This study was implemented in the context of the emerging concept of aesthetic ecosystem services (AES) of coastal protected dunes and forests. The main problem addressed was that many coastal management research case studies focusing on AES still rely on the objectivist paradigm, eliciting aesthetic values based on objective sets of criteria independent from human perception ‘here and now’. This doesn't use the knowledge accrued from several decades of psychophysical studies in landscape aesthetics using photographs as visual stimuli, due to the complexity of the psychophysical approach. The study bridges this major research gap by eliciting the preferences for and the attractiveness of coastal landscapes that are founded in the landscape's physical attributes. An innovative ‘quali-quantitative’ methodology was applied, combining both quantitative (paired comparison survey) and qualitative (semi-structured in-depth interviews) methods for valuation and interpretation of coastal AES. The main aim of the study was to test a ‘quali-quantitative’ methodology for the valuation of AES of protected coastal dunes and forests, using the Curonian Spit (Lithuania) as a case study. The key finding of the quantitative survey was that domestic summer visitors found the open landscapes of the Curonian Spit most attractive, especially 1) White mobile dunes; 2) White dunes with grey dunes in the background; 3) Grey dunes with white dunes in the background. The main result of the qualitative survey was that local stakeholders living on the Curonian Spit consider the concept of visual coherence as best explaining the aesthetic appeal of the dune and forest landscapes on the spit. The main associated policy recommendation to coastal management policymakers on the Curonian Spit, and in other protected coastal dune areas, is to pay more attention to AES along with the care for biodiversity conservation and for other tangible dune ecosystem services.
The life-histories of exploited fish species, such as Pacific salmon, are vulnerable to a wide variety of anthropogenic stressors including climate change, selective exploitation and competition with hatchery releases for finite foraging resources. However, these stressors may generate unexpected changes in life-histories due to developmental linkages when species complete their migratory life cycle in different habitats. We used multivariate time-series models to quantify changes in the prevalence of different life-history strategies of sockeye salmon from Bristol Bay, Alaska, over the past half-century—specifically, how they partition their lives between freshwater habitats and the ocean. Climate warming has decreased the time spent by salmon in their natal freshwater habitat, as climate-enhanced growth opportunities have enabled earlier migration to the ocean. Migration from freshwater at a younger age, and increasing competition from wild and hatchery-released salmon, have tended to delay maturation toward the salmon spending an additional year feeding in the ocean. Models evaluating the effects of size-selective fishing on these patterns had only small support. These stressors combine to reduce the size-at-age of fish vulnerable to commercial fisheries and have increasingly favoured a single-age class, potentially affecting the age class complexity that stabilizes this highly reliable resource.
Rocky intertidal habitats in urbanized settings, such as in southern California, USA, are heavily perturbed by human visitors (tidepoolers) through the deleterious activities of collecting, handling, and trampling. To protect rocky intertidal biota, certain locations have been designated as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), yet MPA status can be ineffective when public knowledge of regulations is low and regulations do not protect flora and fauna from the impacts of handling and trampling. To help reduce detrimental activities of visitors, propagate environmentally-safe tidepooling behaviors, and increase public knowledge of MPA regulations, two outreach tools were instituted in southern California, USA: 1) an education program whereby trained educators are on-site, interacting with the public and educating visitors about MPA regulations, and 2) the ISOpod (Interactive Sealife Outreach pod) vehicle, a mobile tidepool exhibit parked near the site for visitors to observe organisms in a controlled setting and where MPA awareness is emphasized. To determine if these tools were effective in reducing deleterious activities, visitors were discretely observed at two sites, counted, and placed into behavior categories under four scenarios based on combinations of the presence and absence of both the ISOpod and educators. A questionnaire was conducted at one site to determine if MPA regulation and conservation knowledge increased with public interaction with outreach programs. The ISOpod and, in part, educators were effective in reducing the frequency of individuals engaged in detrimental activities. This occurred despite high MPA awareness of visitors, which was further increased by public interaction with the ISOpod. Results from this study suggest that outreach programs focused on conservation education can be effective options to assist with protection of coastal ecosystems.
California's network of 124 marine protected areas (MPAs) is managed by state agencies with support from non-state partners. Partners include MPA Collaboratives, which were established through the California Collaborative Approach to provide a localized, comprehensive approach to ocean resource management by bringing together local experts and authorities in the areas of outreach and education, enforcement and compliance, and research and monitoring. Given their role in MPA management in California, there is a need to understand the contributions that MPA Collaboratives are making to MPA management activities. In this case study, Blue Earth Consultants, a Division of ERG, conducted a valuation of in-kind contributions made by non-state members of one Collaborative, the Orange County Marine Protected Area Council (OCMPAC), to MPA management activities in Orange County. We performed research and worked collaboratively with OCMPAC to develop a definition of in-kind contributions and a contribution reporting framework that asked respondents to report contributions by type (Labor Services; Goods, Equipment, and Supplies; Travel; Facilities; and Other) as well as by category (Outreach, Education, and Compliance Building; Research and Monitoring; Partnership Coordination and Fundraising Support; and Other). We distributed the reporting framework to each member organization of OCMPAC and performed data analysis to quantify the total values of the contributions they reported. We found that non-state members of OCMPAC contributed support worth over US $4 million to Orange County MPA management during a two-year time frame between 2013 and 2015. In both years, the contribution type with the greatest value was Labor Services, and the category with the greatest value was Outreach, Education, and Compliance Building. Member organizations also noted that their future contributions to OCMPAC, particularly volunteer hours and pro bono work, may be vulnerable to changes in funding, staff time, and organizational priorities. To help ensuring ongoing support for MPA management, OCMPAC and member organizations would benefit from dedicated staff time for MPA-related work, coordinating OCMPAC activities, and education and science programs, among other needs. The approach developed for this case study provides a replicable methodology for quantifying the value of in-kind contributions made through local partnerships to the management of natural resources in California and beyond.
In this paper, a multidisciplinary performance analysis model of a small intelligent ocean exploration underwater vehicle is established, which involves six disciplines such as the hull form, structure, propulsion, energy, maneuverability and general arrangement. Based on the radial basis function based high dimensional model, a design optimization is performed by using the concurrent subspace design method, which yields a set of design variables to address design requirements (weight, diving depth, and range). The construction of the corresponding approximate computational model is analyzed in detail. Performances of the vehicle before and after optimization are also compared. The results shows that the optimization lead to an decrease of vehicle weight as much as 27%., and the sea test results show that the designed underwater vehicle satisfies the design requirements of weight, diving depth and range, moreover, the navigation performance is improved significantly, which proves the effectiveness of the design method.
Shoreline litter is one of the most widespread pollution problems today. Since shorelines represent very sensitive and large geographical areas, any organized cleanup event requires considerable manpower in order to be successful. This case study illustrates how Vancouver Aquarium and World Wildlife Foundation recruited, organized, and retained tens of thousands of volunteers in order to build a shoreline cleanup movement across Canada.
A suite of recent international commitments and aspirational targets related to ocean conservation and sustainable fisheries management suggest growing consensus among states regarding the urgency of action. Yet, securing adequate financial resources to achieve these goals will be a crucial hurdle for many countries and will depend on financing mechanisms that go beyond traditional official development assistance (ODA) and philanthropy. An expanding and diversifying universe of financing mechanisms, however, risks generating confusion, incoherence, and uneven outcomes. This Special Issue on “Funding for ocean conservation and sustainable fisheries” was conceived to gain insights into current and emerging trends in the rapidly evolving world of ‘blue’ finance. While one emphasis of the Special Issue is on ODA and philanthropy, additional contributions also cover new and emerging financing mechanisms. Throughout the Special Issue, authors reflect on important gaps, future perspectives and prospects for greater impact. Two relevant topics for the Special Issue, for which dedicated manuscripts are not available, are also briefly addressed: China's growing role as a provider of development finance and a shift to overtly transactional use of aid by the current US administration.
Gear restrictions are an important management tool in small-scale tropical fisheries, improving sustainability and building resilience to climate change. Yet to identify the management challenges and complete footprint of individual gears, a broader systems approach is required that integrates ecological, economic and social sciences. Here we apply this approach to artisanal fish fences, intensively used across three oceans, to identify a previously underrecognized gear requiring urgent management attention. A longitudinal case study shows increased effort matched with large declines in catch success and corresponding reef fish abundance. We find fish fences to disrupt vital ecological connectivity, exploit > 500 species with high juvenile removal, and directly damage seagrass ecosystems with cascading impacts on connected coral reefs and mangroves. As semi-permanent structures in otherwise open-access fisheries, they create social conflict by assuming unofficial and unregulated property rights, while their unique high-investment-low-effort nature removes traditional economic and social barriers to overfishing.
In the present study, we surveyed the distribution and diversity of fungal assemblages associated with 10 species of marine animals from Antarctica. The collections yielded 83 taxa from 27 distinct genera, which were identified using molecular biology methods. The most abundant taxa were Cladosporium sp. 1, Debaryomyces hansenii, Glaciozyma martinii, Metschnikowia australis, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, Thelebolus cf. globosus, Pseudogymnoascus pannorum, Tolypocladium tundrense, Metschnikowia australis, and different Penicillium species. The diversity, richness, and dominance of fungal assemblages ranged among the host; however, in general, the fungal community, which was composed of endemic and cold-adapted cosmopolitan taxa distributed across the different sites of Antarctic Peninsula, displayed high diversity, richness, and dominance indices. Our results contribute to knowledge about fungal diversity in the marine environment across the Antarctic Peninsula and their phylogenetic relationships with species that occur in other cold, temperate, and tropical regions of the World. Additionally, despite their extreme habitats, marine Antarctic animals shelter cryptic and complex fungal assemblages represented by endemic and cosmopolitan cold-adapted taxa, which may represent interesting models to study different symbiotic associations between fungi and their animal hosts in the extreme conditions of Antarctica.