We have evaluated the cultivation potential of sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) as a function of latitude and position (near- and offshore) along the Norwegian coast using a coupled 3D hydrodynamic-biogeochemical-kelp model system (SINMOD) run for four growth seasons (2012–2016). The results are spatially explicit and may be used to compare the suitability of different regions for kelp cultivation, both inshore and offshore.The simulation results were compared with growth data from kelp cultivation experiments and in situ observations on coverage of naturally growing kelp. The model demonstrated a higher production potential offshore than in inshore regions, which is mainly due to the limitations in nutrient availability caused by the stratification found along the coast. However, suitable locations for kelp cultivation were also identified in areas with high vertical mixing close to the shore. The results indicate a latitudinal effect on the timing of the optimal period of growth, with the prime growth period being up to 2 months earlier in the south (58 °N) than in the north (71 °N). Although the maximum cultivation potential was similar in the six marine ecoregions in Norway (150–200 tons per hectare per year), the deployment time of the cultures seems to matter significantly in the south, but less so in the north. The results are discussed, focusing on their potential significance for optimized cultivation and to support decision making toward sustainable management.
We modelled and assessed the past, present and predicted future eutrophication status of the Baltic Sea. The assessment covers a 350-year period from 1850 to 2200 and is based on: (1) modelled concentrations of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), dissolved inorganic phosphorous (DIP), chlorophyll-a, Secchi depth, and oxygen under four different of nutrient input scenarios and (2) the application of a multi-metric indicator-based tool for assessment of eutrophication status: HEAT 3.0. This tool was previously applied using historical observations to determine eutrophication status from 1901 to 2012. Here we apply HEAT 3.0 using results of a biogeochemical model to reveal significant changes in eutrophication status from 1850 to 2200. Under two scenarios where Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) nutrient reduction targets are met, we expect future good status will be achieved in most Baltic Sea basins. Under two scenarios where nutrient loads remain at 1997–2003 levels or increase, good status will not be achieved. The change from a healthy state without eutrophication problems in the open waters took place in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Following introduction of the first nutrient abatement measures, recovery began in some basins in the late 1990s, whilst in others it commenced in the beginning of the 21st century. Based on model results, we expect that the first basin to achieve a status without eutrophication will be Arkona, between 2030 and 2040. By 2060–2070, a status without eutrophication is anticipated for the Kattegat, Bornholm Basin and Gulf of Finland, followed by the Danish straits around 2090. For the Baltic Proper and Bothnian Sea, a good status with regard to eutrophication is not expected before 2200. Further, we conclude that two basins are not likely to meet the targets agreed upon and to attain a status unaffected by eutrophication, i.e., the Gulf of Riga and Bothnian Bay. These results, especially the prediction that some basins will not achieve a good status, can be used in support of continuous development and implementation of the regional ecosystem-based nutrient management strategy, the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan.
The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is the largest contiguous coral reef system in the world. Carbonate chemistry studies and flux quantification within the GBR have largely focused on reef calcification and dissolution, with relatively little work on shelf-scale CO2 dynamics. In this manuscript, we describe the shelf-scale seasonal variability in inorganic carbon and air-sea CO2 fluxes over the main seasons (wet summer, early dry and late dry seasons) in the GBR.
Our large-scale dataset reveals that despite spatial-temporal variations, the GBR as a whole is a net source of CO2 to the atmosphere, with calculated air–sea fluxes varying between −6.19 and 12.17 mmol m−2 d−1 (average ± standard error: 1.44 ± 0.15 mmol m−2 d−1), with the strongest release of CO2occurring during the wet season. The release of CO2 to the atmosphere is likely controlled by mixing of Coral Sea surface water, typically oversaturated in CO2, with the warm shelf waters of the GBR. This leads to oversaturation of the GBR system relative to the atmosphere and a consequent net CO2 release.
Climate change, represented by ever-rising ocean temperatures, is a mounting threat to the marine ecosystem and its services. This is most evident in the longitudinal and depth-related migrations of the ectothermic species. Although the impacts of climate change on the marine ecosystem of the Arabian Gulf are expected to be exacerbated—owing to its semi-enclosed basin that limits species range shift, extreme environmental conditions, overfishing, and pollution—very few studies have been carried out to evaluate such impacts. Here, we conduct a systematic review of literature over the period 1950–2018 to assess the status of knowledge about climate change impacts on the Arabian Gulf's marine ecosystem and fisheries resources. We found that this region suffers a significant research gap in this critical subject, with only a handful of studies that explicitly addresses the effects of climate change. Our finding raises an urgent need for initiating long-term monitoring programs, along with establishing effective transboundary institutions to advance the current knowledge in climate change.
Many models have assessed how marine reserves protect fish populations and—under certain conditions—simultaneously increase yield. Only recently have models considered the effects of fishing-induced habitat damage by assuming reduced population growth in fishing areas. Even though it is understood that fish movement patterns affect the functioning and design of marine reserves, fishing-induced changes in movement patterns, as a response to decreased habitat quality, have not been studied in this context. Our work explores how harvesting-induced movement behaviour of fish can affect optimal yield and size of a marine reserve. Our model is based on reaction-diffusion equations and recent advances in their application to strongly heterogeneous environments with sharp transitions in environmental conditions. We model movement behaviour in response to harvesting and habitat destruction via increased diffusion rates and increased preference for protected areas, and implement reduced reproduction as an effect of habitat degradation. We find an alternative mechanistic explanation for the empirical observation that high fish mobility may not decrease fish density inside a reserve. We also find that movement-behavioural responses of fish to harvesting can decrease the economic value of protected areas and increase their conservation value. For maximum sustainable yield, we find that a low harvesting rate and small protected area are optimal when fish show a strong preference for protected areas as a response to fishing efforts. On the other hand, a high harvesting rate and a large protected area are optimal if fish respond to harvesting by a strong increase in movement rates in fishing areas.
Identifying the species that are at risk of local extinction in highly diverse ecosystems is a big challenge for conservation science. Assessments of species status are costly and difficult to implement in developing countries with diverse ecosystems due to a lack of species-specific surveys, species-specific data, and other resources. Numerous techniques are devised to determine the threat status of species based on the availability of data and budgetary limits. On this basis, we developed a framework that compared occurrence data of historically exploited reef species in Kenya from existing disparate data sources. Occurrence data from archaeological remains (750-1500CE) was compared with occurrence data of these species catch assessments, and underwater surveys (1991-2014CE). This comparison indicated that only 67 species were exploited over a 750 year period, 750-1500CE, whereas 185 species were landed between 1995 and 2014CE. The first step of our framework identified 23 reef species as threatened with local extinction. The second step of the framework further evaluated the possibility of local extinction with Bayesian extinction analyses using occurrence data from naturalists’ species list with the existing occurrence data sources. The Bayesian extinction analysis reduced the number of reef species threatened with local extinction from 23 to 15. We compared our findings with three methods used for assessing extinction risk. Commonly used extinction risk methods varied in their ability to identify reef species that we identified as threatened with local extinction by our comparative and Bayesian method. For example, 12 of the 15 threatened species that we identified using our framework were listed as either least concern, unevaluated, or data deficient in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature red list. Piscivores and macro-invertivores were the only functional groups found to be locally extinct. Comparing occurrence data from disparate sources revealed a large number of historically exploited reef species that are possibly locally extinct. Our framework addressed biases such as uncertainty in priors, sightings and survey effort, when estimating the probability of local extinction. Our inexpensive method showed the value and potential for disparate data to fill knowledge gaps that exist in species extinction assessments.
Coastal environments of the world have been exposed to eutrophication for several decades. Recently the quality of coastal waters has been gradually and successfully improved, however the improvement has caused another issue in ecoastal ecosystem services, called oligotrophication. Local stakefolders have suggested that oligotrophication reduces pelagic productivity and moreover fishery production in coastal ecosystems, while oligotrophication with high transparency has recovered benthic macrophyte vegetation which have been depressed by phytoplankton derived from eutrophication. In particular, seagrass species is one of the most important coastal vegetation for climate change mitigation and adaptation, which has been welcomed by another stakefolders. Therefore, harmonizing coastal fishery with environmental conservation is now essential for the sustainable use of ecosystem services. Here, we just started some practice in field based on the interdisciplinary approach including ecological actions, socio-economical actions and moreover psychological actions to find the integrative coastal management maximizing well-beings of various stakefolders, which is essential to harmonize environmental conservation with sustainable fishery and aquaculture. Now we are focusing on the interaction between oyster aquaculture and seagrass vegetation as an ecological action.
Determining what abiotic and biotic factors affect the diversity and abundance of species through time and space is a basic goal of ecology and an integral step in predicting current and future distributions. Given the pervasive effect of humans worldwide, including anthropogenic factors when quantifying community dynamics is needed to understand discrete and emergent effects of humans on marine ecosystems, especially systems with economically important species. However, there are limited studies that combine a large-scale ecological survey with multiple natural and anthropogenic factors to determine the drivers of community dynamics of temperate reef systems. We combined data from a 24-year fish survey on temperate reefs along the Southeast United States coast with information on recreational and commercial fisheries landings, surface and bottom temperature, habitat characteristics, and climate indices to determine what factors may alter the community structure of fishes within this large marine ecosystem. We found that both abundance and richness of temperate reef fishes declined from 1990 to 2013. Climate indices and local temperature explained the greatest variation, and recreational fishing explained slightly more variation compared to commercial fishing in the temperate reef fish community over a multi-decadal scale. When including habitat characteristics in a 3 year analysis, depth, and local temperature explained the greatest variation in fish assemblage, while the influence of habitat was comparatively minimal. Finally, the interaction between predictor variables and fish traits indicated that bigger and longer-lived fishes were positively correlated with depth and winter temperature. Our findings suggest that lesser-studied anthropogenic impacts, such as recreational fishing, may influence communities throughout large ecosystems as much as other well-studied impacts such as climate change and commercial fishing. In addition, climate indices should be considered when assessing changes, natural or anthropogenic, to fish communities.
The European Union (EU) instituted a carding system via its European Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1005/2008 with the goal of incentivizing fish and fish products (fish) exporting countries to the Union to take action to reduce IUU fishing in their waters. This regulation stipulates that the EU will issue warnings, known as a “yellow card,” to countries that perform poorly in the effort to end IUU fishing in their waters. Failure to curb IUU fishing will result in a ban in the export of fish to the EU via the issuance of a red card. Here, I ask the following questions: what is the economic risk of being red carded by the EU? Is the economic risk big enough to significantly reduce IUU fishing in a targeted country’s waters? Would the risk be broad enough to result in a significant reduction in IUU fishing globally? What if the two other leading fish importing countries, i.e., the United States and Japan, also institute a similar carding system as the EU? To address these questions, I develop and compute an economic risk index for the carding system. This study suggests that the impact of an EU only IUU carding system could be significant for some targeted countries but its effect globally, with respect to reducing IUU fishing, would be minimal. However, I find that the economic risk to fish exporting countries would increase significantly if the United States and Japan also instituted similar carding systems, which would in turn help to reduce IUU fishing worldwide. This contribution shows that an IUU carding system could contribute significantly to the elimination of IUU fishing provided a critical mass of top fish importing countries participate in such a system.
The Gulf of Mexico blue carbon habitats (mangroves, seagrass, and salt marshes) form an important North American blue carbon hot spot. These habitats cover 2,161,446 ha and grow profusely in estuaries that occupy 38,000 km2 to store substantial sedimentary organic carbon of 480.48 Tg C. New investigations around GoM for Mexican mangroves, Louisiana salt marshes and seagrasses motivated our integration of buried organic carbon to elucidate a new estimate of GoM blue carbon stocks. Factors creating this include: large GoM watersheds enriching carbon slowly flowing through shallow estuarine habitats with long residence times; fewer SE Mexican hurricanes allowing enhanced carbon storage; mangrove carbon productivity enhanced by warm southern basin winter temperatures; large Preservation reserves amongst high anthropogenic development. The dominant total GoM mangrove blue carbon stock 196.88 Tg from total mangrove extent 650,482 ha is highlighted from new Mexican data. Mexican mangrove organic carbon stock is 112.74 Tg (1st sediment meter) plus USA 84.14 Tg. Mexican mangroves vary greatly in storage, total carbon depositional depths and in sediment age (to 3500 y). We report Mexican mangrove's conservative storage fraction for the normally-compared top meter, whereas the full storage depth estimates ranging above 366.78 Tg (high productivity in very deep sediment along the central Veracruz/Tabasco coast) are not reflected in our reported estimates. Seagrasses stock of 184.1 Tg C organic is derived from 972,327 ha areal extent (in 1st meter). The Louisiana marshes form the heart of GoM salt marsh carbon storage 99.5 Tg (in 1st meter), followed by lesser stocks in Florida, Texas, finally Mexico derived from salt marsh extent totaling 650,482 ha. Constraints on the partial estuarine fluxes given for this new data are discussed as well as widespread anthropogenic destruction of the GoM blue carbon. A new North American comparison of our GoM blue carbon stocks versus Atlantic coastal blue carbon stock estimates is presented.