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Climate change meets ocean life in new northeast research institute
Date:9/29/2009

Federal and academic marine scientists in the Northeast have combined resources in a new effort to understand how the large marine ecosystem off the northeastern U.S. functions.

"I am very pleased to be involved in research that can truly improve the way we manage valuable ocean resources," said Don Anderson, senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and director of the newly formed Cooperative Institute for the North Atlantic Region.

"The Northeast shelf is one of the most studied and best known marine ecosystems in the world," said Anderson. "This institute provides a way to harness that knowledge and focus it on understanding the ecosystem processes as a whole, even predicting how it will change and what factors drive that changeparticularly climate," he said.

The institute was formed by the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), one of the nation's leading environmental science agencies. In addition to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, partners include Rutgers University, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the University of Maine, and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. Since projects will also have substantial involvement from NOAA researchers, more than 200 ocean scientists may eventually work on institute projects.

Although still in its infancy, the institute partners are already working on several projects. Among them are efforts to apply advanced technologies to the next generation of fishery stock surveys, to understand whether there is a link between marine mammal health and risk of entanglement in fishing gear, to better predict the occurrence and intensity of harmful algal blooms (red tides) in Northeast coastal waters, and to test and evaluate new forms of fishery management.

The ecosystem focus of the institute is particularly welcomed by Nancy Thompson, science and research director for NOAA's Northeast Fisheries S
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media@whoi.edu
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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Source:Eurekalert  

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