2017-12-13

Gbm.auto: A software tool to simplify spatial modelling and Marine Protected Area planning

Dedman S, Officer R, Clarke M, Reid DG, Brophy D. Gbm.auto: A software tool to simplify spatial modelling and Marine Protected Area planning Meador JP. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2017 ;12(12):e0188955. Available from: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0188955
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Boosted Regression Trees. Excellent for data-poor spatial management but hard to use

Marine resource managers and scientists often advocate spatial approaches to manage data-poor species. Existing spatial prediction and management techniques are either insufficiently robust, struggle with sparse input data, or make suboptimal use of multiple explanatory variables. Boosted Regression Trees feature excellent performance and are well suited to modelling the distribution of data-limited species, but are extremely complicated and time-consuming to learn and use, hindering access for a wide potential user base and therefore limiting uptake and usage.

BRTs automated and simplified for accessible general use with rich feature set

We have built a software suite in R which integrates pre-existing functions with new tailor-made functions to automate the processing and predictive mapping of species abundance data: by automating and greatly simplifying Boosted Regression Tree spatial modelling, the gbm.auto R package suite makes this powerful statistical modelling technique more accessible to potential users in the ecological and modelling communities. The package and its documentation allow the user to generate maps of predicted abundance, visualise the representativeness of those abundance maps and to plot the relative influence of explanatory variables and their relationship to the response variables. Databases of the processed model objects and a report explaining all the steps taken within the model are also generated. The package includes a previously unavailable Decision Support Tool which combines estimated escapement biomass(the percentage of an exploited population which must be retained each year to conserve it) with the predicted abundance maps to generate maps showing the location and size of habitat that should be protected to conserve the target stocks (candidate MPAs), based on stakeholder priorities, such as the minimisation of fishing effort displacement.

Gbm.auto for management in various settings

By bridging the gap between advanced statistical methods for species distribution modelling and conservation science, management and policy, these tools can allow improved spatial abundance predictions, and therefore better management, decision-making, and conservation. Although this package was built to support spatial management of a data-limited marine elasmobranch fishery, it should be equally applicable to spatial abundance modelling, area protection, and stakeholder engagement in various scenarios.

Fisheries-independent surveys identify critical habitats for young scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini) in the Rewa Delta, Fiji

Marie AD, Miller C, Cawich C, Piovano S, Rico C. Fisheries-independent surveys identify critical habitats for young scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini) in the Rewa Delta, Fiji. Scientific Reports [Internet]. 2017 ;7(1). Available from: http://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-17152-0
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Sharp declines in numerous shark populations around the world have generated considerable interest in better understanding and characterising their biology, ecology and critical habitats. The scalloped hammerhead shark (SHS, Sphyrna lewini) is subject to a multitude of natural and anthropogenic threats that are often exacerbated within the coastal embayments and estuaries used during SHS early life stages. In this study, we describe the temporal and spatial distribution, age class composition, and reproductive biology of SHS in the Rewa Delta (RD), Fiji. A total of 1054 SHS (including 796 tagged individuals; 101 of which were recaptured) were captured from September 2014 to March 2016 in the RD. A majority of the captures in this area were neonates and young-of-the-year (YOY) (99.8%). Significant seasonality in patterns of occurrence of both neonates and YOY individuals suggests a defined parturition period during the austral summer. Between the seven sampling sites in the RD we also found significant differences in SHS neonate catch per unit of effort, and average total length of individuals. According to the data, the RD is likely to represent an important nursery area for SHS up to one year of age.

Direct evidence of an efficient energy transfer pathway from jellyfish carcasses to a commercially important deep-water species

Dunlop KM, Jones DOB, Sweetman AK. Direct evidence of an efficient energy transfer pathway from jellyfish carcasses to a commercially important deep-water species. Scientific Reports [Internet]. 2017 ;7(1). Available from: http://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-17557-x
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Here we provide empirical evidence of the presence of an energetic pathway between jellyfsh and a commercially important invertebrate species. Evidence of scavenging on jellyfsh carcasses by the Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) was captured during two deployments of an underwater camera system to 250–287m depth in Sogneforden, western Norway. The camera system was baited with two Periphylla periphylla (Scyphozoa) carcasses to simulate the transport of jellyfsh detritus to the seafoor, hereby known as jelly-falls. N. norveigus rapidly located and consumed a large proportion (>50%) of the bait. We estimate that the energy input from jelly-falls may represent a signifcant contribution to N. norvegicus energy demand (0.21 to 10.7 times the energy required for the population of N. norvegicus in Sogneforden). This potentially high energetic contribution from jelly-falls highlights a possible role of gelatinous material in the support of commercial fsheries. Such an energetic pathway between jellyfalls and N. norvegicus could become more important with increases in jellyfsh blooms in some regions

Comparison of Two Simplification Methods for Shoreline Extraction from Digital Orthophoto Images

Bayram B, Sen A, Selbesoglu MO, Vārna I, Petersons P, Aykut NO, Seker DZ. Comparison of Two Simplification Methods for Shoreline Extraction from Digital Orthophoto Images. ISPRS Annals of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences [Internet]. 2017 ;IV-4/W4:147 - 151. Available from: https://www.isprs-ann-photogramm-remote-sens-spatial-inf-sci.net/IV-4-W4/147/2017/
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The coastal ecosystems are very sensitive to external influences. Coastal resources such as sand dunes, coral reefs and mangroves has vital importance to prevent coastal erosion. Human based effects also threats the coastal areas. Therefore, the change of coastal areas should be monitored. Up-to-date, accurate shoreline information is indispensable for coastal managers and decision makers. Remote sensing and image processing techniques give a big opportunity to obtain reliable shoreline information. In the presented study, NIR bands of seven 1:5000 scaled digital orthophoto images of Riga Bay-Latvia have been used. The Object-oriented Simple Linear Clustering method has been utilized to extract shoreline of Riga Bay. Bend and Douglas-Peucker methods have been used to simplify the extracted shoreline to test the effect of both methods. Photogrammetrically digitized shoreline has been taken as reference data to compare obtained results. The accuracy assessment has been realised by Digital Shoreline Analysis tool. As a result, the achieved shoreline by the Bend method has been found closer to the extracted shoreline with Simple Linear Clustering method.

Establishment of Marine Protected Areas to Reduce Watercraft Impacts in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey

Lathrop RG, Bognar J, Buenaventura E, Ciappi M, Green E, Belton TJ. Establishment of Marine Protected Areas to Reduce Watercraft Impacts in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey. Journal of Coastal Research [Internet]. 2017 ;78:277 - 286. Available from: http://www.bioone.org/doi/10.2112/SI78-019.1
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

To help address the adverse effects associated with motorized boating activities in the Barnegat Bay National Estuary, New Jersey, a network of marine protected areas was identified to receive special consideration and management. Officially designated in spring 2012, the boundaries for these ecologically sensitive areas (ESAs) were based on best professional judgment and a geographic information system–based assessment using extant maps of habitat natural features, including shellfish beds, submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), presence of endangered species, and proximity to bird nesting areas. The need for and the subsequent effectiveness of ESA designation in managing the adverse effects of recreational boating activities were evaluated. Two indicators of boating usage and impact were mapped using visual interpretation of high-spatial-resolution aerial photography: (1) concentrations of boating activity (either moored or in transit) and (2) damage caused by both propeller-driven and personal watercraft–type boats to SAV habitats. The mapping clearly shows extensive prop scarring, with hot spots of damage in specific ESAs, confirming that some form of spatial zoning, with slow speed regulations or outright closures, are warranted to protect SAV. The mapping documents significant levels of boating usage and boat scarring still occurring within the ESAs postdesignation. Additional management actions to reduce boating impacts are clearly warranted. To reach a spectrum of the recreational boating community, a three-pronged approach that includes public education in responsible boating practices, placement of appropriate signage at the ESA boundaries, and routine enforcement by state marine police and conservation officers is recommended.

Improving the management of Taiwanese fishery resource conservation zones based on public perceptions and willingness to pay for ecosystem services

Chen J-L, Lin Y-S, Chuang C-T. Improving the management of Taiwanese fishery resource conservation zones based on public perceptions and willingness to pay for ecosystem services. Journal of Coastal Conservation [Internet]. 2017 . Available from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11852-017-0586-5#citeas
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $39.95
Type: Journal Article

Marine ecosystems provide many services and benefits that directly or indirectly affect human welfare, and designating an marine protected area (MPA) is one of the management strategies for conserving marine ecosystem services. In Taiwan, 28 fishery resource conservation zones (FRCZs, one type of Taiwanese MPA) have been established since 1976, and two FRCZs in Yilan were selected as case studies for this research. Interviews and questionnaires were used to collect primary data, and then we employed factor analysis to determine what elements influence the perception of ecosystem services, and we also evaluated the respondents’ willingness to pay (WTP). The empirical results indicated that supporting services are the most important to the people in the study sites, followed by provisioning services. Ecosystem services can be divided into four major categories including ecological and educational services, provisioning services, regulating services and recreational services, and in this study, ecological and educational services accounted for the largest proportion of the perceived benefits. The perception of and WTP for ecosystem services are significantly different across socio-economic backgrounds. According to the findings of this research, government agencies need to adopt the ecosystem service concept; invest in improving the efficiency of management measures, such as ecological and environmental monitoring; develop eco-tourism and conduct environmental education and outreach; and establish an FRCZ fund to enhance financial sustainability.

How coral reef conservation and marine protected areas impact human well-being: A case study of a marine protected area and fishing communities in Central Vietnam

Ngoc QThi Khanh. How coral reef conservation and marine protected areas impact human well-being: A case study of a marine protected area and fishing communities in Central Vietnam. Laguna, Philippines: Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia; 2017. Available from: http://www.eepsea.org/pub/rr/2017-RR5Ngoc_OnlineEdition.pdf
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

This study evaluates the impacts of coral reef conservation and marine protected areas (MPAs) on the well-being of fishing communities in Central Vietnam. The Cu Lao Cham MPA is chosen as the case study. Coral reef health and four aspects of socioeconomic conditions (i.e., catch rate [also related to food security], access to the resource, employment, and income) are investigated. Data on the four different aspects were gathered from different sources. The results show that there is good evidence for how coral reef conservation can transfer the flow of benefits from the ecosystem to the local people. However, trade-offs also occur as a result of the development of tourism, including the degradation of fish resources and the environment. The managers of the MPA and the community should take into account trade-offs in resource management and should focus on appropriate MPA planning and fisheries management outside the MPA to achieve better outcomes for the local community from coral reef conservation

A DEcision MAking (DEMA) Tool to Be Used in Ecosystem-Based Management System (EBMS) Applications

Sardà R, Azcárate JPablo Lozo. A DEcision MAking (DEMA) Tool to Be Used in Ecosystem-Based Management System (EBMS) Applications Botero CM, Cervantes O, Finkl CW. Beach Management Tools - Concepts, Methodologies and Case Studies. Coastal Research Library [Internet]. 2018 ;24:21 - 40. Available from: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-58304-4_2
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $29.95
Type: Journal Article

Beaches are basically managed mirroring user’s perception and normative requirements to obtain performance standards or distinctions made on well-known Quality Management Systems and/or Environmental Management Systems. However, when these systems are used in the management of these natural public goods, present practices do not fit with the Ecosystem Approach Strategy (EA) launched by United Nations at the end of last Century. To overcome this reality, an application of the Ecosystem-Based Management System (EBMS) was developed recently as a formal way to practice this approach at the beach social-ecological system. The EBMS is a stepwise process that combines environmental quality and risk management system theory with the EA principles. The EBMS is composed of three interactive pillars: Managerial, Information and Participatory. The Managerial pillar is the “engine” of the EBMS, following the classical Plan-Do-Check-Act managerial policy scheme. As a part of the Planning phase, a factual approach to decision making is suggested: DEMA (DEcision-MAking) tool. DEMA is a formal prioritization tool intended to help managers to determine, based on a social cost-benefit analysis and the vision established for a particular social-ecological system, which projects should be the first. DEMA uses risk management theory to decide what future activities should be selected in the policy cycle to avoid those identified risks that could impede us to get the desired vision for the beach under management. DEMA is using a framework of indicators related to the identified ecosystem services given by these systems, valuating and rating them to further prioritization of actions.

Fueling Plastics: Plastic Industry Awareness of the Ocean Plastics Problem

CIEL . Fueling Plastics: Plastic Industry Awareness of the Ocean Plastics Problem. Washington, DC : Center for International Environmental Law; 2017.
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report
  • Scientists became aware of the ocean plastics problem in the 1950s, and understanding of the nature and severity of the problem grew over the next decades.
  • The major chemical and petroleum companies and industry groups were aware of the ocean plastics problem no later than the 1970s.
  • Plastics producers have often taken the position that they are only responsible for plastic waste in the form of resin pellets, and that other forms of plastic waste are out of their control.

Greater future global warming inferred from Earth’s recent energy budget

Brown PT, Caldeira K. Greater future global warming inferred from Earth’s recent energy budget. Nature [Internet]. 2017 ;552(7683):45 - 50. Available from: https://www.nature.com/articles/nature24672
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $20.00
Type: Journal Article

Climate models provide the principal means of projecting global warming over the remainder of the twenty-first century but modelled estimates of warming vary by a factor of approximately two even under the same radiative forcing scenarios. Across-model relationships between currently observable attributes of the climate system and the simulated magnitude of future warming have the potential to inform projections. Here we show that robust across-model relationships exist between the global spatial patterns of several fundamental attributes of Earth’s top-of-atmosphere energy budget and the magnitude of projected global warming. When we constrain the model projections with observations, we obtain greater means and narrower ranges of future global warming across the major radiative forcing scenarios, in general. In particular, we find that the observationally informed warming projection for the end of the twenty-first century for the steepest radiative forcing scenario is about 15 per cent warmer (+0.5 degrees Celsius) with a reduction of about a third in the two-standard-deviation spread (−1.2 degrees Celsius) relative to the raw model projections reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Our results suggest that achieving any given global temperature stabilization target will require steeper greenhouse gas emissions reductions than previously calculated.

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