Aug 24 2012

New NOAA Ship Strengthens Ties between Scripps Oceanography and Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Collaborations between La Jolla institutions began more than 70 years ago and flourish today with a mix of strategic relationships Scripps Institution of Oceanography/University of California, San Diego

NOAA anticipates bringing the Reuben Lasker to the West Coast in 2013 and beginning operations in 2014. The ship will support scientific assessments of fish stocks and other marine life on the U.S. West Coast.

“Reuben Lasker represents an important investment by the American people in our ability to monitor the health of our ocean ecosystems,” said Bruce Appelgate, associate director of ship operations and marine technical support at Scripps. “This process of investment must continue in order to revitalize the United States research fleet, so that societally important issues can be properly understood.”

NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker, named after a pioneering fisheries biologist and Scripps adjunct professor, was launched on June 16. Credit: Val Ihde, Marinette Marine Corp.   

The new vessel honors the late Reuben Lasker, a pioneering fisheries biologist who served as director of SWFSC’s coastal fisheries division and worked in a key position as an adjunct professor at Scripps. Lasker fostered fundamental collaborations that formed a scientific bridge between Scripps and SWFSC.

“Reuben Lasker was arguably the father of West Coast fisheries oceanography,” said Dave Checkley, a Scripps professor of oceanography and director of the Cooperative Institute on Marine Ecosystems and Climate (CIMEC), a Scripps-led NOAA program established to study climate change and coastal ecosystems. “He brought his basic knowledge of insect biology to bear on plankton and fish, and combined this with oceanography to lead the Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s program on small pelagic fish, particularly anchovy and sardine.”

“He and his colleagues are renowned worldwide for their contributions to the biology of these fish and their ecology and fisheries oceanography. He, as much as anyone, fostered the close and productive collaboration between academia and fisheries.”

Checkley, who noted that Reuben Lasker served on his Ph.D. committee, said the namesake vessel furthers the close collaborations between Scripps and NOAA in fisheries oceanography that was formalized in 1949, following the collapse of California’s sardine fishery and the inception of the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) program, a unique partnership of the California Department of Fish and Game, NOAA Fisheries Service, and Scripps. CalCOFI stands as one of the world’s longest and most important marine monitoring programs and has provided valuable insights about various aspects of the waters off California and its inhabitants for more than 50 years.

“The Reuben Lasker will be one of NOAA’s state-of-the-art fisheries vessels and will not only enable the continuation of CalCOFI but enhance it with its superior capabilities,” said Checkley.

Read the full announcement via the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

 

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