David Die co-authors fisheries portion of new NRC report on Deep Water Horizon

David DieA new report entitled: ‘An Ecosystem Services Approach to Assessing the Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico’ was released by the National Research Council. The 350-page document, supported by NOAA focuses not only on the natural resources, but also on the intangible goods and services these resources supply to people.   The report includes a case study on fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico written by University of Miami Research Associate Professor and Associate Director of CIMAS David Die. He was selected because of his expertise in global fisheries assessment, ecosystem modeling and the Gulf of Mexico fisheries.  Additionally, he served as co-author of the marine mammal case study in the report, and contributed to other sections of the report.

“The critical finding of the report is that the impacts of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, and other potential ecological hazards, need to be evaluated in a broader context to the one mandated by the NRDA,” says Die. “We need to take an ecosystem services approach, which albeit challenging, provides a more accurate framework in which to perform such critical evaluations.”

Die has strong links to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and was the founding director of the Center of Independent Experts, a central part of the peer review process for the National Marine Fisheries Service. He is the current Rapporteur for bigeye tuna within the Tropical Tuna Working Group of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna and has recently been asked to serve on the international panel synthesizing the conservation status of tuna and billfish for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.


FantaSEA Football Furor Takes Over UMiami Rosenstiel School

It has been a long grueling season for you Fantasy Football owners. The roller coaster ride of emotions has been full with moments of joy, confusion (anyone owning C.J. Spiller or Jamaal Charles) and bewilderment (Seahawks vs. Packers).  Now it is playoff time – Winners move on, losers pack their bags and empty their wallets. But this had us thinking. What would the ultimate Fantasy Football roster look like? And what if this hypothetical roster was composed of sea life? So, in spirit of Fantasy Football playoffs, here is our Pro Bowl roster. Good luck!

OctopusQuarterback Octopus: It makes sense to put a cephalopod with 8 arms behind center. Honestly, who else would you want as your field general? Not to mention, the Octopus is highly intelligent and capable of making those crucial decisions. The Octopus is also able to camouflage himself as a defensive mechanism.

Running baTiger SharkckTiger Shark: This is our top point getter – think Arian Foster. This top predator is going to rack up tons of points and eat everything in sight. Sharks are the police of the ocean. If it’s 4th and goal, you are handing it off to the Tiger Shark.

MahiRunning backMahi-Mahi Flashy, quick, and strong.  Mahi grow quickly and are always ready for a good fight.  Their acrobatic moves and ability to change color make them a top pick for any good fantasy team.Otter

Wide Receiver Sea Otter: Think Julio Jones here. The sea otter is one of the only marine animals that can use his hands, is quick and reliable. The otter is very popular and is going to give you lots of points on a weekly basis.

SailfishWide ReceiverSailfish: Every team needs a player like AJ Green. Fast, explosive and has a deep threat potential. The Sailfish is arguably the fastest and most aggressive fish out there, and eats smaller fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Chalk up 6, because the Sailfish is going deep!

Humpback Whale by Kyra Hartog

Tight End Humpback Whale: Does Rob Gronkowski ring a bell? Much like Gronk, the Humpback Whale is multi-talented. It can block, dive, breach, swim long distances or stay in the same area (Hawaii breeding grounds). The Humpback Whale is our go-to passing option in the red zone.

KickeDolphinr – Dolphin: Can you think of a better option here? The Rosenstiel School is in Miami, we have the Dolphins, and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to reference Ray Finkle in a blog post. Ace Ventura aside, the Dolphin is a highly charismatic mega fauna, and can score you lots of points if need be. Don’t worry, pressure doesn’t get to ol’ Snowflake during that last second 50 yard field goal for the win.

TunaDefenseSchool of Blue Fin Tuna: The Chicago Bears defense has had a great fantasy season. Much like the Bears, the Bluefin Tuna are big, fast and it’s hard not to appreciate them. You can’t go wrong with the Bluefin Tuna.


Check out our FantaSEA team in action!
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKu1yYibdeA]

So what sea creatures would YOU have on your FantaSEA team?  Think you can beat us?  Write a comment below and let us know who you would have picked and why?

Brought to you by Andrew DeChellis & Laura Bracken; Drawings by Kyra Hartog; Animation by Lizzie Bracken. Special thanks to Austin Gallagher and Peter Chaibongsai for their invaluable assistance.


Cobia Leave For Panama; Mahi Added to Line-up at UM Aquaculture

It’s hard to believe it’s already November. Time flies at the UM Experimental Hatchery (UMEH) when you’re busy making babies… fish babies, that is! The Aquaculture crew wrapped up this summer with an impressive total production of 100,000 cobia fingerlings. A large part of these fingerlings were shipped over to Open Blue Sea Farms in Panama to grow out in cages about seven-miles offshore. We are proud to say that two of our own students, Dan Farkus and Pat Dunaway, were also “shipped over” to Open Blue Sea Farms. They were recruited to work there incorporating UMEH hatchery technology that has been developed for cobia within Open Blue Sea Farm’s facilities. A big shout out to them for the first 25,000 cobia production run at Open Blue Sea Farms, definitely a success story to write home about!

Meanwhile, here at RSMAS we have added a new and very familiar species to our aquaculture lineup, the famous mahi-mahi (dolphin). This most recent addition brings us to five species at the hatchery: mahi-mahi, blackfin tuna, goggle-eyes, Florida pompano, and cobia. The mahi-mahi have been successfully spawning and the mahi fingerlings are growing day-by-day at the hatchery, a must see if you have not yet stopped by UMEH. Trials will be run on the mahi-mahi looking at metabolic rates and energy budgets for this species in relation to aquaculture feasibility. This will aid in the development of the technology to sustainably raise fish in captivity, such as mahi-mahi, to meet growing demands for seafood.

Cobias are also being extensively worked with for nutritional trials, which will continue through the winter. UMEH students and post-docs are replacing a percentage of the fishmeal that goes into cobia feed with soy meal replacement. This will help solve many problems that are inherent in Aquaculture such as environmental sustainability (heard of Fish In–Fish Out?) and improve economics when providing nutrition to the fish. The goggle-eyes, which is a well-known and expensive baitfish is also getting a very nice upgrade soon to a 30-ton brood stock tank. As of right now UMEH are the only ones working on bringing this coveted baitfish to the aquaculture industry.

This semester has brought in new eager personalities to the RSMAS Aquaculture facilities. Good thing too as we needed extra hands to help organize a tour at the Aquaculture facilities for the Society of Environmental Journalists 2011 Conference. UMEH hosted about 30 journalists from around the globe on a guided tour of UMEH facilities, including the research stations mentioned above before hunkering down in the seminar room for a conference with RSMAS Aquaculture Director – Dr. Daniel Benetti, as well as Lisa Krimsky – Florida Sea Grant Agent (Miami-Dade), and Mike Sutton – Director of the Center for the Future of Oceans (Monterey Bay Aquarium).

It’s been an exciting start to the Academic year at the UM Experimental Hatchery… we’re all looking forward for what more is to come… stay tuned!

— UM student Melissa Pelaez
Follow Melissa on Twitter @BlueAquaculture