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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey 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.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid