[MARMAM] FW: Marine Conservation Organization Announces Grants in Historical Marine Ecology

Jen Palmer jen.palmer at mcbi.org
Tue Sep 20 15:15:03 PDT 2005

For Immediate Release                     



Dr. Lance Morgan (707) 938-3214 (office)

Dr. Elliott Norse (425) 968-0449 (office)


Marine Conservation Organization Announces Grants in Historical Marine


September 20, 2005


(Bellevue, WA and Glen Ellen, CA) Marine Conservation Biology Institute
(MCBI) announced today the 2005 Mia J. Tegner Memorial Research Grant in
Marine Environmental History and Historical Marine Ecology award
winners. This grant program is one of the first in the world to
specifically help scientists document the interaction of human
activities upon ocean life and marine ecosystems. Information from these
studies are crucial for helping lawmakers, regulators, managers and
conservationists set appropriate targets for marine conservation
efforts. This year, MCBI awarded 5 grants from a pool of 76 proposals,
which represented scientists or science teams from 31 nations. 

       The Tegner Award program seeks to document the state of marine
biological diversity prior to human industrial activities. In many
cases, researchers and conservationists do not know the base-line
environment they are studying, but indigenous or traditional ecological
knowledge can help fill this gap. Conservation biologists are
increasingly aware of an ecological syndrome termed "Shifting
Baselines", whereby today's researchers cannot fully interpret current
ecological health against a backdrop of long-term gradual environmental
degradation and change which may span decades to centuries.    

      The 2005 Tegner Award winners will be looking to establish
historical pictures of populations and communities from such novel
techniques as historical photo archives to traditional ecological
knowledge of indigenous peoples to historical analysis including
analyses of log books, maps and other historical documents. In some
cases researchers will be working with aboriginal communities to access
indigenous knowledge of ecology. Many of this year's 2005 Tegner
research projects focus on traditional ecological knowledge, as it is
becoming increasingly apparent that management strategies for indigenous
societies based solely on ecological or biological data are seriously
inadequate. The 2005 award winners are: 



1)      Jo Marie Acebes (Philippines) "Historical whaling in the
Philippines: origins of 'indigenous subsistence whaling', mapping
whaling grounds and comparison with current known distribution." The
history of whaling in the Philippines is largely undocumented. Acebes'
study will determine the origins and development of 'indigenous
subsistence whaling' and will map the historical whaling grounds of
local people's and foreign whalers. The data obtained in this study will
be compared to current whale distributions in the Philippines and will
be used to assess conservation and management. 


2)      Darrin Drumm (New Zealand) University of Otago, "Tracking a
millennium of reef exploitation and ecological impacts of human
interactions with the reefs of the southern Cook Islands: a study of
archaeological, anthropological and contemporary evidence." Drumm's
study will develop a historical account of human exploitation practices
of the coral reefs of the Cook Islands over a 700-1,000 year period.
This research will help focus conservation efforts by providing a
baseline of the historical, pre-impact conditions as well as an
understanding of the magnitude of human-related impacts on the coral
reefs and their resources. By providing an understanding of the full
social and historical dimensions of indigenous interactions with the
marine environment, this study will also use indigenous ecological
knowledge to help inform management decisions.


3)      Heather Lazrus (USA) University of Washington, "Global climate
change in the South Pacific: traditional environmental knowledge and
community responses on Polynesian Atolls." Lazrus' ethnographic research
will focus on understanding ways that traditional ecological knowledge
can increase community social and ecological resilience to global
climate change on Funafuti and Nanumea Atolls, located in the nation of
Tuvalu. Tuvalu has been inhabited for over 2000 years, thus, accumulated
local knowledge of ecological changes may provide robust systems for
dealing with ecological disasters during this time. In addition to
providing environmental baselines of this region, this study will also
assess modes of social adaptation to these changes over time. The
information obtained in this project will assist the government of
Tuvalu with conservation strategies towards the anticipated impacts of
global climate change in the future. 


4)      Joelle Prange (Australia) Marine Studies Program, University of
the South Pacific. "Integrating scientific and local indigenous
knowledge of coral reef communities of the Great Astrolabe Reef, Fiji."
The South Pacific is an area of distinct biological diversity; however
conservation of these regions greatly depends upon the combination of
culture and science. Prange's research will be one of the first studies
to document and integrate indigenous and scientific knowledge of coral
reef communities within the Astrolabe Reef, Fiji. The goal 'is to
compare community understanding of coral reef communities with
scientific descriptions, and to utilize this information, if
appropriate, in development of resource/inventory maps. 


5)      John Reed (USA) Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution:
"Effects of bottom trawling on a deep-water coral reef".  Using
photographic archives Mr. Reed will look to analyze the historic extend
and composition of deep-water Oculina reefs off the coast of Florida
prior to widespread bottom trawl activity. The unique Oculina coral reef
ecosystem is biologically diverse and productive, thus vulnerable to
mechanical anthropogenic impacts. These fisheries, which target shrimp,
have resulted in the estimated loss of 90% or more of Oculina deep-water
reefs.  Reed's study will seek to establish baseline conditions of these



Dr. Mia J. Tegner, a marine biologist at Scripps Institution of
Oceanography, lost her life in January 2001 while carrying out research
off southern California.  She studied the ecology of kelp forest
communities and abalone populations, and was particularly interested in
understanding how marine populations and ecosystems have changed as a
result of human activities. This pioneering research earned her
appointments as a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation and as a Fellow of
the American Association for the Advancement of Science. These memorial
research grants were started to honor her memory by Marine Conservation
Biology Institute with funding from the Christensen Fund.


Marine Conservation Biology Institute is a nonprofit organization
dedicated to advancing the science of marine conservation biology and
promoting cooperation essential to protecting and recovering the Earth's
biological integrity. Founded in 1996, it is headquartered in Bellevue,
WA, and has offices in Glen Ellen, CA and Washington, DC.


Go to www.mcbi.org <http://www.mcbi.org/>  for more information on this
and other MCBI projects, publications and staff.



Lance Morgan, Ph.D.

Chief Scientist

Marine Conservation Biology Institute

14301 Arnold Dr. Suite 25

Glen Ellen, CA 95442 USA

V. 707.938.3214

F. 707.996.4842

lance at mcbi.org


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