More than half of the world's 18 penguin species are declining. We, the Steering Committee of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission Penguin Specialist Group, voted on the penguin species in most critical need of conservation action. Because of their small or rapidly declining populations, the top three species identified in this process were the African penguin (Spheniscus demersus), Galápagos penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus), and Yellow‐eyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes). To persist, these species require immediate scientific collaboration and policy intervention. In addition to highlighting the three priority species, we used a pairwise ranking approach to prioritize research and conservation needs for all penguins. Among the 12 cross‐taxa research areas we identified, we ranked quantifying population trends, estimating demographic rates, forecasting environmental patterns of change, and improving knowledge of fisheries interactions as the highest priorities. The highest ranked conservation needs were to enhance marine spatial planning, improve stakeholder engagement, and develop disaster management and species‐specific action plans. As part of our discussions, we identified four avenues for improving translation of science into effective conservation for penguins. First, the scientific community and funding bodies must recognize the importance of and support long‐term research. Second, research on and conservation of penguins must expand its focus to include the non‐breeding season and the juvenile stage. Third, marine reserves must be designed at ecologically appropriate spatial and temporal scales. Lastly, communication between scientists and decision makers must be improved with the help of individual scientists, interdisciplinary species‐specific working groups, and international working groups.
The well-documented value of marine fisheries is threatened by overfishing. Management typically focuses on target populations but lacks effective tools to document or restrain overexploitation of marine ecosystems. Here, we present three indices and accompanying thresholds to detect and delineate ecosystem overfishing (EOF): the Fogarty, Friedland, and Ryther indices. These are based on widely available and readily interpreted catch and satellite data that link fisheries landings to primary production using known limits of trophic transfer efficiency. We propose theoretically and empirically based thresholds for each of those indices; with these criteria, several ecosystems are fished sustainably, but nearly 40 to 50% of tropical and temperate ecosystems exceed even extreme thresholds. Applying these criteria to global fisheries data results in strong evidence for two specific instances of EOF, increases in both pressure on tropical fish and a climate-mediated polar shift. Here, we show that these two patterns represent evidence for global EOF.
Many piscivorous fish species are depleted and/or threatened around the world. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are tools for conservation and fisheries management, though there is still controversy regarding the best design for increasing their ecological effectiveness. Here, on the basis of a weighted meta-analytical approach, we have assessed the effect of 32 MPAs, distributed worldwide, on the biomass and density of piscivorous fishes. We analysed the MPA features and the biological, commercial and ecological characteristics of fishes that may affect the response of species to protection. We found a positive effect on the biomass and density of piscivores inside MPAs. This effect was stronger for the biomass of medium-sized fishes (in relation to the maximum size reported for the species) and the density of large and gregarious species. The size of the no-take zone had a significant negative impact on both response variables and differed according to the level of enforcement, with smaller no-take zones having higher levels of enforcement. Thus, MPAs help to protect piscivorous fish species, with smaller, but well enforced reserves being more effective for the protection of the local populations of piscivorous fishes throughout the world.
This article contains the data on fish biomass inside and outside 57 locally managed marine protected areas (MPAs) and within the nationally protected Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park (TRNMP) from 57 coastal municipalities and 20 provinces in the Philippines. It includes the seven major commercially important coral reef fishes, namely, the surgeonfish (family Acanthuridae), parrotfish (subfamily Scarinae, family Labridae), snappers (family Lutjanidae), groupers (subfamily Epinephelinae, family Serranidae), goatfish (family Mullidae), sweetlips (family Haemulidae) and emperor (family Lethrinidae). Fish visual census (FVC) surveys were done by scuba diving along 10 m × 50 m belt transects established on upper reef slope, mostly with depths ranging from 5 to 10 m. Four to twelve transects were surveyed for the locally managed MPAs, half of which were established inside MPAs and the other half outside MPAs. Thirty-three transects were surveyed for the TRNMP. FVC was performed by swimming slowly and stopping every 5 m to record all the fish within a 10 m - wide belt. All FVC surveys were conducted from 2006 to 2014 between 9:00–16:00 hours. Each fish was identified to the species level and total length (TL) was estimated to the nearest centimeter. Fish biomass was estimated using the relationship between length (L) and weight (W) with the equation W = aLb. The data we provide can be used for coral reef fisheries management and for monitoring and evaluation of coral reef fishes in the Philippines particularly for the MPAs included in this dataset. These data support the information presented in the article Muallil et al., 2019.
Changes in the abundance and productivity of biological populations in the North Pacific have often been associated with large-scale modes of climate variability. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), which describes spatio-temporal variability in North Pacific sea surface temperature (SST), correlates with much of this variability. However, since the late 1980s, the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO) has explained an increasing proportion of variance in North Pacific climate properties. Ecological responses to this change in the proportion of variance ascribed to the two climate patterns remain poorly understood. Here, we test the hypothesis that relationships between biological time series and climate covariates (SST and the PDO) differ for nine Gulf of Alaska fish and crustacean populations before and after the late 1980s. Additionally, we evaluate whether non-stationary climate-biology relationships arose synchronously across populations as a community response. We used different formulations of Generalized Additive Models in a population and community context and compared results to the classical approach of aggregated population responses based on Principal Component Analysis (PCA). The results showed that climate-biology relationships weakened or reversed for most populations in the late 1980s, coinciding with the increase in variance of the NPGO. However, these non-stationary responses were highly species-specific and did not arise synchronously as a community response. We show that PCA does not represent community dynamics properly when only few species covary in time and exhibit long-term trends. Therefore, this approach might not be always useful to detect synchronous changes among biological time series as a community response. Novel associations among climate variables and novel climate-biology relationships are expected to become increasingly evident with future climate change, and the recognition of switches between different explanatory variable-response relationships may be critical for successful management of marine resources during transitions to these novel climate states.
A large retreat of sea-ice in the ‘stormy’ Atlantic Sector of the Arctic Ocean has become evident through a series of record minima for the winter maximum sea-ice extent since 2015. Results from the Norwegian young sea ICE (N-ICE2015) expedition, a five-month-long (Jan-Jun) drifting ice station in first and second year pack-ice north of Svalbard, showcase how sea-ice in this region is frequently affected by passing winter storms. Here we synthesise the interdisciplinary N-ICE2015 dataset, including independent observations of the atmosphere, snow, sea-ice, ocean, and ecosystem. We build upon recent results and illustrate the different mechanisms through which winter storms impact the coupled Arctic sea-ice system. These short-lived and episodic synoptic-scale events transport pulses of heat and moisture into the Arctic, which temporarily reduce radiative cooling and henceforth ice growth. Cumulative snowfall from each sequential storm deepens the snow pack and insulates the sea-ice, further inhibiting ice growth throughout the remaining winter season. Strong winds fracture the ice cover, enhance ocean-ice-atmosphere heat fluxes, and make the ice more susceptible to lateral melt. In conclusion, the legacy of Arctic winter storms for sea-ice and the ice-associated ecosystem in the Atlantic Sector lasts far beyond their short lifespan.
Incorporating ecosystem changes from non-indigenous species (NIS) is an important task of maritime spatial planning. Maritime spatial planning requires a framework that emphasises ecological functioning in a state of dynamic change, including changes to ecosystem services from functions introduced by new NIS. Adaptable modelling toolsets should be developed that can readily incorporate knowledge of new NIS. In the Baltic Sea, recent NIS examples are the North American mud crab Rhithropanopeus harrisii and the Ponto-Caspian round goby Neogobius melanostomus. We performed environmental niche modelling that predicted N. melanostomus will spread across large areas of the Baltic Sea coast while R. harrisii will be limited to regions with high temperature and low salinity conditions. We then performed a meta-analysis on literature showing effects in the Baltic Sea from these NIS and calculated the standardised effect-sizes on relevant ecosystem services. Half the impacts identified for N. melanostomus were considered to increase ecosystem service outcomes, while all R. harrisii impacts caused apparent decreases. Effect coefficients were incorporated into an online impact assessment tool developed by the Estonian Marine Institute. Users with or without science training can use the portal to estimate areas impacted and changes to natural assets (km2) caused by these NIS and cumulative effects from other pressure-types. Impact estimates are based on best available knowledge from manipulative and correlative experiments and thus form a link between science and management. Dynamic modelling techniques informed from varied ecological and methodological perspectives will effectively advise spatial planners about rapid maritime changes and mitigationactions to reduce NIS impacts especially in the focus areas.
In 2004, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly approved a Regular Process to report on the environmental, economic and social aspects of the world’s ocean. The Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects produced the first global integrated assessment of the marine environment in December 2016 (known as the first World Ocean Assessment). The second assessment, to be delivered in December 2020, will build on the baselines included in the first assessment, with a focus on establishing trends in the marine environment with relevance to global reporting needs such as those associated with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Central to the assessment process and its outputs are two components. First, is the utilization of ocean observation and monitoring outputs and research to temporally assess physical, chemical, biological, social, economic and cultural components of coastal and marine environments to establish their current state, impacts currently affecting coastal and marine environments, responses to those impacts and associated ongoing trends. Second, is the knowledge brokering of ocean observations and associated research to provide key information that can be utilized and applied to address management and policy needs at local, regional and global scales. Through identifying both knowledge gaps and capacity needs, the assessment process also provides direction to policy makers for the future development and deployment of sustained observation systems that are required for enhancing knowledge and supporting national aspirations associated with the sustainable development of coastal and marine ecosystems. Input from the ocean observation community, managers and policy makers is critical for ensuring that the vital information required for supporting the science policy interface objectives of the Regular Process is included in the assessment. This community white paper discusses developments in linking ocean observations and science with policy achieved as part of the assessment process, and those required for providing strategic linkages into the future.
Ocean monitoring will improve outcomes if ways of knowing and priorities from a range of interest groups are successfully integrated. Coastal Indigenous communities hold unique knowledge of the ocean gathered through many generations of inter-dependent living with marine ecosystems. Experiences and observations from living within that system have generated ongoing local and traditional ecological knowledge (LEK and TEK) and Indigenous knowledge (IK) upon which localized sustainable management strategies have been based. Consequently, a comprehensive approach to ocean monitoring should connect academic practices (“science”) and local community and Indigenous practices, encompassing “TEK, LEK, and IK.” This paper recommends research approaches and methods for connecting scientists, local communities, and IK holders and their respective knowledge systems, and priorities, to help improve marine ecosystem management. Case studies from Canada and New Zealand (NZ) highlight the emerging recognition of IK systems in natural resource management, policy and economic development. The in-depth case studies from Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) and the new Moana Project, NZ highlight real-world experiences connecting IK with scientific monitoring programs. Trial-tested recommendations for successful collaboration include practices for two-way knowledge sharing between scientists and communities, co-development of funding proposals, project plans and educational resources, mutually agreed installation of monitoring equipment, and ongoing sharing of data and research results. We recommend that future ocean monitoring research be conducted using cross-cultural and/or transdisciplinary approaches. Vast oceans and relatively limited monitoring data coupled with the urgency of a changing climate emphasize the need for all eyes possible providing new data and insights. Community members and ocean monitoring scientists in joint research teams are essential for increasing ocean information using diverse methods compared with previous scientific research. Research partnerships can also ensure impactful outcomes through improved understanding of community needs and priorities.
Climate change vulnerability research methods are often divergent, drawing from siloed biophysical risk approaches or social-contextual frameworks, lacking methods for integrative approaches. This substantial gap has been noted by scientists, policymakers and communities, inhibiting decision-makers’ capacity to implement adaptation policies responsive to both physical risks and social sensitivities. Aiming to contribute to the growing literature on integrated vulnerability approaches, we conceptualize and translate new integrative theoretical insights of vulnerability research to a scalable quantitative method. Piloted through a climate change vulnerability index for aviation and marine sectors in the Canadian Arctic, this study demonstrates an avenue of applying vulnerability concepts to assess both biophysical and social components analyzing future changes with linked RCP climate projections. The iterative process we outline is transferable and adaptable across the circumpolar north, as well as other global regions and shows that transportation vulnerability varies across Inuit regions depending on modeled hazards and transportation infrastructures.