The DPLUS148 Project goes North

Dr Jesse van der Grient

Project Manager Dr Jesse van der Grient spent April up in the northern hemisphere in (sometimes) foggy Newport, Oregon. Oregon State University (OSU) is a project partner on the climate change resilience in the Falkland Islands fisheries and marine ecosystem project. At OSU, Jesse worked with Drs Will White and Michael Harte on the ecosystem modelling part of the project. Ecosystem models are useful tools in ecosystem management as they can play out different management strategies to understand the effect of such strategies on the food web. Especially, we can evaluate the effects of direct and indirect impacts of environmental change that may affect our fisheries. To make such a model requires a sufficient understanding of the interactions in the marine environment, which can be challenging for areas that have not received a lot of scientific investigation, including the Falkland Islands. However, based on the literature review that was conducted in this project earlier, we can make a reasonable representation of the food-web interactions in the Falkland marine environment. During the visit, Jesse also organised with the OSU partners a workshop on modelling data-limited high-latitude environments. The Falklands Islands, like many subpolar and Polar Regions, are often understudied, but show complex patterns in seasonal migration which can make modelling them sometimes tricky, but also means lots of interesting discussions from a modelling standpoint! We had a fantastic workshop with great in-depth discussion. In addition, we evaluated the progress on the Falkland model, and Jesse has improved the model with this help a lot. The workshop participants continue to be involved in the project by helping Jesse with the modelling, which is an exciting and unexpected collaboration. In all, it was a successful and fruitful visit with more food for thought left to work on now that Jesse is back in the Falklands.

While Jesse was north, student Rhian Taylor worked hard identifying zooplankton and collecting more data. We are sad to see Rhian (temporarily) go to Aberdeen, although she will do some exciting genetic work there. We will see her here again in October. In the meantime, Jesse is preparing to rerun the squid egg respiration experiments, organising a squid egg survey in Berkeley Sound, and has a new toy to play with: a diving PAM (pulse-amplified modulated). This cool machine allows her to take photosynthetic activity measurements from kelp. She will be collecting seasonal data to understand how photosynthesis changes through the year. Last, with the incredible support from Ed, Ash, and Barend from Fortuna up at the aquaculture facilities in Moody Brook, we are building our dataset to understand how kelp-associated invertebrates (such as whelks, limpets, and isopods) may respond to heat waves and long-term warming. We are inspecting the data now and preparing for data analyses, but in the meantime, we are just so excited to have these data! A first in the Falkland Islands!

Again, we want to iterate that none of the fantastic work/adventures described above would have been possible without the tremendous help of all our partners, and I am grateful for the opportunities they provide. Thank you to FIFCA, FIG, FIFD, SMSG, OSU, and BAS for their continued support.

Group photo of on-site and online participants of the workshop
A new toy: the diving PAM to measure photosynthesis in kelp
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