Literature Library

Currently indexing 6891 titles

Comparison of marine debris data collected by researchers and citizen scientists: Is citizen science data worth the effort?

van der Velde T, Milton DA, Lawson TJ, Wilcox C, Lansdell M, Davis G, Perkins G, Hardesty BDenise. Comparison of marine debris data collected by researchers and citizen scientists: Is citizen science data worth the effort?. Biological Conservation [Internet]. 2017 ;208:127 - 138. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320716302063
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $35.95
Type: Journal Article

As part of a national research program studying the sources, distribution, and effects of litter entering the ocean, we established a national citizen science program engaging nearly 7000 primary and secondary students, teachers and corporate participants in collecting marine debris data around Australia's coastline. Citizen scientists undertook a one-day training program, which addressed data collection skills and academic topics in the national science curriculum. A subset of teachers and corporate sponsor staff participated in an intensive multi-day training program with researchers before venturing into the field.

Data collected by citizen scientists were compared with data collected by researchers at nearby locations. We found the citizen science data were of equivalent quality to those collected by researchers, but there were differences among students. Primary school students detected more debris than did older secondary students. Students detected small items (< 1 cm2), and were as accurate as researchers in identifying debris type and size categories. However, sampling approach was important — students detected more debris during quadrat searches than during strip transects. Comparing researcher effort to volunteer-collected data, citizen scientists were often more efficient (per m2) than researchers at collecting marine debris, but the results varied among methods. Researchers made more surveys within a given day (0.8 surveys/person-day). However, participants of one day programs working with secondary students or adults were nearly as efficient (0.6 surveys/person-day). This study shows that engaging with citizen scientists can broaden the coverage and increase the sampling power of coastal litter and other ecological survey assessments without compromising the data.

Distribution and importance of microplastics in the marine environment: A review of the sources, fate, effects, and potential solutions

Auta HS, Emenike CU, Fauziah SH. Distribution and importance of microplastics in the marine environment: A review of the sources, fate, effects, and potential solutions. Environment International [Internet]. 2017 ;102:165 - 176. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016041201631011X
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $39.95
Type: Journal Article

The presence of microplastics in the marine environment poses a great threat to the entire ecosystem and has received much attention lately as the presence has greatly impacted oceans, lakes, seas, rivers, coastal areas and even the Polar Regions. Microplastics are found in most commonly utilized products (primary microplastics), or may originate from the fragmentation of larger plastic debris (secondary microplastics). The material enters the marine environment through terrestrial and land-based activities, especially via runoffs and is known to have great impact on marine organisms as studies have shown that large numbers of marine organisms have been affected by microplastics. Microplastic particles have been found distributed in large numbers in Africa, Asia, Southeast Asia, India, South Africa, North America, and in Europe. This review describes the sources and global distribution of microplastics in the environment, the fate and impact on marine biota, especially the food chain. Furthermore, the control measures discussed are those mapped out by both national and international environmental organizations for combating the impact from microplastics. Identifying the main sources of microplastic pollution in the environment and creating awareness through education at the public, private, and government sectors will go a long way in reducing the entry of microplastics into the environment. Also, knowing the associated behavioral mechanisms will enable better understanding of the impacts for the marine environment. However, a more promising and environmentally safe approach could be provided by exploiting the potentials of microorganisms, especially those of marine origin that can degrade microplastics.

A 3000 year record of Caribbean reef urchin communities reveals causes and consequences of long-term decline in Diadema antillarum

Cramer KL, O’Dea A, Carpenter C, Norris RD. A 3000 year record of Caribbean reef urchin communities reveals causes and consequences of long-term decline in Diadema antillarum. Ecography [Internet]. 2017 . Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ecog.02513/abstract
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $38.00
Type: Journal Article

Urchins are the last abundant grazers of macroalgae on most Caribbean reefs following the historical overexploitation of herbivorous fishes. The long-spined urchin Diadema antillarum was particularly effective at controlling macroalgae and facilitating coral dominance on Caribbean reefs until its ecological extinction from a catastrophic disease epidemic in the early 1980s. Despite their important role in the structure and functioning of Caribbean reef ecosystems, the natural dynamics of Caribbean reef urchin communities are poorly known due to the paucity of ecological survey data prior to large-scale human disturbances and the Diadema dieoff. To help resolve the baseline abundances and ecological roles of common urchin taxa, we track changes in urchin abundance and composition over the past 3000 yr from analysis of subfossil urchin spines preserved in reef matrix cores collected in Caribbean Panama. Echinometra consistently dominated the subfossil spine assemblage, while Diadema was consistently rare in the subfossil record in this region. Rather than increasing during a period of heightened human exploitation of their fish competitors and predators, Diadema began declining over a millennium ago. Convergent cross mapping (CCM) causality analyses reveal that Diadema abundance is causally related to coral community composition. Diadema is negatively affected by Acropora cervicornis dominance, likely due to the tight association between this coral and the threespot damselfish, an effective Diadema competitor. Conversely, Diadema positively affects the abundance of the coral Madracis mirabilis, possibly via its control of macroalgae. Causal relationships were not detected among abundances of individual urchin taxa, indicating that inter-specific echinoid competition is not a factor limiting Diadema recovery. Our detailed record of prehistorical and historical urchin community dynamics suggests that the failure of Diadema to recover over 30 yr after its mass mortality event may be due in part to the prey release of damselfish following the long-term overfishing of piscivorous fishes.

Multi-hazard assessment in Europe under climate change

Forzieri G, Feyen L, Russo S, Vousdoukas M, Alfieri L, Outten S, Migliavacca M, Bianchi A, Rojas R, Cid A. Multi-hazard assessment in Europe under climate change. Climatic Change [Internet]. 2016 ;137(1-2):105 - 119. Available from: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-016-1661-x
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
Yes
Type: Journal Article

While reported losses of climate-related hazards are at historically high levels, climate change is likely to enhance the risk posed by extreme weather events. Several regions are likely to be exposed to multiple climate hazards, yet their modeling in a joint scheme is still at the early stages. A multi-hazard framework to map exposure to multiple climate extremes in Europe along the twenty-first century is hereby presented. Using an ensemble of climate projections, changes in the frequency of heat and cold waves, river and coastal flooding, streamflow droughts, wildfires and windstorms are evaluated. Corresponding variations in expected annual exposure allow for a quantitative comparison of hazards described by different process characteristics and metrics. Projected changes in exposure depict important variations in hazard scenarios, especially those linked to rising temperatures, and spatial patterns largely modulated by local climate conditions. Results show that Europe will likely face a progressive increase in overall climate hazard with a prominent spatial gradient towards south-western regions mainly driven by the rise of heat waves, droughts and wildfires. Key hotspots emerge particularly along coastlines and in floodplains, often highly populated and economically pivotal, where floods and windstorms could be critical in combination with other climate hazards. Projected increases in exposure will be larger for very extreme events due to their pronounced changes in frequency. Results of this appraisal provide useful input for forthcoming European disaster risk and adaptation policy.

Far-field connectivity of the UK's four largest marine protected areas: Four of a kind?

Robinson J, New AL, Popova EE, Srokosz MA, Yool A. Far-field connectivity of the UK's four largest marine protected areas: Four of a kind?. Earth's Future [Internet]. 2017 . Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016EF000516/abstract
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are established to conserve important ecosystems and protect marine species threatened in the wider ocean. However, even MPAs in remote areas are not wholly isolated from anthropogenic impacts. “Upstream” activities, possibly thousands of kilometers away, can influence MPAs through ocean currents that determine their connectivity. Persistent pollutants, such as plastics, can be transported from neighboring shelf regions to MPAs, or an ecosystem may be affected if larval dispersal is reduced from a seemingly remote upstream area. Thus, improved understanding of exactly where upstream is, and on what timescale it is connected, is important for protecting and monitoring MPAs. Here, we use a high-resolution (1/12°) ocean general circulation model and Lagrangian particle tracking to diagnose the connectivity of four of the UK's largest MPAs: Pitcairn; South Georgia and Sandwich Islands; Ascension; and the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). We introduce the idea of a circulation “connectivity footprint”, by which MPAs are connected to upstream areas. Annual connectivity footprints were calculated for the four MPAs, taking into account seasonal and inter-annual variability. These footprints showed that, on annual timescales, Pitcairn was not connected with land, whereas there was increasing connectivity for waters reaching South Georgia, Ascension, and, especially, BIOT. BIOT also had a high degree of both seasonal and inter-annual variability, which drastically changed its footprint, year-to-year. We advocate that such connectivity footprints are an inherent property of all MPAs, and need to be considered when MPAs are first proposed or their viability as refuges evaluated.

Maritime ecosystem-based management in practice: Lessons learned from the application of a generic spatial planning framework in Europe

Buhl-Mortensen L, Galparsoro I, Fernández TVega, Johnson K, D'Anna G, Badalamenti F, Garofalo G, Carlström J, Piwowarczyk J, Rabaut M, et al. Maritime ecosystem-based management in practice: Lessons learned from the application of a generic spatial planning framework in Europe. Marine Policy [Internet]. 2017 ;75:174 - 186. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X16000373
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $35.95
Type: Journal Article

A generic framework (FW) for the monitoring and evaluation of spatially managed areas (here defined as marine areas subject to a planning and management regime) was developed and tested in nine marine areas of 13 European countries under the EU funded project MESMA (Monitoring and Evaluation of Spatially Managed Areas). This paper describes the lessons learned in the use of the FW and draws conclusions for its future use and development. The selected case studies represented diverse spatial scales, management status and complexity, ranging from sub-national areas to entire national coastlines, and large offshore regions. The application of the FW consisted of seven steps: starting with (i) context setting and (ii) gathering of relevant ecosystem information, human activities and management goals; it continues with (iii) indicator selection and (iv) risk assessment; and the final steps considers the (v) analysis of findings and (vi) the evaluation of management effectiveness, to end up with (vii) the revision and proposal of adaptation to current management. The lessons learnt through the application of the FW in the case studies have proved the value of the FW. However, difficulties rose due to the diversity of the nature and the different stages of development in planning and management in the case study areas; as well as, limited knowledge on ecosystem functioning needed for its implementation. As a conclusion the FW allowed for a flexible and creative application and provided important gap analyses.

Using globally threatened pelagic birds to identify priority sites for marine conservation in the South Atlantic Ocean

Dias MP, Oppel S, Bond AL, Carneiro APB, Cuthbert RJ, González-Solís J, Wanless RM, Glass T, Lascelles B, Small C, et al. Using globally threatened pelagic birds to identify priority sites for marine conservation in the South Atlantic Ocean. Biological Conservation [Internet]. 2017 ;211:76 - 84. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320716309934
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $35.95
Type: Journal Article

The Convention on Biological Diversity aspires to designate 10% of the global oceans as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), but so far, few MPAs protect pelagic species in the high seas. Transparent scientific approaches are needed to ensure that these encompass areas with high biodiversity value. Here we used the distribution of all globally threatened seabirds breeding in a centrally located archipelago (Tristan da Cunha) to provide guidance on where MPAs could be established in the South Atlantic Ocean. We combined year-round tracking data from six species, and used the systematic conservation-planning tool, ‘Zonation’, to delineate areas that would protect the largest proportion of each population. The areas used most intensively varied among species and seasons. Combining the sites used by all six species suggested that the most important areas of the South Atlantic are located south of South Africa, around the central South Atlantic between 30°S and 55°S, and near South America. We estimated that the longline fishing effort in these intensively used areas is around 11 million hooks on average each year, highlighting the need for improved monitoring of seabird bycatch rates and the enforcement of compliance with bird bycatch mitigation requirements by fisheries. There was no overlap between the identified areas and any of the existing MPAs in the South Atlantic. The conservation of these highly mobile, pelagic species cannot be achieved by single countries, but requires a multi-national approach at an ocean-basin scale, such as an agreement for the conservation of biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction under the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Atoll-scale patterns in coral reef community structure: Human signatures on Ulithi Atoll, Micronesia

Crane NL, Nelson P, Abelson A, Precoda K, Rulmal J, Bernardi G, Paddack M. Atoll-scale patterns in coral reef community structure: Human signatures on Ulithi Atoll, Micronesia. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2017 ;12(5):e0177083. Available from: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0177083
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The dynamic relationship between reefs and the people who utilize them at a subsistence level is poorly understood. This paper characterizes atoll-scale patterns in shallow coral reef habitat and fish community structure, and correlates these with environmental characteristics and anthropogenic factors, critical to conservation efforts for the reefs and the people who depend on them. Hierarchical clustering analyses by site for benthic composition and fish community resulted in the same 3 major clusters: cluster 1–oceanic (close proximity to deep water) and uninhabited (low human impact); cluster 2–oceanic and inhabited (high human impact); and cluster 3–lagoonal (facing the inside of the lagoon) and inhabited (highest human impact). Distance from village, reef exposure to deep water and human population size had the greatest effect in predicting the fish and benthic community structure. Our study demonstrates a strong association between benthic and fish community structure and human use across the Ulithi Atoll (Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia) and confirms a pattern observed by local people that an ‘opportunistic’ scleractinian coral (Montipora sp.) is associated with more highly impacted reefs. Our findings suggest that small human populations (subsistence fishing) can nevertheless have considerable ecological impacts on reefs due, in part, to changes in fishing practices rather than overfishing per se, as well as larger global trends. Findings from this work can assist in building local capacity to manage reef resources across an atoll-wide scale, and illustrates the importance of anthropogenic impact even in small communities.

Australian climate extremes at 1.5 °C and 2 °C of global warming

King AD, Karoly DJ, Henley BJ. Australian climate extremes at 1.5 °C and 2 °C of global warming. Nature Climate Change [Internet]. 2017 . Available from: https://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate3296.html
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $32.00
Type: Journal Article

To avoid more severe impacts from climate change, there is international agreement to strive to limit warming to below 1.5 °C. However, there is a lack of literature assessing climate change at 1.5 °C and the potential benefits in terms of reduced frequency of extreme events1, 2, 3. Here, we demonstrate that existing model simulations provide a basis for rapid and rigorous analysis of the effects of different levels of warming on large-scale climate extremes, using Australia as a case study. We show that limiting warming to 1.5 °C, relative to 2 °C, would perceptibly reduce the frequency of extreme heat events in Australia. The Australian continent experiences a variety of high-impact climate extremes that result in loss of life, and economic and environmental damage. Events similar to the record-hot summer of 2012–2013 and warm seas associated with bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 would be substantially less likely, by about 25% in both cases, if warming is kept to lower levels. The benefits of limiting warming on hydrometeorological extremes are less clear. This study provides a framework for analysing climate extremes at 1.5 °C global warming.

Global trends in climate change legislation and litigation: 2017 update

Nachmany M, Fankhauser S, Setzer J, Averchenkova A. Global trends in climate change legislation and litigation: 2017 update. Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment; 2017. Available from: http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/publication/global-trends-in-climate-change-legislation-and-litigation-2017-update/
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

This report summarises key trends in climate change legislation and litigation. It is the sixth stock-take in a series of global Climate Legislation Studies that dates back to 2010. The 2017 edition covers legislative activities in 164 countries, up from 99 countries in 2015. For the first time, this edition also includes analysis of climate change litigation.

Exceptional and rapid accumulation of anthropogenic debris on one of the world’s most remote and pristine islands

Lavers JL, Bond AL. Exceptional and rapid accumulation of anthropogenic debris on one of the world’s most remote and pristine islands. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [Internet]. 2017 :201619818. Available from: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/05/09/1619818114.abstract
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

In just over half a century plastic products have revolutionized human society and have infiltrated terrestrial and marine environments in every corner of the globe. The hazard plastic debris poses to biodiversity is well established, but mitigation and planning are often hampered by a lack of quantitative data on accumulation patterns. Here we document the amount of debris and rate of accumulation on Henderson Island, a remote, uninhabited island in the South Pacific. The density of debris was the highest reported anywhere in the world, up to 671.6 items/m2 (mean ± SD: 239.4 ± 347.3 items/m2) on the surface of the beaches. Approximately 68% of debris (up to 4,496.9 pieces/m2) on the beach was buried <10 cm in the sediment. An estimated 37.7 million debris items weighing a total of 17.6 tons are currently present on Henderson, with up to 26.8 new items/m accumulating daily. Rarely visited by humans, Henderson Island and other remote islands may be sinks for some of the world’s increasing volume of waste.

CCG Briefing Paper on the Economics of the Territory Marine and Coastal Environment

Beaver D, Keily T, Turner J, Fritz K. CCG Briefing Paper on the Economics of the Territory Marine and Coastal Environment. Centre for Conservation Geography; 2017. Available from: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/keepterritoryseasminingfree/pages/227/attachments/original/1493359406/CCG_NT_coastal_marine_tourism_brief_27_03_2017.pdf?1493359406
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report
  • The Territory marine and coastal environment is a critical tourism asset generating an estimated 1.7 billion per annum to the NT economy.
  • Currently there is a lack of finer scale data on how tourism in the Territory’s marine and coastal environment is evolving.
  • The development of the Coastal and Marine Management Strategy in 2017 offers a key opportunity for game-changing new initiatives to stimulate significant growth in nature and culture-based tourism in the Top End.

Eight habitats, 38 threats and 55 experts: Assessing ecological risk in a multi-use marine region

Doubleday ZA, Jones AR, Deveney MR, Ward TM, Gillanders BM. Eight habitats, 38 threats and 55 experts: Assessing ecological risk in a multi-use marine region. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2017 ;12(5):e0177393. Available from: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0177393
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Identifying the relative risk human activities pose to a habitat, and the ecosystem services they provide, can guide management prioritisation and resource allocation. Using a combination of expert elicitation to assess the probable effect of a threat and existing data to assess the level of threat exposure, we conducted a risk assessment for 38 human-mediated threats to eight marine habitats (totalling 304 threat-habitat combinations) in Spencer Gulf, Australia. We developed a score-based survey to collate expert opinion and assess the relative effect of each threat to each habitat, as well as a novel and independent measure of knowledge-based uncertainty. Fifty-five experts representing multiple sectors and institutions participated in the study, with 6 to 15 survey responses per habitat (n = 81 surveys). We identified key threats specific to each habitat; overall, climate change threats received the highest risk rankings, with nutrient discharge identified as a key local-scale stressor. Invasive species and most fishing-related threats, which are commonly identified as major threats to the marine environment, were ranked as low-tier threats to Spencer Gulf, emphasising the importance of regionally-relevant assessments. Further, we identified critical knowledge gaps and quantified uncertainty scores for each risk. Our approach will facilitate prioritisation of resource allocation in a region of increasing social, economic and environmental importance, and can be applied to marine regions where empirical data are lacking.

Informing conservation strategies for the endangered Atlantic sturgeon using acoustic telemetry and multi-state mark-recapture models

Melnychuk MC, Dunton KJ, Jordaan A, McKown KA, Frisk MG. Informing conservation strategies for the endangered Atlantic sturgeon using acoustic telemetry and multi-state mark-recapture models. Journal of Applied Ecology [Internet]. 2017 ;54(3):914 - 925. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2664.12799/abstract
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $38.00
Type: Journal Article
  1. Causes of non-intentional mortality may pose conservation challenges for long-lived, migratory species. Recovery attempts for Atlantic sturgeon Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus populations in the USA have mainly involved closures of targeted fishing, but bycatch mortality from fisheries targeting other species remains a significant obstacle. Natural and fishing mortality levels are highly uncertain and difficult to separate, but quantifying spatial and temporal patterns of movements and total mortality can directly inform management policies regarding fishing activity that affects sturgeon.
  2. Subadult sturgeon were tagged with acoustic transmitters to track their movements with receivers deployed in active fishing areas within the New York Bight. Multi-state mark–recapture models were used to quantify seasonal patterns in survival and migration while accounting for detection probabilities of tagged fish.
  3. Movement patterns of sturgeon were highly variable among seasons along the Long Island Coast, with frequent south-westward movements during the increase in sea surface temperature in spring. North-eastward movements were most pronounced during winter, when temperatures were lowest. Sturgeon were less common along coastal Long Island during summer.
  4. Larger fish transitioned among strata more frequently, but also had slightly lower survival than smaller fish, which may result from selectivity for larger individuals caught incidentally in bottom trawl or gillnet fisheries. Weekly total mortality rates, including both natural and fishing mortality, averaged 0·24%. Highest weekly survival rates were observed during periods of decreasing sea surface temperature in autumn and winter, while lowest survival was observed during periods of increasing temperature in spring and summer while sturgeon migrated through areas of known bycatch.
  5. Policy implications. Movement and survival patterns of Atlantic sturgeon suggest that late spring, coinciding with periods of ocean bycatch in fisheries along the coast of Long Island, is a particularly sensitive period for Atlantic sturgeon. Conservation efforts could target these few weeks using real-time observations from acoustic telemetry and remote sensing technologies to implement in-season fishery closures, thereby reducing incidental mortality of Atlantic sturgeon. Such bycatch management measures would aid in recovery attempts of a long-lived, migratory population with endangered status.

Predicting occurrence of juvenile shark habitat to improve conservation planning

Oh BZL, Sequeira AMM, Meekan MG, Ruppert JLW, Meeuwig JJ. Predicting occurrence of juvenile shark habitat to improve conservation planning. Conservation Biology [Internet]. 2017 ;31(3):635 - 645. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12868/full
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $38.00
Type: Journal Article

Fishing and habitat degradation have increased the extinction risk of sharks, and conservation strategies recognize that survival of juveniles is critical for the effective management of shark populations. Despite the rapid expansion of marine protected areas (MPAs) globally, the paucity of shark-monitoring data on large scales (100s–1000s km) means that the effectiveness of MPAs in halting shark declines remains unclear. Using data collected by baited remote underwater video systems (BRUVS) in northwestern Australia, we developed generalized linear models to elucidate the ecological drivers of habitat suitability for juvenile sharks. We assessed occurrence patterns at the order and species levels. We included all juvenile sharks sampled and the 3 most abundant species sampled separately (grey reef [Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos], sandbar [Carcharhinus plumbeus], and whitetip reef sharks [Triaenodon obesus]). We predicted the occurrence of juvenile sharks across 490,515 km2 of coastal waters and quantified the representation of highly suitable habitats within MPAs. Our species-level models had higher accuracy (ĸ ≥ 0.69) and deviance explained (≥48%) than our order-level model (ĸ = 0.36 and deviance explained of 10%). Maps of predicted occurrence revealed different species-specific patterns of highly suitable habitat. These differences likely reflect different physiological or resource requirements between individual species and validate concerns over the utility of conservation targets based on aggregate species groups as opposed to a species-focused approach. Highly suitable habitats were poorly represented in MPAs with the most restrictions on extractive activities. This spatial mismatch possibly indicates a lack of explicit conservation targets and information on species distribution during the planning process. Non-extractive BRUVS provided a useful platform for building the suitability models across large scales to assist conservation planning across multiple maritime jurisdictions, and our approach provides a simple for method for testing the effectiveness of MPAs.

The Portuguese plastic carrier bag tax: The effects on consumers’ behavior

Martinho G, Balaia N, Pires A. The Portuguese plastic carrier bag tax: The effects on consumers’ behavior. Waste Management [Internet]. 2017 ;61:3 - 12. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956053X17300223
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $35.95
Type: Journal Article

Marine litter from lightweight plastic bags is a global problem that must be solved. A plastic bag tax was implemented in February 2015 to reduce the consumption of plastic grocery bags in Portugal and in turn reduce the potential contribution to marine litter. This study analyzes the effect of the plastic bag tax on consumer behavior to learn how it was received and determine the perceived effectiveness of the tax 4 months after its implementation. In addition, the study assessed how proximity to coastal areas could influence behaviors and opinions. The results showed a 74% reduction of plastic bag consumption with a simultaneously 61% increase of reusable plastic bags after the tax was implemented. Because plastic bags were then reused for shopping instead of garbage bags, however, the consumption of garbage bags increased by 12%. Although reduction was achieved, the tax had no effect on the perception of marine litter or the impact of plastic bags on environment and health. The majority of respondents agree with the tax but view it as an extra revenue to the State. The distance to the coast had no meaningful influence on consumer behavior or on the perception of the tax. Although the tax was able to promote the reduction of plastics, the role of hypermarkets and supermarkets in providing alternatives through the distribution of reusable plastic bags was determinant to ensuring the reduction.

Interactive Effects of Ocean Acidification and Warming on Growth, Fitness and Survival of the Cold-Water Coral Lophelia pertusa under Different Food Availabilities

Büscher JV, Form AU, Riebesell U. Interactive Effects of Ocean Acidification and Warming on Growth, Fitness and Survival of the Cold-Water Coral Lophelia pertusa under Different Food Availabilities. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2017 ;4. Available from: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fmars.2017.00101/full
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Cold-water corals are important bioengineers that provide structural habitat for a diverse species community. About 70% of the presently known scleractinian cold-water corals are expected to be exposed to corrosive waters by the end of this century due to ocean acidification. At the same time, the corals will experience a steady warming of their environment. Studies on the sensitivity of cold-water corals to climate change mainly concentrated on single stressors in short-term incubation approaches, thus not accounting for possible long-term acclimatisation and the interactive effects of multiple stressors. Besides, preceding studies did not test for possible compensatory effects of a change in food availability. In this study a multifactorial long-term experiment (6 months) was conducted with end-of-the-century scenarios of elevated pCO2 and temperature levels in order to examine the acclimatisation potential of the cosmopolitan cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa to future climate change related threats. For the first time multiple ocean change impacts including the role of the nutritional status were tested on L. pertusa with regard to growth, “fitness,” and survival. Our results show that while L. pertusa is capable of calcifying under elevated CO2 and temperature, its condition (fitness) is more strongly influenced by food availability rather than changes in seawater chemistry. Whereas growth rates increased at elevated temperature (+4°C), they decreased under elevated CO2 concentrations (~800 μatm). No difference in net growth was detected when corals were exposed to the combination of increased CO2and temperature compared to ambient conditions. A 10-fold higher food supply stimulated growth under elevated temperature, which was not observed in the combined treatment. This indicates that increased food supply does not compensate for adverse effects of ocean acidification and underlines the importance of considering the nutritional status in studies investigating organism responses under environmental changes.

Marine mammal tracks from two-hydrophone acoustic recordings made with a glider

Küsel ET, Munoz T, Siderius M, Mellinger DK, Heimlich S. Marine mammal tracks from two-hydrophone acoustic recordings made with a glider. Ocean Science [Internet]. 2017 ;13(2):273 - 288. Available from: http://www.ocean-sci.net/13/273/2017/
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

A multinational oceanographic and acoustic sea experiment was carried out in the summer of 2014 off the western coast of the island of Sardinia, Mediterranean Sea. During this experiment, an underwater glider fitted with two hydrophones was evaluated as a potential tool for marine mammal population density estimation studies. An acoustic recording system was also tested, comprising an inexpensive, off-the-shelf digital recorder installed inside the glider. Detection and classification of sounds produced by whales and dolphins, and sometimes tracking and localization, are inherent components of population density estimation from passive acoustics recordings. In this work we discuss the equipment used as well as analysis of the data obtained, including detection and estimation of bearing angles. A human analyst identified the presence of sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) regular clicks as well as dolphin clicks and whistles. Cross-correlating clicks recorded on both data channels allowed for the estimation of the direction (bearing) of clicks, and realization of animal tracks. Insights from this bearing tracking analysis can aid in population density estimation studies by providing further information (bearings), which can improve estimates.

Extrapolating cetacean densities to quantitatively assess human impacts on populations in the high seas

Mannocci L, Roberts JJ, Miller DL, Halpin PN. Extrapolating cetacean densities to quantitatively assess human impacts on populations in the high seas. Conservation Biology [Internet]. 2017 ;31(3):601 - 614. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12856/abstract
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

As human activities expand beyond national jurisdictions to the high seas, there is an increasing need to consider anthropogenic impacts to species inhabiting these waters. The current scarcity of scientific observations of cetaceans in the high seas impedes the assessment of population-level impacts of these activities. We developed plausible density estimates to facilitate a quantitative assessment of anthropogenic impacts on cetacean populations in these waters. Our study region extended from a well-surveyed region within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone into a large region of the western North Atlantic sparsely surveyed for cetaceans. We modeled densities of 15 cetacean taxa with available line transect survey data and habitat covariates and extrapolated predictions to sparsely surveyed regions. We formulated models to reduce the extent of extrapolation beyond covariate ranges, and constrained them to model simple and generalizable relationships. To evaluate confidence in the predictions, we mapped where predictions were made outside sampled covariate ranges, examined alternate models, and compared predicted densities with maps of sightings from sources that could not be integrated into our models. Confidence levels in model results depended on the taxon and geographic area and highlighted the need for additional surveying in environmentally distinct areas. With application of necessary caution, our density estimates can inform management needs in the high seas, such as the quantification of potential cetacean interactions with military training exercises, shipping, fisheries, and deep-sea mining and be used to delineate areas of special biological significance in international waters. Our approach is generally applicable to other marine taxa and geographic regions for which management will be implemented but data are sparse.

Disentangling the causes of protected-species bycatch in gillnet fisheries

Northridge S, Coram A, Kingston A, Crawford R. Disentangling the causes of protected-species bycatch in gillnet fisheries. Conservation Biology [Internet]. 2017 ;31(3):686 - 695. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12741/abstract
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $38.00
Type: Journal Article

Gillnet fisheries are widely thought to pose a conservation threat to many populations of marine mammals, seabirds, and turtles. Gillnet fisheries also support a significant proportion of small-scale fishing communities worldwide. Despite a large number of studies on protected-species bycatch in recent decades, relatively few have examined the underlying causes of bycatch and fewer still have considered the issue from a multitaxon perspective. We used 3 bibliographic databases and one search engine to identify studies by year of publication and taxon. The majority of studies on the mechanisms of gillnet bycatch are not accessible through the mainstream published literature. Many are reported in technical papers, government reports, and university theses. We reviewed over 600 published and unpublished studies of bycatch in which causal or correlative factors were considered and identified therein 28 environmental, operational, technical, and behavioral factors that may be associated with high or low bycatch rates of the taxa. Of the factors considered, 11 were associated with potential bycatch reduction in 2 out of the 3 taxa, and 3 factors (water depth, mesh size, and net height) were associated with trends in bycatch rate for all 3 taxa. These findings provide a basis to guide further experimental work to test hypotheses about which factors most influence bycatch rates and to explore ways of managing fishing activities and improving gear design to minimize the incidental capture of species of conservation concern while ensuring the viability of the fisheries concerned.

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