitigation strategy over a longer period of  time. A greater understanding of the biology and ecology of Hermodice carunculata would also help assess the relationship between corals and fireworms.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation

    Keywords:
    staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) | fireworm (Hermodice carunculatat)
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  • Assessing behavioral response in a Florida manatee administered Tramadol for a spinal injury.

    Komarnicki , Corinne B View Abstract

    This study investigated the use of behavioral monitoring to determine the presence or absence of pain and efficacy of pain therapy administered to a Florida manatee critically injured by a boat strike. The study subject was a 4-year-old Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) undergoing rehabilitative care for a severed and displaced spinal column at the Miami Seaquarium. Tramadol, a pain medication commonly used in
    veterinary medicine, was administered for a period of 7 weeks, while a behavioral ethogram was developed and used to determine whether drug administration was associated with specific behaviors, including increases and decreases in activity. Serum samples were collected from the subject to determine the pharmacokinetics of Tramadol in the Florida manatee to better understand the rate of absorption, distribution, and duration of the drug’s efficacy. The results of the study indicated that 100 mg of Tramadol was an effective dosage for the Florida manatee, and 3.5 hours after ingestion the drug was identified at a concentration of 21 ng/ml for Tramadol and 7 ng/ml for M1, a metabolite of Tramadol, without producing potentially dangerous side effects such as intestinal upset. Serum samples collected 22 hours after initial ingestion of the dosage identified no detectable levels of the medication, indicating that Tramadol administered at this particular dosage must be provided daily to maintain efficacy. Results of behavioral observations indicated that there was a significant increase in both the frequency and duration of the behaviors “resting on bottom of pool” and “crunch” while not receiving pain medication when compared to receiving Tramadol, and both of these behaviors may be indicative of a pain response. Thus, the results of this study indicated that Tramadol administered in specific dosages may be effective in mitigating pain in manatees, and a behavioral ethogram may be a valuable, non-invasive tool for use in assessing pain in the Florida manatee, a Federally and state-listed endangered species.

    Report Year:
    2011

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Miami Seaquarium (Key Biscayne, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science

    Keywords:
    Tamadol | Florida Manatee
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  • The One Water Story Expedition: Assessing the Feasibility of Commercial Citizen Science Initiatives in the Great lakes.

    Mail , Asta View Abstract

    This report documents the internship of the author with Pangaea Explorations, a commercial sail research organization. The purpose of the internship was to create and assess the viability of a commercial citizen science sailing venture in the Great Lakes region of North America. An experimental expedition-planning model was first developed incorporating a citizen-science initiative. Eight individ ual expedition legs were designed for the vessel Sea Dragon to sail from Newport, Rhode Island to Halifax, Nova Scotia, then up the St. Lawrence River and through Lakes Ontario, Erie, St. Clair, Huron and Michigan. The last expedition leg returned Sea Dragon to the ocean, with a final destination of St.
    George’s, Bermuda. Each leg was tailored to a particular research interest and audience type. Individual research scientists were recruited to take part in the expedition to collect data and educate guest crewmembers. The expedition was designed and marketed as the One Water Story, with the goal of having local citizens sail and participate in the project. Thirty-five guest crewmembers paid to participate in the One Water Story Expedition. The crew conducted plastic pollution research with Dr. Lorena Rios Mendoza and Dr. Sherri Mason, and studied chemical contamination oflake water with Dr. Paul Helm of the Ministry of Environment Ontario. Crewmembers also participated in a comparative study of nutrient and carbon dioxide levels in lake water for Dr. Laodong Guo of University Western Michigan. All crewmembers aboard Sea Dragon learned the protocols of the research, and participated in the collection of samples and data throughout the expedition as they learned to sail as part of the crew. Seven ‘One Water Festival’ outreach events were organized and implemented during the Great Lakes Expedition. The expedition received significant media attention, with Sea Dragon and her crew being featured in newspapers and blog articles, as well as local and national television and radio broadcasts.  Although the expedition was not financially viable, the expedition was experimental in nature, and set the stage for future research expeditions and professional collaborations in the Great Lakes.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Pangaea Explorations

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Zone Management

    Keywords:
    Citizen Science | Great Lakes
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  • Recreational Dive Community Response to the Southeastern Florida Coral Reef Initiative’s Monitoring Surveys Inquiry.

    Komarnicki , Michael P View Abstract

    In recent years, coral reefs in the southeastern Florida region have suffered from increasing threats, both natural and anthropogenic (e.g. Fleshier 2006; Jordan et al. 2010).The Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI) was formed to help organize efforts to increase reef conservation and protection. The SEFCRI region encompasses four counties in Florida, including Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin. It is made up of four focus teams, which are responsible for addressing major issues and threats to the following areas of concerns: Awareness and Appreciation, Fishing, Diving, and Other Uses, Land-Based Sources of Pollution and Water Quality and Maritime Industry and Coastal Construction Impacts (Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative 2005). The focus groups have developed local action strategies (LAS) for their areas of concerns (United States Coral Reef Task Force 2011). This internship report describes and discusses the SEFCRI survey of dive operations in southeast Florida. For this study dive operations were defined as a combination of dive shops, dive charters, dive clubs and dive NGOs (non-governmental organizations). A survey by email and telephone was conducted to assess if dive operations were aware of, and/or conducting, monitoring surveys in theSE FCRI region. A survey of 74 dive operations produced 40 successful responses (54%) by telephone and 4 responses (5%) by email. Of the 74 dive operations, 15 operations (20%) conducted some form of habitat survey while SCUBA diving, and 21 operations (28%) were interested in learning about conducting surveys. The majority of dive operations’ clientele were Caucasian and male. The dive operations that responded were in business/existence for an average of 20 years, and they all stated that natural reef sites represented the majority of their bottom usage. The operations that conducted surveys stated that the most commonly used methodologies were the roving diver fish survey method and the BohnsackBannerot fish survey method. Outside organizations, such as NGO’s, were integral in assisting with the survey efforts of many of the dive operations that were aware of /or conducted surveys. This created a limitation in the study, because most dive operations were only in possession of data from surveys at the time it was collected (i.e. from the organization conducting the survey). Thus, relevant data were not analyzed in this study. Future efforts, and the expansion of this project, should focus on further communication with the 15 dive operations that are aware of, or conducting, surveys and identify their data collection plans/schedules, as well as assist them with the development of new survey methodologies.

    Report Year:
    2011

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Florida Department of Environmental Protection

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystem Management

    Keywords:
    Southeastern Florida Coral Reef Initiative | dive operations
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  • An assessment of recruitment trends for three Panamanian white shrimp fisheries from 1960-2007 and determining the importance of environmental variables in regional productivity.

    Maharaj , Ravi R View Abstract

    This study investigates the interaction between signals in important environmental variables and recruitment trends for three Panama’s white shrimp (Litopenaeus) fisheries, Darien, Chame and Chiriqui, from 1960 to 2007. The environmental variables include wind speed, mean sea level, river outflow and the ENSO climatic index. Recruitment trends are represented using initial population size (NƟ) as estimated by depletion analysis utilizing Delury’s linearized model for seasonal depletion. A thorough analysis of the literature and advice given from those involved with the fishery both help determine which variables may be most important to productivity in the region. The NƟ estimates are then compared to and regressed against datasets for those variables deemed most important to each area. The results of the visual and regression analyses are then used to determine which variables have been most responsible for the declines observed in the three fisheries; In Darien, NƟ was observed to have a significant non-linear relationship with river flow; In Chame, NƟ had a highly significant positive correlation with wind speed; In Chiriqui, NƟ displayed a significant positive correlation with wind speed but for only one dataset. The associations between NƟ for each region and ENSO were not significant, but exhibited distinctly contrasting patterns suggesting that ENSO was having a unique impact on each fishery. The results of this study will augment the scientific literature available on the white shrimp fisheries of Panama. Furthermore, this study may help pave the way for similar investigations in the region to hopefully aid managers in making appropriate decisions about managing these fisheries in the future.

    Report Year:
    2011

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

    MPS Track:
    Fisheries Science

    Keywords:
    Panamanian white shrimp (Litopenaeus) | ENSO Climatic Index
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  • Evaluating the Role of Vegetated Dunes in Ensuring the Long-term Preservation of the Beaches in Miami Beach, Florida.

    Kruyff Wells , Margarita View Abstract

    Coastal dunes are valued for their aesthetic beauty and their critical role in the sustainability of coastal regions (Nordstrom et al. 2000). They provide habitat for wildlife and support a high biodiversity of flora and fauna. They also accrete sand, act as sand reservoirs, and help minimize beach erosion rates. In addition, they absorb wave energy, block storm surge and protect coastal infrastructure from storm damage. As a result, a healthy dune system is a critical component of any stable beach and an invaluable asset to coastal communities. The state of Florida has over 1,300 miles of coastline and a large abundance of coastal communities. The lure of Florida’s environmental amenities has fueled a rapidly growing population, particularly along the coastal regions. In 2006, it was estimated that approximately 95% of the population lives within 35 miles of the coast (Florida 2006). In addition to permanent residents, the state draws a large number of visitors year-round. More than 84.6 million people visited Florida in 2006, according to the state’s tourism development agency. The influx of residents and tourists makes real estate and tourism two of Florida’s primary economic drivers.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Not Specified

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    dunes | beach erosion
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  • Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection: the dawn of a judicial takings doctrine?

    Mackesey , Brendan View Abstract

    In Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida Department of Environmental
    Protection, 130 S. Ct. 2592 (2010), the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to
    determine whether the Florida Supreme Court had violated a group of littoral property
    owners’ Fifth Amendment rights–or committed a ”judicial taking”- by upholding the
    state of Florida’s Beach and Shore Preservation Act. Under the Act, the State is entitled
    to ownership of previously submerged land it restores as beach; this is true even though
    the normal private/state property line, the mean-high water line, is moved seaward, and
    the affected littoral owner(s) lose their right to have their property abut the water.
    Although a four-justice plurality led by Justice Scalia held that that the Florida Supreme
    Court did not violate the Fifth Amendment in this instance, the plurality did recognize
    this it is unconstitutional for any branch of state government to declare that what was
    once an established private property right no longer exists. In so doing, the plurality
    appears to endorse a judicial takings doctrine. This casenote explores the institutional
    and policy ramifications of such a doctrine-ultimately concluding that the due process
    analysis advocated by Justice Kennedy in concurrence is a better doctrinal mechanism to
    corral wayward judges. After exploring the procedural and federalism concerns raised by
    a judicial takings doctrine, the note hypothesizes the viewpoints of several famous
    deceased takings scholars. The note then evaluates the position of living taking scholars
    Eduardo M. Penalver and Lihor Strahilevitz, whom propose a flexible approach that
    considers Takings Clause and due process analysis on a case-by-case basis.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Not Specified

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Zone Management

    Keywords:
    beach renourishment | Florida Department of Environmental Protection
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  • Developing and Instituting a Shark Biology/Ecology Program for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center

    Lampe , Julia A View Abstract

    With the notion of environmental consciousness becoming an integral portion of all levels of academia, it is important that we do not neglect those that are the most impressionable- elementary aged children. This is especially true with the topic of elasmobranch conservation, which much of society still holds a negative stigma. The development of a shark biology/ecology program in partnership with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center can help alleviate these negative connotations by letting students focus on the biology and ecology of sharks and their impact on the surrounding marine ecosystems by means of hands-on activities. To determine if the program was efficient in helping students achieve a better understanding of sharks, pre and post-tests consisting of multiple choice and true/false questions were proctored to participating students. Frequency analysis of different trends were noted and results showed that students were able to grasp the information presented to them due to the auditory, visual, and kinesthetic properties of the activities within the program.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Biscayne Nature Center (Key Biscayne, FL)

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    Biscayne Nature Center : Elasmobranch conservation
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  • Quantifying the relationship between creative behaviors in captive bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and reinforcement history: Implications for the Premack Principle.

    Lawrence , Mary K View Abstract

    Marine mammals at some managed care facilities have been trained to respond to a “create” SD, which specifies the request to complete any behavior of their choice. The goal of the study was to identify the influences of Reinforcement Theory and behavioral request frequency in “create” responses, and identify behaviors to be used with the Premack Principle for each subject. The two-month reinforcement history of three Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) was analyzed, and subjects were then observed in the “create” paradigm. In both phases, training sessions were analyzed for behavior type, request frequency, and reinforcement type, magnitude, and schedule. Results suggested 66 – 75% of the responses to the create SD were behaviors that occurred with a minimum frequency of 0.5 times session-1 in the history portion of the study. Meaningful trends were identified, however, results did not correlate linearly with Reinforcement Theory. This suggests that other factors may influence creative responses, such as observational learning, the serial position effect, individual differences, and learning context. The importance of establishing the value of reinforcers is discussed.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Dolphins Plus (Key Largo, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science

    Keywords:
    bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)
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  • Marine Animal Veterinary Technician Procedures and Techniques.

    Middleton , Joy L View Abstract

    Veterinary medicine is a significant aspect of marine animal care worldwide, contributing to preventive medicine, treatment, and efficient response to animals in distress and/or under rehabilitative care. The Miami Seaquarium, established in 1955, houses cetaceans, pinnipeds, and multiple bird species and is a rehabilitation center for sea turtles and manatees. During my internship at the Miami Seaquarium, I gained experience as a veterinary technician, described and consolidated veterinary technician laboratory procedures and techniques, and was assigned a project. The project included the analysis of artificial milk formulas for manatees and sea lions. The broader goal of my internship was to contribute to the improved care and well-being of the different animal species at the Miami Seaquarium.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Miami Seaquarium (Key Biscayne, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science

    Keywords:
    manatees | sea lions
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  • Management and adaptation of live feeds and alternative feed during early developmental stages of grouper in Taiwan.

    Lee , Chia-Lin View Abstract

    Grouper is an important aquaculture fish species in Taiwan. The productivity of grouper fingerlings is not stable because natural disasters, mainly typhoons, often alter the pond environment where the fish is grown. The grouper larvae in the early stage may die easily because of lack of food caused by severe weather. However, the live feed in later stage of larvae, artemia, can be grown quickly and easily. Thus, the alternative feed methods of the early stage larva was tested and compared in this experimental trial. Some improvements were required to adapt Seafood Dynasty Company’ s lab used for running the trials. This is one of a few labs raising larvae in tanks in Taiwan. Hence, there are two parts in this report: 1. The environmental cleaness improvement of the Seafood Dynasty Company Lab; and 2. The artificial feed added in different quantities and in combination. Surface cleaner with aeration led to the largest decrease in larval survival rate. This can be interpreted as the increase of aeration to surface cleaner may increase the mortality of larvae, but the effect of aeration is not obvious in the larger fish. The alternative feed added to the tank may disappear slower.The growth may be enhanced by adding more feed, but the water quality will be worsened. Feeding enriched live feed may be better than non- enriched because the density of live feed can be maintained for longer periods of time. In summary, feeding live feed at the appropriate densities will improve growth and survival of grouper. It is suggested that alternative feeds to replace the live feeds be used only in emergency periods when live feeds crash or are reduced dramatically.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Seafood Dynasty Company Lab, Taiwan

    MPS Track:
    Aquaculture

    Keywords:
    Aquaculture | grouper
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  • An assessment of disease prevalence and mitigation strategies among wild and out planted Acropora cervicornis in the Florida Keys.

    Lohr , Kathryn E View Abstract

    Decline in live coral tissue due to disease is an ongoing challenge in coral reef conservation and restoration. To better characterize white diseases in South Florida staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) populations, field surveys were conducted to characterize disease prevalence in the Florida Keys, particularly with regard to differences between wild colonies and cultured, outplanted colonies. In addition, experimental mitigation treatments were implemented to determine if these treatments were effective in arresting tissue loss associated with the disease state. Results indicated that over the study period, disease prevalence was significantly different between sites. Severe disease outbreak conditions were observed only at outplant sites, although outbreaks did not occur at all outplant sites. Predation by Hermodice carunculata, and Coralliophila abbreviata were also found to vary widely between sites and time intervals and were not correlated to disease prevalence. Among all treated colonies and conditions of high disease prevalence, disease mitigation treatments had no significant effect in arresting tissue loss associated with disease. However, when treatments were performed under conditions of low disease prevalence, tissue loss was arrested at a significantly higher rate than controls for both the epoxy band and excision treatments. No single envirornnental factor can account for the variation observed in disease prevalence between sites; likely, a synergy of factors is to blame for the disease dynamics observed. These factors should be considered when selecting future outplanting sites, and the effectiveness of epoxy band and excision treatments must be assessed further but may be useful field mitigation techniques under specific conditions.

    Report Year:
    2011

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service / SEFSC

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystem Management

    Keywords:
    Staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) | disease mitigation
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  • Distribution Predictions and Biological Impacts of Marine Debris in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

    Lipshultz , Zachary A. View Abstract

    Marine debris is found in all oceans and is recognized as one of the most environmentally damaging marine pollutants. In South Florida, submerged marine debris negatively impacts marine life along the Florida Keys Reef Tract (FKRT), a resource of ecological and socioeconomic importance. In a 2012 study by Watson, analysis of the locations of >1,000 submerged marine debris sightings over a 9-year period by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Southeast Fisheries Science Center’s Reef Visual Census (RVC) program identified a debris ‘hot-spot’ on the portion of FKRT adjacent to Biscayne. This study aimed to; 1.) Determine the viability of using the RVC marine debris database in planning removal events; 2.) Remove as much debris as possible from the proposed Biscayne ‘hot-spot’; and 3.) Determine the impact of debris to coral reef benthic invertebrates. From June to July, 2012, 9 ‘Debris’ sites, where debris was previously listed as present by RVC surveys, and 10 ‘Control’ sites, where debris was not listed as present on previous RVC surveys, within the Biscayne Bay ‘hot-spot’ were selected for sampling. A team of two SCUBA divers employing the roving diver technique conducted surveys. Debris was present at all sites, and no difference in debris density was found between ‘Debris’ and ‘Control’ sites. ‘Trap’ debris was the most commonly encountered debris type, accounting for 68% of all debris, in addition to being the most damaging to benthic invertebrates. Soft corals were the most commonly damaged organisms, accounting for 41% of all injuries. This study verifies the marine debris ‘hot-spot’ adjacent to Biscayne Bay, as debris was present at all sites. However, the lack of difference in debris densities between ‘Debris’ and ‘Control’ sites suggest that the RVC database may not be useful in site selection for removal events on a fine scale. Additionally, the presence of debris at ‘Control’ sites suggests that RVC data underestimated the true extent of debris within the study area. ‘Trap’ debris was the most prevalent and impactful debris type. Policies should be tailored towards including commercial fishermen in derelict trap removal events during commercial fishing season.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Miami-Dade County, Sea Grant Extension Office

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Zone Management

    Keywords:
    Marine debris | Florida Keys Reef Tract | Biscayne Bay
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  • Assessing feasibility and planning of commercial aquaponics production.

    Meyer , Scott View Abstract

    Unprecedented and intensifying demand for seafood throughout the first decade of the 21″
    Century has fueled pioneering changes in the seafood industry. While the productivity of wild stocks remains static, the production of fish products under aquaculture has more than doubled (1). Today, consumption of farmed seafood products rivals that of their wild caught counterparts, and recently has surpassed beef production in annual tonnage. As such, aquaculture production has become a nucleus of debate with numerous points of contention (2). The ongoing dialogue between producers, consumers, scientists, regulators, nongovernmental organizations, conservation groups, and other interested parties has yielded increased regulation, enhanced consumer awareness, and exciting technological innovation.  While a great deal already has been achieved in making aquaculture production more efficient, sustainable, and cost effective, the industry must continue innovating ways to reduce risk, minimize natural resource utilization, and widen profit margins to meet rising consumer demand for quantity, quality, and sustainability. The following report will describe the state of seafood production and consumption in the context of my internship at The Perfect Ocean Corporation (POC), producer of EnviropureTM seafood products, as the company develops plans for commercial aquaponics production.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    The Perfect Ocean Corporation

    MPS Track:
    Aquaculture

    Keywords:
    aquaponics
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  • A global assessment of national vulnerability to ocean acidification through the mollusc industry.

    Lucey , Noelle M View Abstract

    Mollusc harvests have considerable economic and nutritional benefits globally. However, the ability of many mollusc species to reproduce, grow and survive is threatened by ocean acidification. The biological and chemical factors are complex in this determination; data indicates changing acidity levels are positively linked to reduced mollusc viability. As research progresses in the chemical and biological sectors of this occurrence, it must be coupled with socio-economic research to fully understand and respond to potential changes in a responsible and timely manner. This study assesses nations’ vulnerability to acidification events by combining chemical, biological, and socioeconomic data to make up a comprehensive dataset. Outcomes are projected out to 2050. The relative importance of mollusc fisheries to national economies and diets, as well as social capacity to adapt to potential impacts and opportunities is discussed. Specific and general recommendations are made for countries found to be highly susceptible to changes in production with the goal of directing focused attention to the needs of those most dependent on mollusc harvests. The uncertainty associated with future acidification changes must not be a deterrent for prioritizing these recommendations, which are aimed at reducing harmful effects while utilizing positive effects, as well as securing food stability and the livelihoods associated with mollusc production.

    Report Year:
    2010

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    Not Specified

    MPS Track:
    None

    Keywords:
    ocean acidification | mollusc
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  • Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) vocalizations in response to a stimulus: Behavioral context and demographic variability

    Lopes , Melissa M View Abstract

    Marine mammal survival and fitness depends heavily upon a highly developed sense of hearing. Odontocetes, or toothed whales, rely primarily on sound for communication, navigation, and foraging. As a representative and ubiquitous species of this suborder, both wild and captive populations of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) have been extensively studied. Studies conducted at managed care facilities have contributed to the identification and characterization of their diverse vocal repertoires. Dolphins are known to use single and patterned clicks and whistles to communicate different types of information. However, the behavioral context associated with these vocalizations is currently understudied and limited to broad behavioral categories (e.g., traveling, foraging, and resting). The purpose of this study is to investigate the vocalizations of bottlenose dolphins in managed care in response to a novel stimulus, including an assessment of behavioral correlates and demographic variation in response. I conducted this study at Dolphins Plus, a marine mammal managed care facility in Key Largo, FL, over the course of three months (August-October, 2012). The primary objective of this study was to identify the types of behaviors exhibited by dolphins in association with vocalizations emitted in response to a novel object. The novel object used in this study was a unique apparatus consisting of a large reflective surface, a hydrophone and four video cameras. I utilized the testing apparatus as a stimulus to elicit a reaction (behavioral and vocal) from the animals, which was recorded and analyzed. In addition, I analyzed the effect of various demographic variables, including age and sex, on animal response. Data were collected during 20-minute trials in which the apparatus was placed into the enclosure within the same time frame and location each day and then removed. Recordings and observations from each trial were analyzed to determine if there were any significant relationships between specific types of behaviors and vocalizations among individual dolphins, in addition to assessing the influence of age and sex on response. This study provides evidence of differing effects of a stimulus on behavioral and vocal responses, over time and across demographics. Of all behaviors analyzed (aggression, orientation, sociality) orientation was exhibited with the greatest frequency and social interactions were more frequent than solo interactions. Of all vocalizations analyzed (whistles, echolocation clicks, burst-pulsed yells), clicks were exhibited with the greatest frequency and yells with the least. Adults and females exhibited the most aggressive responses and calves exhibited the most social interactions of all age classes. Clicks were found to be positively correlated with orientation and yells were positively correlated with aggression and orientation. Between novel and non-novel trials, aggression was exhibited with greater frequency during non-novel trials. The apparatus utilized in this study may have been perceived as an aversive stimulus to individuals, and sensitization may have resulted in the observed differences in behavioral and vocal responses over time.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Dolphins Plus (Key Largo, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science

    Keywords:
    Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) |
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  • A Case Study of Mitigation and Implementation through the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ Permitting Process. Mitigation and Implementation through the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ Permitting Process.

    O'Neill , Lauren C View Abstract

    The coastal area of South Florida is sought after for its year-round warm weather and its
    beautiful beaches. People from all over the world flock to this area to live and vacation. Because of this, there has been heavy construction in the coastal area. Due to increased construction, compensatory mitigation is becoming an increasingly important aspect of coastal growth. Many over-water projects cannot avoid impacts to coastal or underwater resources. Without compensating for potential losses, these unique environments could be lost forever. Requiring compensatory mitigation as a condition of receiving a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers ensures furtherance of our unique South Florida Environment. Analyzing different methods of compensatory mitigation executed through actual construction projects will provide a greater understanding of how these losses are accounted for and rectified. As a result of this investigation, it was determined that, while still effective in compensating for resource loss, the WATER assessment for Everglades Mitigation Bank credits is far more complicated and tedious to carry out in relation to KEYMIG’s easy to follow standardized mathematical calculations. It would be advisable to alter WATER in such a way to allow for a uniform understanding of its process.

    Report Year:
    2013

    Department:
    MAF

    Location:
    US Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District Miami Regulatory Office

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Zone Management

    Keywords:
    Mitigation
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  • Do seagrass beds enhance coral calcification? comparing growth of nursery-reared Acropora cervicornis on a seagrass bed and patch reef.

    Carlton , Renee View Abstract

    Seagrass beds are an important natural resource in South Florida. They act as a refuge for many juvenile fish species, filter and stabilize sediments and act as protective barriers to surrounding coral reefs. Previous studies have suggested that benthic habitats that exhibit high rates of photosynthesis can alter the seawater chemistry in such a way that they could provide improved conditions for calcification of downstream reefs. The growth rates of nursery-reared Acropora cervicornis were compared between fragments transplanted on a seagrass bed and a patch reef near the University of Miami’s Broad Key Research Station. Coral growth (mg/day) was significantly higher at the patch reef vs. the seagrass bed for the two study periods (Oct-Dec 2011 and Dec 2011-March 2012). Additionally, aragonite saturation states were not significantly different between sites, leading to the conclusion that other factors, such as grazing, sedimentation, nutrient retention, and algal growth, are likely influencing coral growth rates. Thus, based on these findings, seagrass beds are not an ideal site for coral growth and should not be utilized as nursery habitats.

    Report Year:
    2012

    Department:
    MBF

    Location:
    Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science ; Broad Key Research Station

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecosystem Management

    Keywords:
    Acropora Cervicornis | Seagrass
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  • Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) Whistle Rates and Blood Cortisol Levels During Periods of Percieved Stress

    Tufano, Samantha View Abstract

    The study was conducted at Island Dolphin Care and Dolphins Plus Bayside in Key Largo, Florida and entails an analysis of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) cortisol concentrations and whistle rates during periods of perceived stress. Continuous activation of the physiological stress response can have detrimental health effects; therefore ways to detect and measure stress are crucial for marine mammal management. Blood parameters were utilized in the study as a measure of the physiological stress response. Baseline blood cortisol concentrations for each individual were compared to levels measured during the extractions. Whistle rate, defined as the number of whistles per minute, was measured during extractions for various individuals and was compared to a baseline whistle rate. Extractions included medical procedures and transports where the subjects were removed from the water for a period of time. Both blood cortisol concentration and whistle rate increased significantly during extractions, indicating that whistle rate can be used as a non-invasive measure of stress in Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Biology and Fisheries (MBF)

    Location:
    Dolphins Plus (Key Largo)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science (MMS)

    Keywords:
    bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), whistle rate, blood cortisol concentrations,
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  • Coral Reef Spatial Sensitivity Across the Florida Reef Tract A GIS Analysis and Heuristic Model for Managers

    Toich, Matthew View Abstract

    Marine resource managers face a series of complex challenges in observing coral stress across protected and unprotected areas under their purview. Limitations exist due to the difficulties in actively conducting in situ sampling and monitoring reef sites and conditions. Stressors to the reef ecosystem can occur across multiple scales and have varying degrees of impact on the health of corals. Additionally, the combined interactions between these stressors can produce unexpected and dramatic coral health decline, leading to bleaching and disease events across a reef. Due to these inherent difficulties in monitoring and evaluating reef health, the use of remote sensing seems to be one promising option to determine the intensity of stressors across a reef ecosystem. Satellite remote sensing can detect a variety of variables or a proxy for key variables that actively impact coral health, like sea surface temperature, nutrient loading, sedimentation, light availability, and other complex factors. By combining these and other variables with spatial constants such as bathymetric depth and human population proximity, areas that are actively impacted by multiple dynamic stressors can be highlighted, and thus can provide managers with new information for use in managing reef resources. In order to accomplish this, variables that could be sensed remotely were used to create a model for coral stressors by overlaying values to create a single output that could be run monthly for manager use. Limitations in data availability and resolution played a significant role in preventing statistical validation. However, the process and structure of the heuristic model that was developed still holds lessons for managers and developers alike.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    NOAA AOML (Miami, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Zone Management (CZM)

    Keywords:
    coral reef stressors, GIS, satellite remote sensing
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  • Plastic Marine Debris Accumulation on Elliott Key and the Potential Hazzards to Nesting Endangered loggerhead sea turtles (Carretta carretta)

    Rodi, Nicole View Abstract

    In recent decades, marine debris has been studied across the globe due to its hazardous effects. Plastic debris is especially hazardous to marine animals and has consistently impacted the sea turtle populations of the Atlantic. This study aims to track marine debris accumulation that could affect the nesting and hatching process of sea turtles nesting at Biscayne National Park. The beaches of Elliott Key have a relatively small nesting population, majority of which are Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Carretta carretta), compared to other popular Florida Beaches. Due to lack of use, the uninhabited beaches are an ideal location to collect and study the effects of debris and how the large amounts of trash accumulating on sea turtle nesting beaches can diminish nesting habitat and alter sand characteristics. There will be approximately 14,000 pounds of trash that wash up along the ocean side beaches of Elliott Key in Biscayne National Park a year. Female nesting attempts were not deterred by high debris accumulation rates, therefore sea turtle hatchlings are at great risk of fatal entrapment, entanglement, and predation. A small marine debris management plan is presented, which has the goals of reducing marine debris on critical nesting beaches, and utilizing volunteers to increase debris collection effort.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    Biscayne National Park (Homestead, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Zone Management (CZM)

    Keywords:
    marine debris, Biscayne National Park, sea turtles nesting
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  • A Preliminary Analysis of Bottlenose Dolphin Distribution in the Port of Miami and Biscayne Bay

    Rice, Blakely View Abstract

    This preliminary investigation was aimed at identifying the distribution, and factors influencing distribution, of bottlenose dolphins in Biscayne Bay, FL with a focus on the Port of Miami. Point density analysis indicated there is a high likelihood of a sighting occurring at the mouth of the Miami River, south of Dodge Island. Hot spot analysis reflected this spatial clustering seen in the point density analysis showing that the clustering of sightings is statistically significant. Analysis of environmental parameters revealed that distribution within the port study area is not influenced by temperature (p=0.120). Salinity ranges were determined for the port area from 2008-2014, the highest proportion of sightings was seen in the 32.51 _ 35.70 ppt range which could reflect the salinity profile of the study area. After reviewing the sighting histories it was determined that 7 individuals were seen more than 10 times in the port study area from 1990 _ 2009, which is considered a frequent user. The majority of animals have less than 50% of their total sightings in the port area. 3 of the individuals are related, dolphins 130 and 175 were both calves of dolphin 69. Sighting histories of the 7 individuals indicate that the area south of Dodge Island and the mouth of the Miami River may be an important area for them. This study highlights the need to explore the spatial and temporal distribution of bottlenose dolphin in Biscayne Bay to outline a baseline assessment that may be helpful to wildlife managers consulting on projects, such as the Port Miami expansion project, that impact the bay. Results from this projects should be interpreted with caution as there is a need for further analysis including normalizing the sighting data by survey effort and expanding the analysis of environmental parameters including temperature and salinity.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Biology and Fisheries (MBF)

    Location:
    NOAA NMFS (Miami, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science (MMS)

    Keywords:
    Biscayne Bay, bottlenose dolphins, distribution
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  • Larval parrotfish abundance and distribution in the U.S. Virgin Islands: a baseline for management assessments

    Privoznik, Sarah View Abstract

    Individual biological groups within dynamic coral reef systems are vital to overall ecosystem resilience. Herbivorous parrotfishes are no exception, as their grazing behavior assists in the success of coral recruits and reduces the impact of competitive algal growths. Despite their importance, parrotfish are also vulnerable to local overfishing in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). In recent years, managers have implemented many regulations, along with specific gear and fishing bans in recent years. To assess the impact of these regulations, larval parrotfish were collected in the USVI in 2007, 2008, and 2009, as part of a comprehensive larval distribution and supply study in the area. Larvae were collected using plankton net tows, and were visually identified to the genus level. Total abundance and distribution over time and by region showed significant differences due to year, water column depth, and region. These results provide insights about likely locations of local spawning grounds, and may be used as a baseline of larval parrotfish status prior to recent regulations. During a crucial time period of overfishing of the stock, this project offers a unique fishery-independent look at the valuable parrotfish populations of the Virgin Islands.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Biology and Fisheries (MBF)

    Location:
    NOAA SEFSC (Miami, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Fisheries Science (FSC)

    Keywords:
    parrotfish, U.S. Virgin Islands, fishing regulations
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  • Analysis and Update of the Lake Michigan Coastal Program

    Palicka, Margaret View Abstract

    The Indiana DNR Lake Michigan Coastal Program update includes a management plan update and strategic planning to best assess and address the issues of the Indiana coastal region and the program. The Indiana DNR Lake Michigan Coastal Program underwent a review process with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. This process included updating the program document and conducting strategic planning. The program document has not been updated since the creation of the Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program in 2002. The document provides information about the coastal region, federal consistency, and procedural framework that is important to the coastal region and the program. This information includes applicable laws and codes, descriptions of the resources, maps, approval documents, and contact information for the agencies. The process of strategic planning allows the program to be analyzed by employees and the Coastal Advisory Board (local stakeholders that work with the coastal region). The analysis includes updating job descriptions and creating a five year plan. The five year plan includes setting new goals, objectives, and strategies for the program. This review process is important to conduct in order to maintain a successful coastal program and ensure goals and accomplishments are met within a timely manner.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    Indiana DNR Lake Michigan Coastal Program (Chesterton, IN)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation (MCO)

    Keywords:
    Indiana DNR Lake Michigan Coastal Program, management plan update, review process
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  • Observations of Conducting Science in Remote Field Operations in Dry Tortugas National Park

    Muina, Christopher View Abstract

    One hundred and twenty kilometers of seawater segregates Dry Tortugas National Park from its nearest U.S landmass, Key West, Fl. This remote and unforgiving environment offers a unique set of challenges to scientist studying the 160-square kilometer park comprised mostly of water. First hand accounts of my observations working as part of the Natural Resources department has been compiled to create a field report of the challenges, the solutions to unanticipated problems and how field operations are managed in this remote location. Topic objectives will include: operations in the Dry Tortugas, conducting science in remote locations, risk management & emergency protocols, management of cultural and natural resources, and personal reflections of my time in the Dry Tortugas.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    Dry Tortugas National Park (Key West, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Exploration Science (ESC)

    Keywords:
    Dry Tortugas National Park, observational field report, Natural Resources Department
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  • Performance and cost efficiency of a commercial and an experimental diet for the maintenance of rotifer (Brachionus plicatilis) cultures

    Komisarjevsky, James View Abstract

    Experimental trials were conducted to evaluate the performance and cost efficiency of a commercial and experimental diet for the maintenance of rotifer (Brachionus plicatilis) cultures. The maintenance of rotifer cultures is an important and essential aspect to commerical marine fish hatcheries. The cost can vary signficantly depending on management strategies and type of feeds being used. The rotifer, Brachionus plicatilis, is used as the first live feed source for most marine fish produced through aquaculture. Maintaining mass amount of rotifers, is the first and most basic step necessary for a marine hatchery to operate successfully. Different feed types will have diverse effects on a rotifer cultures health and performance. In this experimental trial, a high yeast (75%) experimental diet (treatment), and an OriCulture diet (Control) was fed to 2 different tanks over an 8 day period in order to test whether there was a significant difference in growth and fertility rates. The trial was conducted in a commercial setting with a private company, Open Blue Sea Farms, and the facilities available, limited the availability of replicates in the experimental design. Results suggest that the fertility rate of the cultures did not differ significantly (p>0.05). However, there was a significant difference of culture growth rates between the two diets (p<0.05). A cost analysis determined that it costs approximately 3.36 times more to use the OriCulture diet than it costs to use a high yeast diet (excluding shipping costs). Despite the higher maintenance cost, it is not recommended that the OriCulture diet be substituted with the high yeast diet since growth performance of the latter was significantly lower. Additional recommendations are provided to improve Open Blue Sea Farms rotifer protocols.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    Open Blue Sea Farms (Panama)

    MPS Track:
    Aquaculture (AQU)

    Keywords:
    aquaculture, rotifer (Brachionus plicatilis) diet, cost analysis
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  • Estimating abundance of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in the Gulf of Mexico from acoustic data collected during the NOAA Cruise GU-09-03 (054)

    Kirkpatrick, Aaron View Abstract

    Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) abundance was estimated for the northern Gulf of Mexico from data collected during a line-transect abundance cruise carried out onboard the NOAA ship Gordon Gunter in 2009. Acoustic and visual data were collected between 16th June and 13th August 2009. Initially, a 5-element array was used to collect data, but the instrumentation failed early in the cruise and was replaced with a backup 2-element array. Click detections, click train associations, localization and perpendicular distance measurements were analyzed with PAMGUARD (ver.1.12.04), and the program DISTANCE was used for estimating abundance. A total distance of 8950.82 km was surveyed for acoustic data (6051.98 during day surveys, 2898.84 during night surveys). Acoustic surveys detected 74 groups of sperm whales (day = 52, night = 22), and a total of 271 acoustic detections were identified in PAMGUARD (187-day, 84-night). Comparatively, visual assessments identified only 43 groups of sperm whales. Estimated abundance from acoustic data was 2346 (CV=28.96) individuals, while visual abundance estimates were 763 (CV=0.38) individuals. Acoustic surveying identified more individuals, allowed for night sampling, and provided a more precise abundance estimate.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Biology and Fisheries (MBF)

    Location:
    NOAA NMFS - SEFSC (Miami, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science (MMS)

    Keywords:
    sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), acoustic survey, NOAA, Gulf of Mexico
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  • Methods for Detecting Patterns in Groundwater Flow into Biscayne Bay, FL

    Herman, Caroline View Abstract

    The Salinity Monitoring Project at Biscayne National Park maintains 47 salinity monitoring stations throughout Biscayne Bay. Of these sites, 11 have both a surface and bottom instrument. This study used historical data from 10 sites with surface and bottom instruments to explore methods for detecting groundwater discharge patterns in Biscayne Bay. This was done using a variety of statistical methods developed to document fresh water upwelling. The difference in salinity between the surface and bottom instrument, the daily salinity variance, and submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) surveys are evaluated for their use in groundwater detection. This study did not find any statistically significant trends in the salinity data that indicated groundwater was indeed present. However, lack of significance in the data, may have been due to data limitations and gaps so further studies are recommended. The information collected for the Salinity Monitoring Project and for this study will be used to provide information on the hydrology and salinity regimes of the Bay as a part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    Biscayne National Park (Homestead, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Sustainability (CSU)

    Keywords:
    Biscayne National Park, Salinity Monitoring Project, Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan
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  • An Economic Analysis of the South Florida Reef Tract: Developing an Annual Assessment Tool

    Graham, Danielle View Abstract

    Coral reefs are vital to the Southeast Florida economy, but tracking their value has proven difficult and expensive in the past. To help remedy this situation, The Nature Conservancy sought to develop an annual assessment tool to track indicators of coral reef based spending. This indicator analysis is meant to be repeated annually and used to track trends and find patterns in five categories of data: fishing, diving, tourism, state park attendance, and boating. This type of analysis can be used in conjunction with larger, more expensive benchmark studies to provide accurate totals and allow adjustments to the data which keep the final numbers relevant for a larger period of time. For 2012, overall reef related spending contributed $2.76 billion dollars to the Florida economy. Tourism was the largest contributor, followed by fishing. This yearly indicator analysis can be repeated to both look at past data and see how the area has evolved, or it could be used to track future changes in a timelier manner. The goal of this analysis is to continue gathering and tracking indicators to be able to inform managers and politicians of the ever-evolving state of the coral reef economy. By noticing changes as they are happening, we can better react to changes as they occur rather than lagging behind and only noticing damage when it is too late to act. Ideally, we will be able to track problems as they are developing and act to remedy the situation by using this assessment tool. The Southeast Florida coral reef system is vital to our current economy, and therefore protecting what resources we have is of the utmost importance.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    The Nature Conservancy (Big Pine Key, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Conservation (MCO)

    Keywords:
    coral reef economic assessment, Nature Conservancy
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  • Integrating Aquaculture and Hydroponics: Examining the Potential of a Small Scale Aquaponics System

    Faul, Andre View Abstract

    Aquaponics is defined as incorporating aquaculture and hydroponics to produce fish and plants in the same recirculating system. The present study seeks to explore the opportunity to design an aquaponics system at an existing tilapia operation in South Miami. The goal of the study is to determine whether it would be financially feasible to build a small-scale aquaponics system where the produce will be sold at a farmers market. The tilapia operation consists of six tanks that are fed a commercial tilapia diet. The volume of water in these tanks permit the development of a commercial scale aquaponics system, yet due to limitations in available land area on the property two small scale systems will be designed. One system consists of a raft system based on the UVI system developed by Dr. Rakocy (J. Rakocy et al., 2006) along with a small media bed system, while the other system consists of a vertical growing system developed by Dr. Nate Storey (N. R. Storey, 2012). A financial analysis was performed to assess the profitability and determine the commercial viability of the proposed system design. Capital costs were determined for the system as well as estimated production and projected income from crops. Comparisons were made between two production scenarios, producing all produce and producing only selected produce, and three different pricing structures. The pricing structures used are Glaser Farms prices, average organic retail prices and wholesale prices. Glaser Farms is a local organic farm selling their produce at a weekly farmers market in Coconut Grove. Based on the results, producing only selected produce and selling at average retail prices presents the best investment. Selling at Glaser Farms prices yields higher returns, yet the prices can be unrealistic for most markets. The system designed can provide a sustainable and profitable form of food production to support sales at a farmers market, retail outlets and restaurants.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    UM Experimental Hatchery (Miami, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Aquaculture (AQU)

    Keywords:
    aquaponics, tilapia, commercial viability
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  • Fine Scale Movements of Adult Female Steller Sea Lions in the Northern Gulf of Alaska

    Duffy, Maureen View Abstract

    The Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) experienced a dramatic population decline from 1960 to 1989. This decline resulted in the western distinct population of Steller sea lions being listed as endangered by the National Marine Fisheries Service in 1997. In 1999 the Alaska SeaLife Center began remotely monitoring several sites used by Steller sea lions in the northern Gulf of Alaska. This study utilized data collected from this project to examine movements of female Steller sea lions between several haulout and rookery sites. The offspring status of each female for each year was also determined to investigate any potential effects this may have on female movements. Offspring status had a significant effect on the arrival and departure dates of females at Chiswell Island and Grotto Island, as well as on the departure dates at the Seal Rocks site. Year had a significant effect on the arrival dates at Chiswell Island and Grotto Island, and the departure dates at Chiswell Island and Cape Resurrection. The effect of the individual had a significant effect on the arrival and departure dates at Chiswell Island and Grotto Island. There was a significant interaction effect between year and offspring status on arrival dates at Chiswell Island and Cape Resurrection, as well as on departure dates at Chiswell Island. A significant interaction effect was found between year and individual on the arrival and departure dates at Chiswell Island and Grotto Island, and on arrival dates at Cape Resurrection. The interaction effect between individual and offspring status had a significant effect on the arrival and departure dates at Chiswell Island. This information can be used to help determine critical habitats for Steller sea lions and improve the understanding of movements and site usage by females.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Biology and Fisheries (MBF)

    Location:
    Alaska SeaLife Center (Seward, AK)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science (MMS)

    Keywords:
    Stellar sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus), Gulf of Alaska, offspring status
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  • Distribution and Abundance of Black Sea Bass (Centropristis striata) along the Florida Gulf Coast

    De La Garza, Lorena View Abstract

    An analysis of a comprehensive long-term (2008-2013) fisheries independent monitoring project on Centropristis striata (black sea bass) was conducted to characterize patterns and describe the seasonal changes in abundance and habitat distribution (vegetated or un-vegetated areas) within the Apalachicola, St. Andrews, and the Big Bend estuarine systems in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico coast of Florida. Results from generalized linear modeling, contingency analyses, and monthly length-frequency histogram distributions indicated that black sea bass in the Apalachicola Bay system exhibited an abundance that was significantly related to temperature, salinity, bottom vegetation, month and year variables. Black sea bass are more likely to be present during the months of May _ November (high recruitment months), with a peak between September _ November, and black sea bass were more likely to be present in vegetated than in un-vegetated sampling sites. Using fishery-dependent data by correlating length and age data from otolith examination can be used to back calculate age at length data, which will better define young of the year in all three estuarine systems. Those recruitment numbers will help stock assessment analysts, as well as help management efforts to determine harvestable surplus of the adult population.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Biology and Fisheries (MBF)

    Location:
    Eastpoint, FL

    MPS Track:
    Fisheries Management and Conservation (FMC)

    Keywords:
    black sea bass (Centropristis striata), abundance, habitat distribution, Apalachicola Bay
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  • Activity Budget and Stereotypic Behavior of Two, Rescued Juvenile California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus) _ Characterization, Frequency, & Influences

    Chase, Danielle View Abstract

    Stereotypic behavior, or stereotypies, is characterized as repetitive, invariant behavior patterns, with no obvious goal or function and are commonly observed among captive animals and may indicate poor welfare. Activity budget and stereotypic behavior was assessed in two, rescued, male juvenile California sea lions transported from California to Key Largo, Florida for permanent managed care after being deemed non-releasable. The activity budgets consisted of three broad behavioral states including stereotypic behavior, activity, and inactivity, which was correlated with water temperature, and both males exhibited similar trends. Five forms of stereotypic behavior were observed during the study period, and the sea lions did not exhibit all of the same stereotypic behaviors, indicating individual variation in the expression of stereotypies. Pattern swimming was the most common stereotypic behavior, but one of the males also exhibited pacing and rocking, which has not been documented in sea lions to date. Overall, stereotypic behavior was the most common behavior observed over random activity and resting. Presence of cohorts, enclosure type, and time of day significantly influenced the mean proportion of time spent in stereotypic behavior. The frequency of stereotypic behavior was higher when animals were housed in the pool, as well as when housed alone. Additionally, enclosure complexity influenced the occurrence of stereotypic behavior, highlighting the importance of enclosure design and enrichment. The results of this study can be used to improve the management and welfare of captive California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) by providing insight into the expression of and influences on stereotypies and allowing for the strategic development of management plans targeted at reducing stereotypic behaviors.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Biology and Fisheries (MBF)

    Location:
    Dolphins Plus (Key Largo, FL)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science (MMS)

    Keywords:
    California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), captivity, activity budget, stereotypic behavior
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  • Histological Assessment of Spleen and Lymph Nodes of the Pantropical Spotted Dolphin (Stenella attenuata) and the Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris): Age and Sex Differences

    Capuano, Alyssa View Abstract

    To better understand the tissue organization of the cetacean immune system, lymphoid organs were collected from pantropical spotted (Stenella attenuata) and spinner (Stenella longirostris) dolphins incidentally killed in the yellowfin tuna fishery of the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP). A descriptive histological assessment of the spleen and lymph nodes was performed and it was found that the lymphoid organs exhibited the typical morphology of mammals with an intact immune system, with differences in tissue organization and composition between individual dolphins and among age groups (Romano et al. 2002). In order to provide quantitative data for this descriptive assessment, ImageJ software was used to measure the number and size of white pulp follicles in the spleen, marginal and mesenteric lymph nodes of each species. For the mature pantropical spotted dolphins, there was a significant decrease in spleen follicle size (F1,19 = 7.557, p = 0.013) and increase in number of follicles (F1,19 = 6.814, p = 0.017), but this pattern was not observed in spinner dolphins. There was also a significant negative correlation with age and splenic follicle size (r = – 0.475, p = 0.040), and a significant positive correlation with age and the number of splenic follicles (r = 0.546, p = 0.016) for spotted dolphins. Sex did not have a significant effect on spleen morphology for either species. There were significant negative correlations with age and the number of follicles in the marginal lymph nodes of spotted dolphins (r = – 0.825, p = 0.046), and the number of germinal centers in the mesenteric lymph nodes of spinner dolphins (r = – 0.827, p = 0.044). The number of lymph node follicles decreased with specimen body length (a proxy for age) for both species, but no significant correlation was found. These findings quantified descriptive findings from Romano et al. (2002) and suggest that age-related changes occur in the immune system of the pantropical spotted and spinner dolphins. Additional variables such as antigenic stimulation and individual immunologic state likely resulted in morphologic changes in the organs examined, which made it difficult to draw definitive conclusions regarding the effects of sex and sexual maturity.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Biology and Fisheries (MBF)

    Location:
    Mystic Aquarium (Mystic, Connecticut)

    MPS Track:
    Marine Mammal Science (MMS)

    Keywords:
    pantropical spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata), spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris), histological assessment, spleen, lymph nodes
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  • Broad Key mangroves: a study of shoreline fish populations and communities

    Binstein, Jenna View Abstract

    Mangrove ecosystems are a critical and characteristic habitat of the tropics and subtropics and are dominant along natural shorelines in Florida and the Caribbean. Red mangrove trees have a highly-developed root system that can remain permanently below water, or be flooded periodically by tides. These roots then provide a diverse habitat for fishes and invertebrates. The goal of this study was to gather baseline mangrove fish data at Broad Key. The Broad Key mangrove shoreline was divided into four smaller-scale habitats for study: Large Channel Mangroves, Small Channel Mangroves, Flats Mangroves and Bayside Mangroves. Thus, it was hypothesized that there would be a difference in fish abundance as well as a difference in abundance of species in the four smaller-scale habitats around Broad Key with the greatest abundance of fish and species being located in the mangroves off of Broad Creek. Data for this study were collected via snorkel using visual census techniques. The survey resulted in the quantification of over 218,000 fish in 35 taxa. This study also showed that when the total number of species is separated by habitat, the highest representation of species is found in the Large Channel, followed by the Small Channel habitat. It was found that the mesoscale variations in habitat at Broad Key do not show distinct variability or distribution, with the exception of a few species, including the gray snapper and blue striped grunt. Overall, this study provides a snapshot of the Broad Key mangrove habitats, and a baseline for the mangrove fish ecosystem present there.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Biology and Fisheries (MBF)

    Location:
    Broad Key, FL

    MPS Track:
    Tropical Marine Ecology (TME)

    Keywords:
    mangrove ecosystem, mangrove fish, Broad Key, visual census
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  • An Economic Survey of the Commercial Fisheries in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    Armentrout, Ashleigh View Abstract

    This paper outlines the empirical research done in collaboration with NOAA Economist Dr. Scott Crosson from the Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Miami, Fl. The research was conducted in the U.S. Virgin Islands on both St. Croix and St. Thomas, respectively. An economic survey was distributed during the yearly commercial fishing license registration on each island, allowing first hand contact with the fishermen. The survey outlines their basic costs per trip as well as fixed costs, capital in vessels, and capital in gear both free diving and scuba. This data was combined with 2013 landings data in order to contrast amount spent vs. amount made (returns) so that we may understand commercial fisheries in the islands from the perspective of the fisherman and his/her own business model. Understanding what it costs to undergo daily fishing trips will provide NOAA and the territorial government with data to make more informed policy-related decisions in the future.

    Report Year:
    2014

    Department:
    Marine Affairs and Policy (MAF)

    Location:
    U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Croix and St. Thomas)

    MPS Track:
    Coastal Zone Management (CZM)

    Keywords:
    economic survey, U.S. Virgin Islands, commerical fisheries
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