Protected areas (PAs) are intended to provide native biodiversity and habitats with a refuge against the impacts of global change, particularly acting as natural filters against biological invasions. In practice, however, it is unknown how effective PAs will be in shielding native species from invasions under projected climate change. Here, we investigate the current and future potential distributions of 100 of the most invasive terrestrial, freshwater, and marine species in Europe. We use this information to evaluate the combined threat posed by climate change and invasions to existing PAs and the most susceptible species they shelter. We found that only a quarter of Europe's marine and terrestrial areas protected over the last 100 years have been colonized by any of the invaders investigated, despite offering climatically suitable conditions for invasion. In addition, hotspots of invasive species and the most susceptible native species to their establishment do not match at large continental scales. Furthermore, the predicted richness of invaders is 11%–18% significantly lower inside PAs than outside them. Invasive species are rare in long-established national parks and nature reserves, which are actively protected and often located in remote and pristine regions with very low human density. In contrast, the richness of invasive species is high in the more recently designated Natura 2000 sites, which are subject to high human accessibility. This situation may change in the future, since our models anticipate important shifts in species ranges toward the north and east of Europe at unprecedented rates of 14–55 km/decade, depending on taxonomic group and scenario. This may seriously compromise the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. This study is the first comprehensive assessment of the resistance that PAs provide against biological invasions and climate change on a continental scale and illustrates their strategic value in safeguarding native biodiversity.
Tourism focused on the “3Ss” (sun, sand and sea) has increased sharply in recent decades, which has subsequently led to the modification of natural areas of sandy beaches with the implementation of relevant infrastructure to meet the requirements and demands of beach users. Although the development of infrastructure and tourist services has increased for the beaches in northern Chile associated with coastal urban centers, these beaches have not implemented strategies to evaluate and help guide sustainable use. We used different indices to describe the seven state tourist beaches of the Región de Coquimbo. For most of the beaches, based on the Conservation Index (CI) and the Recreation Index (IR), a priority use of an "intensely recreational" character was recommended because of the low potential for conservation. Similarly, most of the beaches showed high levels of urbanization (IU). According to the Beach Quality Index (BQI), the quality of the beaches was assessed at an intermediate level. The application of these indices identified shortcomings in the levels of tourism infrastructure and security offered to users. The function of beaches to protect against natural events was extremely poor, likely because of changes to the beach dune ridges. The incorporation of assessment tools that integrate different indicators to help organize information, prioritize actions, and facilitate decision-making in the sustainable management of tourist beaches is strongly recommended for northern Chile.
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) was established in 2009 to enhance the vitality of the region's ocean ecosystem and economy. One of MARCO's first action items was the development of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal to serve as an on-line platform to engage stakeholders across the region with the objective of improving their understanding of how ocean resources and places are being used, managed, and conserved. A key component is the Marine Planner, an interactive map-based visualization and decision support tool. These types of on-line tools are becoming increasingly popular means of putting essential data and state-of-the-art visualization technology into the hands of the agencies, industry, community leaders, and stakeholders engaged in ocean planning. However, to be effective, the underlying geospatial data has to be seen as objective, comprehensive, up-to-date and regionally consistent. To meet this challenge, the portal utilizes a distributed network of web map services from credible and authoritative sources. Website analytics and feedback received during the review and comment period of the 2016 release of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Action Plan confirm that the Data Portal is viewed as integral to this ocean planning process by the MidAtlantic Regional Planning Body and key stakeholders. While not all stakeholders may agree with specific planning decisions, there is broad based agreement on the need for better data and making access to that data widely available.
The world's oceans are highly impacted by climate change and other human pressures, with significant implications for marine ecosystems and the livelihoods that they support. Adaptation for both natural and human systems is increasingly important as a coping strategy due to the rate and scale of ongoing and potential future change. Here, we conduct a review of literature concerning specific case studies of adaptation in marine systems, and discuss associated characteristics and influencing factors, including drivers, strategy, timeline, costs, and limitations. We found ample evidence in the literature that shows that marine species are adapting to climate change through shifting distributions and timing of biological events, while evidence for adaptation through evolutionary processes is limited. For human systems, existing studies focus on frameworks and principles of adaptation planning, but examples of implemented adaptation actions and evaluation of outcomes are scarce. These findings highlight potentially useful strategies given specific social-ecological contexts, as well as key barriers and specific information gaps requiring further research and actions.
With a global increase in coastal development, together with increasing storminess and continuing sea level rise, coastal erosion has become a serious problem along a significant percentage of coastlines of many countries. Coastal erosion and shoreline management plans are often implemented on an action-reaction and post-disaster basis, resulting in installation of hard engineering structures, such as, groins, seawalls, revetments, gabions and breakwaters. These hard stabilization structures usually alter the natural environment of the coast, producing negative impacts. They do little to work with nature, and sustainability is a currently a critical issue. Under present and future environmental conditions, the world requires smarter coastal protection strategies that are adaptable, sustainable, multi-functional and economically viable to help solve immediate and predicted coastal erosion problems. An ecosystem-based approach based on the creation and restoration of coastal ecosystems, such as wetlands (e.g. mangroves), biogenic reef structures (e.g. corals, oysters, and mussels), seagrass beds and dune vegetation can offer optimal natural alternatives to help solve coastal erosion. Coastal ecosystems have some capacity for self-repair and recovery, and can provide significant advantages over traditional hard engineering approaches against coastal erosion. Also, they play a vital role in reducing the susceptibility of coastal communities to hazards through their multiple roles in processes, including sediment capture, system roughness and thus attenuation of wave energy. This paper seeks to undertake a general review of adaptation and protection measures against coastal erosion issues, based on incorporation of ecology and ecosystem services into coastal erosion management strategies.
The ocean represents a fundamental source of micronutrients and protein for a growing world population. Seafood is a highly traded and sought after commodity on international markets, and is critically dependent on healthy marine ecosystems. A global trend of wild stocks being overfished and in decline, as well as multiple sustainability challenges associated with a rapid growth of aquaculture, represent key concerns in relation to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Existing efforts aimed to improve the sustainability of seafood production have generated important progress, primarily at the local and national levels, but have yet to effectively address the global challenges associated with the ocean. This study highlights the importance of transnational corporations in enabling transformative change, and thereby contributes to advancing the limited understanding of large-scale private actors within the sustainability science literature. We describe how we engaged with large seafood producers to coproduce a global science–business initiative for ocean stewardship. We suggest that this initiative is improving the prospects for transformative change by providing novel links between science and business, between wild-capture fisheries and aquaculture, and across geographical space. We argue that scientists can play an important role in facilitating change by connecting knowledge to action among global actors, while recognizing risks associated with such engagement. The methods developed through this case study contribute to identifying key competences in sustainability science and hold promises for other sectors as well.
Harnessing the economic potential of the oceans is key to combating poverty, enhancing food security, and strengthening economies. But the concomitant risk of intensified resource extraction to migratory species is worrying given that these species contribute to important ecological processes, often underpin alternatively livelihoods, and many are already threatened. We thus sought to quantify the potential conflict between key economic activities (five fisheries and hydrocarbon exploitation) and sea turtle migration corridors in a region with rapid economic development: Southern and East Africa. From 20 loggerhead and 14 leatherback tracks, we used movement-based kernel density estimation to identify three migration corridors for each of the two species. We overlaid these corridors on maps of the distribution and intensity of economic activities, quantified the extent of overlap and threat posed by each activity on each species, and compared the effects. These results were compared to annual bycatch rates in the respective fisheries. Both species’ corridors overlap most with longlining, but the effect is worse for leatherbacks: bycatch rates are substantial (ca. 1500 per annum) relative to the regional population size (<100 females nesting per annum), likely slowing the population growth rate. Artisanal fisheries are of greater concern for loggerheads, but the population appears to be withstanding the high bycatch rates because it is increasing exponentially. The hydrocarbon industry currently has a moderately low impact, but exploitation in key areas (e.g., Southern Mozambique) has the potential to undermine more than 50 years of conservation efforts, affecting >80% of the loggerhead population, 33% of the (critically endangered) leatherback population, and their nesting beaches. We support establishing blue economies, but oceans need to be carefully zoned and responsibly managed in both space and time to achieve economic (resource extraction), ecological (conservation, maintain processes) and social (maintain alternative livelihood opportunities, combat poverty) objectives.
Salps are marine invertebrates comprising multiple jet-propelled swimming units during a colonial life-cycle stage. Using theory, we show that asynchronous swimming with multiple pulsed jets yields substantial hydrodynamic benefit due to the production of steady swimming velocities, which limit drag. Laboratory comparisons of swimming kinematics of aggregate salps (Salpa fusiformis and Weelia cylindrica) using high-speed video supported that asynchronous swimming by aggregates results in a smoother velocity profile and showed that this smoother velocity profile is the result of uncoordinated, asynchronous swimming by individual zooids. In situ flow visualizations of W. cylindrica swimming wakes revealed that another consequence of asynchronous swimming is that fluid interactions between jet wakes are minimized. Although the advantages of multi-jet propulsion have been mentioned elsewhere, this is the first time that the theory has been quantified and the role of asynchronous swimming verified using experimental data from the laboratory and the field.
This article examines the impact of marine ecosystem quality on inbound coastal tourism in the Baltic, North Sea, and Mediterranean countries. Using marine protected areas (MPAs) and the fraction of overexploited species as a proxy for marine ecosystem quality, we apply an autoregressive distributed lag model in a destination–origin panel setup. The empirical findings suggest that the presence of MPAs and the fraction of overexploited species have a considerable impact on inbound coastal tourism. Moreover, the impact of the overexploitation index on tourism is persistent and its short-term (current) impact constitutes 65% of the long-term impact. The results underscore the importance of marine ecosystem quality for inbound coastal tourism and its overall impact that may exceed the impact of tourists’ income. We also find that government performance is crucial for inbound tourism.
Tropical countries have island and continental ecosystems of great value for tourism, fisheries and also for their conservation development potential. These natural habitats, including among other beaches, seagrass beds, mangrove forests and coral reefs can dissipate wave energy acting as barriers against high waves and high water levels to eventually protect coastal infrastructure and communities. However, in recent decades, they have been subject to strong anthropic pressure and extreme events due to natural causes as well as to climate change. Therefore, the global trend is to understand the eco-systemic services that these natural environments can provide and their economic value in terms of reducing damages caused by coastal erosion and flooding. A methodological framework is presented in order to quantify the impact of natural ecosystems in coastal protection and their environmental assessment based on numerical models available in the literature. In addition to the methodology, a study of a typical Caribbean fringing coral reef and its response to different sea level rise and extreme events scenarios was conducted. The contribution of these efforts from a technological and scientific point of view, lies in the integration of different disciplines required to combine the physical properties of hydrodynamic studies with biological factors as an input to provide practical socio-economic and environmental solutions in those regions in which these ecosystems predominate. Furthermore, a numerical modeling tool to study wave energy dissipation, focusing the analysis on the impact of natural ecosystems (coral reefs) on coastal erosion and flooding was implemented. This information will help coastal managers and decision-makers understand the coastal protection services provided by nearshore habitats in order to improve and design new coastal development strategies under global change scenarios.