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Study to use GIS to analyze changing marine ecosystems

Researchers at Memorial University in Canada are taking a leading role in a new fishery study GeoCod. The project will use GIS to provide a comprehensive and accurate analysis of changing marine ecosystems. The researchers will also try to figure out how climate change can affect future distributions and levels of fish stocks in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean and look at the changes in the ocean ecosystems of Atlantic Canada. They will examine changes including the dramatic decline in groundfish such as cod; distribution shifts of pelagics, such as capelin; and increases in snow crab and shrimp. The exhaustive project will be done due, in part, to a $250,000 two-year grant from the GEOIDE Network Centre of Excellence and the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI), based at Memorial. The bulk of the work will involve integrating and analyzing all available fisheries and environmental data from the past 30 years in the Northwest Atlantic. The group is developing a GIS-based decision-support tool aimed at giving those involved in the fishery a clearer picture of what’s happening under the sea.