Most literature exploring the biological effects of ocean acidification (OA) has focused on macroscopic organisms and far less is known about how marine microbial communities will respond. Studies of OA and microbial community composition and diversity have examined communities from a limited number of ocean regions where the ambient pH is near or above the global average. At San Juan Island (Salish Sea), a region that experiences naturally low pH (average = 7.8), the picoplankton (cell diameter is 0.2–2μm) community was predicted to show no response to experimental acidification in a three-week mesocosm experiment. Filtered seawater mesocosms were maintained via semicontinuous culturing. Three control mesocosms were maintained at pH 8.05 and three acidified mesocosms were maintained at pH 7.60. Total bacteria was quantified daily with a flow cytometer. Microbial communities were sampled every two days via filtration followed by DNA extraction, 16S rRNA amplification, and MiSeq sequencing. There was no significant difference in total bacteria between pH treatments throughout the experiment. Acidification significantly reduced Shannon’s diversity over time. During the final week of the experiment, acidification resulted in a significant decrease in Shannon’s diversity, Faith’s phylogenetic distance, and Pielous’s Evenness. ANCOM results revealed four bacterial ASVs (amplicon sequence variants), in families Flavobaceriaceae and Hyphomonadaceae that significantly decreased in relative frequency under acidification and two bacterial ASVs, in families Flavobacteriaceae and Alteromonadaceae, that significantly increased under acidification. This is the first OA study on the microbial community of the Salish Sea, a nutrient rich, low pH region, and the first of its kind to report a decrease in both picoplankton richness and evenness with acidification. These findings demonstrate that marine microbial communities that naturally experience acidic conditions are still sensitive to acidification.
Understanding impacts of global warming on phytoplankton–the foundation of marine ecosystems–is critical to predicting changes in future biodiversity, ocean productivity, and ultimately fisheries production. Using phytoplankton community abundance and environmental data that span ∼90 years (1931–2019) from a long-term Pacific Ocean coastal station off Sydney, Australia, we examined the response of the phytoplankton community to long-term ocean warming using the Community Temperature Index (CTI), an index of the preferred temperature of a community. With warming of ∼1.8°C at the site since 1931, we found a significant increase in the CTI from 1931–1932 to 2009–2019, suggesting that the relative proportion of warm-water to cold-water species has increased. The CTI also showed a clear seasonal cycle, with highest values at the end of austral summer (February/March) and lowest at the end of winter (August/September), a pattern well supported by other studies at this location. The shift in CTI was a consequence of the decline in the relative abundance of the cool-affinity (optimal temperature = 18.7°C), chain-forming diatom Asterionellopsis glacialis (40% in 1931–1932 to 13% in 2009 onward), and a substantial increase in the warm-affinity (21.5°C), also chain-forming diatom Leptocylindrus danicus (20% in 1931–1932 to 57% in 2009 onward). L. danicus reproduces rapidly, forms resting spores under nutrient depletion, and displays a wide thermal range. Species such as L. danicus may provide a glimpse of the functional traits necessary to be a “winner” under climate change.
Human activities are changing ecosystems at an unprecedented rate, yet large-scale studies into how local human impacts alter natural systems and interact with other aspects of global change are still lacking. Here we provide empirical evidence that local human impacts fundamentally alter relationships between ecological communities and environmental drivers. Using tropical coral reefs as a study system, we investigated the influence of contrasting levels of local human impact using a spatially extensive dataset spanning 62 outer reefs around inhabited Pacific islands. We tested how local human impacts (low versus high determined using a threshold of 25 people km−2 reef) affected benthic community (i) structure, and (ii) relationships with environmental predictors using pre-defined models and model selection tools. Data on reef depth, benthic assemblages, and herbivorous fish communities were collected from field surveys. Additional data on thermal stress, storm exposure, and market gravity (a function of human population size and reef accessibility) were extracted from public repositories. Findings revealed that reefs subject to high local human impact were characterised by relatively more turf algae (>10% higher mean absolute coverage) and lower live coral cover (9% less mean absolute coverage) than reefs subject to low local human impact, but had similar macroalgal cover and coral morphological composition. Models based on spatio-physical predictors were significantly more accurate in explaining the variation of benthic assemblages at sites with low (mean adjusted-R2 = 0.35) rather than high local human impact, where relationships became much weaker (mean adjusted-R2 = 0.10). Model selection procedures also identified a distinct shift in the relative importance of different herbivorous fish functional groups in explaining benthic communities depending on the local human impact level. These results demonstrate that local human impacts alter natural systems and indicate that projecting climate change impacts may be particularly challenging at reefs close to higher human populations, where dependency and pressure on ecosystem services are highest.
The temperate seagrass species eelgrass Zostera marina can be infected by the wasting disease pathogen Labyrinthula zosterae, which is believed to have killed about 90% of the seagrass in the Atlantic Ocean in the 1930s. It is not known why this opportunistic pathogen sometimes becomes virulent, but the recurrent outbreaks may be due to a weakening of the Z. marina plants from adverse environmental changes. This study investigated the individual and interactive effects of multiple extrinsic factors (temperature, light, and tissue damage) on the host-pathogen interaction between Z. marina and L. zosterae in a fully crossed infection experiment. The degree of infection was measured as both lesion coverage and L. zosterae cell concentration. We also investigated if the treatment factors affect the chemical defense of the host, measured as the inhibitory capacity of seagrass extracts in bioassays with L. zosterae. Finally, gene expression of a set of targeted genes was quantified in order to investigate how the treatments change Z. marina’s response to infection. Light had a pronounced effect on L. zosterae infection measured as lesion coverage, where reduced light conditions increased lesions by 35%. The response to light on L. zosterae cell concentration was more complex and showed significant interaction with the temperature treatment. Cell concentration was also significantly affected by physical damage, where damage surprisingly resulted in a reduced cell concentration of the pathogen. No treatment factor caused detectable decrease in the inhibitory capacity of the seagrass extracts. There were several interactive effects between L. zosterae infection and the treatment factors on Z. marina growth, and on the expression of genes associated with immune defense, phenol synthesis and primary metabolism, showing that the molecular reaction toward L. zosterae infection depends on prevailing environmental conditions. Our study shows that individual or interactive effects of light, temperature and tissue damage can affect multiple aspects of host-pathogen interactions in seagrasses. These results highlight the complexity of marine host-pathogen systems, showing that more multi-factorial investigations are needed to gain a better understanding of disease in marine plants under different environmental conditions.
Illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing is a major contributor to global overfishing, threatening food security, maritime livelihoods, and fisheries sustainability. An emerging narrative in the literature posits that IUU fishing is associated with additional organized criminal activities, such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, slavery, and arms smuggling. We explored this narrative through a systematic literature review to identify the empirical evidence of the association between illegal fisheries activities and organized crimes. Here we show that there is minimal evidence of organized crimes being linked to IUU fishing. Due to the covert nature of both organized crime and IUU fishing, we supplemented the literature review with analysis of media reports on illegal fishing from 2015 to 2019. We reviewed more than 330 individual media reports from 21 countries. From this database, < 2% reported crimes associated with illegal fishing. The predominantly associated crime mentioned were violations of worker's rights, forced labor and/or modern slavery. We resolve the contradiction between the common narrative that fisheries and other crimes are linked by presenting three distinct business models for maritime criminal activities. These models explain why certain crimes such as forced labor are associated with illegal fishing, while other crimes such as trafficking or smuggling are less likely to be linked to fishing activities. By disentangling these crimes from one another we can better focus on solutions to reduce illegal behavior on the sea, protect those vulnerable to fisheries exploitation, and enhance livelihoods and social well-being.
In South Australia, discrete populations of bottlenose dolphins inhabit two large gulfs, where key threats and population estimates have been identified. Climate change, habitat disturbance (shipping and noise pollution), fishery interactions and epizootic events have been identified as the key threats facing these populations. The Population Consequences of Disturbance (PCoD) framework has been developed to understand how disturbances can influence population dynamics. We used population estimates combined with population specific bioenergetics models to undertake a partial PCoD assessment, comparing how the two populations respond to the identified regional threats. Populations were modeled over a 5 year period looking at the influence of each disturbance separately. As expected, the most extreme epizootic and climate change disturbance scenarios with high frequency and intensity had the biggest influence on population trends. However, the magnitude of the effect differed by population, with Spencer Gulf showing a 43% and Gulf St Vincent a 23% decline under high frequency and high impact epizootic scenarios. Epizootic events were seen to have the strongest influence on population trends and reproductive parameters for both populations, followed by climate change. PCoD modeling provides insights into how disturbances may affect different populations and informs management on how to mitigate potential effects while there is still time to act.
For Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to be effective in conservation their zoning and management needs to be based on scientific data. Obtaining information on spatio-temporal occurrence patterns of cetaceans can be especially challenging. This study used platforms of opportunity (i.e., fishing monitoring vessels) from May 2004 to May 2012 as a cost-effective way to address this knowledge gap in the Wakatobi National Park (WNP) at the heart of Coral Triangle, an important area for cetaceans in Indonesia. A database was created of cetacean sightings per surveyed days at sea, allowing for an analysis of species diversity and habitat use around the islands. Of the 11 cetacean species identified, spinner and bottlenose dolphins were sighted most often, followed by melon-headed and sperm whales. Spinner dolphin showed a wide distribution in the area, whilst bottlenose dolphin and melon-headed whale occupied the waters between the main islands and south atolls. Sperm whales occurred mostly in waters north of the main islands and as melon-headed whales, mostly in deep waters. Most cetacean sightings occurred in the zones designated for human use, indicating where potential conflicts might occur. No sightings were found in the Park core zone, suggesting a mismatch between WNP design and the cetacean ecological needs. Based on a sub-sample of the dedicated fishing monitoring sightings a sighting frequency was derived. Small and large cetaceans were reported mostly during inter-monsoonal seasons, possibly related to increased prey availability due to seasonal upwelling and increased survey activity. Inter-annual occurrence of cetaceans was variable, with no large cetaceans being sighted in 2010–2012, likely due to reduced survey efforts. In areas with limited resources for designated surveys, the use of platforms of opportunity can be a cost-effective tool to provide valuable data on cetacean occurrence. While data collection protocols in the WNP can be improved further, the results presented here already help identify potentially important areas as well as highlight where to direct designated research efforts. We advise to protect currently unprotected cetacean important habitats, and strictly regulate human activities in the current use zones for future WNP rezoning processes.
The use of small cetaceans as bait is a practice that has been reported worldwide, affecting the conservation status of vulnerable species. In Peru specifically, it has been documented since at least the late 1990s. Here we document the various contemporary uses of small cetaceans, including targeted capture for subsequent use as fishing bait. We designed a survey addressing fishery characteristics, bycatch and the use as bait of small cetaceans, and the history of these practice. We surveyed 147 fishers based in the four Peruvian ports of Paita, Salaverry, Pucusana, and Ilo and held in-depth interviews with 12 fishers from Salaverry and Pucusana. Results from our surveys show that the majority of fishers have had small cetacean bycatch while fishing and that bycaught individuals in gillnets are commonly found dead (Salaverry: 100% of fishers, Pucusana: 58%) whereas in longlines small cetaceans are found alive (Paita: 74%, Ilo: 53%). We found that the use of dolphins as bait is still common in both gillnet and longline shark fisheries along the coast of Peru and that it is more frequent in northern ports. Gillnet fishers reported using one to four dolphins as bait per trip (10–15 sets) from bycatch events and discarding the rest if they have excessive bycatch, while longline fishers reported using 10–20 dolphins per fishing trip from either direct take by harpooning or the exchange of carcasses from gillnet vessels. Bycatch and use as bait mainly affects four species, the dusky, bottlenose and common dolphins and the Burmeister’s porpoise. We identified three drivers of the use of dolphins as bait: effectiveness, availability and cost. These factors will have to be addressed in parallel if this practice is to be reduced. We recommend combining legislative and community-led strategies to reduce bait use and thus further the conservation of small cetacean populations in the southeastern Pacific Ocean.
Negative impacts of global climate change are predicted for a range of taxa. Projections predict marked increases in sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification (OA), arguably placing calcifying organisms at most risk. While detrimental impacts of environmental change on the growth and ultrastructure of bivalve mollusk shells have been shown, rapid and diel fluctuations in pH typical of coastal systems are often not considered. Mytilus edulis, an economically important marine calcifier vulnerable to climate change, were exposed to current and future OA (380 and 1000 ppm pCO2), warming (17 and 20°C), and ocean acidification and warming (OAW) scenarios in a seawater system incorporating natural fluctuations in pH. Both macroscopic morphometrics (length, width, height, volume) and microscopic changes in the crystalline structure of shells (ultrastructure) using electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) were measured over time. Increases in seawater temperature and OAW scenarios led to increased and decreased shell growth respectively and on marginal changes in cavity volumes. Shell crystal matrices became disordered shifting toward preferred alignment under elevated temperatures indicating restricted growth, whereas Mytilus grown under OAW scenarios maintained single crystal fabrics suggesting OA may ameliorate some of the negative consequences of temperature increases. However, both elevated temperature and OAW led to significant increases in crystal size (grain area and diameter) and misorientation frequencies, suggesting a propensity toward increased shell brittleness. Results suggest adult Mytilus may become more susceptible to biological determinants of survival in the future, altering ecosystem structure and functioning.
Dissolution of anthropogenic CO2 into the oceans results in ocean acidification (OA), altering marine chemistry with consequences for primary, secondary, and tertiary food web producers. Here we examine how OA could affect the food quality of primary producers and subsequent trophic transfer to second and tertiary producers. Changes in food quality induced by OA are often related to secondary metabolites in primary producers, such as enriched phenolics in microalgae and iodine in brown algae. These biomolecules can then be transferred to secondary producers, potentially affecting seafood quality and other marine ecosystem services. Furthermore, shifts in dominant functional groups of primary producers under the influence of OA would also impact higher trophic levels through food web interactions. It is challenging to understand how these complex food chain effects of OA may be expressed under the influence of fluctuating environments or multiple drivers, and how these effects can be scaled up through marine food webs to humans.
Like most ocean regions today, the European and contiguous seas experience cumulative impacts from local human activities and global pressures. They are largely in poor environmental condition with deteriorating trends. Despite several success stories, European policies for marine conservation fall short of being effective. Acknowledging the challenges for marine conservation, a 4-year multi-national network, MarCons, supported collaborative marine conservation efforts to bridge the gap between science, management and policy, aiming to contribute in reversing present negative trends. By consolidating a large network of more than 100 scientists from 26 countries, and conducting a series of workshops over 4 years (2016–2020), MarCons analyzed challenges, opportunities and obstacles for advancing marine conservation in the European and contiguous seas. Here, we synthesize the major issues that emerged from this analysis and make 12 key recommendations for policy makers, marine managers, and researchers. To increase the effectiveness of marine conservation planning, we recommend (1) designing coherent networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the framework of marine spatial planning (MSP) and applying systematic conservation planning principles, including re-evaluation of existing management zones, (2) designing MPA networks within a broader transboundary planning framework, and (3) implementing integrated land-freshwater-sea approaches. To address inadequate or poorly informed management, we recommend (4) developing and implementing adaptive management plans in all sites of the Natura 2000 European conservation network and revising the Natura 2000 framework, (5) embedding and implementing cumulative effects assessments into a risk management process and making them operational, and (6) promoting actions to reach ‘good environmental status’ in all European waters. To account for global change in conservation planning and management, we further recommend (7) developing conservation strategies to address the impacts of global change, for example identifying climate-change refugia as high priority conservation areas, and (8) incorporating biological invasions in conservation plans and prioritizing management actions to control invasive species. Finally, to improve current practices that may compromise the effectiveness of conservation actions, we recommend (9) reinforcing the collection of high-quality open-access data, (10) improving mechanisms for public participation in MPA planning and management, (11) prioritizing conservation goals in full collaboration with stakeholders, and (12) addressing gender inequality in marine sciences and conservation.
Traditional marine governance can create inferior results. Management decisions customarily reflect fluctuating political priorities and formidable special-interest influence. Governments face distrust and conflicts of interest. Industries face fluctuating or confusing rules. Communities feel disenfranchised to affect change. The marine environment exhibits the impacts. While perceived harm to diverse values and priorities, disputed facts and legal questions create conflict, informed and empowered public engagement prepares governments to forge socially legitimate and environmentally acceptable decisions. Integrity, transparency and inclusiveness matter. This article examines positive contributions engaged communities can make to marine governance and relates it to social license. Social license suffers critique as vague and manufactured. Here its traditional understanding as extra-legal approval that communities give to resource choices is broadened to include a legally sanctioned power to deliberate—social license to engage. The starting hypothesis rests in the legal tradition designating oceans as public assets for which governments hold fiduciary duties of sustainable management benefiting current and future generations. The public trust doctrine houses this legal custom. A procedural due process right for engaged communities should stem from this public-asset classification and afford marine stakeholders standing to ensure management policy accords with doctrinal principles. The (free), prior, informed consent participation standard provides best practice for engaged decision-making. Building on theories from law, social, and political science, we suggest robust public deliberation provides marine use actors methods to earn and sustain their social license to operate, while governmental legitimacy is bolstered by assuring public engagement opportunities are available and protected with outcomes utilized.
Decision support tools (DSTs), like models, GIS-based planning tools and assessment tools, play an important role in incorporating scientific information into decision-making and facilitating policy implementation. In an interdisciplinary Baltic research group, we compiled 43 DSTs developed to support ecosystem-based management of the Baltic Sea and conducted a thorough review. Analyzed DSTs cover a wide variety of policy issues (e.g., eutrophication, biodiversity, human uses) and address environmental as well as socio-economic aspects. In this study, we aim to identify gaps between existing DSTs and end-user needs for DSTs for supporting coastal and marine policy implementation, and to provide recommendations for future DST development. In two online surveys, we assess the awareness and use of DSTs in general, as well as policy implementation challenges and DST needs of representatives of public authorities from all Baltic countries, in particular. Through a policy review we identify major policy issues, policies, and general implementation steps and requirements and develop the synthesis-matrix, which is used to compare DST demand and supply. Our results show that DSTs are predominantly used by researchers. End-users from public authorities use DSTs mostly as background information. Major obstacles for DST use are lacking awareness and experiences. DST demand is strongest for the policy issue eutrophication. Furthermore, DSTs that support the development of plans or programs of measures and assess their impacts and effectiveness are needed. DST supply is low for recently emerging topics, such as non-indigenous species, marine litter, and underwater noise. To overcome existing obstacles, a common database for DSTs available in the BSR is needed. Furthermore, end-users need guidance and training, and cooperation between DST developers and end-users needs to be enhanced to ensure the practical relevance of DSTs for supporting coastal and marine policy implementation. To fill existing gaps, DSTs that address impacts on human welfare and link environmental and socio-economic aspects should be developed. The Baltic Sea Region serves as a best practice case for studying DSTs and their practical use. Hence, our results can provide insights for DST development in other marine regions. Furthermore, our methodological approach is transferable to other areas.
Since half a century ago, the number and area of dead zones (dissolved oxygen (DO) < 2 mg L–1 or 30% saturation) in the coastal oceans has increased dramatically. As widely recognized, the increased terrestrial nutrient and organic matter inputs are the two main factors causing the eutrophication of many coastal oceans. Here we show with decadal observed time series data from stations off the Pearl River Estuary and in the northern South China Sea (nSCS) that a strong intrusion into the nSCS of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) seawater in the form of Kuroshio branch occurred during the warm phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) around 2003–2004 and 2015–2016 (also a strong El Niño event). Consequently, the DO concentration increased but NO3– and PO43– concentrations decreased in the subsurface layers of the nSCS. The WPS seawater was observed to reach the hypoxic area off the Pearl River Estuary in 2003–2004. Likely, due to the oxygen supply carried by the Kuroshio, little hypoxia developed. Yet, anoxic condition developed in the cold phase of PDO or strong La Niña years with weak Kuroshio intrusions.
This study evaluated two approaches to the aquaculture of Limulus polyphemus with the ultimate goal of harvesting Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) at an industrial scale. To monitor Horseshoe crabs (HSCs), a combination of physical, biochemical and cellular components were examined for HSC cohorts in an indoor recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) and an outdoor on-bottom pen culture system (PCS) over a 6-month period. The metrics included body weight, hemocyanin (Hc) concentration, amebocyte density, and LAL reactivity. In addition, a simulated biomedical bleeding event (extracting 30% of the total hemolymph volume) was performed to assess the impact on physiochemical properties of the hemolymph and amebocytes. Overall, the HSCs fared better in the RAS compared to the PCS, with higher rebound kinetics with respect to Hc, amebocyte density, LAL reactivity, and with 100% survival in the RAS cohort. Further, hemolymph reinfusion (after amebocyte removal) was shown to improve HSC recovery time. In summary, outcomes of this research show that a RAS, coupled with adequate nutrition and monitoring can provide HSCs with a suitable environment for sustainable hemolymph extraction and year-round LAL production.
Considerable effort is being deployed to predict the impacts of climate change and anthropogenic activities on the ocean's biophysical environment, biodiversity, and natural resources to better understand how marine ecosystems and provided services to humans are likely to change and explore alternative pathways and options. We present an updated version of EcoOcean (v2), a spatial-temporal ecosystem modeling complex of the global ocean that spans food-web dynamics from primary producers to top predators. Advancements include an enhanced ability to reproduce spatial-temporal ecosystem dynamics by linking species productivity, distributions, and trophic interactions to the impacts of climate change and worldwide fisheries. The updated modeling platform is used to simulate past and future scenarios of change, where we quantify the impacts of alternative configurations of the ecological model, responses to climate-change scenarios, and the additional impacts of fishing. Climate-change scenarios are obtained from two Earth-System Models (ESMs, GFDL-ESM2M, and IPSL-CMA5-LR) and two contrasting emission pathways (RCPs 2.6 and 8.5) for historical (1950–2005) and future (2006–2100) periods. Standardized ecological indicators and biomasses of selected species groups are used to compare simulations. Results show how future ecological trajectories are sensitive to alternative configurations of EcoOcean, and yield moderate differences when looking at ecological indicators and larger differences for biomasses of species groups. Ecological trajectories are also sensitive to environmental drivers from alternative ESM outputs and RCPs, and show spatial variability and more severe changes when IPSL and RCP 8.5 are used. Under a non-fishing configuration, larger organisms show decreasing trends, while smaller organisms show mixed or increasing results. Fishing intensifies the negative effects predicted by climate change, again stronger under IPSL and RCP 8.5, which results in stronger biomass declines for species already losing under climate change, or dampened positive impacts for those increasing. Several species groups that win under climate change become losers under combined impacts, while only a few (small benthopelagic fish and cephalopods) species are projected to show positive biomass changes under cumulative impacts. EcoOcean v2 can contribute to the quantification of cumulative impact assessments of multiple stressors and of plausible ocean-based solutions to prevent, mitigate and adapt to global change.
Norwegian salmon farming has grown tremendously over the last 50 years, and it now constitutes around 75% of the country's total seafood export value. The grow-out phase typically takes place in coastal waters. There are ambitions for continued strong growth. Five years ago, a survey revealed that the fish farmers saw the lack of available sea area as the industry's greatest challenge for continued growth. This paper examines the current and future situation for area use, needs and availability, for salmon farming in Norway. The paper considers several possible changes that can influence this, including the coastal zone planning system, new technologies for offshore, land-based and closed salmon farming, and new tax-schemes that affect the distribution of burdens and benefits from salmon farming. The main finding is that central government has several options available, if it would like to prioritise aquaculture in terms of access to coastal waters.
However, this would imply a full-scale overhaul of the present allocation system, as well as a dramatic change of the current planning system, which in turn means challenging local democracy – not a very likely development under the current political circumstances. This leaves the industry with two options; to reduce salmon lice, emissions and escapes and to increase legitimacy on all levels, and by granting the local municipalities a larger share of the enormous value creation seen in the salmon sector.
While the ambitious plans of doubling production by 2030 and increase it five times by 2050 certainly will require more and better coastal aquaculture localities, the actual extent of area shortage will to a large degree depend on the development of new production models; land-based, offshore, contained net pens and the production of large smolt. Success in these endeavours, could also have an impact on global production of salmon, by opening the market for new actors, thus reducing the Norwegian share and the profitability of the industry.
Distally deposited tephra from explosive volcanic eruptions can be a powerful tool for precise dating and correlation of sedimentary archives and landforms. However, the morphostratigraphic and chronological potential of ocean-rafted pumice has been under-utilized considering its long observational history and widespread distribution on modern and palaeo-shorelines around the world. Here we analyze the geochemical composition and elevation data of 60 samples of ocean-rafted pumice collected since 1958 from raised beaches on Svalbard. Comparison of pumice data with postglacial relative sea-level history suggests eight distinct pumice rafting events throughout the North Atlantic during the Middle and Late Holocene. Analyzed ocean-rafted pumice exhibit consistent silicic composition characteristic of deposits from Iceland’s volcanic system, Katla. Eruption-triggered jökulhlaups are key drivers of the transport of pumice from the Katla caldera to beyond the coast of Iceland and into the surface currents of the North Atlantic Ocean. Thus, the correlation of distinct, high-concentration pumice horizons from Katla deposited along raised Middle Holocene beach ridges in Svalbard further advocates for the persistence of the Mýrdalsjökull ice cap through the Holocene thermal maximum.
Microplastic (MP) contamination has been well documented across a range of habitats and for a large number of organisms in the marine environment. Consequently, bioaccumulation, and in particular biomagnification of MPs and associated chemical additives, are often inferred to occur in marine food webs. Presented here are the results of a systematic literature review to examine whether current, published findings support the premise that MPs and associated chemical additives bioaccumulate and biomagnify across a general marine food web. First, field and laboratory-derived contamination data on marine species were standardised by sample size from a total of 116 publications. Second, following assignment of each species to one of five main trophic levels, the average uptake of MPs and of associated chemical additives was estimated across all species within each level. These uptake data within and across the five trophic levels were then critically examined for any evidence of bioaccumulation and biomagnification. Findings corroborate previous studies that MP bioaccumulation occurs within each trophic level, while current evidence around bioaccumulation of associated chemical additives is much more ambiguous. In contrast, MP biomagnification across a general marine food web is not supported by current field observations, while results from the few laboratory studies supporting trophic transfer are hampered by using unrealistic exposure conditions. Further, a lack of both field and laboratory data precludes an examination of potential trophic transfer and biomagnification of chemical additives associated with MPs. Combined, these findings indicate that, although bioaccumulation of MPs occurs within trophic levels, no clear sign of MP biomagnification in situ was observed at the higher trophic levels. Recommendations for future studies to focus on investigating ingestion, retention and depuration rates for MPs and chemical additives under environmentally realistic conditions, and on examining the potential of multi-level trophic transfer for MPs and chemical additives have been made.
Coral bleaching driven by ocean warming is one of the most visible ecological impacts of climate change and perhaps the greatest threat to the persistence of reefs in the coming decades. In the absence of returning atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations to those compatible with ocean temperatures below the mass coral bleaching temperature thresholds, the most straightforward means to reduce thermal-stress induced bleaching is to cool water at the seabed. The feasibility of reducing the seabed temperature through cool-water injections is considered first by analysing the feasibility of doing so on 19 reefs with differing physical environments using a simple residence time metric in 200 m resolution hydrodynamic model configurations. We then concentrate on the reefs around Lizard Island, the most promising candidate of the 19 locations, and develop a 40 m hydrodynamic model to investigate the effect of the injection of cool water at differing volumetric rates. Injecting 27°C seawater at a rate of 5 m3 s−1 at 4 sites in early 2017 cooled 97 ha of the reef by 0.15°C or more. The power required to pump 5 m3 s−1 through a set of pipes over a distance of 3 km from a nearby channel is ∼466 kW. This power applied at 4 sites for 3 months achieves a 2 Degree Heating Weeks (DHWs) reduction on 97 ha of reef. A more precise energy costing will require further expert engineering design of the pumping equipment and energy sources. Even for the most physically favourable reefs, cool-water transported through pipes and injected at a reef site is energy expensive and cannot be scaled up to any meaningful fraction of the 3,100 reefs of the GBR. Should priority be given to reducing thermal stress on one or a few high value reefs, this paper provides a framework to identify the most promising sites.