Mean sea level rise and climatological wind speed changes occur as part of the ongoing climate change and future projections of both variables are still highly uncertain. Here the Baltic Sea's response in extreme sea levels to perturbations in mean sea level and wind speeds is investigated in a series of simulations with a newly developed storm surge model based on the nucleus for European modeling of the ocean (NEMO)-Nordic. A simple linear model with only two tunable parameters is found to capture the changes in the return levels extremely well. The response to mean sea level rise is linear and nearly spatially uniform, meaning that a mean sea level rise of 1 m increases the return levels by a equal amount everywhere. The response to wind speed perturbations is more complicated and return levels are found to increase more where they are already high. This behaviour is alarming as it suggests that already flooding prone regions like the Gulf of Finland will be disproportionally adversely affected in a future windier climate.
Difficulties in quantifying the value of an ecosystem have prompted efforts to emphasize how human well-being depends on the physical, chemical and biological properties of an ecosystem (i.e., ecosystem structure) as well as ecosystem functioning. Incorporating ecosystem structure and function into discussions of value is important for deep-sea ecosystems because many deep-sea ecosystem services indirectly benefit humans and are more difficult to quantify. This study uses an ecosystem principles approach to illustrate a broader definition of value for deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Expert opinion, solicited using an iterative survey approach, was used to develop principles that describe hydrothermal vent processes and their links to human well-being. Survey participants established 28 principles relating to ecosystem structure (n = 12), function (n = 6), cultural services (n = 8) and provisioning services (n = 2), namely the provision of mineral deposits and genetic resources. Principles relating to cultural services emphasized the inspirational value of hydrothermal vents for the arts and ocean education, as well as their importance as a frontier in scientific research. The prevalence of principles relating to ecosystem structure and function (n = 18) highlights the need to understand subsequent links to ecosystem services. For example, principles relating to regulating services were not established by the expert group but links between ecosystem function and regulating services can be made. The ecosystem principles presented here emphasize a more holistic concept of value that will be important to consider as regulations are developed for the exploitation of minerals associated with deep-sea hydrothermal vents.
Accurate estimates of fishing effort are necessary in order to assess interactions with the wider ecosystem and for defining and implementing appropriate management. In intertidal and inshore fisheries in which vessel monitoring systems (VMS) or logbook programmes may not be implemented, quantifying the distribution and intensity of fishing can be difficult. The most obvious effects of bottom-contact fishing are often physical changes to the habitat, such as scarring of the sediment following dredging or trawling. We explored the potential of applying remote sensing techniques to aerial imagery collected by an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, in an area of intertidal mud flat (0.52 km2) in Poole Harbour, UK, where shellfish dredging is widely carried out and conflicts between commercial fishing interests and the conservation of internationally important shorebird populations are a concern. Image classification and image texture analysis were performed on imagery collected during the open dredge season in November 2015, in order to calculate measures of fishing intensity across three areas of the harbour subject to different management measures. We found a significant correlation between results of the image texture analysis and official sightings records collected during the dredging season, indicating that this method most accurately quantified dredging disturbance. The relationship between shorebird densities and food intake rates and the results of this analysis method were then investigated to assess the potential for using remotely sensed measures of fishing effort to assess responses of overwintering shorebird populations to intertidal shellfish dredging. Our work highlights the application of such methods, providing a low-cost tool for quantifying fishing effort and predicting wildlife conflicts.
The Mnazi Bay-Ruvuma Estuary Marine Park (MBREMP), a multiple-use marine protected area in southeastern Tanzania, is publicly framed as a project that benefits coastal villagers and marine biodiversity. In reality, villagers are politically excluded from park governance, though geographically included inside of park boundaries. While the stated aim of the park is to protect the ecological integrity of the marine environment, I argue that the MBREMP constitutes a contested and inconsistent process of territorialization characterized by boundary-making, zoning, and regulating resource-use inside of a geographically-defined area. Through the Marine Parks and Reserves Unit, the park extends the reach of the state apparatus to a rural locality that would otherwise be situated on its geographic and political periphery. However, disconnects exist between territorialization on paper and in practice due to the on-the-ground politics of conservation. Practical management constraints, political complexities related to state-private partnerships, and bottom-up resistance create barriers to territorialization. Nonetheless, park management practices constrain local livelihoods and negatively impact villagers’ everyday lives. The reclassification of Village Land as Reserve Land undermines customary rights to resources and renders customary occupancy rights ever more precarious. Citing their lived experiences of subjugation, some villagers perceive the park as a political instrument for securing state resource control. Rather than a ‘fortress’ model of conservation that physically displaces villagers, I maintain that circumscription of coastal communities creates new social and political terrains of territoriality.
This study examines the extent of macroplastic pollution on Samandağ beach and the potential effects on green sea turtles during nesting. For this purpose, a total of 39 different turtle tracks were studied. Mean plastic concentration was found to be 19.5 ± 1.2 pcs m−2. Among the different types of crawling, the highest concentrations of plastics were found on the tracks of turtles that did not attempt to dig nests (25.9 ± 8.4 pcs m−2). In total, 7 different types of plastics (disposable, film, fishing-related, foam, fragments, miscellaneous, and textile) were found, with film-type plastics being the most prevalent (11 pcs m−2). Samandağ beach was found to be greatly more polluted than any other beach in the Mediterranean Sea. We concluded that this pollution can cause negative effects, especially entanglement and entrapment, on green sea turtle females and hatchlings.
Over the past two decades, there has been anecdotal reporting of declines in young people’s engagement with natural environments. This article focuses on Generation Y, also commonly referred to as the Millennials. Through a scoping study of published research to 2017, we explore how Generation Y experiences, views, and is influenced by natural areas of high conservation value. A key finding is that the body of empirical and theoretical research that has examined Generation Y’s engagement with national parks and protected areas is very small. Four distinct topic areas emerged: “generational differences,” “outdoor recreation and well-being,” “environmental responsibility,” and “visitor trends.” Findings suggest that Generation Y may differ from other generations, including how they value well-being and their perceptions of environmental responsibility. The article explores the implications for how protected area agencies promote, create, and manage experiences.
The Gulf of Mexico is an ecologically and economically important marine ecosystem that is affected by a variety of natural and anthropogenic pressures. These complex and interacting pressures, together with the dynamic environment of the Gulf, present challenges for the effective management of its resources. The recent adoption of Bayesian networks to ecology allows for the discovery and quantification of complex interactions from data after making only a few assumptions about observations of the system. In this study, we apply Bayesian network models, with different levels of structural complexity and a varying number of hidden variables to account for uncertainty when modeling ecosystem dynamics. From these models, we predict focal ecosystem components within the Gulf of Mexico. The predictive ability of the models varied with their structure. The model that performed best was parameterized through data-driven learning techniques and accounted for multiple ecosystem components’ associations and their interactions with human and natural pressures over time. Then, we altered sea surface temperature in the best performing model to explore the response of different ecosystem components to increased temperature. The magnitude and even direction of predicted responses varied by ecosystem components due to heterogeneity in driving factors and their spatial overlap. Our findings suggest that due to varying components’ sensitivity to drivers, changes in temperature will potentially lead to trade-offs in terms of population productivity. We were able to discover meaningful interactions between ecosystem components and their environment and show how sensitive these relationships are to climate perturbations, which increases our understanding of the potential future response of the system to increasing temperature. Our findings demonstrate that accounting for additional sources of variation, by incorporating multiple interactions and pressures in the model layout, has the potential for gaining deeper insights into the structure and dynamics of ecosystems.
Sustainability standards for seafood mainly address environmental performance criteria and are less concerned with the welfare of fisheries workers who produce the seafood. Yet human rights violations such as slavery and human trafficking are widespread in fisheries around the world, and underscore the need for certification bodies and other seafood supply chain actors to improve social performance, in addition to addressing environmental challenges. Calls for socially responsible seafood have referenced human rights law and policy frameworks to shape the guiding principles of socially responsible seafood and to provide the legal machinery to implement these aspirations, but practical guidance on how to achieve this is lacking. To provide clarity on this challenge, we reviewed the literature concerning human rights in the seafood supply chain, and prepared an analysis of opportunities and challenges to implement socially responsible seafood through relevant human rights, legal and policy instruments. We observe that human rights laws are generally framed in favour of addressing violations of civil and political rights, but there remains considerable scope for applying economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights in this context. Other challenges include weakly defined ESC rights infringements, a lack of straightforward mechanisms to enforce human rights entitlements, and practical difficulties such as resources to support and secure rights. On the positive side, governments can draw on international instruments to inspire national policies and legislation to eliminate illegalities from the seafood supply chain. However, for socially responsible seafood principles to translate into tangible actions, these objectives must be rooted in clear legal obligations and be supported by sufficient national capacity and political will.
Freshwater biodiversity is declining, despite national and international efforts to manage and protect freshwater ecosystems. Ecosystem-based management (EBM) has been proposed as an approach that could more efficiently and adaptively balance ecological and societal needs. However, this raises the question of how social and ecological objectives can be included in an integrated management plan. Here, we present a generic model-coupling framework tailored to address this question for freshwater ecosystems, using three components: biodiversity, ecosystem services (ESS), and a spatial prioritisation that aims to balance the spatial representation of biodiversity and ESS supply and demand. We illustrate this model-coupling approach within the Danube River Basin using the spatially explicit, potential distribution of (i) 85 fish species as a surrogate for biodiversity as modelled using hierarchical Bayesian models, and (ii) four estimated ESS layers produced by the Artificial Intelligence for Ecosystem Services (ARIES) platform (with ESS supply defined as carbon storage and flood regulation, and demand specified as recreation and water use). These are then used for (iii) a joint spatial prioritisation of biodiversity and ESS employing Marxan with Zones, laying out the spatial representation of multiple management zones. Given the transboundary setting of the Danube River Basin, we also run comparative analyses including the country-level purchasing power parity (PPP)-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) and each country's percent cover of the total basin area as potential cost factors, illustrating a scheme for balancing the share of establishing specific zones among countries. We demonstrate how emphasizing various biodiversity or ESS targets in an EBM model-coupling framework can be used to cost-effectively test various spatially explicit management options across a multi-national case study. We further discuss possible limitations, future developments, and requirements for effectively managing a balance between biodiversity and ESS supply and demand in freshwater ecosystems.
Marine resource management is shifting from optimizing single species yield to redefining sustainable fisheries within the context of managing ocean use and ecosystem health. In this introductory article to the theme set, “Plugging spatial ecology into ecosystem-based management (EBM)” we conduct an informal horizon scan with leaders in EBM research to identify three rapidly evolving areas that will be game changers in integrating spatial ecology into EBM. These are: (1) new data streams from fishers, genomics, and technological advances in remote sensing and bio-logging; (2) increased analytical power through “Big Data” and artificial intelligence; and (3) better integration of social dimensions into management. We address each of these areas by first imagining capacity in 20 years from now, and then highlighting emerging efforts to get us there, drawing on articles in this theme set, other scientific literature, and presentations/discussions from the symposium on “Linkages between spatial ecology and sustainable fisheries” held at the ICES Annual Science Conference in September 2017.