In Easter Island, most of fisheries regulations are top-down implemented by the central fisheries authority located ~4000 km eastwards. This could generate problems in regulations compliance, given the cultural differences between the western worldview and Polynesian culture of Easter Island. A total of 18 issues that must be considered previously to an intervention in the island were identified. Four of them scored the highest difference between Rapanui and public services representatives. Among them, “Integrating traditions and culture” had a little priority for the public services representatives, but was the most important for the Rapanui. According to the public services representatives in Easter Island and local fishermen, there is a little compliance with regulations related to fisheries and, due to cultural aspects, it is not possible to enforce regulations and apply sanctions. The low compliance with fisheries regulations is due to the lack of representativeness of regulations. Interventions in the island are based on western worldview that does not fit with social and ecological domains of social-ecological system. A flexible governance system, based on decision making at local level in line with local tradition is needed to navigate to a resource management and conservation in Easter Island.
This literature review encompasses more than one-hundred and sixty worldwide studies on artificial reefs (ARs) in terms of their design, application, performance and management. Over the past three decades, research on ARs has increased remarkably, suggesting an increase in social and economic aspects of ARs. The scope of AR research has largely expanded from early AR design and deployment to improve fisheries to various additional purposes. In particular, recent research on ARs has had a tendency to focus on variations in the community structure or composition of ARs, suggesting that the purpose of AR research has shifted from improving fisheries as a resource to rehabilitation of marine ecosystems. Most countries are expected to make active use of AR functions, even if the objective of deployment might be different for each case. Consequently, AR research will most likely expand and evolve to span multiple purposes in the future.
During the past decade, global environmental policy discussions have encouraged countries to engage in an ecosystem approach to managing the oceans. An ecosystem approach involves the integrated management of species, other natural services, and the multiple uses of the coast. Improving ecosystem based management efforts requires a better understanding of how it is included within national level policies that influence marine resource management. Chile has committed to implement international recommendations to include ecosystem based management. This study operationalizes an approach to assess the extent to which ecosystem based management is being implemented at national scales through the synthesis of agenda setting documents and national level policy/regulatory responses. The study specifically searches for ecosystem based management principles, as defined by the Convention of Biological Diversity in State of the Nation presidential speeches, national sectorial policies, national decrees and national programs issued between 1990 and 2014 (n = 1335 documents). Results show that although national level policies in Chile increasingly share common grounds with ecosystem based management principles, the overall approach is poorly mainstreamed into agenda setting speeches and reports. Working with existing institutional settings and institutional capacity are key features to maintain trajectories for the implementation of ecosystem based management in national policies. The approach presented complements research on marine policy implementation by effectively informing how national level policies can be analyzed under the lens of ecosystem based management.
Increasingly, marine renewable energy developments are viewed as an opportunity to meet climate change obligations, with the added benefit of powering the economy and the creation of jobs. Technical, economic and engineering challenges co-exist with governance challenges in the development of large-scale marine renewable energy projects. This paper addresses the question, if the prerequisites for sustainable project development are evident in selected case studies. It also asks what lessons can be learned from current practice in the context of energy governance at the local level. The authors argue that these lessons can be central enablers to support decision makers in future programmes, to better understand how to build the enabling conditions for programme implementation towards renewable energy at higher spatial scales of governance, importantly the national level. The study builds on a multiple stakeholder approach involving interviews and group discussions with key individuals from industry, government and civil society in emerging pilot programmes along the East Coast of the United States (U.S.). New policy windows were opening at the time of the analysis and ambitious development was underway by a range of actors who are driving progress in the sector and positioning the area to become a major provider of blue energy.
Fisheries represent a fundamental resource linking social and ecological systems. Yet, unsustainable fishing regimes prevail across many tropical regions as a result of growing consumer demand and market expansion. Using the extensive reef-fish trade between Chuuk and Guam (Micronesia) as a case study, we examined 12 years of commercial reef-fish export data to capture both inter-annual and intra-annual trends. Reef-fish exports from Chuuk increased steadily between 2003 and 2010 fueled by increasing demand on Guam, but declined sharply from 2010 to 2014 as export costs grew and profit margins were reduced. Intra-annual examinations furthered that low winds and new moon periods were the strongest drivers of daily exports during the initial years of the study, but the governmental disbursement of food-stamp allowances on Guam became the strongest driver in later years when profit margins were lower. Seasonal cycles were also influential, as exports within each year peaked during the Catholic lent season. In sum, the Chuuk-Guam reef-fish trade industry became increasingly dependent on opportunistic demand from Guam, while environmental regimes evolved to become secondary drivers of export volume. The ability to meet foreign demand may suggest a sustainable fishery in Chuuk, however, mounting evidence suggests that consistent supply to international markets masks growing, unsustainable harvesting regimes. Dwindling profits may lead to instability in Guam’s fresh reef-fish trade industry, and also suggested uncertain futures for Chuuk fishers, Guam retailers, and a society dependent on healthy protein. We last compared the sequential expansion of Guam’s reef-fish acquisition footprint across the Indo-Pacific with expansions reported for the Hong Kong live reef food fish trade industry, highlighting the growing impacts of population centers on small-scale coral-reef fisheries as markets globalize.
The freshwater–marine transition that characterizes an estuarine system can provide multiple entry options for invading species, yet the relative importance of this gradient in determining the functional contribution of invading species has received little attention. The ecological consequences of species invasion are routinely evaluated within a freshwater versus marine context, even though many invasive species can inhabit a wide range of salinities. We investigate the functional consequences of different sizes of Corbicula fluminea—an invasive species able to adapt to a wide range of temperatures and salinity—across the freshwater–marine transition in the presence versus absence of warming. Specifically, we characterize how C. fluminea affect fluid and particle transport, important processes in mediating nutrient cycling (NH4-N, NO3-N, PO4-P). Results showed that sediment particle reworking (bioturbation) tends to be influenced by size and to a lesser extent, temperature and salinity; nutrient concentrations are influenced by different interactions between all variables (salinity, temperature, and size class). Our findings demonstrate the highly context-dependent nature of the ecosystem consequences of invasion and highlight the potential for species to simultaneously occupy multiple components of an ecosystem. Recognizing of this aspect of invasibility is fundamental to management and conservation efforts, particularly as freshwater and marine systems tend to be compartmentalized rather than be treated as a contiguous unit. We conclude that more comprehensive appreciation of the distribution of invasive species across adjacent habitats and different seasons is urgently needed to allow the true extent of biological introductions, and their ecological consequences, to be fully realized.
The Coral Triangle (CT) region of the Indo-Pacific realm harbors an extraordinary number of species, with richness decreasing away from this biodiversity hotspot. Despite multiple competing hypotheses, the dynamics underlying this regional diversity pattern remain poorly understood. Here, we use a time-calibrated evolutionary tree of living reef coral species, their current geographic ranges, and model-based estimates of regional rates of speciation, extinction, and geographic range shifts to show that origination rates within the CT are lower than in surrounding regions, a result inconsistent with the long-standing center of origin hypothesis. Furthermore, endemism of coral species in the CT is low, and the CT endemics are older than relatives found outside this region. Overall, our model results suggest that the high diversity of reef corals in the CT is largely due to range expansions into this region of species that evolved elsewhere. These findings strongly support the notion that geographic range shifts play a critical role in generating species diversity gradients. They also show that preserving the processes that gave rise to the striking diversity of corals in the CT requires protecting not just reefs within the hotspot, but also those in the surrounding areas.
Anthropogenic activities have led to the biotic homogenization of many ecological communities, yet in coastal systems this phenomenon remains understudied. In particular, activities that locally affect marine habitat-forming foundation species may perturb habitat and promote species with generalist, opportunistic traits, in turn affecting spatial patterns of biodiversity. Here, we quantified fish diversity in seagrass communities across 89 sites spanning 6° latitude along the Pacific coast of Canada, to test the hypothesis that anthropogenic disturbances homogenize (i.e., lower beta-diversity) assemblages within coastal ecosystems. We test for patterns of biotic homogenization at sites within different anthropogenic disturbance categories (low, medium, high) at two spatial scales (within and across regions) using both abundance- and incidence-based beta-diversity metrics. Our models provide clear evidence that fish communities in high anthropogenic disturbance seagrass areas are homogenized relative to those in low disturbance areas. These results were consistent across within-region comparisons using abundance- and incidence-based measures of beta-diversity, and in across-region comparisons using incidence-based measures. Physical and biotic characteristics of seagrass meadows also influenced fish beta-diversity. Biotic habitat characteristics including seagrass biomass and shoot density were more differentiated amongst high disturbance sites, potentially indicative of a perturbed environment. Indicator species and trait analyses revealed fishes associated with low disturbance sites had characteristics including stenotopy, lower swimming ability, and egg guarding behaviour. Our study is the first to show biotic homogenization of fishes across seagrass meadows within areas of relatively high human impact. These results support the importance of targeting conservation efforts in low anthropogenic disturbance areas across land- and seascapes, as well as managing anthropogenic impacts in high activity areas.
For conservation science to effectively inform management, research must focus on creating the scientific knowledge required to solve conservation problems. We identified research questions that, if answered, would increase the effectiveness of conservation and natural resource management practice and policy in Oceania's small-island developing states. We asked conservation professionals from academia, governmental, and nongovernmental organizations across the region to propose such questions and then identify which were of high priority in an online survey. We compared the high-priority questions with research questions identified globally and for other regions. Of 270 questions proposed by respondents, 38 were considered high priority, including: What are the highest priority areas for conservation in the face of increasing resource demand and climate change? How should marine protected areas be networked to account for connectivity and climate change? What are the most effective fisheries management policies that contribute to sustainable coral reef fisheries? High-priority questions related to the particular challenges of undertaking conservation on small-island developing states and the need for a research agenda that is responsive to the sociocultural context of Oceania. Research priorities for Oceania relative to elsewhere were broadly similar but differed in specific issues relevant to particular conservation contexts. These differences emphasize the importance of involving local practitioners in the identification of research priorities. Priorities were reasonably well aligned among sectoral groups. Only a few questions were widely considered answered, which may indicate a smaller-than-expected knowledge-action gap. We believe these questions can be used to strengthen research collaborations between scientists and practitioners working to further conservation and natural resource management in this region.
The Arctic Ocean and its surrounding shelf seas are warming much faster than the global average, which potentially opens up new distribution areas for temperate-origin marine phytoplankton. Using over three decades of continuous satellite observations, we show that increased inflow and temperature of Atlantic waters in the Barents Sea resulted in a striking poleward shift in the distribution of blooms of Emiliania huxleyi, a marine calcifying phytoplankton species. This species’ blooms are typically associated with temperate waters and have expanded north to 76°N, five degrees further north of its first bloom occurrence in 1989. E. huxleyi's blooms keep pace with the changing climate of the Barents Sea, namely ocean warming and shifts in the position of the Polar Front, resulting in an exceptionally rapid range shift compared to what is generally detected in the marine realm. We propose that as the Eurasian Basin of the Arctic Ocean further atlantifies and ocean temperatures continue to rise, E. huxleyi and other temperate-origin phytoplankton, could well become resident bloom formers in the Arctic Ocean.
Mortality of fish has been reported in tide pools during warm days. That means that tide pools are potential ecological traps for coastal organisms, which happen when environmental changes cause maladaptive habitat selection. Heat-waves are predicted to increase in intensity, duration and frequency, making it relevant to investigate the role of tide pools as traps for coastal organisms. However, heat waves can also lead to acclimatization. If organisms undergo acclimatization prior to being trapped in tide pools, their survival chances may increase. Common tide pool species (46 species in total) were collected at a tropical and a temperate area and their upper thermal limits estimated. They were maintained for 10 days at their mean summer sea surface temperature +3°C, mimicking a heat-wave. Their upper thermal limits were estimated again, after this acclimation period, to calculate each species’ acclimation response. The upper thermal limits of the organisms were compared to the temperatures attained by tide pool waters to investigate if 1) tide pools could be considered ecological traps and 2) if the increase in upper thermal limits elicited by the acclimation period could make the organisms less vulnerable to this threat. Tropical tide pools were found to be ecological traps for an important number of common coastal species, given that they can attain temperatures higher than the upper thermal limits of most of those species. Tide pools are not ecological traps in temperate zones. Tropical species have higher thermal limits than temperate species, but lower acclimation response, that does not allow them to survive the maximum habitat temperature of tropical tide pools. This way, tropical coastal organisms seem to be, not only more vulnerable to climate warming per se, but also to an increase in the ecological trap effect of tide pools.
Global change has been acknowledged as one of the main threats to the biosphere and its provision of ecosystem services, especially in marine ecosystems. Seagrasses play a critical ecological role in coastal ecosystems, but their responses to ocean acidification (OA) and climate change are not well understood. There have been previous studies focused on the effects of OA, but the outcome of interactions with co-factors predicted to alter during climate change still needs to be addressed. For example, the impact of higher CO2 and different hydrodynamic regimes on seagrass performance remains unknown. We studied the effects of OA under different current velocities on productivity of the seagrass Zostera noltei, using changes in dissolved oxygen as a proxy for the seagrass carbon metabolism, and release of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in a four-week experiment using an open-water outdoor mesocosm. Under current pH conditions, increasing current velocity had a positive effect on productivity, but this depended on shoot density. However, this positive effect of current velocity disappeared under OA conditions. OA conditions led to a significant increase in gross production rate and respiration, suggesting that Z. noltei is carbon-limited under the current inorganic carbon concentration of seawater. In addition, an increase in non-structural carbohydrates was found, which may lead to better growing conditions and higher resilience in seagrasses subjected to environmental stress. Regarding DOC flux, a direct and positive relationship was found between current velocity and DOC release, both under current pH and OA conditions. We conclude that OA and high current velocity may lead to favourable growth scenarios for Z. noltei populations, increasing their productivity, non-structural carbohydrate concentrations and DOC release. Our results add new dimensions to predictions on how seagrass ecosystems will respond to climate change, with important implications for the resilience and conservation of these threatened ecosystems.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an authoritative and influential source of reports on climate change. The lead authors of IPCC reports include scientists from around the world, but questions have been raised about the dominance of specific disciplines in the report and the disproportionate number of scholars from the Global North. In this paper, we analyze the as-yet-unexamined issue of gender and IPCC authorship, looking at changes in gender balance over time and analyzing women’s views about their experience and barriers to full participation, not only as women but also at the intersection of nationality, race, command of English, and discipline. Over time, we show that the proportion of female IPCC authors has seen a modest increase from less than 5% in 1990 to more than 20% in the most recent assessment reports. Based on responses from over 100 women IPCC authors, we find that many women report a positive experience in the way in which they are treated and in their ability to influence the report, although others report that some women were poorly represented and heard. We suggest that an intersectional lens is important: not all women experience the same obstacles: they face multiple and diverse barriers associated with social identifiers such as race, nationality, command of English, and disciplinary affiliation. The scientific community benefits from including all scientists, including women and those from the Global South. This paper documents barriers to participation and identifies opportunities to diversify climate science.
To design effective marine reserves and support fisheries, more information on fishing patterns and impacts for targeted species is needed, as well as better understanding of their key habitats. However, fishing impacts vary geographically and are difficult to disentangle from other factors that influence targeted fish distributions. We developed a set of fishing effort and habitat layers at high resolution and employed machine learning techniques to create regional-scale seascape models and predictive maps of biomass and body length of targeted reef fishes for the main Hawaiian Islands. Spatial patterns of fishing effort were shown to be highly variable and seascape models indicated a low threshold beyond which targeted fish assemblages were severely impacted. Topographic complexity, exposure, depth, and wave power were identified as key habitat variables which influenced targeted fish distributions and defined productive habitats for reef fisheries. High targeted reef fish biomass and body length were found in areas not easily accessed by humans, while model predictions when fishing effort was set to zero showed these high values to be more widely dispersed among suitable habitats. By comparing current targeted fish distributions with those predicted when fishing effort was removed, areas with high recovery potential on each island were revealed, with average biomass recovery of 517% and mean body length increases of 59% on Oahu, the most heavily fished island. Spatial protection of these areas would aid recovery of nearshore coral reef fisheries.
Plastic preproduction pellets are found in environmental samples all over the world and their presence is often linked to spills during production and transportation. To better understand how these pellets end up in the environment we assessed the release of plastic pellets from a polyethylene production site in a case study area on the Swedish west coast. The case study encompasses; field measurements to evaluate the level of pollution and pathways, models and drifters to investigate the potential spread and a revision of the legal framework and the company permits. This case study show that millions of pellets are released from the production site annually but also that there are national and international legal frameworks that if implemented could help prevent these spills. Bearing in mind the negative effects observed by plastic pollution there is an urgent need to increase the responsibility and accountability of these spills.
The South Pacific bay scallop Argopecten purpuratus represents a high-value species harvested along the Peruvian and Chilean coastline for more than 60 years. Following the strong El Niño event of 1983/84, both countries experienced a boom in scallop fisheries, but catches dropped as soon as environmental conditions normalized. Aquaculture production began in Chile, which dominated the Latin American scallop market in the 1990s. Peruvian production remained small until the early 2000s, but has increased dramatically ever since, with a single location in northern Peru, Sechura Bay, contributing most (50%) to the Latin American scallop production. We review the historical trends of this species’ production and analyse the ecological and socio-economic factors that have favoured Sechura Bay's progress, and largely displaced Chilean production through dominance of the market. Advantageous environmental conditions in Sechura Bay (e.g. low water depths, higher temperatures, high natural seed supply) result in improved scallop growth and production, and the socio-economic factors, causing lower operational costs than those of the Chilean production favoured this development. The bottom-up initiation of aquaculture operations by small-scale producers likely created a personal incentive for the long-term sustainable use, which differs from the more industrialized aquaculture activities in Chile.
We review the status of marine shellfish ecosystems formed primarily by bivalves in Australia, including: identifying ecosystem-forming species, assessing their historical and current extent, causes for decline and past and present management. Fourteen species of bivalves were identified as developing complex, three-dimensional reef or bed ecosystems in intertidal and subtidal areas across tropical, subtropical and temperate Australia. A dramatic decline in the extent and condition of Australia’s two most common shellfish ecosystems, developed by Saccostrea glomerata and Ostrea angasi oysters, occurred during the mid-1800s to early 1900s in concurrence with extensive harvesting for food and lime production, ecosystem modification, disease outbreaks and a decline in water quality. Out of 118 historical locations containing O. angasi-developed ecosystems, only one location still contains the ecosystem whilst only six locations are known to still contain S. glomerata-developed ecosystems out of 60 historical locations. Ecosystems developed by the introduced oyster Crasostrea gigas are likely to be increasing in extent, whilst data on the remaining 11 ecosystem-forming species are limited, preventing a detailed assessment of their current ecosystem-forming status. Our analysis identifies that current knowledge on extent, physical characteristics, biodiversity and ecosystem services of Australian shellfish ecosystems is extremely limited. Despite the limited information on shellfish ecosystems, a number of restoration projects have recently been initiated across Australia and we propose a number of existing government policies and conservation mechanisms, if enacted, would readily serve to support the future conservation and recovery of Australia’s shellfish ecosystems.
The siting of protected areas to achieve management and conservation objectives draws heavily on biogeographic concepts of the spatial distribution and connectivity of species. However, the marine protected area (MPA) literature rarely acknowledges how biogeographic theories underpin MPA and MPA network design. We review which theories from biogeography have been incorporated into marine spatial planning and which relevant concepts have yet to be translated to inform the next generation of design principles. This biogeographic perspective will only become more relevant as climate change amplifies these spatial and temporal dynamics, and as species begin to shift in and out of existing MPAs. The scale of climate velocities predicted for the 21st century dwarfs all but the largest MPAs currently in place, raising the possibility that in coming decades many MPAs will no longer contain the species or assemblages they were established to protect. We present a number of design elements that could improve the success of MPAs and MPA networks in light of biogeographic processes and climate change. Biogeographically informed MPA networks of the future may resemble the habitat corridors currently being considered for many terrestrial regions.
Offshore wind farms (OWF) form an important part of many countries strategy for responding to the threat of climate change, their development can conflict with other offshore activities. Static gear fisheries targeting sedentary benthic species are particularly affected by spatial management that involves exclusion of fishers. Here we investigate the ecological effect of a short-term closure of a European lobster (Homarus gammarus (L.)) fishing ground, facilitated by the development of the Westermost Rough OWF located on the north-east coast of the United Kingdom. We also investigate the effects on the population when the site is reopened on completion of the construction. We find that temporary closure offers some respite for adult animals and leads to increases in abundance and size of the target species in that area. Reopening of the site to fishing exploitation saw a decrease in catch rates and size structure, this did not reach levels below that of the surrounding area. Opening the site to exploitation allows the fishery to recuperate some of the economic loss during the closure. We suggest that our results may indicate that temporary closures of selected areas may be beneficial and offer a management option for lobster fisheries.
Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is defined as an integrated and comprehensive approach to ocean governance. Planning has the potential to ensure ecosystem and biodiversity conservation and establish rational use of marine space, combining activities relating to extraction industries, maritime transport, fisheries and related services and infrastructure. This article looks at what part transnational and national marine spatial planning can play in the Arctic. There is no international convention on marine spatial planning, and there are no requirements under international law that marine plans, as such, should be prescribed by law. MSP-regulation in different jurisdictions is diversified. It is difficult to claim that the international rights and obligations of a state under UNCLOS, CBD or regional instruments such as OSPAR, need to be fulfilled through the instrument of marine spatial planning. The comprehensive EU approach to marine planning is thus of particular interest. The EU members Denmark, Finland and Sweden do not have coastlines bordering the Arctic. EU has no direct influence over the regulation of marine spatial planning in Arctic marine areas through its relationship to Greenland or Norway, states with a close connection to the EU. The status of marine spatial planning in the European Arctic is thus dependent on the policies of Norway, Greenland and Russia. It is an open question whether spatial planning will be used for preventive and precautionary purposes in the Arctic, before the area is overwhelmed by marine activities and spatial conflicts.