Part of the NCEAS mission is to catalyze scientific collaborations that go beyond its working groups. This week, we welcome the newest research offshoot: the Conservation Aquaculture Research Team, or CART, which emerged from the Sustainable Open-Ocean Aquaculture Working Group of the Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP).
“We see CART’s primary mission as bridging the scientific gap in understanding between aquaculture, climate change and larger food systems to inform policy and help align seafood production with conservation objectives,” says co-founder Halley Froehlich, who was formerly a postdoctoral researcher for the working group.
Froehlich and fellow co-founder Ben Halpern, also the executive director of NCEAS, created CART because they saw the potential for science to do more and go farther to align aquaculture, the world’s fastest growing food sector, with conservation objectives.
“Aquaculture is 50 percent of global seafood production and growing, but ecological science and conservation around aquatic farming have not kept pace, compared to a field like fisheries,” says Froehlich.
True to the SNAPP model, CART is focused on synthesis science and collaborations, both new and continued, to explore critical and understudied aspects of aquaculture and its related ecosystems. The partnership includes NCEAS, The Nature Conservancy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington.
Their research endeavors will include quantifying the implications of warming ocean temperatures and ocean acidification for aquaculture and assessing the impacts of shifting diets toward more seafood and less meat on ocean and terrestrial ecosystems.
“NCEAS has pioneered and continues to push frontiers in the art and practice of big-picture thinking and how that is brought to bear on pressing environmental questions and problems. CART is an exciting new example of this innovation,” says Halpern.