Over the past decades, a number of national policies and international conventions have been implemented to promote the expansion of the world’s protected area network, leading to a diversification of protected area strategies, types and designations. As a result, many areas are protected by more than one convention, legal instrument, or other effective means which may result in a lack of clarity around the governance and management regimes of particular locations. We assess the degree to which different designations overlap at global, regional and national levels to understand the extent of this phenomenon at different scales. We then compare the distribution and coverage of these multi-designated areas in the terrestrial and marine realms at the global level and among different regions, and we present the percentage of each county’s protected area extent that is under more than one designation. Our findings show that almost a quarter of the world’s protected area network is protected through more than one designation. In fact, we have documented up to eight overlapping designations. These overlaps in protected area designations occur in every region of the world, both in the terrestrial and marine realms, but are more common in the terrestrial realm and in some regions, notably Europe. In the terrestrial realm, the most common overlap is between one national and one international designation. In the marine realm, the most common overlap is between any two national designations. Multi-designations are therefore a widespread phenomenon but its implications are not well understood. This analysis identifies, for the first time, multi-designated areas across all designation types. This is a key step to understand how these areas are managed and governed to then move towards integrated and collaborative approaches that consider the different management and conservation objectives of each designation.
To establish an estimation procedure for reliable catch amount of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, light-gathering fishing operations in the northwestern Pacific were analyzed based on the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) day/night band (DNB) data provided by the Suomi National Polar Partnership (SNPP) satellite. The estimated fishing activities were compared with the navigation tracks of vessels obtained from the automatic identification system (AIS). As a model case, the fishing activities of Chinese fishing boats using fish aggregation lights outside the Japanese EEZ in the northwestern Pacific were analyzed from mid-June to early-September 2016. Integration analyses of VIIRS DNB data and AIS information provided reliable data for estimating the fishing activities of Chinese fishing boats and suggested the importance of estimating fish carrier ship movements. The total amount of the chub mackerel (Scomber japonicus) catch during this period was independently estimated from three angles: 1) the fishing capacity of the fishing boats, 2) the freezing capacity of refrigeration factory ships ;and 3) the fish hold capacity of the fish carrier ships, based on information obtained from interviews with Chinese fisheries companies. These estimates indicated that the total amount of mackerel catch by Chinese fisheries was more than 80% of the allowable biological catch (ABC) of Japan in this area in 2016. This suggests that Pacific high seas fishing has a significant impact on the future of fish abundance. Our proposed procedure raises the possibility of evaluating the fishing impact of some forms of IUU fisheries independently from conventional statistical reports.
In rocky intertidal habitats, abiotic stress due to desiccation and thermal extremes increases with elevation because of tides. A study in Atlantic Canada showed that, at low elevations where conditions are benign due to the brief low tides, fucoid algal canopies (Ascophyllum nodosum and Fucus spp.) do not affect the structure of benthic communities. However, at middle and high elevations, where low tides last longer, fucoid canopies limit abiotic extremes and increase the richness (number of invertebrate and algal species, except fucoids) of benthic communities. Using the data from that study, this paper compares the intensity of facilitation and its importance (relative to all other sources of variation in richness) between middle and high elevations, which represent intermediate and high stress, respectively. Facilitation intensity was calculated as the percent increase in benthic richness between quadrats with low and high canopy cover, while the importance of facilitation was calculated as the percentage of variation in richness explained by canopy cover. Data for 689 quadrats spanning 350 km of coastline were used. Both the intensity and importance of facilitation were greater at middle elevations than at high elevations. As canopies do not affect benthic communities at low elevations, this study suggests that the facilitation-stress relationship at the community level is unimodal for this marine system. Such a pattern was found for some terrestrial systems dominated by canopy-forming plants. Thus, it might be ubiquitous in nature and, as further studies refine it, it might help to predict community-level facilitation depending on environmental stress.
Recruitment is a key demographic process for population persistence. This paper focuses on barnacle (Semibalanus balanoides) recruitment. In rocky intertidal habitats from the Gulf of St. Lawrence coast of Nova Scotia (Canada), ice scour is common during the winter. At the onset of intertidal barnacle recruitment in early May (after sea ice has fully melted), mostly only adult barnacles and bare substrate are visible at high elevations in wave-exposed habitats. We conducted a multiannual study to investigate if small-scale barnacle recruitment could be predicted from the density of pre-existing adult barnacles. In a year that exhibited a wide adult density range (ca. 0–130 individuals dm−2), the relationship between adult density and recruit density (scaled to the available area for recruitment, which excluded adult barnacles) was unimodal. In years that exhibited a lower adult density range (ca. 0–40/50 individuals dm−2), the relationship between adult and recruit density was positive and resembled the lower half of the unimodal relationship. Overall, adult barnacle density was able to explain 26–40% of the observed variation in recruit density. The unimodal adult–recruit relationship is consistent with previously documented intraspecific interactions. Between low and intermediate adult densities, the positive nature of the relationship relates to the previously documented fact that settlement-seeking larvae are chemically and visually attracted to adults, which might be important for local population persistence. Between intermediate and high adult densities, where population persistence may be less compromised and the abundant adults may limit recruit growth and survival, the negative nature of the relationship suggests that adult barnacles at increasingly high densities stimulate larvae to settle elsewhere. The unimodal pattern may be especially common on shores with moderate rates of larval supply to the shore, because high rates of larval supply may swamp the coast with settlers, decoupling recruit density from local adult abundance.
On the Gulf of St. Lawrence coast of Nova Scotia (Canada), recruitment of the barnacle Semibalanus balanoides occurs in May and June. Every year in June between 2005 and 2016, we recorded recruit density for this barnacle at the same wave-exposed rocky intertidal location on this coast. During these 12 years, mean recruit density was lowest in 2015 (198 recruits dm−2) and highest in 2007 (969 recruits dm−2). The highest recruit density observed in a single quadrat was 1,457 recruits dm−2 (in 2011) and the lowest was 34 recruits dm−2 (in 2015). Most barnacle recruits appear during May, which suggests that most pelagic larvae (which develop over 5–6 weeks before benthic settlement) are in the water column in April. An AICc-based model selection approach identified sea surface temperature (SST) in April and the abundance of phytoplankton (food for barnacle larvae, measured as chlorophyll-a concentration –Chl-a–) in April as good explanatory variables. Together, April SST and April Chl-a explained 51% of the observed interannual variation in recruit density, with an overall positive influence. April SST was positively related to March–April air temperature (AT). April Chl-a was negatively related to the April ratio between the number of days with onshore winds (which blow from phytoplankton-limited offshore waters) and the number of days with alongshore winds (phytoplankton is more abundant on coastal waters). Therefore, this study suggests that climatic processes affecting April SST and April Chl-a indirectly influence intertidal barnacle recruitment by influencing larval performance.
Localized outbreaks of jellyfish, known as blooms, cause a variety of adverse ecological and economic effects. However, fundamental aspects of their ecology remain unknown. Notably, there is scant information on the role jellyfish occupy in food webs: in many ecosystems, few or no predators are known. To identify jellyfish consumers in the Irish Sea, we conducted a molecular gut content assessment of 50 potential predators using cnidarian-specific mtDNA primers and sequencing. We show that jellyfish predation may be more common than previously acknowledged: uncovering many previously unknown jellyfish predators. A substantial proportion of herring and whiting were found to have consumed jellyfish. Rare ingestion was also detected in a variety of other species. Given the phenology of jellyfish in the region, we suggest that the predation was probably targeting juvenile stages of the jellyfish life cycle.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has set targets for the total area of marine protected areas (MPAs), as well as targets to encourage a participatory approach to governance with equitable sharing of benefits of these areas to multiple stakeholders. These targets have contributed to a considerable volume of research in MPA governance, and in the ecological effectiveness of MPAs. However, examining the literature demonstrates there is very little joined up research to show that any particular governance approach results in improved ecological indices of fish stocks or biodiversity. Indeed, some of the well-cited examples of participatory governance implying improved ecological metrics are either incorrect (as data do not relate to MPAs under participatory governance systems), or do not provide any ecological data other than opinions of fishers to back up the claims. Evidence suggests that participatory governance approaches with equitable sharing of benefits can help the establishment and management of MPAs, and as such, there should be urgent further work assessing the ecological benefits that arise as a result of the establishment of MPAs with participatory and equitable governance approaches.
Bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) have a nearly circumpolar distribution, and occasionally occupy warmer shallow coastal areas during summertime that may facilitate molting. However, relatively little is known about the occurrence of molting and associated behaviors in bowhead whales. We opportunistically observed whales in Cumberland Sound, Nunavut, Canada with skin irregularities consistent with molting during August 2014, and collected a skin sample from a biopsied whale that revealed loose epidermis and sloughing. During August 2016, we flew a small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) over whales to take video and still images to: 1) determine unique individuals; 2) estimate the proportion of the body of unique individuals that exhibited sloughing skin; 3) determine the presence or absence of superficial lines representative of rock-rubbing behavior; and 4) measure body lengths to infer age-class. The still images revealed that all individuals (n = 81 whales) were sloughing skin, and that nearly 40% of them had mottled skin over more than two-thirds of their bodies. The video images captured bowhead whales rubbing on large rocks in shallow, coastal areas—likely to facilitate molting. Molting and rock rubbing appears to be pervasive during late summer for whales in the eastern Canadian Arctic.