Last month, the NOAA Beaufort Lab received twohigh level visitors: David Holst, the Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator of NOS, and Mary Erickson, the Director of NCCOS. The NOAA campus in Beaufort, North Carolina houses researchers from the National Marine Fisheries Service, NOS’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, and the North Carolina Coastal Reserve and North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve (NCNERR).
Mr. Holst and Dr. Erickson were treated to research presentations and activities detailing the top science products coming out of NCCOS at the NOAABeaufort Lab. Habitat mapping products used in the management of the NOAA Habitat Focus Area in Kasitsna Bay, Alaska and in the siting of wind farms in North Carolina were highlighted along with a remarkable story of coral restoration in Puerto Rico that began with a coral recovery model developed by NCCOS and partners.
Harmful algal bloom researchers demonstrated the quick and effective test kits developed for fast confirmation of presence of saxotoxin and brevetoxin, which cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning. Exhibiting that the kits are for public use, Mr. Holst ran some samples to test for saxotoxin presence without the help of the researchers. These kits allow the swift closure of contaminated shellfish beds in order to protect public health.
Environmental and ecological models that forecast how aquaculture interacts with the environment were also presented to Mr. Holst and Mrs. Erickson. They were able to run some of the models being developed for aquaculture permitting and siting in the Gulf of Mexico. NCCOS’s Coastal Aquaculture Planning and Environmental Sustainability program (CAPES) is dedicated to facilitating the siting of aquaculture in coastal waters in an environmentally responsible manner. Along with the ecological models, NCCOS has also produced tools to reduce conflicts among competing uses and identify synergistic activities for co-location with aquaculture operations.
Along with a tour of the facilities, the visitors were taken on a boat trip through the Rachel Carson Reserve, during which they learned about the education, stewardship, and collaborative research that take place on-site. NCNERR is working with NCCOS on multiple projects including: sea level rise monitoring, salt marsh restoration and living shorelines installations.
For more information, contact Bernie Gottholm.