Marine spatial planning (MSP) processes seek to better manage ocean spaces by balancing ecological, social and economic objectives using public and participatory processes. To meet this challenge, MSP approaches and tools have evolved globally, from local to national scales. At two International Marine Conservation Congresses (2016 and 2018), MSP practitioners and researchers from diverse geographic, technical and socio-economic contexts met to share advances in practical approaches and spatial tools to achieve multi-objective MSP. Here we share the lessons learned and commonalities that emerged from studies conducted in Belize, Canada, South Africa, Seychelles, the United Kingdom and the United States on a number of topics related to advancing MSP. We identify seven important themes that we believe are broadly relevant to any multi-objective MSP process: (1) indigenous and local knowledge should inform planning goals and objectives; (2) transparent and evidence-based approaches can reduce user conflict; (3) simple ecosystem service models and scenarios can facilitate multi-objective planning; (4) trade-off analyses can help balance diverse objectives; (5) ecosystem services may assist planning for high value-data poor Blue Economy sectors; (6) game theoretic decision rules can help to deliver fair, equitable and win–win spatial allocation solutions; and (7) strategic mapping products can facilitate decision making amongst stakeholders from different sectors. Some of these themes are evident in MSP processes that have been completed in the previous decade, but the fast-evolving field of MSP is addressing increasingly more complex objectives, and practitioners need to respond with practical approaches and spatial tools that can address this complexity.
Manta ray watching tourism has become a popular tourist attraction over the past two decades, with a number of destinations offering different encounter experiences for tourists. This type of attraction has drawn worldwide attention because it can offer significant contributions to the local economy through snorkelling and diving services. Since its early development, a number of scientists have conducted research on the impacts of manta ray watching tourism, and have reported different findings regarding its sustainability. Based on published scientific articles, this study provides a literature review of manta ray watching tourism and examines the sustainability of its operation. This paper also highlights manta ray tourism hotspots in Indonesia including Nusa Penida, Komodo, and Raja Ampat as the study locations. Interviews with ten key persons including government officials, tourism operators, community, and non-governmental organization were conducted to collect and identify their perceptions. This study demonstrates different impacts of economy, ecology, and socialcultural aspects. Furthermore, different study areas apply different management approach in managing their tourist in terms of manta ray watching tourism operation. In conclusion, good governance, regulations/law enforcement, and collaborative management are significant factors to achieve sustainable manta ray watching tourism.
The objective of this study was to identify the main environmental covariates related to the abundance of 17 cetacean species/groups in the western North Atlantic Ocean based on generalized additive models, to establish a current habitat suitability baseline, and to estimate abundance that incorporates habitat characteristics. Habitat models were developed from dedicated sighting survey data collected by NOAA- Northeast and Southeast Fisheries Science Centers during July 2010 to August 2013. A group of 7 static physiographic characteristics and 9 dynamic environmental covariates were included in the models. For the small cetacean models, the explained deviance ranged from 16% to 69%. For the large whale models, the explained deviance ranged from 32% to 52.5%. Latitude, sea surface temperature, bottom temperature, primary productivity and distance to the coast were the most common covariates included and their individual contribution to the deviance explained ranged from 5.9% to 18.5%. The habitat-density models were used to produce seasonal average abundance estimates and habitat suitability maps that provided a good correspondence with observed sighting locations and historical sightings for each species in the study area. Thus, these models, maps and abundance estimates established a current habitat characterization of cetacean species in these waters and have the potential to be used to support management decisions and conservation measures in a marine spatial planning context.
Indonesia has more than 600s offshore oil and gas platforms spread in its territorial waters and of that amount, about 50 % were built around 1980s. Since the first generation platform was built almost half a century ago, decommissioning the offshore structures is something that has never been done before in Indonesia. The assets are now approaching their end of production and touching a point of minimum economic viability. Therefore, the dismantling of those structures is unavoidable issues in the near future. However, this process is not easy and presents many challenges, eg. status of assets, costs, etc. The current regulations have not been able to get the operators to dismantle and write off their assets so that many of them are left abandoned and endanger for the sea traffic for instance. There is a trend that these abandoned and idle offshore structures have now become "a fashionable donation" project from oil companies to coastal state to be re-used as artificial reefs or also known as Rigs-to-Reef (R2R). This study is attempting to improve the visibility of R2R as a potential decommissioning solution in Indonesia that provide good benefits not only for the environment but also for the coastal community while at the same time offer effective and efficient way out for oil and gas companies. The feasibility study of platform placement was done in the provincial marine conservation areas (Kawasan Konservasi Perairan Daerah, KKPD) in Bontang, East Kalimantan.
In recent years, coral reef degradation has been increasing. Management and conservation efforts have tended to focus only on the physical condition of the coral reefs with less attention to biological and oceanographic aspects, in particular genetics and hydrodynamics. Genetic data can illustrate the connectivity between and within populations of an organism, making it is possible to determine source and sink populations or sites. Studies of physical water movements can also illustrate the likely patterns of movement or predict the mobility of coral planulae. Both of these approaches can help to strengthen Marine Protected Area (MPA) design, especially at the formation stage, in particular MPAs focused on coral reef ecosystems. Together, these two approaches can provide data on biological networks in a region and help delineate stocks. The implications of such studies can help to identify conservation priorities and improve the effectiveness of management processes in Indonesia, and can certainly enable the refinement of general approaches to help produce management plans tailored to local and regional conditions and processes. This brief review aims to review the constraints that occur in the management process, including barriers to and potential benefits of integrating molecular and hydrodynamic data into the management and conservation process, as illustrated through a critical review of MPA implementation in the waters around Sulawesi Island.
The amphipod Hirondellea gigas inhabits the deepest regions of the oceans in extreme high-pressure conditions. However, the mechanisms by which this amphipod adapts to its high-pressure environment remain unknown. In this study, we investigated the elemental content of the exoskeleton of H. gigas specimens captured from the deepest points of the Mariana Trench. The H. gigas exoskeleton contained aluminum, as well as a major amount of calcium carbonate. Unlike other (accumulated) metals, aluminum was distributed on the surface of the exoskeleton. To investigate how H. gigas obtains aluminum, we conducted a metabolome analysis and found that gluconic acid/gluconolactone was capable of extracting metals from the sediment under the habitat conditions of H. gigas. The extracted aluminum ions are transformed into the gel state of aluminum hydroxide in alkaline seawater, and this gel covers the body to protect the amphipod. This aluminum gel is a good material for adaptation to such high-pressure environments.
The pelagic ecosystems of the Western Antarctic Peninsula are dynamic and changing rapidly in the face of sustained warming. There is already evidence that warming may be impacting the food web. Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, is an ice-associated species that is both an important prey item and the target of the only commercial fishery operating in the region. The goal of this study is to develop a dynamic trophic model for the region that includes the impact of the sea-ice regime on krill and krill predators. Such a model may be helpful to fisheries managers as they develop new management strategies in the face of continued sea-ice loss. A mass balanced food-web model (Ecopath) and time dynamic simulations (Ecosim) were created. The Ecopath model includes eight currently monitored species as single species to facilitate its future development into a model that could be used for marine protected area planning in the region. The Ecosim model is calibrated for the years 1996–2012. The successful calibration represents an improvement over existing Ecopath models for the region. Simulations indicate that the role of sea ice is both central and complex. The simulations are only able to recreate observed biomass trends for the monitored species when metrics describing the sea-ice regime are used to force key predator-prey interactions, and to drive the biomasses of Antarctic krill and the fish species Gobionotothen gibberifrons. This model is ready to be used for exploring results from sea-ice scenarios or to be developed into a spatial model that informs discussions regarding the design of marine protected areas in the region.
Applying a proteomic approach for biomonitoring marine environments offers a useful tool for identifying organisms’ stress responses, with benthic filter-feeders being ideal candidates for this practice. Here, we investigated the proteomic profile of two solitary ascidians (Chordata, Ascidiacea): Microcosmus exasperatus, collected from five sites along the Mediterranean coast of Israel; and Polycarpa mytiligera collected from four sites along the Red Sea coast. 193 and 13 proteins in M. exasperatus and P. mytiligera, respectively, demonstrated a significant differential expression. Significant differences were found between the proteomes from the northern and the southern sites along both the Mediterranean and the Red Sea coasts. Some of the significant proteins had previously been shown to be affected by environmental stressors, and thus have the potential to be further developed as biomarkers. Obtaining a proteomic profile of field-collected ascidians provides a useful tool for the early-detection of a stress response in ascidians worldwide.
Coral reefs cover approximately 0.10 to 0.25% of the marine environment, and yet are home to around 25% of marine species and support the livelihoods of more 500 million people. They face a wide range of threats, with the impact of global warming gaining most attention due to its frequently claimed causal link to coral bleaching. Here we review a decade of research into the micrometeorology of Heron Reef, a lagoonal platform coral reef in the southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Using novel pontoon mounted eddy covariance systems we show that often > 80% of net radiation is partitioned into heating the water overlying the reef, the reef benthos, and substrate. Significant spatial variability in energy and trace gas exchanges occurs over the reef in response to different geomorphic and hydrodynamic conditions. Synoptic weather patterns that bring light winds, clear skies and high humidity, result in reef scale meteorology that appears to have a greater influence on coral bleaching events than the background oceanic warming trend. The reef develops its own convective internal boundary layer, with potential to influence cloud development and therefore the surface energy balance. Knowledge of such local effects is lacking, so it is recommended that future research is needed into reef scale processes and how they interact with larger scale forcing.
Ship traffic in Northwestern European seas is intense and continuing to increase, posing a threat to vulnerable seabird species as a result of disturbance. However, information on species-specific effects of ship traffic on seabirds at sea is limited, and tools are needed to prioritize species and areas to support the integration of conservation needs in Marine Spatial Planning. In this study, we investigated the responses of 26 characteristic seabird species in the German North and Baltic Seas to experimental ship disturbance using large datasets collected as part of the seabirds at Sea counts. We developed a Disturbance Vulnerability Index (DVI) for ship traffic combining indicators for species’ shyness, escape costs, and compensatory potential, and analyzed the relationships among shyness, escape costs, and vulnerability. The DVI was calculated using the following eight indicators: escape distance, proportion of escaping birds, proportion of birds swimming prior to disturbance, wing loading, habitat use flexibility, biogeographic population size, adult survival rate, European threat and conservation status. Species-specific disturbance responses differed considerably, with common scoters (Melanitta nigra) and red-throated loons (Gavia stellata) showing the longest escape distances and highest proportions of escaping individuals. Red-throated loon, black guillemot (Cepphus grylle), Arctic loon (Gavia arctica), velvet scoter (Melanitta fusca), and red-breasted merganser (Mergus serrator) had the highest DVI values, and gulls and terns had the lowest. Contrary to theoretical considerations, shyness correlated positively with escape costs, with the shyest species also being the most vulnerable among the species studied. The strong reactions of several species to disturbance by ships suggest the need for areas with little or no disturbance in some marine protected areas, to act as a refuge for vulnerable species. This DVI can be used in combination with distribution data to identify the areas most vulnerable to disturbance.