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Policy

This category contains 22 posts
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Senators propose bill to ensure independence of federal researchers

Last week, a group of Senators introduced legislation that aims to preserve the independence of U.S. government scientists. The Scientific Integrity Act instructs executive branch administrators to implement policies to ensure that data and results be disseminated in a timely and open manner. The bill, if enacted, would help separate the government’s scientific output from partisan politics.

Congress can be a confusing place. This brief guide will help you become better informed and more active. Credit: wikicommons.

Keeping Up the Fight: Tips for Science Policy Engagement

Concerned for the future of science? I’ve highlighted a few things you can do to stay engaged in 15 minutes a day.

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Citizen Science in the New Year!

Tired of only reading articles about science and wishing you could get out there any join those research teams instead? Well, you don’t need a degree to help out—you can get involved in any number of citizen science initiatives! So, if you feel like chipping in and helping scientists gather data, click here to find out more!

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What Does the US Election Mean for Our Oceans?

The oceans are subject to the whims of national policy, and yet they know no borders. Being poor ocean stewards here in the US could cause serious problems all over the world, as well as affecting the smidgeon of blue we can see from our shores. In this post, I outline a few ideas about how America’s new political landscape might affect ocean science and the future health of our global oceans .

Figure 1 - The Great White Shark, the star of Discovery Channel's Shark Week

Is ‘Shark Week’ Good or Bad for Sharks?

‘Shark Week’ has become a staple of summer television. It is currently the longest continuously running series on television. It is also a rare example of quality scientific research (in any field) getting prime time television coverage. However, scientists and conservationists have highly criticized Shark Week in recent years for ‘fear mongering’ tactics. What does the science say about the impact of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week on the public’s impression of sharks? What can viewers expect from this year’s programming? Find out here.

Dr. Jerry Miller (far right) with (R to L) Ms. Shere Abbott, and Dr. John Holdren of OSTP, President Barack Obama, Ms. Nancy Sutley, Mr. Michael Boots, and Mr. Michael Weiss of CEQ as President Obama signs Executive Order 13547 establishing the National Ocean Policy. Credit: Science for Decisions.

National Ocean Policy: a look inside Congress

Ever wondered what your government does for the oceans? Here’s a brief glimpse.

Figure 2: intricate root system https-//pixabay.com/en/mangrove-philippines-trees-nature-1227352/

Room to Grow

When natural ecosystems are destroyed from anthropogenic development there exists a common notion that a replacement can be replanted somewhere else. One has to wonder though; what if the ecosystem destroyed cannot be replaced into the same role it once had. Scientists investigate if planted mangroves in the Philippines change the natural mangrove areas surrounding the restoration area, and to determine if there are differences in species diversity between planted and natural systems.

Pacific sardines live in a sensitive coastal ecosystem. Recently warm winter waters on the US west coast have caused many sardines to seek more northern, colder waters. Credit: NOAA’s National Ocean Service.

Ports, Pups, Policy, and Low Sardine Stocks

While sardine stocks are seeing disturbingly low numbers along the US west coast, affecting fishermen and marine mammals that depend on them, scientists are working hard to provide forecast modeling and data than can better assist fishery managers to avoid this situation in the future.

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Wanderings through the Western Society of Naturalists

Takeaways and notes from Sacramento and a jam-packed Western Society of Naturalists meeting!

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Beyond the Science (Part 2): Sci-Com, Media, and Policy at GSA

I attended the annual meeting for the Geological Society of America as a first-timer, joining scientists, educators, policy-makers, industry buffs, and students from the international community at the second-largest geology conference in the United States. I had attended a geology conference before, but I had not been involved to the extent that I was at GSA. The conference provided me with so much more than just a platform to speak to a wide audience.

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Will Climate Change Alter How We Vacation?

When we talk about climate change, usually we talk about the effects that it’ll have on the environment and the animals that inhabit it; rarely do we talk about the impact that it can have on something as seemingly unrelated as tourism. However, tourism in regions known for their natural beauty is just as much at risk from climate change as polar bears and coral reefs. Read on to find out more!

The US Capitol. Congressional Visits Day incorporated visits with offices in both the House Representative side and the Senate side.

A First-Timer’s Look at a Scientist Congressional Visits Day

At Geosciences Congressional Visits Day, 2015, I joined a diverse group of over 60 geoscientists that gathered in Washington, D.C. to learn how to speak to policymakers and how to craft our message requesting continued strong federal support for earth sciences.

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Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2015 Highlights

Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW) is an annual event in Washington, D.C. that brings together a wide range of leaders a to discuss ocean science, policy and management. In case you missed it, read this for highlights!

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Protecting Well-Traveled Fishes: A New Approach

Fisheries managers have begun a shift from attempting to protect individual fish species to protecting entire ecosystems. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been highly successful at conserving important species and habitats like coral reefs. Is it possible to utilize relatively small MPAs to protect the 200-300 fish species that regularly travel long distances? New research suggests this approach may be more promising than we once thought.

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Local natural resource management can combat the effects of global environmental disturbances

Global environmental problems can’t be solved overnight by one person, but there are things we can do locally to positively impact natural resource supplies in the midst of these large-scale problems. This article describes one successful strategy used to increase fishing revenues in southern Kenya.

photo courtesy of www.shedexpedition.com

The Great Barrier Reef is worth $15 billion – $20 billion AUS a year: A quick lesson in ecosystem economics

When discussing the value of an ecosystem, tensions run high. Some people evaluate ecosystems with heavy emphasis on non-use values, like aesthetics and spiritual appreciation. Other people value ecosystems based on things like natural resource availability and the potential for direct monetary revenue. It is difficult to assess the relative importance (or value) of these differing goals because the economic benefits of one are easily quantified while the other is more difficult to assess.

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Are coastal waters receiving drugs? Are the rivers distributing them?

Pollution is not new news. It is common to hear discussion about air pollution and trash pollution, and more recently you may have heard about microbeads from facial cleansers and other products showing up in measurable concentrations in the ocean. Well to get even more micro, scientists measured the concentrations of drugs in Taiwan’s coastal waters and the findings are disturbing.

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The Ghastly Impacts of Ghost Fishing Gear

Derelict fishing traps, or DFTs, are abandoned traps that may still be actively capturing marine organisms, in a phenomenon known as “ghost fishing.” In this study, a group of scientists put together a qualitative assessment on the ecological and economic impacts these traps may be having on coastal ecosystems throughout the United States.

Photo credit: http://cruiseastute.com/blog/category/news/ships/costa-concordia-disaster/

MAYDAY! MAYDAY! We’ve Run Aground!!…Assessing the early impacts of the Costa Concordia wreck

A week ago, on July 23, 2014, the Costa Concordia was finally towed away from its wreck site near Giglio Island, Tuscany, Italy where it ran aground on a submerged rock over two and a half years ago on January 13, 2012. Disasters like this one have the potential to royally screw up the environment. Immediate response and careful investigations are important for assessing what environmental impacts are attributed to chemicals and toxins released from the wreckage and salvage operations.

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Ocean Ecosystem Stressors Influence Human Health

Healthy coastal and marine environments are of great importance to human beings. They provide many ecosystem services, which are water and food supply, temperature maintenance, storm protection, recreation etc; yet currently, many of these environments are being degraded by several environmental stressors.

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