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Blog Posts (29)

  • Event Alert! Celebrate the Shinnecock Bay Hope Spot in Southampton, NY, on June 9, 2023

    IOCS is thrilled to welcome renowned marine scientist and "Her Deepness" Dr. Sylvia Earle to our Stony Brook University Southampton campus to headline an event celebrating the Shinnecock Bay Hope Spot. The event will also feature members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, scientists from Stony Brook University, tech entrepreneurs, and Schmidt Marine Technology Partners who will moderate a panel discussion of how underwater robotics have advanced and can become more affordable. The event will run from 4-5:30 PM, with doors opening at 3PM to view technology and cultural displays and enjoy light refreshments. This is a ticketed event ($30), and tickets can be purchased on The Explorers Club website. .

  • IOCS scientists discuss the importance of Egypt's coral reefs in a letter published in Science

    IOCS scientists Dr. Karine Kleinhaus, Dr. Ellen Pikitch, and Dr. John Bohorquez discuss the importance of Egypt's coral reefs in a letter published in the journal Science this week, at the same time global leaders are meeting in Egypt at COP27 to discuss climate change. These corals are among the most heat tolerant in the world but are threatened by local human impacts. The letter in Science requires a subscription, but all relevant information is also contained in a Stony Brook News article: Learn more about Red Sea corals at Red Sea Reef Foundation, an organization founded by Dr. Kleinhaus in 2020.

  • Indigenous Art and Environmental Issues - Online Event 10/27/22

    This Thursday, 10/27/22 at 4 pm EST, IOCS's Executive Director Dr. Ellen Pikitch will be participating in a panel discussion on Indigenous Art and Environmental Issues, in person at the Paul Zuccaire Gallery at Stony Brook University and streaming online here: This panel is part of the series Connecting the Drops: The Power of Water. Connecting the Drops artists Courtney M. Leonard (Shinnecock) and Erin Genia (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate) discuss their work as it relates to the environment and indigenous issues, in dialogue with Shavonne F. Smith, Environmental Director Shinnecock Nation and Dr. Ellen Pikitch, Endowed Professor of Ocean Conservation Science and Executive Director, Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University. Moderated by Dr. Abena Ampofoa Asare, Associate Professor of Modern African Affairs & History at Stony Brook University. What are new ways we can connect science and art at Stony Brook University? Whose stories are being left out, and what topics should we be exploring? The Zuccaire Gallery’s upcoming panel focuses on the work of Indigenous Peoples in addressing issues of climate change, pollution, and environmental conservation. The panel will explore the connections between art and science, touching on the Shinnecock Hope Spot, climate activism through art, Indigenous Science, and the environmental work that scientists and activists are doing on Long Island. The panel features artists and environmental activists, Courtney M Leonard and Erin Genia in dialogue with environmental leader Shavonne F. Smith and renowned scientist Dr. Ellen Pikitch. Moderated by Dr. Abena Ampofoa Asare.

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  • Impact | Institute for Ocean Conservation Science | Stony Brook University

    Making an Impact IOCS science has contributed to policy solutions and positive societal change in many ways. Below are selected examples showing our impact on a specific conservation issue, through targeted scientific projects and how they led to tangible and beneficial outcomes. Preventing Extinction The Issue: Protecting Endangered and Threatened Sturgeon Species Our Science: Tagging beluga and Atlantic sturgeon to track migratory routes DNA barcoding to track illegal caviar served in restaurants Conducting population analytics in the Caspian region with Kazahk collaborators Publishing the first-ever global assessment of global sturgeon and paddlefish species Our Impact: Beluga sturgeon listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act U.S. ban on most beluga sturgeon caviar imports CITES international trade bans enacted Consumer campaigns encourage consumption of sustainable, farm-raised sturgeon Improved enforcement of illegal sturgeon fishing 10-year moratorium on sturgeon fishing on Romania beluga and Atlantic sturgeon to track migratory routes Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management The Issue: Moving away from managing fish populations individually and towards recognizing the ecosystem as a whole Our Science: Published EBFM scientific consensus as a Policy Forum in the journal Science Led the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force in developing ecosystem-based management recommendations for forage fish Published the value of forage fish to marine species and ecosystems ​Our Impact: Shaping new conversations on integrating ecosystems into fisheries management Influencing the ASMFC on EBFM for Atlantic menhaden Uptake of key LFFTF recommendations by several US states and other nations Seafood Watch adopts LFFTF guidelines for sustainability Promoting Conservation Awareness The Issue: Distilling and disseminating scientific concepts to influential groups and the general public for increased marine conservation awareness and stewardship. Our Science: ​Convening high-level symposia on MPAs in Rome, Italy, and at the United Nations Curating hands-on experiences and field trips for UN ambassadors and leading STEM educators in Shinnecock Bay Frequent speaking engagements at public events and scientific conferences. ​ Our Impact: ​Inspiring decision-makers at the global level Training teachers on local water quality issues for implementation into lesson plans Educating residents, groups, and businesses on Long Island

  • Global MPAs | Institute for Ocean Conservation Science | Stony Brook University

    Marine Protected Areas Marine Protected Areas, or MPAs, protect and conserve ocean ecosystems, species, and habitats -- similar to national parks or forest reserves on land. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defines MPAs as areas whose primary objective is the conservation of nature: ​ “An MPA is a clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.” MPAs vary in how strongly they protect against various anthropogenic threats, and several classification systems have been developed to differentiate among various types of MPAs. The MPA Guide , co-authored by IOCS’s Ellen Pikitch, was released in 2021 and contains a classification system based on an MPA’s level of protection and stage of establishment. It also links expected outcomes to these MPA characteristics. Science has shown that well-implemented, highly or fully protected MPAs can have very positive results for marine environments and human well-being. Benefits of MPAs include larger fish, more abundant fish, increased reproduction, the protection of habitats such as coral reefs and mangroves, enhanced community involvement, maintenance of social and cultural traditions and increased economic opportunity and income. Recently, in part due to globally agreed targets for ocean protection, the number of MPAs has more than doubled globally and now protects almost 8% of the ocean . But despite the uptick in MPAs, political action still lags behind the urgent need for more and better quality MPAs. 10x20 Initiative Marine Priority Areas Evaluating MPAs in China Conservation Finance How is IOCS involved? MPAs are a major focus at IOCS because we believe they are an underutilized tool that can yield great benefits for the ocean as well as coastal communities. We understand that balancing use and protection of the ocean is critically important and requires tradeoffs and diplomacy. Our team works on MPAs at the global, national, and local levels. At the United Nations, we’ve brought scientific information directly to diplomats of dozens of countries. Our faculty, staff and graduate students often attend and present at international conferences on MPAs, and frequently contribute to strategic workshops and panels as invited experts. Examples include developing the MPA Guide , the IUCN MPA Standards , and the UN Ocean Dialogues . We conducted a project to identify Marine Priority Areas , and in 2019, published a paper and launched an online map showing where new or expanded MPAs could be most beneficial around the world. This project was funded by the Italian Ministry of Environment. MPAs must also be sufficiently financed, since a lack of funding for personnel, equipment, and enforcement can lead to “paper parks” that do not achieve their conservation goals. Our lab is examining how to improve financial sustainability for MPAs using case studies in Colombia, Bonaire, and Belize. This includes a recent publication that showcases a valuable decision-making tool for evaluating mechanisms that can financially support MPAs. It is also important to understand the quantity, distribution and representativeness of MPAs on a national scale, especially for countries that have jurisdiction over large ocean areas. We have been working with colleagues at Shanghai Jai Tong University to evaluate MPAs in China , and in late 2021, published an analysis in the journal Science Advances . And in May 2022, Dr. Pikitch co-authored a study analyzing the status of ocean protection in the United States . We will continue our work in MPA finance and management, as well as expand our research scope to include Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs) that can complement MPAs and have been included among international goals for spatial ocean protection. With our multi-faceted track record on MPAs, IOCS is poised to be a leader in steering global efforts over the next decade and beyond. ​ Resources MPA Guide website MPA Guide Publication Using the MPA Guide to Assess U.S. MPA's U.S MPA Study Infographic U.S. MPA Study Summary

  • Projects | Institute for Ocean Conservation Science | Stony Brook University

    Projects Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program (ShiRP) The Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program (ShiRP) was created in 2012 to combat the deterioration of Shinnecock Bay. We're leading an initiative to use research, monitoring, science-based restoration, and public outreach to improve the water quality and fisheries of the Shinnecock Bay. Learn more Marine Protected Areas Marine Protected Areas, or MPAs, protect and conserve ocean ecosystems, species, and habitats -- similar to national parks or forest reserves on land. Learn more Shinnecock Bay Hope Spot In early 2022, IOCS along with The Explorers Club nominated Shinnecock Bay as a Mission Blue Hope Spot, the first in the New York State and one of only a few on the U.S. East Coast. Learn more Marine Conservation in China Together with our team at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, we are investigating China's network of MPAs, of which there is a dearth of information available to the international community. Learn more Marine Areas of Consensus After analyzing the world's MPA network, we discovered that there are several parts of the ocean that the global community agrees on protecting. Learn more 10X20 Initiative The 10x20 Initiative was an effort at the United Nations to encourage effective achievement of protecting 10% of the ocean by the year 2020, one of the most important targets within Sustainable Development Goal 14, "Life Below Water." Learn more Conservation Finance Funding challenges are a common thread and persistent problem for MPAs around the world and undermine the success of many marine conservation efforts. Learn more Pioneering eDNA We are pioneering the eDNA frontier! Upon establishing a standardized protocol for sampling eDNA from marine systems, we hope to use this new tool to monitor fisheries and discover new and cryptic species. Learn more Fisheries Monitoring IOCS scientists and staff have years of experience in fisheries science and have employed a variety of fisheries independent survey techniques to research and assess fish populations around the globe. Learn more Community Outreach Learn more Forage Fish With the Lenfest Ocean Program's support, we have formed a Task Force of diverse scientists that have come together to better understand and conserve one of the world's most underestimated taxa: forage fish. Through landmark publications, we have helped show the global community a better way to manage these valuable animals. Learn more Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force IOCS, with support from the Lenfest Ocean Program, convened the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force. Learn more

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