SaintJoe H2O

How would you measure ecosystem health?

First off, let me re-introduce myself to people who may be close to a decade younger than me whom I've never met. My name is Nicole Rohr, I am a 2001 graduate of Lafayette High School, and I was in the 2001 class of mar bio (followed by four more trips down with Sean et al. and I worked for 6 months on South Andros at Tiamo Resorts). Currently, I am a 4th year PhD Candidate at the University of Rhode Island and I specialize in the effects of invasive species on marine intertidal/subtidal community interactions with the purpose of entering into a career in marine policy.

I recently completed an internship at the Center for Ocean Solutions in Monterey, CA, and worked with a team of scientists, lawyers, and policymakers on developing ecological indicators for ecosystem based management....what?!?!

Marine management is starting to move from single species management (think fishing regulations on a single species of fish - like tuna) to ecosystem based management (EBM). EBM seeks to protect ecosystem health of the ENTIRE system because a healthy system supports healthy cirtters. Not only that, but many studies have shown that healthy coastal ecosystems support healthy (physically and economically) healthy humans.

The best way to do this? Completely leave marine ecosystems alone to exist how they naturally exist without human pressures. Not feasible. The truth is the humans rely on the marine environment for a whole slew of things including protection from storm surges, erosion prevention, commercially valuable fisheries, oil and natural gas, a place to go boating for the day, SCUBA/snorkel, or simply a place to look at and feel like the world is a pretty fantastic place - there is no way to disconnect the two. To that end, marine spatial management (MSM) is a type of EBM that seeks to manage humans and the environment together by regulating what human activities can occur in what areas.

Great! Fantastic! But how do you determine what human uses can co-exist with which environment types? That answer has been debated for years with no clear answer and high tensions! The Center for Ocean Solutions is attempting to tackle this issue starting in their state waters - starting with how to determine ecosystem health. My team and myself convened a group of scientists from around the country to talk about which ecological factors are most important for determining marine ecosystem health.

We decided on:
connectivity
habitat diversity
key species
species diversity.

How do you measure these things? Seriously, is there a measurement for connectivity? And, once you assess if an ecosystem is "healthy" according to these guiding principles then how do you determine compatibility with human uses?!? Stay tuned...those are up next on my to-do list.

To read more about the work I did, check this out: foley_etal2010_MP (1).pdf

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Sean Nash created this Ning Network.

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Sean Nash's 5 discussions were featured
Feb 6, 2014
Rylee Hanlan posted a blog post

Island Time

Living on Island TimeThe first couple of days were spent waiting on this and on that and it truly felt like a year had gone by.  The first day was spent waking up early and driving to KCI airport where after about an hour or so of waiting we finally got on the plane that took us to Florida.  I sat in the very back of the plane with Zach and McCabe and I learned a valuable lesson from Zach when you get your free drinks on the airplane "always ask for the can".  The next morning we split into…See More
Oct 23, 2013
McCabe Davis posted a blog post

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I woke up early and went to meet everyone at the library. Once we got our passports and tickets we all headed to the airport. We took a flight to Ft. Lauderdale.  Once there we all we out to eat and I had a Mahi-Mahi sandwich and tried some oyster, steamed clam, and calamari.  I think out of those 3 I will only have the calamari again.  Then we got our rooms and got the information for the plane trip to Andros.  We had the rest of the night to ourselves and I went swimming and hung out in some…See More
May 21, 2013
Bobbi thompson posted a blog post

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I have known that I wanted to this program for a long time now. My brother did it back in 2003. I saw how much fun he was having learning the fish and then going out on the sail boats and seeing them in person. I saw what he brought back from the trip and it all sounded like so much fun i just had to try and go. So here I am! I took the class and went on the trip.Day 1 I couldn't sleep, I had to be up at 4:30 in the morning so we could meet at the library and and be at the air port around 6:20…See More
May 10, 2013
Lindsay Doolan posted a blog post

Time of my life!

Plane ride to Andros     My group got here 2nd and right once we got to Forefar we ate lunch and then got in the water.  I was ready to get right in and I saw so many fish.  Shelby Mills and I went snorkeling together.  The first fish we saw was a Beaugregory Juvenile.   Then we saw a sea slug.  It had orange and blue stripes going down its back.  Then we also saw an adult Beaugregory.  The next fish was a cocoa Damselfish.  This fish has a blue color on top ends and a dark spot on the upper…See More
May 6, 2013
MacKinzie Lillian Conard posted a blog post

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Where do I even begin? Or better rephrased, how do I start telling the tale of the most intriguing adventure I've ever gone on in my short 17 years of life? The most obvious answer would be to start with Day 1, which is only logical, but once you've started reading my account, I think you'll understand why I didn't know where to begin. Day 1- Friday, March 21st, Saint Joseph to Ft. Lauderdale Boy, I definitely wished I was a morning person that day. We met at a parking lot at East Hill's mall…See More
May 6, 2013
Shelby Glenn posted a blog post

The Bahamian Experience

Everything about the Bahamas was pretty much perfect. The weather, the people, the lifestyle, the water, the air, the night sky, and the people. Did I say people twice? Heck yes I did because the people truly were some of the coolest people ever.They were some of the most down to earth and friendly people I have ever met. There was even a statue of a pair of hands shaking to really reinforce the fact that they were very friendly people.The first day that we spent on the island I played some…See More
Apr 30, 2013
Shelby Mills shared their discussion on Facebook
Apr 15, 2013
Shelby Mills posted a discussion

Under the Sun-2013

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013Yesterday we arrived at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to begin our adventure miles from home. Around 12:30 PM, 7 of us loaded a small plane with a pilot named Eddie (I got to be co-pilot!) and we set flight over the ocean. The ocean is simply breathtaking and magnificent. Looking the 5,000 feet down to the shades of blue wasn't full of much to look at but I couldn't take my eyes off of it. I was looking for something to strike my eye, to jump out of the water...SOMETHING!…See More
Apr 15, 2013
Rylee Hanlan replied to Sean Nash's discussion The Outer Strands
"Although this chapter wasn't my favorite that I've read so far, I did learn some new and interesting things.. Like what Christmas tree worms are! And just how important sea grass is to the ocean. The reflection strategy that I used for…"
Mar 18, 2013
Jaycen LeeAnn Wilson replied to Sean Nash's discussion The Outer Strands
"I made my key note about how everything is part of one. It's kind of like the lion king to me. Everything has to do with something. Or it's some disney movie like that. I loved this chapter, I think it was my favorite so far. I love how he…"
Mar 18, 2013
MacKinzie Lillian Conard replied to Sean Nash's discussion The Outer Strands
"This book never fails to amaze me! I have always thought of a coral reef as being its own "island" because it is so diverse and strong by itself. However, Davidson very quickly points out that coral reefs are a small strand in a large…"
Mar 18, 2013
Rylee Hanlan replied to Sean Nash's discussion The Outer Strands
"I thought the same thing when I was reading, and came across the term " Christmas tree worms" I google imaged it and thought they were pretty neat as well!"
Mar 18, 2013
Shelby Mills replied to Sean Nash's discussion The Outer Strands
"Yet again, the seas continue to amaze me in their ability to support each other even when they get no appreciation. One thing in particular that I thought was simply spectacular about this chapter were the Thalassia and their development of mature…"
Mar 18, 2013
Lindsay Doolan replied to Sean Nash's discussion The Outer Strands
"Everything you write about in these discussion's are so creative and I really enjoy reading them. They are usually the first thing I read because it opens my mind about what I want to base mine off of. Great job! Also your Sci-poe last time was…"
Mar 17, 2013
Lindsay Doolan replied to Sean Nash's discussion The Outer Strands
"Okay, mine might seem boring because it is only talking about one thing. The Thalassia Testudinum a sea grass, but i found this story or part of this chapter really interesting. I thought it was beautiful how the 'parent' "bathes the…"
Mar 17, 2013
McCabe Davis replied to Sean Nash's discussion The Rise of Corals & The Heart of Lightness
"I think Shelby did a great job on his sypo. It explains how important the tropics are and how much the sun affects the life of diversity there."
Mar 17, 2013
McCabe Davis replied to Sean Nash's discussion The Outer Strands
"Mangroves, sea grass, and coral reefs. I never would have thought that these things would be interconnected so deeply. A braid within a braid. This chapter talks about how these three components are all connected and what roles they play. The only…"
Mar 17, 2013
Madison Steilen replied to Sean Nash's discussion The Outer Strands
Mar 17, 2013
Megan Makena Zimbelman commented on Kelly Drinnen's photo
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Coral Patchwork

"I truly enjoy the intricacy of this shot.   I love how when one looks closely many colors can be found within this single image.  One of my all time favorite quotes is "Life is a great big canvas and you should throw all the paint you…"
Mar 17, 2013

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