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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid