2015-05-27

Sea Change: 2015-2025 Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences

Anon. Sea Change: 2015-2025 Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press; 2015 p. 98. Available from: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/21655/sea-change-2015-2025-decadal-survey-of-ocean-sciences
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

Ocean science connects a global community of scientists in many disciplines - physics, chemistry, biology, geology and geophysics. New observational and computational technologies are transforming the ability of scientists to study the global ocean with a more integrated and dynamic approach. This enhanced understanding of the ocean is becoming ever more important in an economically and geopolitically connected world, and contributes vital information to policy and decision makers charged with addressing societal interests in the ocean.

Science provides the knowledge necessary to realize the benefits and manage the risks of the ocean. Comprehensive understanding of the global ocean is fundamental to forecasting and managing risks from severe storms, adapting to the impacts of climate change, and managing ocean resources. In the United States, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is the primary funder of the basic research which underlies advances in our understanding of the ocean. Sea Change addresses the strategic investments necessary at NSF to ensure a robust ocean scientific enterprise over the next decade. This survey provides guidance from the ocean sciences community on research and facilities priorities for the coming decade and makes recommendations for funding priorities.

Baltic Sea biodiversity status vs. cumulative human pressures

Andersen JH, Halpern BS, Korpinen S, Murray C, Reker J. Baltic Sea biodiversity status vs. cumulative human pressures. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science [Internet]. 2015 ;161:88 - 92. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272771415001511
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Many studies have tried to explain spatial and temporal variations in biodiversity status of marine areas from a single-issue perspective, such as fishing pressure or coastal pollution, yet most continental seas experience a wide range of human pressures. Cumulative impact assessments have been developed to capture the consequences of multiple stressors for biodiversity, but the ability of these assessments to accurately predict biodiversity status has never been tested or ground-truthed. This relationship has similarly been assumed for the Baltic Sea, especially in areas with impaired status, but has also never been documented. Here we provide a first tentative indication that cumulative human impacts relate to ecosystem condition, i.e. biodiversity status, in the Baltic Sea. Thus, cumulative impact assessments offer a promising tool for informed marine spatial planning, designation of marine protected areas and ecosystem-based management, and may prove useful for setting limits on allowable levels of human impact on ecosystems.

Managing Bay and Estuarine Ecosystems for Multiple Services

Needles LA, Lester SE, Ambrose R, Andren A, Beyeler M, Connor MS, Eckman JE, Costa-Pierce BA, Gaines SD, Lafferty KD, et al. Managing Bay and Estuarine Ecosystems for Multiple Services. Estuaries and Coasts [Internet]. 2015 ;38(S1):35 - 48. Available from: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12237-013-9602-7
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Managers are moving from a model of managing individual sectors, human activities, or ecosystem services to an ecosystem-based management (EBM) approach which attempts to balance the range of services provided by ecosystems. Applying EBM is often difficult due to inherent tradeoffs in managing for different services. This challenge particularly holds for estuarine systems, which have been heavily altered in most regions and are often subject to intense management interventions. Estuarine managers can often choose among a range of management tactics to enhance a particular service; although some management actions will result in strong tradeoffs, others may enhance multiple services simultaneously. Management of estuarine ecosystems could be improved by distinguishing between optimal management actions for enhancing multiple services and those that have severe tradeoffs. This requires a framework that evaluates tradeoff scenarios and identifies management actions likely to benefit multiple services. We created a management action-services matrix as a first step towards assessing tradeoffs and providing managers with a decision support tool. We found that management actions that restored or enhanced natural vegetation (e.g., salt marsh and mangroves) and some shellfish (particularly oysters and oyster reef habitat) benefited multiple services. In contrast, management actions such as desalination, salt pond creation, sand mining, and large container shipping had large net negative effects on several of the other services considered in the matrix. Our framework provides resource managers a simple way to inform EBM decisions and can also be used as a first step in more sophisticated approaches that model service delivery.

Forty years of change in forage fish and jellyfish abundance across greater Puget Sound, Washington (USA): anthropogenic and climate associations

Greene C, Kuehne L, Rice C, Fresh K, Penttila D. Forty years of change in forage fish and jellyfish abundance across greater Puget Sound, Washington (USA): anthropogenic and climate associations. Marine Ecology Progress Series [Internet]. 2015 ;525:153 - 170. Available from: http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/meps/v525/p153-170/
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Coastal ecosystems face a variety of natural and anthropogenic influences, raising questions about mechanisms by which species abundance and composition change over time. We examined these questions by synthesizing 6 surface-trawling efforts in greater Puget Sound, Washington (USA), spanning 40 yr, and then determining changes in forage fish abundance and composition and jellyfish prevalence. We also assessed whether patterns were associated with potential anthropogenic pressures (human population density and commercial harvest) as well as large-scale climate signals. We found evidence for trends in abundance of all forage species in 4 sub-basins of Puget Sound. Cumulative distribution functions of catch per unit effort indicate that the historically dominant forage fishes (Pacific herring and surf smelt) have declined in surface waters in 2 sub-basins (Central and South Puget Sound) by up to 2 orders of magnitude. However, 2 other species (Pacific sand lance and three-spine stickleback) increased in all 4 sub-basins. Consequently, species composition diverged among sub-basins over the last 40 yr. In addition, jellyfish-dominated catches increased 3- to 9-fold in Central and South Puget Sound, and abundance positively tracked human population density across all basins. The strongest predictors of forage fish declines were human population density and commercial harvest. Climate signals offered additional explanatory power for forage fish but not jellyfish catch. These patterns suggest possible linkages between coastal anthropogenic activities (e.g. development, pollution) and the abundance of forage fish and jellyfish in pelagic waters. Our findings also provide a basis for improving indicators for assessment, monitoring, and spatial planning to rehabilitate pelagic ecosystems.

Mental models of sea-level change: A mixed methods analysis on the Severn Estuary, UK

Thomas M, Pidgeon N, Whitmarsh L, Ballinger R. Mental models of sea-level change: A mixed methods analysis on the Severn Estuary, UK. Global Environmental Change [Internet]. 2015 ;33:71 - 82. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378015000618
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
Yes
Type: Journal Article

Global average sea levels are expected to rise by up to a metre by the end of the century. This long-term rise will combine with shorter-term changes in sea level (e.g. high tides, storm surges) to increase risks of flooding and erosion in vulnerable coastal areas. As communities become increasingly exposed to these risks, understanding their beliefs and responses becomes more important. While studies have explored public responses to climate change, less research has focused on perceptions of the specific risks associated with sea-level change. This paper presents the results of a mental models study that addressed this knowledge gap by exploring expert and public perceptions of sea-level change on the Severn Estuary, a threatened coastal environment in the southwest of the United Kingdom. A model was developed from the literature and expert interviews (N = 11), and compared with public perceptions elicited via interviews (N = 20) and a quantitative survey (N = 359). Whilst we find a high degree of consistency between expert and public understandings, there are important differences that have implications for how sea level risks are interpreted and for what are perceived as appropriate mitigation and adaptation practices. We also find a number of potential barriers to engaging with the issue: individuals express low concern about sea-level change in relation to other matters; they feel detached from the issue, seeing it as something that will happen in future to other people; and many perceive that neither the causes of nor responses to sea-level change are their responsibility. We point to areas upon which future risk communications should therefore concentrate.

The impacts of shrimp farming on land-use and carbon storage around Puttalam lagoon, Sri Lanka

Bournazel J, Kumara MPriyantha, Jayatissa LPulukuttig, Viergever K, Morel V, Huxham M. The impacts of shrimp farming on land-use and carbon storage around Puttalam lagoon, Sri Lanka. Ocean & Coastal Management [Internet]. 2015 ;113:18 - 28. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964569115001258
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The expansion of shrimp aquaculture in Sri Lanka over the past three decades has dramatically changed the coastal landscape, in particular by converting mangrove forests. The current study quantified these impacts in the Puttalam lagoon, an area of the country that has experienced some of the most destructive development. Land use change was analysed using a multi-temporal set of aerial and satellite images taken in 1992/1994 (aerial photographs), 2007 (SPOT 5) and 2012 (Pleiades). The area of shrimp farms increased by 2777% over this 19-year period, with salt pans expanding by 60%. Mangroves declined in area by 34% and coconut groves increased by 17%. Because of problems with disease many intensive shrimp farms are abandoned after a few years, leaving denuded and unproductive landscapes; here a large majority of farms (90% of the total area of shrimp aquaculture) were found to be abandoned. The loss of carbon sequestration and storage services caused by this unsustainable recent history of shrimp farming was calculated as one measure of environmental impact. The documented land use changes in Puttalam lagoon resulted in an estimated net carbon loss of 191 584 tC. This was mainly due to conversion of mangroves to shrimp farms, making up 75.5% of the total carbon loss. These results demonstrate the scale of environmental degradation caused by intensive shrimp farming in the study area, and highlight the need for an entirely new aquaculture model in Sri Lanka.

Cetacean response to summer maritime traffic in the Western Mediterranean Sea

Campana I, Crosti R, Angeletti D, Carosso L, David L, Di-Méglio N, Moulins A, Rosso M, Tepsich P, Arcangeli A. Cetacean response to summer maritime traffic in the Western Mediterranean Sea. Marine Environmental Research [Internet]. 2015 ;109:1 - 8. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0141113615000768
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Maritime traffic is one of many anthropogenic pressures threatening the marine environment. This study was specifically designed to investigate the relationship between vessels presence and cetacean sightings in the high sea areas of the Western Mediterranean Sea region. We recorded and compared the total number of vessels in the presence and absence of cetacean sightings using data gathered during the summer season (2009–2013) along six fixed transects repeatedly surveyed. In locations with cetacean sightings (N = 2667), nautical traffic was significantly lower, by 20%, compared to random locations where no sightings occurred (N = 1226): all cetacean species, except bottlenose dolphin, were generally observed in locations with lower vessel abundance. In different areas the species showed variable results likely influenced by a combination of biological and local environmental factors. The approach of this research helped create, for the first time, a wide vision of the different responses of animals towards a common pressure.

How remote sensing supports mangrove ecosystem service valuation: A case study in Ca Mau province, Vietnam

Vo TQuoc, Kuenzer C, Oppelt N. How remote sensing supports mangrove ecosystem service valuation: A case study in Ca Mau province, Vietnam. Ecosystem Services [Internet]. 2015 ;14:67 - 75. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212041615000558
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

This paper highlights the importance of using household survey and remote sensing data for the assessment of mangrove ecosystem services (fisheries and timber related products, carbon sequestration, storm protection) in Ca Mau Province, Vietnam. The results indicate that remote sensing plays an important role in ecosystem service valuation in the large areas where mangroves and aquaculture are mixed. We estimated the value of mangrove ecosystem services using market price and replacement cost approaches to determine an initial assessment of the overall contribution of mangroves to human well-being. The total estimated value was US$ 600 million/year for 187,533 ha (approximately US$ 3000/ha/year), which is slightly smaller than the gross domestic product (GDP) of the province (US$ 0.69 billion in 2010). However, this is only a partial estimate that does not consider other services (tourism, biodiversity, cultural and social values), due to the absence of primary data. The main contribution of this study is that it is the first to combine the approaches of remote sensing and household survey for the quantification of mangrove ecosystem services in the mangrove-shrimp integrated system. Our findings indicate that the continued expansion of aquaculture has reduced the benefits to local communities provided by the mangrove ecosystem.

Trends of offshore wind projects

Rodrigues S, Restrepo C, Kontos E, R. Pinto T, Bauer P. Trends of offshore wind projects. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews [Internet]. 2015 ;49:1114 - 1135. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032115003627
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The aim of this paper is to present the current status of the offshore wind industry and to identify trends in Offshore Wind Projects (OWPs). This was accomplished via a thorough analysis of the key characteristics – commissioning country, installed capacity, number of turbines, water depth, project area, distance to shore, transmission technology and investment cost – of the commissioned and under construction European OWPs. Furthermore, the current status of the several countries outside of Europe was also investigated. The analysis revealed that the European offshore wind power grew on average 36.1% yearly since 2001. Currently, there are 7748 MW installed and 3198 MW under construction distributed among 76 OWPs situated in European waters. These projects are spread among ten countries, with the highest share of offshore projects belonging to the northern European countries. The UK has 46% of the total installed European offshore wind capacity with 26 projects, Germany ranks second with 16, while Denmark is third with 13 projects. These countries constitute 88% of the European offshore capacity. The analysis also showed that, although the installed capacity of the OWPs is growing, the projects׳ area is not increasing at the same pace due to the release of turbines with higher rated capacities which allow projects to increase their power nameplate without proportionally increasing the number of turbines. The average distance to shore and the water depth are both increasing throughout the years. Although the average investment cost per project is rising with the higher distances to shore and water depths, the multi-GW plans of the northern European and Asian countries indicate that the industry will continue to grow. The European Union targets of having 40 GW of offshore wind capacity deployed by 2020 in Europe and 150 GW by 2030 may represent plausible scenarios since the required growth is below the European.

Effects of oil spill related chemical pollution on helminth parasites in Mexican flounder Cyclopsetta chittendeni from the Campeche Sound, Gulf of Mexico

Centeno-Chalé OArturo, Aguirre-Macedo MLeopoldina, Gold-Bouchot G, Vidal-Martínez VManuel. Effects of oil spill related chemical pollution on helminth parasites in Mexican flounder Cyclopsetta chittendeni from the Campeche Sound, Gulf of Mexico. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety [Internet]. 2015 ;119:162 - 169. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0147651315001876
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

During an environmental impact study of an accidental oil spill in the Campeche Sound in October 2007, we examined the helminth parasites of the benthic flatfish Cyclopsetta chittendeni as well as the concentrations of hydrocarbons and heavy metals in the sediment. The aim of this study was to determine the potential effects of these contaminants on the helminth communities of the flatfish. A total of 427 hosts were examined, and 16,895 helminths, representing 17 species, were obtained from two surveys (March and July, 2008). Statistically significant negative associations were observed between the hydrocarbons and helminth parasite abundances using multivariate methods. The results suggest that in October 2007, the oil spill had a strong negative effect on these helminth communities. However, after five months, the impacted stations were re-populated by both the flatfish and helminths. The most likely explanation for this rapid recovery is the rescue effect from non-impacted habitats to impacted stations.

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