HSU to Partner in Sweeping Pacific Climate Initiative

Humboldt State University has been named to a new research institute created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that will conduct major studies of Pacific climate change effects on coastal ecosystems.

Humboldt State is part of the new NOAA consortium called the Cooperative Institute on Marine Ecosystems and Climate (CIMEC). It will be led by UC San Diego and headquartered at its Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla. Other partners are UCLA, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, and CSU Los Angeles.

Federal funding will be announced later and will vary from year to year.

Under the initiative, HSU scientists will collaborate with their academic partners and with NOAA scientists at the agency’s Climate Program Office, Southwest Fisheries Science Center and other NOAA Cooperative Institutes.

Consortium projects will include:

· collecting and analyzing data to improve understanding of climate processes globally and within the southwestern U.S. marine environment

· expanding knowledge of ocean and atmospheric developments associated with climate change and its impacts on various spatial and temporal scales;

· better understanding of marine ecosystem structure and function, to forecast algal blooms and fish and beach contamination, and to protect threatened species

· development of human coastal communities that are resilient to climate change and analysis of their interaction with natural ecosystems.

NOAA chose Humboldt State based on the strength of its fisheries, math modeling and oceanography programs. The university has worked at length with the national agency, including the past four years as a member of an ocean monitoring program called the Pacific Coast Ocean Observing System (PaCOOS).

“PaCOOS characterizes the conditions of the California Current off the coast of California, Oregon and Washington State, and its responses to variations in climate,” said Dr. James Howard, Humboldt State’s associate dean for marine sciences. “It supports data collection and research to address changing conditions offshore related to climate change and their impacts on fisheries and other living marine resources.”

PaCOOS is directed by the National Marine Fisheries Service. In addition to federal and state resource agencies, four academic institutions are represented on the PaCOOS governing board: Humboldt State, UC San Diego through the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Oregon State University and the University of Washington.

NOAA’s mission is to research and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the ocean depths to the sun’s surface, and to conserve and manage the nation’s coastal and marine resources. Details are available at http://www.facebook.com/usnoaagov, and on the Web at NOAA Research: http://www.oar.noaa.gov and NOAA Cooperative Institutes http://www.nrc.noaa.gov/ci.