Sunday, November 6, 2011

CERF 2011 Synthesis Sessions Thursday Afternoon - Emerging Challenges

The synthesis session on Thursday afternoon, at the end of the conference, will discuss challenges emerging for both managers and scientists and whether and how integrated ecosystem assessment can be used to respond to them.  Attached below are some links and comments related to the topics for discussion Tuesday afternoon.

CERF 2011 Synthesis Session Tuesday Afternoon - Present State-of-the-art

The synthesis session on Tuesday afternoon, the second day of the conference, will discuss current approaches to integrated ecosystem assessment applied to estuarine and coastal ecosystems and lessons learned in the application of estuarine and coastal science to management. Attached below are some links and comments related to the topics for discussion Tuesday afternoon.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Randy Olson et al. on Science and Politics Today

Randy Olson, Roger Pielke, and Robert Socolow writing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:
"Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently questioned the science of climate change in ways so unsupported by evidence that Glenn Kessler, the "Fact Checker" columnist at TheWashington Post, gave him a rating of "four Pinocchios." Perry's is but one scientific misstatement among many that regularly roil the US political scene. What is the proper scientific response to the political distortion -- or even outright rejection -- of science? In coming weeks, three Bulletin experts will offer authoritative and at times provocative analysis."

This post relates to Topic 6: Management challenges to be discussed during the Synthesis Sessions at CERF 2011.

Figure credit:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dealing With Sea Level Rise Skepticism

William Nuttle, Organizer for CERF 2011 Synthesis Sessions

Miami-Dade County embraces science-based sea level projections.

Ecologists use the term “shifting baseline” to call attention to a tendency in people to discount the magnitude of change occurring in ecosystems. In this context, a “baseline” is the conditions people use as a point of reference in assessing the degree of change. Daniel Pauly first used the term in 1995 to discuss problems fisheries managers face in estimating the target size of a fish stock that will be sustainable. Coastal managers face a similar problem in setting goals that will ensure the future sustainability of coastal communities and coastal ecosystems faced with climate change and accelerated sea level rise.

The source of the shifting baselines problem with fisheries is that there has not been a clear way for scientists to estimate how large fish stocks were before being reduced by wholesale exploitation. Pauly cites examples counter examples from astronomy and oceanography where the interpretation of historical records, often centuries old, provide an objective measure of long-term changes. By contrast, “each generation of fisheries scientists accepts as a baseline the stock size and species composition that occurred at the beginning of their careers, and uses this to evaluate changes.” The result is a general tendency for scientists to discount the magnitude of change that has occurred in fish populations over a period of several generations.

Coastal scientists and managers must deal with a similar tendency to discount the magnitude of future change in coastal ecosystems as the result of climate change and sea level rise. It is already difficult enough simply to predict how coastal ecosystems will evolve in response to global climate change, higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the air and in the water, and accelerated rates of sea level rise. And this gets layered on top of the politically-charged question of whether or not global climate change is occurring in the way that science says.

Aside from these sources of uncertainty, the magnitude of change anticipated from accelerated sea level rise in vulnerable areas of the coast itself invites disbelief. For example, county governments in South Florida now accept that a 2 foot rise in sea level over the next 50 years is well within the realm of possibility. This translates into inland migration of the coast at rates of 1000s of feet per year in the low-lying region south of Miami. In similarly vulnerable areas of North Carolina, towns and county officials are resisting efforts by the state to spur them to take actions to defend against rising sea level.

Personal experience, or the lack of it, lies at the heart of the tendency to discount change. The objective analysis and predictions that coastal science can offer will always be, for most people, a poor substitute for experience. But, this is the best that can be offered for now, at least until the passage of time provides a store of experience for us to learn from. Session SCI-082 will hear presentations from specialists in a number of sea-level related topics, including experts on satellite records, glaciers and ice sheets, and coastal marshes. There will be a summary of sea level issues at the beginning of the session and an open discussion at the end.

CERF Session SCI-082: “Sea-level Change: Patterns, Processes and Impacts”
Monday afternoon
Moderators Thomas M. Cronin USGS, Torbjorn Tornqvist Tulane University

“Sea-level rise is among the most important societal issues related to climate change, yet it is also one of the most misunderstood in both scientific and public circles. This session would draw on experts in glaciology, oceanography, geology, geomorphology, climate modeling, coastal ecosystems, and coastal management with the goal of providing a realistic, state-of-the-art assessment of what we know and don't know about sea-level change. Potential topics include ice dynamics, rates of sea-level rise during past and present climatic warming, vulnerable coastal systems, non-eustatic processes (isostatic adjustment, subsidence, sediment flux, etc) and regional sea-level changes.”

This post relates to Topic 4: Baseline change to be discussed during the Synthesis Sessions at CERF 2011.

SoutheastFlorida Regional Climate Change Compact Counties, 2011.  A Unified Sea Level Rise Projection for Southeast Florida. Report prepared by the Technical Ad Hoc Work Group, April 2011.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Economic Value of Coasts & Estuaries

From the Executive Summary of The Economic and Market Value of Coasts and Estuaries: What's At Stake? by Linwood Pendleton

"Our nation was built from the coast. Americans, like people around the world, are drawn to the coast because of its beauty, productivity, and because our coasts are gateways to the world. The coast nurtures our frontier spirit, our need for outdoor recreation, and the constant American appetite for sweeping ocean views and quiet bayfront vistas. Coasts, coastal oceans, and estuaries are essential to ocean fisheries and aquaculture. Coasts and their waters also generate oxygen, sequester carbon dioxide, and provide habitat to plants and animals both marine and terrestrial."

A copy of this report is available here:

This post relates to Topic 2: Human dimensions to be discussed during theSynthesis Sessions at CERF 2011.

Friday, October 28, 2011

“CERF the Turf” 2011 5K Fun Run/Walk

Be sure to pack your running shoes when you go to Daytona Beach and pre-register for the 2011 CERF the TURF 5k run/walk!

  “CERF the Turf” 2011 5K Fun Run/Walk
  Wednesday, 9 November, 7:00 – 8:30 am,
 Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort (100 North Atlantic Ave)

Hilton Clocktower, photo credit: Ally Garza

Assemble at Hilton Clocktower on the beach beginning at 6:30 am

 CERF is hosting a 5K (3.1 mile) up-and-back Fun Run/Walk along the beach on Wednesday morning at the Hilton Oceanfront Hotel at 7:00 am. Pre-registration is encouraged.  All paid participants will get a unique keepsake and water. 
Prizes will be awarded for the first place finishers from each Affiliate Society and the first three male and female finishers in each of four categories:  Zoea (up to age 29), Megalopae (30-39), Juveniles (40-49), and Adults (50+).

   ++++ Only $20! ++++
   ++++ Great prizes! ++++
   ++++ Watch the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean! ++++
   ++++  Burn some energy before sitting in meetings all day! ++++

Pre-Registration online until 6 November:
To pre-register for the 5k with a personal credit card, you may use your registration ID from your original conference registration confirmation and sign up for the run at: (select "Conference Registration" and work through the forms)
If you have any problems, please contact the Schneider Group directly and Lysia can help you.  Phone is: 254.776.3550.

On-Site Registration and Packet pick up: Packet pick up and on-site registration will take place in the Conference Registration area at the Ocean Center.  There will be only a few, limited opportunities for on-site registration and race packet
pick-up, so please make note of these times:

  Monday  November 7, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm (during the lunch break)
  Monday  November 7,  5:00 pm - 6:00 pm (immediately after the Plenary

  Tuesday November 8, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm (during the lunch break)
  Tuesday November 8,  5:00 pm - 6:00 pm (immediately after the Plenary


If you have any questions or would like to volunteer at packet pick-up or the morning of the race, just ask.

Hope to see you there!
Janet Nestlerode, CERF Member at Large and CERF 2011 5K Fun Run/Walk Chair.