In Search of the World’s Biggest Fish

For more than a decade, researcher Zeb Hogan has spent much of his time traveling around the world on a singular mission: to find and learn more about the world’s largest freshwater fish. Through his photographs and a show he hosts on Nat Geo Wild called "Monster Fish," he’s helped many people discover and appreciate these beasts… The highlights of his research on the conservation status and accurate size of various fish are being presented beginning March 25 at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C., an exhibition Hogan describes as a "one-stop-shop for everything megafish."… Olaf Jensen, fish ecologist at Rutgers University, says that the exhibit is "great stuff, Zeb has done a fantastic job of bringing the conservation challenges regarding big fish to a public audience." Jensen has collaborated with Hogan to study the world’s largest trout, known as a the taimen, in Mongolia. They have found that these species require large stretches of river to survive, and that there is a growing number of people catching and releasing the animal… These fishermen must buy permits from the government, money which goes to conservation efforts. While overfishing can harm animals, and has in the past in many areas, well-regulated catch-and-release fishing can be beneficial, since it can help prevent development and damming of river areas, Jensen adds.

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Rutgers VETS Program Graduates Inaugural Class


VETS Program graduates and Rutgers trainers. Top Row: Jackie Long, Irvinia Moody, Jason Baker, Isaac Ezirim, Jan Zientek; Middle Row: Amy Rowe, Rodney Spencer; Front Row: Shawn Rhagnanan, Wendy Huggins, Verdie Williamson, Robert Robinson, Matt Smith

VETS Program graduates and Rutgers trainers. Top Row: Jackie Long, Irvinia Moody, Jason Baker, Isaac Ezirim and Jan Zientek; Middle Row: Amy Rowe and Rodney Spencer. Front Row: Shawn Rhagnanan, Wendy Huggins, Verdie Williamson, Robert Robinson and Matt Smith

Unique partnership among a university, a church and companies makes a difference for unemployed veterans in Newark

It was a proud moment at the Willing Heart Community Care Center in Newark, NJ, on March 3, where 12 local veterans graduated as the inaugural class of the Rutgers Veterans Environmental Technology and Solutions (VETS) program.

Each of the veterans had stories to share of struggle after returning from service, with limited opportunities to earn a living. When some entered the program last May, they were unemployed and had nowhere else to turn. [Read more…]

Human Activity is Leading to a “Major Extinction Event” for Sea Life, Scientists Say

Though previously thought to be impervious due to its massive size, the collective of the world’s oceans may be on the verge of a wide-scale extinction event, according to a new study. Scientists from the University of California, Santa Barbara, (UCSB) warn that, if human activity continues on its current trajectory, we could be seeing a whole lot more sea animal deaths, and possibly collapses of entire oceanic ecosystems… "We’re lucky in many ways," said Dr. Malin L. Pinsky, a marine biologist at Rutgers University and one of the authors of the new report. "The impacts are accelerating, but they’re not so bad we can’t reverse them."… Drs. Pinsky and McCauley tried to gain a better understanding of all this by collecting data from a wide range of sources, including discoveries logged in the fossil record and statistics on modern-day shipping activities, fish catches and seabed mining. What they found is that there’s still time to make things right.

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RU Survey: Summer Classes at Shore Would be Popular

Rutgers University-New Brunswicks Summer Session, with more than 2,200 course sections, already one of the nations largest summer programs, is adding a new component with 17 courses at the Jersey Shore… The decision to establish RU at the Shore for 2015 was made following a survey of more than 4,500 undergraduates here, with 1,200 students nearly 27 percent indicating they would spend time along the 130-mile coastline and would be interested in taking classes for credit. Summer Session offers extensive internship and research/travel opportunities in addition to undergraduate and graduate courses in 250 fields… Shore-goers can choose among such courses as The American City, Popular Culture: The Jersey Shore and The American Detective in Film and Fiction (Department of American Studies), Development of Mass Media (Journalism and Media Studies), Introduction to Management (Management and Global Business), Introduction to Oceanography (Marine and Coastal Sciences), Women and Public Policy (Political Science) and Digital Photo Image I (Visual Arts).

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Delaware Estuary Summit Charts Course for Aquaculture in the Region

Farm-raised oysters in New Jersey ready for market.

Farm-raised oysters in New Jersey ready for market. Photo by Lisa Calvo.

Managers, educators, and oyster farmers gathered at Cape May’s Grand Hotel late last month for a special session, “Shellfish Culture Now and Tomorrow: Charting a Course for Delaware Estuary Aquaculture,” held in conjunction with the Delaware Estuary Science and Environmental Summit. The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary has hosted the summit every two years since 2005 and it has become as important conference for a variety of stakeholders whose work focuses on the estuary.

The special session about shellfish aquaculture originated with Daphne Munroe, assistant professor at the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory (HSRL). Munroe worked with summit organizers and HSRL colleague Lisa Calvo, aquaculture program coordinator, to develop and host the session, which included overviews of shellfish aquaculture in New Jersey and Delaware and an extensive discussion period that engaged conference participates and invited panelists. [Read more…]