News / Science & Technology

3D Gaming Technology Predicts Ocean Future

Complex models see decline in edible fish

Multimedia

Audio
Rosanne Skirble


Video simulation in the Baltic Sea predicts overfishing, and an overload of nutrients or sewage in the water, will result in fewer large fish and more smaller ones. (Credit: Baltic Nest Institute, Stockholm, University of British Columbia, Vancouver)

A team of international researchers has developed a powerful new computer tool which uses 3D gaming technology to evaluate the oceans’ rapidly dwindling food resources.

The Nereus model incorporates climate change models, data related to human activities, and changes in the oceans’ food webs to calculate a timeline for harvestable marine life from 1960 to the year 2060.

Nereus is designed to answer some big questions: How healthy will the world’s oceans be in the future, and will they support enough fish to help feed tomorrow’s hungry world?  

Canadian fishery expert Villy Christensen directs the Nereus program at the University of British Columbia. At the recent annual meeting in Vancouver of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Christensen presented some preliminary results. “We found that the fish biomass in the world ocean is around two billion tons,” he said.

While that biomass has remained relatively stable and resilient over time, Christiansen says its makeup has dramatically shifted.

“We are saying goodbye to the big fish in the oceans such as carp and grouper. For those we’ve seen about a 55 percent decline just in the last 40 years. And then it’s hello to small fish. We’re seeing many more of the small fish, the fish that we are not interested in.”

These small fish - between 10 and 20 centimeters - are a dietary mainstay of foraging animals like whales, but they are not easy to harvest in the open ocean by commercial fishing fleets.  

Christensen notes that at a time when many of the world’s fisheries are in decline, the global market for fresh fish is on the rise. “And we are running out of seafood. World supply is stagnant,” Christensen says.  

Climate change, overfishing and a more acidic ocean are putting stress on global fisheries, according to Nereus team researcher William Cheung. The assistant fisheries professor at the University of British Columbia looked at how those factors affected 1,000 species of fish and invertebrates, and found both good news and bad in the outlook.

“We find that just by warming alone we may increase the catch potential in the North Atlantic region by 50 percent because the fish are moving to these high latitudes. However, if we incorporate ocean acidification and de-oxygenation into the equation, we find that some of the regions change from winners to losers.”

Greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels are changing ocean habitat, making it more acidic. That in turn affects the size and distribution of fish.  

Christensen says the ocean modeling tool uses 3D gaming technology to communicate that information, turning scientific modeling data into a virtual world.

Christensen says what viewers see are predictions of ocean conditions and the quantity and size of the fish.

“The framework is set up with spatial information at a one-half degree, or 50-kilometer scale,” he says.

Christiansen says the information can help local officials make better decisions about how to manage the ocean environment and marine resources near where they live.  

The $13-million Nereus Predicting the Future Ocean program is a joint initiative between the Nippon Foundation of Japan and the University of British Columbia. Other collaborators include U.S. and European universities and the United Nations Environment Program.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid