October 2019 Updates

Updates for our membership community on latest public planning and policy items for the month of October 2019. This includes Cordell Bank and Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries Nautilus Live, the Decline of North American Avifauna, and early success studies on the success of California’s network of MPAs.



Watch live seafloor exploration in the Cordell Bank and Greater Farallones national marine sanctuaries at your computer!

Oct 4-10, 2019 Scientists with Cordell Bank and Greater Farallones national marine sanctuaries (NOAA) will be joining the Ocean Exploration Trust aboard the E/V Nautilus to continue deep sea habitat exploration to see habitats unseen before to best understand them to protect them. Past explorations nearby have revealed deep sea coral/sponge communities thriving with a diversity of life including discovering new species previously not described.

You can watch the deep sea exploration LIVE at your computer at nautiluslive.org when the remotely operated vehicles (ROV) are diving between Oct 4-10th. Keep in mind transiting between locations and weather dictate when the ROV's actually dive, so keep updated at nautiluslive.org and on Twitter at @EVNautilus to see when we will be diving and transmitting the live video feed.

Early Results Suggest California Marine Protected Areas are a Success

“A network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in California is showing signs of success in the form of more and larger fish and invertebrates, according to a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Ocean and Coastal Management…There are now 124 MPAs covering 852 square miles, or 16 percent of California state waters. Initial monitoring results show more and bigger fish, especially in older MPAs where the benefits of limiting fishing have had longer to accrue. Murray and Hee, a 2018 graduate of the MAS MBC program, found evidence of rebounding ecosystem health in several of them, ranging from an increase of commercially important fish species such as lingcod and black rockfish in the state’s central coast to a 52-percent increase of biomass – or total marine life – in reserves off the Channel Islands. Significantly, ocean waters just outside those reserves also experienced a 23-percent increase in biomass. These data, along with information collected in San Diego, Carmel Bay and Monterey Bay, suggest that MPAs are having the intended spillover effect into areas accessible to fishermen. The authors note, however, the full suite of ecological benefits from MPAs will likely be realized in the coming years.”

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Decline of the North American avifauna

Species extinctions have defined the global biodiversity crisis, but extinction begins with loss in abundance of individuals that can result in compositional and functional changes of ecosystems. Using multiple and independent monitoring networks, we report population losses across much of the North American avifauna over 48 years, including once common species and from most biomes. Integration of range-wide population trajectories and size estimates indicates a net loss approaching 3 billion birds, or 29% of 1970 abundance. A continent-wide weather radar network also reveals a similarly steep decline in biomass passage of migrating birds over a recent 10-year period. This loss of bird abundance signals an urgent need to address threats to avert future avifaunal collapse and associated loss of ecosystem integrity, function and services

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