One possible solution, advanced by NSERC grantee Dr. Suzana Dragicevic of Simon Fraser University (SFU) in British Columbia involves digital maps and mathematical analysis to visualize and better understand the location of the most vulnerable marine habitats. These so-called ‘geospatial’ approaches have already been used widely in managing land-based resources to help build consensus among stakeholders with conflicting interests.
“Many environmental problems, including by-catch, are spatial in nature, explains Dragicevic, associate professor and director of the Spatial Analysis and Modeling Laboratory in SFU’s Geography Department. “To resolve them you need to build an accurate and objective view of the environment in question.”
Dragicevic will present her methods on February 15 during a seminar at the 2008 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Boston.
What makes the challenge daunting is the conflict between commercial fisheries driven by profit maximization and an increasingly determined conservation community intent on protecting as much as 30 per cent of the world’s marine habitats. “We must certainly be mindful of the need to protect marine biodiversity, but we can’t forget those who are dependent on the fishery for their livelihoods,” says Dragicevic, who is also funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
To find common ground, Dragicevic employs a mathematical optimization process known as multi-criteria evaluation. This tool factors in the competing preferences of stakeholders to help authorities arrive at management decisions acceptable to all parties.
“Multi-criteria analysis has long been successful in resolving conflicts over terrestrial resource management such as land-use suitability analysis and urban development. Recently, we have shown how the approach can be applied to marine environments.”
Dragicevic, in collaboration with Louisa Wood, a doctoral researcher at the University of British Columbia’s Fisheries Centre, tested their approach under a pilot project in the Pacific Canadian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The results, published in the Biodiversity and Conservation Journal, confirmed that the methodology can help decision-makers wrestle with the complex trade-offs between fishing and biodiversity conservation.
Doré Dunne | EurekAlert!
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
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The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
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