Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Innovative Tagging Technique May Help Researchers Better Protect Fish Stocks

Date:
August 13, 2007
Source:
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
Summary:
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are often hailed as a way to halt serious declines in the abundance of marine species that have been over-fished. But even as nations begin to set aside protected parcels of ocean for marine reserves, the effectiveness of the approach as a fisheries management tool remains unclear. Fish ecologist are now ready to put MPAs to the test with a novel technique for tagging fish.

Researchers will use harmless a chemical tag that becomes a signature within the ear bones of fish. They can then track the dispersal of larvae across reefs and open ocean.
Credit: Simon Thorrold, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are often hailed as a way to halt serious declines in the abundance of marine species that have been over-fished. But even as nations begin to set aside protected parcels of ocean for marine reserves, the effectiveness of the approach as a fisheries management tool remains unclear. Simon Thorrold, a fish ecologist from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), would like to put MPAs to the test with a novel technique for tagging fish.

Through a new research grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Thorrold and colleagues plan to use harmless chemical tags to track the dispersal of the larvae of coral reef fishes in the western Pacific Ocean. The Packard Foundation’s Conservation and Science Program has granted Thorrold and colleagues more than $480,000 for three years to study the population dynamics of grouper and snapper in the waters around the Great Barrier Reef and Papua New Guinea.

Through a new technique known as TRAnsgenerational Isotope Labeling (TRAIL), the researchers will introduce an artificial tag—a stable isotope of barium—into the tissues of mature female fish just before spawning. That chemical tag is then passed to the female’s offspring and becomes a chemical signature within the ear bones (otoliths) of the next generation of fish. Researchers can then track the dispersal of the tagged larvae across reefs and large stretches of open ocean.

This chemical tagging approach has been successfully tested in limited studies with clownfish and butterflyfish. Now, Thorrold and colleagues want to attempt one of the first large-scale, empirical tests of the effectiveness of marine protected areas. The scientists will attempt to assess how far and how effectively the larvae spawned within protected areas are contributing to populations outside of their human-described borders.

Most management and conservation strategies assume that fish populations may be connected across broad areas, and that protecting them in one location will allow for sustainable fisheries outside of the reserve boundaries. But such theories are mostly untested and do not necessarily account for how long and how far larvae may or may not drift in the open ocean.

The new research program will be led by Thorrold, an associate scientist in the WHOI Department of Biology. Co-investigators include Glenn Almany, Geoffrey Jones, and Garry Russ of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University (Australia), and Rick Hamilton of The Nature Conservancy.

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation was created in 1964 by David Packard, cofounder of the Hewlett-Packard Company, and Lucile Salter Packard. The Foundation's Conservation and Science Program seeks to protect and restore our oceans, coasts, and atmosphere, and to enable the creative pursuit of scientific research.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, independent organization in Falmouth, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the oceans and their interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean's role in the changing global environment.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. "Innovative Tagging Technique May Help Researchers Better Protect Fish Stocks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070811212006.htm>.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. (2007, August 13). Innovative Tagging Technique May Help Researchers Better Protect Fish Stocks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070811212006.htm
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. "Innovative Tagging Technique May Help Researchers Better Protect Fish Stocks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070811212006.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) The best funny internet cat videos are honoured at LA's Feline Film Festival. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) Green balls of algae washed up on Sydney, Australia's Dee Why Beach. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins