2015-05-06

The Oceans 2015 Initiative, Part I An updated synthesis of the observed and projected impacts of climate change on physical and biological processes in the oceans

Howes EL, Joos F, Eakin M, Gattuso J-P. The Oceans 2015 Initiative, Part I An updated synthesis of the observed and projected impacts of climate change on physical and biological processes in the oceans. Paris: Institut du développement durable et des relations internationales (IDDRI); 2015 p. 52. Available from: http://www.iddri.org/Publications/The-Oceans-2015-Initiative,Part-I-An-updated-synthesis-of-the-observed-and-projected-impacts-of-climate-change-on-physical-and
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

GREENHOUSE GASES: THE EFFECTS ON CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL PROCESSES OF THE OCEANS

The oceans have absorbed approximately 93% of the excess heat caused by global warming. Warming increases stratification, limiting the circulation of nutrients from deep waters to the surface. There is evidence that enhanced stratification and increasing temperature are causing a decline in dissolved oxygen concentration and expanding existing oxygen minimum zones (OMZs). Approximately 26% of anthropogenic CO2 is absorbed by the oceans, resulting in a reduction in pH and carbonate ion concentration, termed ocean acidification. Anthropogenic CO2 has caused global ocean pH to decrease by 0.1 units since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

CHANGING OCEANS: THE EFFECTS ON BIOLOGICAL PROCESSES

The ocean ecosystems are responding to the changing environment, but at different rates and magnitudes and with interspecific and geographic variation in responses. Warming causes shifts in species’ geographic distribution, abundance, migration patterns and phenology. Organisms that produce shells and skeletons from calcium carbonate are at most risk from ocean acidification as it lowers the saturation state of the mineral, favouring a dissolution reaction. To date, there are few observations of ocean acidification effects in natural communities; however, experimental evidence suggests that the risk to ecosystems will increase over the coming decades. Decreasing dissolved oxygen concentrations and expanding OMZs will favour anaerobic metabolisers such as bacteria and small microbes whilst reducing habitat for larger, oxygen dependant organisms.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR OCEAN ECOSYSTEMS?

The interaction of multiple drivers can amplify or alleviate each other’s effects. It is likely that marine organisms will experience a combination of warming, acidification and declining oxygen concentrations as well as regionally specific local stressors. This makes it difficult to predict the responses of individual species to multiple drivers, and species interactions make ecosystem- based projections challenging. Using the available evidence, projections have been constructed of the potential impacts on ocean ecosystems by 2100, under two the Representative Concentration Pathways RCP4.5 and 8.5.

Night-time lighting alters the composition of marine epifaunal communities

Davies TW, Coleman M, Griffith KM, Jenkins SR. Night-time lighting alters the composition of marine epifaunal communities. Biology Letters [Internet]. 2015 ;11(4). Available from: http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/cgi/doi/10.1098/rsbl.2015.0080
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Marine benthic communities face multiple anthropogenic pressures that compromise the future of some of the most biodiverse and functionally important ecosystems in the world. Yet one of the pressures these ecosystems face, night-time lighting, remains unstudied. Light is an important cue in guiding the settlement of invertebrate larvae, and altering natural regimes of nocturnal illumination could modify patterns of recruitment among sessile epifauna. We present the first evidence of night-time lighting changing the composition of temperate epifaunal marine invertebrate communities. Illuminating settlement surfaces with white light-emitting diode lighting at night, to levels experienced by these communities locally, both inhibited and encouraged the colonization of 39% of the taxa analysed, including three sessile and two mobile species. Our results indicate that ecological light pollution from coastal development, shipping and offshore infrastructure could be changing the composition of marine epifaunal communities.

No Evidence That Shrimp Aquaculture Is Responsible for Minimal Mangrove Deforestation

Hamilton SE. No Evidence That Shrimp Aquaculture Is Responsible for Minimal Mangrove Deforestation. BioScience [Internet]. 2015 ;65(5):457 - 457. Available from: http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/doi/10.1093/biosci/biv030
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Diana (2009) states that “Boyd and Clay (1998) estimate that shrimp farming is responsible for less than 10% of the global loss of mangroves because the total area of shrimp ponds globally is small” (p. 33). In addition to Diana (2009), Tidwell and Allan (2001), Boyd and McNevin (2015), and others cited the 10 percent figure. This figure is commonly cited in the current debate about aquaculture.

The 10 percent figure was originally published in Scientific American, which is not a peer-reviewed publication; the original article gives no further information on the source of the information and does not provide the methodology. It is a misunderstood estimate that has propagated not only through the mangrove literature but also into the wider environmental community.

Patchwork of oil and gas facilities in Saudi waters of the Arabian Gulf has the potential to enhance local fisheries production

Rabaoui L, Lin Y-J, Qurban MA, Maneja RH, Franco J, Joydas TV, Panickan P, Al-Abdulkader K, Roa-Ureta RH. Patchwork of oil and gas facilities in Saudi waters of the Arabian Gulf has the potential to enhance local fisheries production. ICES Journal of Marine Science [Internet]. 2015 . Available from: http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/doi/10.1093/icesjms/fsv072
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Because of the increasing oil industry development in the Arabian Gulf, hundreds of oil and gas facilities have been installed in both offshore and inshore areas during the last few decades. However, no studies have been conducted till now on the influence of these platforms on the structure and composition of marine faunal assemblages. The present work addresses this issue to propose environmental management measures connected to the utilization of fishery resources. Offshore and inshore surveys were carried out along the Saudi Gulf waters using trawl and beach-seine nets, respectively. Data relative to only fish (offshore) and fish and invertebrates (inshore) were collected concurrently with several factors: density of oil and gas facilities (offshore), distance to the nearest coastal platform (inshore), oceanographic variables, and habitat characteristics. Results of offshore surveys indicated higher fish density—both total and of fishery resources—in locations with a higher number of oil and gas facilities within a 5 km radius, whereas biomass density was not significantly different. Hence, oil and gas facilities seem to serve as nursery areas for small fish. For inshore communities, more species and diversity were found in stations closer to coastal oil and gas facilities. In addition, among the five coastal embayments sampled, those with more oil and gas facilities had more species. The findings of the present work support the hypothesis of a positive net ecological role of oil and gas platforms of the Saudi Arabian Gulf, with the implication that this effect could be extended to improve the sustainability of important fishery resources.

Monitoring Bioeroding Sponges: Using Rubble, Quadrat, or Intercept Surveys?

Schönberg CHL. Monitoring Bioeroding Sponges: Using Rubble, Quadrat, or Intercept Surveys?. Biological Bulletin [Internet]. 2015 ;228(2):137 -155. Available from: http://www.biolbull.org/content/228/2/137.abstract
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Relating to recent environmental changes, bioerosion rates of calcium carbonate materials appear to be increasing worldwide, often driven by sponges that cause bioerosion and are recognized bioindicators for coral reef health. Various field methods were compared to encourage more vigorous research on bioeroding sponges and their inclusion in major monitoring projects. The rubble technique developed by Holmes et al. (2000) had drawbacks often due to small specimen sizes: it was time-costly, generated large variation, and created a biased impression about dominant species. Quadrat surveys were most rapid but overestimated cover of small specimens. Line intercepts are recommended as easiest, least spatially biased, and most accurate, especially when comparing results from different observers. Intercepts required fewer samples and provided the best statistical efficiency, evidenced by better significances and test power. Bioeroding sponge abundances and biodiversities are influenced by water depth, sediment quality, and most importantly by availability of suitable attached substrate. Any related data should thus be standardized to amount of suitable substrate to allow comparison between different environments, concentrating on dominant, easily recognized species to avoid bias due to experience of observers.

Icefield-to-Ocean Linkages across the Northern Pacific Coastal Temperate Rainforest Ecosystem

O'Neel S, Hood E, Bidlack AL, Fleming SW, Arimitsu ML, Arendt A, Burgess E, Sergeant CJ, Beaudreau AH, Timm K, et al. Icefield-to-Ocean Linkages across the Northern Pacific Coastal Temperate Rainforest Ecosystem. BioScience [Internet]. 2015 ;65(5):499 - 512. Available from: http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org/content/65/5/499.abstract
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Rates of glacier mass loss in the northern Pacific coastal temperate rainforest (PCTR) are among the highest on Earth, and changes in glacier volume and extent will affect the flow regime and chemistry of coastal rivers, as well as the nearshore marine ecosystem of the Gulf of Alaska. Here we synthesize physical, chemical and biological linkages that characterize the northern PCTR ecosystem, with particular emphasis on the potential impacts of glacier change in the coastal mountain ranges on the surface–water hydrology, biogeochemistry, coastal oceanography and aquatic ecology. We also evaluate the relative importance and interplay between interannual variability and long-term trends in key physical drivers and ecological responses. To advance our knowledge of the northern PCTR, we advocate for cross-disciplinary research bridging the icefield-to-ocean ecosystem that can be paired with long-term scientific records and designed to inform decisionmakers.

Dynamic Ocean Management: Identifying the Critical Ingredients of Dynamic Approaches to Ocean Resource Management

Lewison R, Hobday AJ, Maxwell S, Hazen E, Hartog JR, Dunn DC, Briscoe D, Fossette S, O'Keefe CE, Barnes M, et al. Dynamic Ocean Management: Identifying the Critical Ingredients of Dynamic Approaches to Ocean Resource Management. BioScience [Internet]. 2015 ;65(5):486 - 498. Available from: http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org/content/65/5/486.abstract
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Dynamic ocean management, or management that uses near real-time data to guide the spatial distribution of commercial activities, is an emerging approach to balance ocean resource use and conservation. Employing a wide range of data types, dynamic ocean management can be used to meet multiple objectives—for example, managing target quota, bycatch reduction, and reducing interactions with species of conservation concern. Here, we present several prominent examples of dynamic ocean management that highlight the utility, achievements, challenges, and potential of this approach. Regulatory frameworks and incentive structures, stakeholder participation, and technological applications that align with user capabilities are identified as key ingredients to support successful implementation. By addressing the variability inherent in ocean systems, dynamic ocean management represents a new approach to tackle the pressing challenges of managing a fluid and complex environment.

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