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Decline and Recovery of Coral Reefs Linked to 700 Years of Human and Environmental Activity, Study Finds
Changing human activities coupled with a dynamic environment over the past few centuries have caused fluctuating periods of decline and recovery of corals reefs in the Hawaiian Islands, according to research funded by the Institute, published in the journal PLoS ONE.

Institute Ph.D. student Natasha Gownaris has been awarded a $5,000 Young Explorers grant by the National Geographic Society through its Committee for Research and Exploration. Congratulations to Natasha for receiving this grant and for receiving the maximum amount given by the program. The grant was given to Natasha to support the acoustic tagging component of her graduate fellowship research on fisheries of Lake Turkana in East Africa.

Loss Of Top Animal Predators Has Massive Ecological Effects: Impacts include increases in infectious diseases and invasive species, as well as changes in soil, water, vegetation, and the atmosphere.
“Trophic Downgrading of Planet Earth,” a review paper to be published on July 15, 2011, in the journal Science, concludes that the decline of large predators and herbivores in all regions of the world is causing substantial changes to Earth’s terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems. The research was funded primarily by the Institute and the paper is co-authored by the Institute’s executive director, Dr. Ellen K. Pikitch

Natasha Gownaris awarded graduate fellowship
Natasha Gownaris, a second year doctoral student at the Institute, has been awarded a three-year graduate fellowship from the Turkana Basin Institute (TBI) in Kenya, Africa.

Institute Scientist Pushes for South Pacific Shark Conservation
Dr. Demian Chapman, IOCS Assistant Science Director and Head of the Shark Research Program, recently spent a week in Fiji promoting shark conservation around these islands. Based in Suva, the island nation’s capital city, Dr. Chapman worked closely with members of the Pew Global Shark Campaign, The Coral Reef Alliance and the Department of Fisheries to reach a wide range of stakeholders and decision-makers and attempt to convince them to support Fijian shark conservation.

Scientists can track origin of shark fins using “zip codes” in their DNA.
Studies show that coastal sharks have “DNA zip codes” that can reveal where they were born; underscores potential of DNA testing to monitor fin trade.

Saving the Ocean, a new PBS series, documenting shark conservation efforts begins airing April 7
Saving the Ocean, a new PBS series hosted by marine biologist Carl Safina, documents positive efforts around the world focused on ocean conservation.

New study using DNA Identification techniques provides valuable information on Madagascar's shark fisheries
A study that used genetic techniques to study remote shark fisheries in northeastern Madagascar has demonstrated the presence of at least 19 species there, and the most commonly encountered species include those that are considered to be endangered, threatened, or vulnerable.
March 3, 2011




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