Asymmetrical intraguild predation (AIGP), which combines both predation and competition between predator species, is pervasive in nature with relative strengths varying by prey availability. But with species redistributions associated with climate change, the response by endemic predators within an AIGP context to changing biotic–abiotic conditions over time (i.e. seasonal and decadal) has yet to be quantified. Furthermore, little is known on AIGP dynamics in ecosystems undergoing rapid directional change such as the Arctic. Here, we investigate the flexibility of AIGP among two predators in the same trophic guild: beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) and Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides), by season and over 30 years in Cumberland Sound—a system where forage fish capelin (Mallotus villosus) have recently become more available. Using stable isotopes, we illustrate different predator responses to temporal shifts in forage fish availability. On a seasonal cycle, beluga consumed less Greenland halibut and increased consumption of forage fish during summer, contrasting a constant consumption rate of forage fish by Greenland halibut year-round leading to decreased AIGP pressure between predators. Over a decadal scale (1982–2012), annual consumption of forage fish by beluga increased with a concomitant decline in the consumption of Greenland halibut, thereby indicating decreased AIGP pressure between predators in concordance with increased forage fish availability. The long-term changes of AIGP pressure between endemic predators illustrated here highlights climate-driven environmental alterations to interspecific intraguild interactions in the Arctic.
The increase in anthropogenic CO2 emissions over the last century has modified oceanic conditions, affecting marine ecosystems and the goods and services that they provide to society. Pacific Island countries and territories are highly vulnerable to these changes because of their strong dependence on ocean resources, high level of exposure to climate effects, and low adaptive capacity. Projections of mid-to-late 21st century changes in sea surface temperature (SST), dissolved oxygen, pH, and net primary productivity (NPP) were synthesized across the tropical Western Pacific under strong climate mitigation and business-as-usual scenarios. These projections were used to model impacts on marine biodiversity and potential fisheries catches. Results were consistent across three climate models, indicating that SST will rise by ≥ 3 °C, surface dissolved oxygen will decline by ≥ 0.01 ml L−1, pH will drop by ≥ 0.3, and NPP will decrease by 0.5 g m−2 d−1 across much of the region by 2100 under the business-as-usual scenario. These changes were associated with rates of local species extinction of > 50% in many regions as fishes and invertebratesdecreased in abundance or migrated to regions with conditions more suitable to their bio-climate envelope. Maximum potential catch (MCP) was projected to decrease by > 50% across many areas, with the largest impacts in the western Pacific warm pool. Climate change scenarios that included strong mitigation resulted in substantial reductions of MCP losses, with the area where MCP losses exceeded 50% reduced from 74.4% of the region under business-as-usual to 36.0% of the region under the strong mitigation scenario.
For sessile organisms such as reef-building corals, differences in the degree of dispersion of individuals across a landscape may result from important differences in life-history strategies or may reflect patterns of habitat availability. Descriptions of spatial patterns can thus be useful not only for the identification of key biological and physical mechanisms structuring an ecosystem, but also by providing the data necessary to generate and test ecological theory. Here, we used an in situ imaging technique to create large-area photomosaics of 16 plots at Palmyra Atoll, central Pacific, each covering 100 m2 of benthic habitat. We mapped the location of 44,008 coral colonies and identified each to the lowest taxonomic level possible. Using metrics of spatial dispersion, we tested for departures from spatial randomness. We also used targeted model fitting to explore candidate processes leading to differences in spatial patterns among taxa. Most taxa were clustered and the degree of clustering varied by taxon. A small number of taxa did not significantly depart from randomness and none revealed evidence of spatial uniformity. Importantly, taxa that readily fragment or tolerate stress through partial mortality were more clustered. With little exception, clustering patterns were consistent with models of fragmentation and dispersal limitation. In some taxa, dispersion was linearly related to abundance, suggesting density dependence of spatial patterning. The spatial patterns of stony corals are non-random and reflect fundamental life-history characteristics of the taxa, suggesting that the reef landscape may, in many cases, have important elements of spatial predictability.
In this article, we focus on the potential influence of a scientist’s advocacy position on the public’s perceived credibility of scientists as a whole. Further, we examine how the scientist’s solution position (information only, non-controversial, and controversial) affects the public’s perception of the scientist’s motivation for sharing information about specific issues (flu, marijuana, climate change, severe weather). Finally, we assess how perceived motivations mediate the relationship between solution position and credibility. Using data from a quota sample of American adults obtained by Qualtrics (n = 2,453), we found that in some conditions advocating for a solution positively predicted credibility, while in one condition, it negatively predicted scientist credibility. We also found that the influence of solution position on perceived credibility was mediated by several motivation perceptions; most notably through perception that the scientist was motivated to: (a) serve the public and (b) persuade the public. Further results and implications are discussed.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) is the largest network of marine reserves in the world, yet little is known of the efficacy of no-fishing zones in the relatively lightly-exploited remote parts of the system (i.e., northern regions). Here, we find that the detection of reserve effects is challenging and that heterogeneity in benthic habitat composition, specifically branching coral cover, is one of the strongest driving forces of fish assemblages. As expected, the biomass of targeted fish species was generally greater (up to 5-fold) in no-take zones than in fished zones, but we found no differences between the two forms of no-take zone: ‘no-take’ versus ‘no-entry’. Strong effects of zoning were detected in the remote Far-North inshore reefs and more central outer reefs, but surprisingly fishing effects were absent in the less remote southern locations. Moreover, the biomass of highly targeted species was nearly 2-fold greater in fished areas of the Far-North than in any reserve (no-take or no-entry) further south. Despite high spatial variability in fish biomass, our results suggest that fishing pressure is greater in southern areas and that poaching within reserves may be common. Our results also suggest that fishers ‘fish the line’ as stock sizes in exploited areas decreased near larger no-take zones. Interestingly, an analysis of zoning effects on small, non-targeted fishes appeared to suggest a top-down effect from mesopredators, but was instead explained by variability in benthic composition. Thus, we demonstrate the importance of including appropriate covariates when testing for evidence of trophic cascades and reserve successes or failures.
There is growing awareness of the need for fishery management policies that are robust to changing environmental, social, and economic pressures. Here we use conventional bioeconomic theory to demonstrate that inherent biological constraints combined with nonlinear supply−demand relationships can generate threshold effects due to harvesting. As a result, increases in overall demand due to human population growth or improvement in real income would be expected to induce critical transitions from high-yield/low-price fisheries to low-yield/high-price fisheries, generating severe strains on social and economic systems as well as compromising resource conservation goals. As a proof of concept, we show that key predictions of the critical transition hypothesis are borne out in oceanic fisheries (cod and pollock) that have experienced substantial increase in fishing pressure over the past 60 y. A hump-shaped relationship between price and historical harvest returns, well demonstrated in these empirical examples, is particularly diagnostic of fishery degradation. Fortunately, the same heuristic can also be used to identify reliable targets for fishery restoration yielding optimal bioeconomic returns while safely conserving resource abundance.
The Representative Areas Program (RAP) was, at the time, the most comprehensive process of community involvement and participatory planning for any environmental issue in Australia. The RAP was a key component of the widely acclaimed rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and although completed in 2003, many lessons learned are still relevant today. This paper provides an analysis of the comprehensive public participation program that significantly influenced the final planning outcome. It provides insights into a fundamental component of effective marine planning, assessing what worked well and what did not in terms of public engagement. Some aspects of the public participation program were innovative, and some were more effective than others. The outcome was one-third of the Marine Park was declared as highly protected no-take zones in 2004, with the remainder of the park also zoned to provide lower levels of protection. The methods used to engage the public and the 25 lessons discussed in this paper should be of interest for practitioners, policy makers and academics elsewhere aiming for “good practice” approaches to achieve environmental conservation.
As the world’s population grows to a projected 11.2 billion by 2100, the number of people living in low-lying areas exposed to coastal hazards is projected to increase. Critical infrastructure and valuable assets continue to be placed in vulnerable areas, and in recent years, millions of people have been displaced by natural hazards. Impacts from coastal hazards depend on the number of people, value of assets, and presence of critical resources in harm’s way. Risks related to natural hazards are determined by a complex interaction between physical hazards, the vulnerability of a society or social-ecological system and its exposure to such hazards. Moreover, these risks are amplified by challenging socioeconomic dynamics, including poorly planned urban development, income inequality, and poverty. This study employs a combination of machine learning clustering techniques (Self Organizing Maps and K-Means) and a spatial index, to assess coastal risks in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) on a comparative scale. The proposed method meets multiple objectives, including the identification of hotspots and key drivers of coastal risk, and the ability to process large-volume multidimensional and multivariate datasets, effectively reducing sixteen variables related to coastal hazards, geographic exposure, and socioeconomic vulnerability, into a single index. Our results demonstrate that in LAC, more than 500,000 people live in areas where coastal hazards, exposure (of people, assets and ecosystems) and poverty converge, creating the ideal conditions for a perfect storm. Hotspot locations of coastal risk, identified by the proposed Comparative Coastal Risk Index (CCRI), contain more than 300,00 people and include: El Oro, Ecuador; Sinaloa, Mexico; Usulutan, El Salvador; and Chiapas, Mexico. Our results provide important insights into potential adaptation alternatives that could reduce the impacts of future hazards. Effective adaptation options must not only focus on developing coastal defenses, but also on improving practices and policies related to urban development, agricultural land use, and conservation, as well as ameliorating socioeconomic conditions.
Management reform has the potential to rebuild fisheries and increase long-term harvest and profitability. But timing is critical: delaying reform implementation significantly reduces the potential socio-economic and biological benefits of improved management. This study models the costs of delaying reform in terms of annual biomass, harvest, and profit for 28 Mexican fisheries, parameterized using novel, fishery-specific data. Three types of reforms are examined: 1) harvest policy, 2) elimination of illegal fishing, and 3) implementation of rights-based fisheries management. The harvest policies examined in this analysis are status quo (no reform), FMSY, and economically optimal fishing mortality. The results show that prompt management reforms lead to improved annual aggregate biomass, harvest, and profit over time. However, delaying reform results in substantial costs. Just a 5-year delay of the implementation of comprehensive reform leads to a 51 million USD loss to average annual profits. Without reform, stock status can continue to decline, and the recovery of harvests and profits are further delayed. Over a given time-horizon, delayed reforms can dramatically reduce the number of healthy stocks. The results demonstrate that delayed reform can significantly diminish potential benefits that could be secured through improved management; this highlights the importance of prompt timing considerations during policy reform.
The rapid exploitation of coastal and marine ecosystemic capital is on course to reach a critical point. The difficulty of implementing Integrated and ecosystem based management models, taking into the account the great complexity of the marine socio-ecological systems, has resulted in a significant gap between theory and practice. The majority of authors emphasize difficulties in engaging and convincing private stakeholders and a number of economic sectors involved in these processes. This reticence is traditionally more pronounced in the port sector, despite their important role in the transformation of coastal and marine areas. This paper seeks to establish bridges between the Environmental Management systems and Tools (EMT) of economic sectors and the Integrated and Ecosystem Based Management models (IEBM). To achieve this goal, an effort has been made to rethink concepts and principles traditionally used in EMT to bring them into line with those of IEBM. A DPSIR adapted framework is proposed and applied in a conceptual model, where the necessary elements for environmental management tools and ecosystemic models coexist. The logic of ecosystem services has been included, with special attention to the variable of human behaviour. How the proposals fit into the reality of the maritime-port sector was analysed in a transversal way, seeking Socio-Ecological Port System (SEPS) perspectives. This made it possible to move from Environmental Management Systems to an Integrated and Ecosystem Based Port Environmental Management System (PEMS-IEB). From a managerial perspective, it was also suggested that an additional DPSIR framework should be applied to the “response” component, the management system itself, understood as a system with its own elements, processes and interrelations.