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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid