The Atlantic Goliath Grouper Epinephelus itajara, a large indigenous tropical reef fish, approached local extinction in U. S. waters by the 1980s as a result of intense fishing pressure. In 1990, federal and state laws intervened to protect this species. The resulting fishery closure, over the intervening years, allowed limited, slow population recovery in Florida waters while populations outside of the United States remained vulnerable (IUCN 2019).
FSUCML in the News
A plan to protect corals in the Gulf of Mexico is close to becoming a law, drawing cheers from environmental groups who believe leaving the corals alone would help vulnerable ocean ecosystems to grow.
Florida scientists have tagged a deep-sea shark from a submersible, a historic first that took three expeditions, more than 2,000 pounds of bait, custom-built spear guns and over a dozen tries.
Human interest in the marine environment originally focused on the highly productive coastal zone, where food and energy resources were readily available. The deep sea was left in relative peace. Over time, we began to use up our coastal resources and started looking further offshore for unexploited fish stocks and oil reserves. This industry migration precipitated the need to understand the distribution and sensitivities of deep-sea ecosystems to prevent damage from human activities.
When people think of coral reefs, they typically picture warm, clear waters with brightly colored corals and fishes. But other corals live in deep, dark, cold waters, often far from shore in remote locations. These varieties are just as ecologically important as their shallow water counterparts.
FSUCML faculty member Dr Jeroen Ingels published an article in Nature Climate Change Today, titled: “The Scientific Response to Antarctic Ice-Shelf Collapse”. The short paper briefly reviews what we know about the ecology of sub-ice-shelf ecosystems and highlights the knowledge gaps that exist in ice-shelf ecosystem ecology. The article suggests that in order to advance our understanding 1) rapid-response research efforts are needed once ice-shelf collapse occurs, and 2) the international scientific community needs to use advances in marine technology to investigate ice-shelf systems before collapse occurs. With rapid environmental change continuing, international collaboration and moving towards prediction of ecosystem change is essential to inform policy and conservation. This article was written following an NSF-funded workshop that was held at the Florida State University Coastal & Marine Laboratory in November 2017; co-authors Prof. Richard Aronson (Florida Institute of Technology) and Prof. Craig Smith (University of Hawaii at Manoa) were the co-organizers of the workshop, which was attended by nearly 40 scientists. For more information on the workshop and outreach https://marinelab.fsu.edu/labs/ingels/outreach/polar-academy
Since 2005 FSUCML’ S Dr. Dean Grubbs has been doing research on sixgill sharks. These sharks live in the deep sea some 700 to 3,200 feet below the surface. On a recent research trip to Eleuthera, Bahamas, Dr. Dean Grubbs was able for the first time to view these sharks in the area where they live - about 630 meters or approximately 2,000 feet below the surface. Using a sub aboard the R/V Alucia provided by the deep sea exploration organization OceanX, Dr. Grubbs tried a new idea of attempting to tag them with a GPS dart from the sub. Click the title above to learn more about this effort and see amazing video of the sharks. Also follow this link for an article about one of Dr. Grubbs' former graduate students Brendan Talwar who was on the same cruise. https://news.mongabay.com/wildtech/2018/08/underwater-tech-unlocks-the-secrets-of-the-bahamas-exuma-sound/
FSUCML’s Dr Sandra Brooke is part of a research team that discovered a giant coral reef about 160 miles off of Charleston, South Carolina. The reef is a half mile below the ocean surface and is estimated to run for at least 85 linear miles. These corals could be hundreds of thousands of years old. “It’s kind of thrown my mental image of what the reef out here looks like for a loop” says Dr. Brooke. Dr. Brooke was among team members on Friday-8/24- who dove in the sub Alvin to see this new reef. She stated it was an “incredible” surprise to find so much live coral in the area. A reporter for the Huffington Post is aboard the R/V Atlantis. To read his article, click the title above to learn more about this amazing discovery. Also, to learn more about the ongoing research trip and live blogs from the scientists click here: https://marinelab.fsu.edu/news-around-the-lab/deep-search-2018-deep-sea-exploration
Former FSU undergraduate and marine certificate student Mariah Pfleger recently published a paper on a newly discovered shark species. The discovery and research on the new species, named Squalus clarkae, also known as Genie's Dogfish, was identified from the Gulf of Mexico and western FSUCML’s Atlantic Ocean. This research work was the basis for Mariah's Master’s thesis at the University of West Florida. FSUCML co-authors include Dr. Dean Grubbs and Dr. Chip Cotton.