Climate change research aims to understand global environmental change and how it will impact nature and society. The broad scope of climate change impacts means that successful adaptation and mitigation efforts will require an unprecedented collaboration effort that unites diverse disciplines and is able to rapidly respond to evolving climate issues (IPCC, 2014). However, to achieve this aim, climate change research practices need updating: key research findings remain behind journal paywalls, and scientific progress can be impeded by low levels of reproducibility and transparency (Ellison, 2010; Morueta-Holme et al., 2018), individual data ownership (Hampton et al., 2015), and inefficient research workflows (Lowndes et al., 2017). Furthermore, the level of public interest and policy engagement on climate change issues relies on fast communication of academic research to public institutions, with the result that the societal impact of climate change studies will differ according to their public availability and exposure. Here, we argue that by adopting open science (OS) principles, scientists can advance climate change research and accelerate efforts to mitigate impacts; especially for highly vulnerable developing regions of the world where research capacity is limited. We underscore the specific benefits of OS in raising the academic and societal impact of climate change research using citation and media metrics.
There are three main themes in this self-reflective essay, and I hope they are thought-provoking without being pretentious. The first is the topic of scientific specialization. How do we steer a course between being a dilettante on one hand, dabbling in everything without making major contributions in any field, and on the other hand being a specialist who digs deeply but too narrowly? The second theme is the concept of specialization with respect to place, and the study of natural history. It can be incredibly rewarding, both personally and professionally, to develop a rich ecological understanding of a particular place such as a field station. However, this requires a great commitment of time, and it reduces mobility and experience elsewhere. The third theme is the importance of mentoring and the transfer of encouragement and opportunity from one cohort to the next. I will address these three themes in this order but they are closely linked to each other, making the separation somewhat artificial.
Interactions between fishing vessels and oil and gas infrastructure can result in damage to fishing gear, loss of fishing time/access, and risks to crew health and safety. The spatial and temporal patterns characterizing previous incidents (and subsequent losses) between fishers and oil and gas infrastructure were quantified and used to identify key risk factors associated with fisheries losses. Between the years 1989 and 2016, 1590 incidents that resulted in a financial loss, vessel abandonment, or an injury/fatality for UK commercial fishers were recorded. The annual number of recorded incidents decreased by 98.6% over a 27-year period. The majority of past incidences resulted in financial losses (rather than injuries or fatalities) and were associated with interactions between single otter trawlers and oil and gas production-related debris. The odds of an incidence occurring varied according to substrate type and fishing intensity. A risk-model for pipeline–fishing interactions in the Fladen Ground showed that there was significant spatial heterogeneity in the risk of an incident along a pipeline according to the angle and intensity of fishing. The results highlight the need to include the full spectrum of potential losses in fisheries impact assessments associated with the installation and decommissioning of oil and gas assets.
This study describes the pathologic findings and most probable causes of death (CD) of 224 cetaceans stranded along the coastline of the Canary Islands (Spain) over a 7-year period, 2006–2012. Most probable CD, grouped as pathologic categories (PCs), was identified in 208/224 (92.8%) examined animals. Within natural PCs, those associated with good nutritional status represented 70/208 (33.6%), whereas, those associated with significant loss of nutritional status represented 49/208 (23.5%). Fatal intra- and interspecific traumatic interactions were 37/208 (17.8%). Vessel collisions included 24/208 (11.5%). Neonatal/perinatal pathology involved 13/208 (6.2%). Fatal interaction with fishing activities comprised 10/208 (4.8%). Within anthropogenic PCs, foreign body-associated pathology represented 5/208 (2.4%). A CD could not be determined in 16/208 (7.7%) cases. Natural PCs were dominated by infectious and parasitic disease processes. Herein, our results suggest that between 2006 and 2012, in the Canary Islands, direct human activity appeared responsible for 19% of cetaceans deaths, while natural pathologies accounted for 81%. These results, integrating novel findings and published reports, aid in delineating baseline knowledge on cetacean pathology and may be of value to rehabilitators, caregivers, diagnosticians and future conservation policies.
The Mediterranean Sea is affected by one of the most significant plastic pollution worldwide. This review critically evaluates the most recent literature on the presence of microplastics in sediments, suggested to be long term sinks and have a high potential to accumulate this kind of marine debris. A picture of microplastic levels in coastal environments is given, evidencing information gaps and considering also estuary, lagoons and areas influenced by the contribution of rivers. A wide range of contamination levels has been found, with the highest in lagoon and estuary environments. The lack of homogeneity in the methods of study and the need to harmonize the latter and the expression of the results in addition to the need to obtain data on the contributions of the main tributaries of the Mediterranean and on lagoons, are other important considerations taken.
This paper proposes an ‘exploratory mapping’ approach that can be employed in the early stages of a marine protected area planning process. While stakeholders' involvement in conservation has increased, it often only starts after the decision has been made about where the protected areas will be located. The lack of proper engagement with resource users raises questions about transparency and legitimacy of marine conservation initiatives, hampering their successful implementation. The proposed mapping approach offers a simple way to incorporate in the planning process what small-scale fishers consider to be important to conserve, what they value in their fishing livelihoods, and their perception about the likely impact that multiple uses of the area may cause. Conducted in a small group setting, the exploratory mapping approach is casual and conversational, using paper maps and markers to capture information and stories as they are told. The approach was tested with 14 small-scale fishers living near the Marine National Park of Currais Islands, Southern Brazil. The mapping results, based on the GIS analysis, show a high level of agreement among the study participants with respect to the ecological importance of the area under protection. The participants emphasized that, in addition to its ecological significance, the area is also important in economic and socio-cultural terms, aspects that should be considered in the planning. The study highlights how the exploratory mapping approach can provide decision makers with useful information about small-scale fishers' values and knowledge, which can help identify potential conflicts and enhance support for marine protected areas.
The number of fixed oil and gas platforms are declining in the Gulf of Mexico, there were ∼3674 platforms installed the since 1942 and today there are ∼1320. Eventually, ∼30,000 jobs will be lost in related industries because of platform removals. Retired oil and gas platforms could be redeployed for alternate uses such as CO2 capture and storage, renewable wind energy, and sustainable fisheries and employ citizens in coastal areas. Elsewhere around the world, offshore platforms are used for purposes other than producing oil and gas. U.S. Federal legislation (Energy Policy Act 2005 Section 388 of Public Law [PL] 109-58); 30 CFR 285.1000 Subpart J) authorizes the use of retired oil and gas platforms for alternate uses. If the retired oil and gas structures are preserved, the infrastructure could also be used to recover stranded petroleum using CO2 enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR). We examined the socio-economic incentives, environmental impacts, and regulatory issues associated with the alternate uses. We suggest that CO2-EOR is the most economically efficient way to store CO2 offshore and that offshore wind turbines may assist with the energy requirements for oil and gas production and CO2-EOR. Data suggest that in our study area offshore platforms are more successful at producing fish and invertebrates if they are left standing instead of toppled over. The greatest regulatory issue facing the use of retired platforms is the transfer of liability. If the structures are redeployed, the previous oil and gas owner/operators are still responsible for eventual removal and catastrophic events. A variety of future economic activity in the Gulf of Mexico could take advantage of this infrastructure, if it remains in place.
Tropical estuaries are one of the most valuable ecosystems on the planet because of the number of ecosystem services they provide. The increasing anthropogenic pressure to which these estuaries are subject has caused a reduction in their natural capital stock. Therefore, the application of a pragmatic and rational ecosystem-based management approach to sustainably manage the multiple ecosystem services provided by this ecosystem is necessary. The aim of our study is to present an approach that combines prospective scenarios with habitat-based perspective to assess the supply capacity of ecosystem services, plus determine the impact of protected areas in an urbanized tropical estuary. The current situation and two scenarios were generated to evaluate the capacity of habitats to supply ecosystem services. This type of assessment will allow the decision makers to visualize the effect of their choices or the occurrence of events which might produce significant changes in the estuary. Thus, over time, measures can be taken to sustain the supply of ecosystem services. We determined that the establishment of protected areas have a positive impact; however, the effect is not the same for all of them. Consequently, indicating that actions such as community participation, research, education, management planning and infrastructure development must accompany the development of a protected area.
We have observed that marine macroalgae produce sound during photosynthesis. The resultant soundscapes correlate with benthic macroalgal cover across shallow Hawaiian coral reefs during the day, despite the presence of other biological noise. Likely ubiquitous but previously overlooked, this source of ambient biological noise in the coastal ocean is driven by local supersaturation of oxygen near the surface of macroalgal filaments, and the resultant formation and release of oxygen-containing bubbles into the water column. During release, relaxation of the bubble to a spherical shape creates a monopole sound source that ‘rings’ at the Minnaert frequency. Many such bubbles create a large, distributed sound source over the sea floor. Reef soundscapes contain vast quantities of biological information, making passive acoustic ecosystem evaluation a tantalizing prospect if the sources are known. Our observations introduce the possibility of a general, volumetrically integrative, noninvasive, rapid and remote technique for evaluating algal abundance and rates of primary productivity in littoral aquatic communities. Increased algal cover is one of the strongest indicators for coral reef ecosystem stress. Visually determining variations in algal abundance is a time-consuming and expensive process. This technique could therefore provide a valuable tool for ecosystem management but also for industrial monitoring of primary production, such as in algae-based biofuel synthesis.
Anthropogenic marine debris is one of the major worldwide threats to marine ecosystems. The EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) has established a protocol for data collection on marine debris from the gut contents of the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), and for determining assessment values of plastics for Good Environmental Status (GES). GES values are calculated as percent turtles having more than average plastic weight per turtle. In the present study, we quantify marine debris ingestion in 155 loggerhead sea turtles collected in the period 1995–2016 in waters of western Mediterranean (North-east Spain). The study aims (1) to update and standardize debris ingestion data available from this area, (2) to analyse this issue over two decades using Zero-altered (hurdle) models and (3) to provide new data to compare the only GES value available (off Italian waters). The composition of marine debris (occurrence and amounts of different categories) was similar to that found in other studies for the western Mediterranean and their amounts seem not to be an important threat to turtle survival in the region. Model results suggest that, in the study area, (a) period of stranding or capture, (b) turtle size and (c) latitude are significant predictors of anthropogenic debris ingestion (occurrence and amount) in turtles. The GES value for late juvenile turtles (CCL>40 cm) has decreased in the last ten years in the study area, and this is very similar to that obtained in Italian waters. We also provide a GES value for early juvenile turtles (CCL≤40 cm) for the first time. Recommendations arising from this study include ensuring use of (1) the standardized protocol proposed by the MSFD for assessing marine debris ingestion by loggerhead sea turtles and (2) the ecology of the turtles (neritic vs oceanic), rather than their size, to obtain GES values.