Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a widely used and flexible policy tool to help preserve marine biodiversity. They range in size and governance complexity from small communally managed MPAs, to massive MPAs on the High Seas managed by multinational organizations. As of August 2018, the Atlas of Marine Protection (MPAtlas.org) had catalogued information on over 12,000 Marine Protected Areas. We analyzed this global database to determine groups of MPAs whose characteristics best distinguished the diversity of MPA attributes globally, based upon our comprehensive sample. Groups were identified by pairing a Principal Components Analysis (PCA) with a k-means cluster analysis using five variables; age of MPA, area of MPA, no-take area within MPA, latitude of the MPA's center, and Human Development Index (HDI) of the host country. Seven statistically distinct groups of MPAs emerged from this analysis and we describe and discuss the potential implications of their respective characteristics for MPA management. The analysis yields important insights into patterns and characteristics of MPAs around the world, including clusters of especially old MPAs (greater than 25 and 66 years of age), clusters distributed across nations with higher (HDI ≥ 0.827) or lower (HDI ≤ 0.827) levels of development, and majority no-take MPAs. Our findings also include statistical verification of Large Scale Marine Protected Areas (LSMPAs, approximately >180,000km2) and a sub-class of LSMPA's we call “Giant MPAs” (GMPAs, approximately >1,000,000km2). As a secondary outcome, future research may use the clusters identified in this paper to track variability in MPA performance indicators across clusters (e.g., biodiversity preservation/restoration, fish biomass) and thereby identify relationships between cluster and performance outcomes. MPA management can also be improved by creating communication networks that connect similarly clustered MPAs for sharing common challenges and best practices.
Climate change and dramatic change to ocean ecosystems are two of the leading indicators of the proposed ‘Anthropocene’ epoch. As knowledge of feedbacks between climate change and damage to ocean ecosystems has improved, the case for addressing these interrelated challenges concurrently has strengthened. This chapter begins by reviewing the relationship between climate change and the state of the ocean as explained in recent scientific publications. It proceeds from this to summarise how this ocean-climate nexus is addressed in current and developing international law, before focusing on three particular examples: first, regulation of international shipping emissions; second, management of coastal ecosystems (‘blue carbon’); and third, the current negotiation on a new treaty to protect the high seas. These three examples illustrate the diversity of regulation undertaken within a four-square matrix of processes under the Climate Convention, or under the Law of the Sea Convention, which are based on either mandatory commitments or non-binding facilitative measures. The chapter concludes that there are further opportunities to address ocean-climate feedbacks in a targeted and timely manner, including through additional linkages between UNFCCC- and UNCLOS-based processes.
Throughout the world coral reefs are being degraded at unprecedented rates. Locally, reefs are damaged by pollution, nutrient overload and sedimentation from out-dated land-use, fishing and mining practices. Globally, increased greenhouse gases are warming and acidifying oceans, making corals more susceptible to stress, bleaching and newly emerging diseases. The coupling of climate change impacts and local anthropogenic stressors has caused a widespread and well-recognized reef crisis. While the establishment and enforcement of marine protected areas and preventing the acceleration of climate change are essential to management of these stressors, the inexorable impacts of climate change will continue to cause declines in genetic diversity and population viability. Gamete cryopreservation has already acted as an effective insurance policy to maintain the genetic diversity of many wildlife species, and has now begun to be explored and applied to coral conservation. Cryopreservation can act to preserve reef biodiversity and genetic diversity. To date, we have had a great deal of success with cryopreserving sperm from ~30 coral species of coral species. Moreover, we are creating the basic science to freeze and thaw coral larvae that can soon be used to help secure and restore reefs. Building on these successes, we have established genetic banks using frozen samples and use those samples to help mitigate threats to the Great Barrier Reef and other areas.
Many oyster species are keystone species that help mitigate shoreline erosion, provide habitats for juvenile fishes, and improve water quality. A number of human-driven factors have led to a decline in their populations worldwide. This article focuses on the chemistry of a novel substrate (nutrient-enriched concrete, or NEC) used to induce settlement and colonization of wild diploid oyster spat and is divided into four sections: (1) composition of the bulk material used for oyster restoration, (2) nutrients added to stimulate growth of bacterial and or algal biofilms, (3) nutrients included for the recently settled oyster spat, and (4) the potential use of natural chemical defense systems to control predators and competing marine life. The goal is to develop a material that can be manufactured and used on a large scale.
The main objectives of this study are to determine the potential for relative resilience, identify the drivers of potential resilience and priority locations for resilience-based coral reef management in Wakatobi. Data collection locations are spread across four major Wakatobi islands: Wangi Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko at 5 m depth respectively. Coral reefs resilience assessment in Wakatobi consists of several stages: selecting indicators, collecting and compiling data, analyzing data, and identifying management targets. The highest potential for relative resilience in Wakatobi are station 15 with a value of 1.00 and the lowest is station 8 with a value of 0.69. Relative resilience in high category is 2 stations, med-high 7 stations, med-low 2 stations, and low 4 stations. Relative resilience in high category is able to be distinguished by the high values of bleaching resistant, herbivore biomass, coral cover, and supported by a high diversity of coral. The mid-high category is grouped by the contribution of indicator values coming from coral recruitment and coral diversity, as well as followed by two other indicators such as coral cover and alga cover. Last, the mid-low category and low category tend to be pushed by the low values of coral disease and followed by some other indicators like algae cover. Resilience approach to identify prioritizing stations for management actions is conservation (2 station), fishery management and enforcement (5 station), bleaching monitoring and supporting recovery (3 station), coral reef restoration (2 tation), tourism structuring (10 station), and Land-based sources of pollution reduction (5 station).
This paper applies the concept of cultural ecosystem services (CES) to reveal the diverse benefits the Baltic Sea provides to human well-being. The study identifies and defines relevant CES for marine and coastal environments and applies them in a survey with 4800 respondents from Germany, Finland and Latvia. The relative importance of various CES was determined by asking respondents to allocate 100 points between CES related to recreation, landscape, inspiration, learning and education, spiritual experiences and belonging, historically and culturally important places and the existence of habitats. The results reveal significant differences in the importance of various CES across countries, users and nonusers of the Baltic Sea, as well as respondents with different human–nature relationships. The results emphasize the importance of considering recreation, landscapes and habitats in conservation policies, while acknowledging that all CES are perceived as important by some population groups.
This presentation aims to consider the process of inclusion and development of science and technology in developed and industrialized countries based on the experience of Japan’s efforts as well as to present some observations on its prospects.
After the Meiji Restoration, Japan aimed at catching up with the Western Great Powers and pushed for the rapid modernization with “Wealth and military strength”. At that time, Japan was not only changing political systems drastically but also integrating the Western Great Powers’ advanced science and technology positively. As a result, in the days of World War I, Japan achieved entering permanent member of the League of Nations and came to occupy a big position globally. Although Japan was put under the control of allied powers, after the World War II, Japan planed integrating the overseas advanced technology again and will have current prosperity in one’s hand afterwards.
On the other hand, when we pay more attention abroad, the utilization of science and technology is essential to the right profit in the achievement of “Sustainable Development Goals” that is an action plan shown in “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” adopted in the United Nations General Assembly of September 2015.
In Japan, 3rd Basic Plan on Ocean Policy approved by the Cabinet in May 2018 prescribes about promoting measures such as “Improve scientific knowledge”, “Promote Arctic policy” and others based on science and technology. Therefore, we must consider modality of science and technology for save the ocean as Japan’s lifeline.
In this presentation, we will focus on inclusion and development of science and technology in Japan’s ocean policy and present modality of science and technology in developed and industrialized countries.
Carbon offsetting—receiving credit for reducing, avoiding, or sequestering carbon—has become part of the portfolio of solutions to mitigate carbon emissions, and thus climate change, through policy and voluntary markets, primarily by land-based re- or afforestation and preservation [1, 2]. However, land is limiting, creating interest in a rapidly growing aquatic farming sector of seaweed aquaculture [3–5]. Synthesizing data from scientific literature, we assess the extent and cost of scaling seaweed aquaculture to provide sufficient CO2eq sequestration for several climate change mitigation scenarios, with a focus on the food sector—a major source of greenhouse gases . Given known ecological constraints (nutrients and temperature), we found a substantial suitable area (ca. 48 million km2 ) for seaweed farming, which is largely unfarmed. Within its own industry, seaweed could create a carbon-neutral aquaculture sector with just 14% (mean = 25%) of current seaweed production (0.001% of suitable area). At a much larger scale, we find seaweed culturing extremely unlikely to offset global agriculture, in part due to production growth and cost constraints. Yet offsetting agriculture appears more feasible at a regional level, especially areas with strong climate policy, such as California (0.065% of suitable area). Importantly, seaweed farming can provide other benefits to coastlines affected by eutrophic, hypoxic, and/or acidic conditions [7, 8], creating opportunities for seaweed farming to act as ‘‘charismatic carbon’’ that serves multiple purposes. Seaweed offsetting is not the sole solution to climate change, but it provides an invaluable new tool for a more sustainable future.
Management of protected areas is as much about understanding how society values these resources as it is about understanding ecological processes. Yet, in comparison to standard ecosystem monitoring and economic evaluation, social values are frequently overlooked because of the challenge to measure and define them. As marine protected areas are currently the fastest growing protected area type, this article argues the need to incorporate social value assessment in planning and policy decisions to improve ecological and social outcomes. This study surveyed 675 white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) cage-dive participants to investigate how tourists' value the Neptune Islands group (Ron and Valerie Taylor) Marine Park. Applying a value typology previously used in forests, respondents were able to identify with 13 distinct values. Results demonstrate that tourists hold biocentric, indirect use, and nonconsumptive values of the marine park as most important. The relevance of these results as an indicator of tourists' preference for management decisions is discussed.
Tourism represents an important opportunity to provide sustainable funding for many ecosystems, including marine systems. Tourism that is reliant on aggregating predator species in a specific area using food provisioning raises questions about the long-term ecological impacts to the ecosystem at large? Here, using opportunistically collected video footage, we document that 61 different species of fish across 16 families are consuming tuna flesh at two separate shark dive tourism operations in the Republic of Fiji. Of these fish, we have resolved 55 to species level. Notably, 35 (63%) of the identified species we observed consuming tuna flesh were from ostensibly non-piscivorous fishes, including four Acanthuridae species, a group primarily recognized as browsers or grazers of algae and epibenthic detritus. Our results indicate that shark diving is having a direct impact on species other than sharks and that many species are facultatively expanding their trophic niches to accommodate the hyperabundance of resources provided by ecotourism.
Infectious diseases are potential contributors to decline in Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) populations. Although pathogens are theoretically considered to pose higher risk in high-density rearing environments like hatcheries, there is no direct evidence that hatchery-origin Coho salmon increase the transmission of infectious agents to sympatric wild populations. This study was undertaken to compare prevalence, burden, and diversity of infectious agents between hatchery-reared and wild juvenile Coho salmon in British Columbia (BC), Canada. In total, 2,655 juvenile Coho salmon were collected between 2008 and 2018 from four regions of freshwater and saltwater in BC. High-throughput microfluidics qPCR was employed for simultaneous detection of 36 infectious agents from mixed-tissue samples (gill, brain, heart, liver, and kidney). Thirty-one agents were detected at least once, including ten with prevalence >5%. Candidatus Brachiomonas cysticola, Paraneuclospora theridion, and Parvicapsula pseudobranchiocola were the most prevalent agents. Diversity and burden of infectious agents were substantially higher in marine environment than in freshwater. In Mainland BC, infectious burden and diversity were significantly lower in hatchery smolts than in wild counterparts, whereas in other regions, there were no significant differences. Observed differences in freshwater were predominantly driven by three parasites, Loma salmonae, Myxobolus arcticus, and Parvicapsula kabatai. In saltwater, there were no consistent differences in agent prevalence between hatchery and wild fish shared among the west and east coasts of Vancouver Island. Although some agents showed differential infectious patterns between regions, annual variations likely contributed to this signal. Our findings do not support the hypothesis that hatchery smolts carry higher burdens of infectious agents than conspecific wild fish, reducing the potential risk of transfer to wild smolts at this life stage. Moreover, we provide a baseline of infectious agents in juvenile Coho salmon that will be used in future research and modeling potential correlations between infectious profiles and marine survival.
A changing climate is driving increasingly common and prolonged marine heatwaves (MHWs) and these extreme events have now been widely documented to severely impact marine ecosystems globally. However, MHWs have rarely been considered when examining temperature-induced degradation of coral reef ecosystems. Here we consider extreme, localized thermal anomalies, nested within broader increases in sea surface temperature, which fulfill the definitive criteria for MHWs. These acute and intense events, referred to here as MHW hotspots, are not always well represented in the current framework used to describe coral bleaching, but do have distinct ecological outcomes, including widespread bleaching, and rapid mass mortality of putatively thermally tolerant coral species. The physical drivers of these localized hotspots are discussed here, and in doing so we present a comprehensive theoretical framework that links the biological responses of the coral photo-endosymbiotic organism to extreme thermal stress and ecological changes on reefs as a consequence of MHW hotspots. We describe how the rapid onset of high temperatures drives immediate heat-stress induced cellular damage, overwhelming mechanisms that would otherwise mitigate the impact of gradually accumulated thermal stress. The warm environment, and increased light penetration of the coral skeleton due to the loss of coral tissues, coupled with coral tissue decay support rapid microbial growth in the skeletal microenvironment, resulting in the widely unrecognized consequence of rapid decay, and degeneration of the coral skeletons. This accelerated degeneration of coral skeletons on a reef scale hinder the recovery of coral populations and increase the likelihood of phase shifts toward algal dominance. We suggest that MHW hotspots, through driving rapid heat-induced mortality, compromise reefs’ structural frameworks to the detriment of long term recovery. We propose that MHW hotspots be considered as a distinct class of thermal stress events in coral reefs, and that the current framework used to describe coral bleaching and mass mortality be expanded to include these. We urge further research into how coral mortality affects bioerosion by coral endoliths.
It is well-established that phytoplankton growth can be limited by the vanishingly low concentrations of dissolved iron found in large areas of the open ocean. However, the availability of iron is not typically considered an important factor in the ecology of marine animals, including fish. Here, we compile observations to show that the iron contents of lower trophic level organisms in iron-limited regions can be an order of magnitude less than the iron contents of most fish. Although this shortfall could theoretically be overcome if iron assimilation rates were very high in fish, observations suggest this is not the case, consistent with the high recommended iron contents for mariculture feed. In addition, we highlight two occurrences among fish living in iron-poor regions that would conceivably be beneficial given iron scarcity: the absence of hemoglobin in Antarctic icefish, and the anadromous life history of salmon. Based on these multiple lines of evidence, we suggest that the iron content of lower trophic level organisms can be insufficient to support many fish species throughout their life cycles in iron-poor oceanic regions. We then use a global satellite-based estimate of fishing effort to show that relatively little fishing activity occurs in high nitrate low chlorophyll (HNLC) regions, the most readily identified iron-poor domains of the ocean, particularly when compared to satellite-based estimates of primary production and the observed mesozooplankton biomass in those waters. The low fishing effort is consistent with a low abundance of epipelagic fish in iron-limited regions, though other factors are likely to contribute as well. Our results imply that the importance of iron nutrition extends well beyond plankton and plays a role in the ecology of large marine animals.
Passive acoustics is a tool to monitor behavior, distributions, and biomass of marine invertebrates, fish, and mammals. Typically, fixed passive acoustic monitoring platforms are deployed, using a priori knowledge of the location of the target vocal species. Here, we demonstrate the ability to conduct coastal surveys of fish choruses, spatially mapping their distributions with an autonomous surface vehicle. For this study, we used an autonomous Liquid Robotics Wave Glider SV3 equipped with a Remora-ST underwater acoustic recorder and hydrophone. The exploratory 15-day deployment transited through three marine reserves, resulting in approx. 200 h of passive acoustic recordings, and revealed five distinct fish choruses from La Jolla to Capistrano Beach, CA (approx. 80 km separation), each with unique acoustic signatures. Choruses occurred in the evening hours, typically in the 40 to 1000 Hz band. There was a lack of both temporal and frequency partitioning amongst the choruses, but some choruses exhibited distinct spatial niches by latitude and water temperature. These results suggest that the mobility of the Wave Glider allows for persistent surveys and studies that otherwise may be too challenging or costly for stationary or ship-based sensors; a critical consideration for documenting biological activity over large spatiotemporal scales, or sampling of nearshore marine reserves.
We recently demonstrated the rapid adaptation of Red Sea phytoplankton to ocean warming, with associated constraints on physiological performance. However, the possible tradeoff between thermal adaptation and the organism's tolerance to other environmental drivers in a warmer future remains understudied. Here, we designed an evolutionary selection environment where the Red Sea diatom Chaetoceros tenuissimus was adapted to ambient (26°C) and warming (30°C) temperature scenarios for over 2,000 generations. These strains were subsequently exposed to a range of copper (Cu) dose over three assay temperatures (26, 30, and 35°C), to assess whether adaptation to experimental warming is accompanied by a reformed tolerance to toxic pollutants. Most previous studies on Cu toxicity in marine phytoplankton were conducted within a smaller range of temperature (20–25°C), indicating the need for further assessments to reveal the potential complex interactive effects between pollutants and more significant warming in the future. The acute Cu toxicity was estimated in terms of reduction in cell abundance (cells mL−1), growth rate (μ) and PSII photosynthetic efficiency (Fv/Fm), with 48 h median effective concentration values (EC50) ranging from 2.22 to 20.19 μg L−1. We found a statistically significant interaction between assay temperature, selection temperature, and Cu doses in all the criteria tested. However, under the extreme warming scenario (35°C), the Cu sensitivity was significantly reduced, indicating cumulative antagonistic effects between these factors. Adaptation of phytoplankton to higher temperatures may help maintain their heavy metal tolerance, although a shift in temperature during the tests clearly altered their sensitivities. We conclude that selection for warming had made cells more resistant to Cu at the selection temperature in comparison to ambient-adapted population tested at 26°C. However, in warming-adapted cells, this response was traded off against cupper resistance at 26°C.
People benefit from the existence of forage fish through a wide range of uses, both direct and indirect. However, due to lack of data and gaps in existing research, the commercial importance of these species tends to get prioritized over the wider benefits they provide to society and the environment. This paper aims to identify all the multiple beneficiaries of forage fish and present their global value that encompasses different categories of benefits using both quantitative and qualitative methods. By adopting the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment framework, we estimated the global economic benefit provided by forage fish to be $18.7 billion per annum, over three times of their direct catch value. This is a partial estimate due to data limitation. We demonstrated the importance of forage fish to the livelihoods of coastal communities by providing direct employment to 5.6 million fishermen globally. The analysis also explored the important role forage fish plays by addressing the nutritional needs of indigenous and coastal communities, and their role in shaping the culture and customs - the significance of all of which cannot be captured by money values alone. We concluded that attempts to capture the economic values of forage fish are likely to be underestimates of the true value that forage fish hold for humans and other interlinked ecosystems. Understanding the true value of forage fish is important to avoid inadvertently making undesirable tradeoffs or management decisions that are environmentally and economically unsustainable.
The increasing technological efficiency of harvesting equipment has been identified as one of the main causes of overcapacity and overexploitation of natural resources. In this paper, a formal model is developed which studies the effects of technological efficiency as an endogenous variable within a bioeconomic system. We model capital investments in a fishery, where investment decisions are made less frequently than the allocation of variable inputs. We study how the possibility to invest in capital affects open access dynamics, and also the evolution of cooperative harvesting norms. We find that the possibility to make large capital investments can destabilize cooperation, especially if enforcement capacity is low. Further, we find that communities can preserve cooperation by agreeing on a resource level that is lower than socially-optimal. This reduces the incentive to deviate from the cooperative strategy and invest in capital.
In 2012, California completed its marine protected area (MPA) planning and designation process, yielding a network of 124 MPAs from the Mexican border to Oregon. The management effort that has followed is comprehensive and strategic, with a focus on scientific monitoring, interagency coordination, public education and outreach, and enforcement. Initial monitoring results show more and bigger fish, especially in older MPAs where the benefits of limiting fishing have had longer to accrue. Today, California state agencies increasingly acknowledge and contemplate MPA protections in their permitting decisions, as regional and statewide outreach and education efforts enhance public awareness, social capital and stewardship. While enforcement remains challenging in a marine region as large and populous as California, the state has taken important steps to promote compliance with new MPA regulations and—with the support of the state legislature—has strengthened laws to address poaching. As new MPAs are established throughout the world in accordance with global targets, California's post-designation efforts provide a valuable and educational case study for local, national and international MPA managers.
Coral reefs are periodically impacted by disturbance events that reduce live coral cover and habitat complexity, with concomitant effects on fish assemblage structure. While the density of some fish species may increase following coral loss, most species decline. Determining which species are ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ following disturbances is fundamental to inform projections of future reef community structure, biodiversity, and productivity. Here, we analyse a long-term (2006–2018), spatially extensive (≈ 700 km) ‘natural experiment’ in which the responses of 11 wrasse taxa to acute disturbance events and no-take marine reserve (NTMR) protection were quantified on fringing coral reefs in the Palm (18°34′ S, 146°29′ E), Whitsunday (20°08′ S, 148°56′ E), and Keppel Island (23°10′ S, 150°57′ E) groups, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. The responses of wrasse densities to benthic habitat change were taxa specific and temporally consistent. Disturbance-mediated reductions in live hard coral cover and/or habitat complexity resulted in density declines for Hemigymnus melapterus, Hemigymnus fasciatus, Cheilinus fasciatus, Labroides spp., Oxycheilinus digramma, and Thalassoma spp. Conversely, Halichoeres spp. densities correlated positively with increased relative cover of sand and rubble, while Stethojulis spp., Anampses spp., Epibulus insidiator, and Bodianus spp. displayed variable responses to habitat changes. No wrasses exhibited an NTMR effect and predator density, irrespective of NTMR status, only influenced five taxa across all island groups. The lack of NTMR effects and variable top-down predator effects suggest that taxa-specific benthic habitat associations were the predominant drivers of wrasse densities on inshore GBR reefs.
The historical background of the establishment and development of Marine Policy is briefly considered, followed by an overview of the methodology employed in the analysis of the journal content spanning the four decades from January 1977 to December 2016. There follows an account of the three phases in the development of the journal, which in turn forms the basis for a discussion of the content primarily based upon fundamental groupings of sea uses. The paper concludes by highlighting the major themes emerging in terms of the relationships between marine policy as a field of academic inquiry on the one hand and how this is reflected in the content of Marine Policy on the other; overall patterns in the publication of the papers; and the nature and balance of coverage of the topics covered by the journal. These three considerations form the basis of selection of the 21 papers of this Virtual Special Issue.