Scientists are increasingly dissatisfied with funding systems that rely on peer assessment and, accordingly, have suggested several proposals for reform. One of these proposals is to distribute available funds equally among all qualified researchers, with no interference from peer review. Despite its numerous benefits, such egalitarian sharing faces the objection, among others, that it would lead to an unacceptable dilution of resources. The aim of the present paper is to assess this particular objection. We estimate (for the Netherlands, the U.S. and the U.K.) how much researchers would receive were they to get an equal share of the government budgets that are currently allocated through competitive peer assessment. For the Netherlands, we furthermore estimate what researchers would receive were we to differentiate between researchers working in low-cost, intermediate-cost and high-cost disciplines. Given these estimates, we then determine what researchers could afford in terms of PhD students, Postdocs, travel and equipment. According to our results, researchers could, on average, maintain current PhD student and Postdoc employment levels, and still have at their disposal a moderate (the U.K.) to considerable (the Netherlands, U.S.) budget for travel and equipment. This suggests that the worry that egalitarian sharing leads to unacceptable dilution of resources is unjustified. Indeed, our results strongly suggest that there is room for far more egalitarian distribution of funds than happens in the highly competitive funding schemes so prevalent today.
- The several forms of ecological spatial connectivity – population, genetic, community, ecosystem – are among the most important ecological processes in determining the distribution, persistence and productivity of coastal marine populations and ecosystems.
- Ecological marine protected areas (MPAs) focus on restoring or maintaining marine populations, communities, or ecosystems. All ecological MPAs – no matter their specific focus or objectives – depend for their success on incorporating ecological spatial connectivity into their design, use (i.e. application), and management.
- Though important, a synthesis of the implications of ecological spatial connectivity for the design, use, and management of MPAs, especially in the face of a changing global climate, does not exist. We synthesize this information and distill it into practical principles for design, use, and management of MPAs and networks of MPAs.
- High population connectivity among distant coastal ecosystems underscores the critical value of MPA networks for MPAs and the populations and ecosystems between them.
- High ecosystem connectivity among coastal ecosystems underscores the importance of protecting multiple connected ecosystems within an MPA, maximizing ecosystem connectivity across MPAs, and managing ecosystems outside MPAs so as to minimize influxes of detrimental organisms and materials into MPAs.
- Connectivity-informed MPAs and MPA networks – designed and managed to foster the ecological spatial connectivity processes important to local populations, species, communities, and ecosystems – can best address ecological changes induced by climate change. Also, the protections afforded by MPAs from direct, local human impacts may ameliorate climate change impacts in coastal ecosystems inside MPAs and, indirectly, in ecosystems outside MPAs.
- To meet the Convention on Biological Diversity's Aichi Target 11 on marine biodiversity protection and Aichi Target 6 on sustainable fisheries by 2020, as well as the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 on food security and SDG 14 on oceans by 2030, there is an urgent need to rethink how best to reconcile nature conservation and sustainable development.
- This paper argues for effective governance to support processes that apply principles of sustainable development and an ecosystem approach to decide about economic activities at sea such as aquaculture. It describes opportunities, benefits and synergies between aquaculture and MPAs as a basis for wider debate. The scope is not a comprehensive analysis of aquaculture and MPAs, but rather to present examples of positive interactions between aquaculture activities and MPAs. The unintended negative consequences are also discussed to present balanced arguments.
- This work draws from four workshops held in 2015 and 2016 and used to collect information from about 100 experts representing various sectors and perspectives.
- It is recognized that aquaculture is an important activity in terms of sustainable development. It can play a role in providing food security, poverty alleviation and economic resilience, in particular for MPA local communities, and contribute to wild stock enhancement, as an alternative to overfishing and for providing services to the ecosystem.
- This study showed that there is a need from both aquaculture and MPA sides for clarity of objectives and willingness for open and extensive dialogue. The paper concludes by describing a number of tools and methods for supporting greater synergies between aquaculture and MPAs.
- The results from this work have already helped to build a common understanding between conservation and aquaculture and initiate a rapprochement for increasing synergies.
- Virtual reality (VR) is defined as the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors. Other related technologies include augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR).
- Virtual reality has the potential to be an effective tool that marine educators and conservationists can use to motivate an interest in and empathy for marine conservation and education at a global level.
- However, the various differing systems that are currently available, many with different but vaguely similar names, can make this groundbreaking technology particularly daunting for newcomers.
- Understanding the differences among VR, AR, and MR is key to understanding how best to use this technology for the promotion of marine conservation and global education.
- There are some potential legal and health-related impacts on users of VR technology that need to be addressed before VR can truly be effective on a global scale.
- Infinite Scuba is a video game developed by Cascade Game Foundry (CGF) that enables players to explore the ocean virtually with Mission Blue founder, Dr Sylvia Earle.
- Cascade Game Foundry (CGF) recently introduced a VR version of Infinite Scuba and made some discoveries that should be encouraging to those engaged in the global marine conservation effort.
- Virtual reality technology has the potential to play a key role in mobilizing knowledge and conservation action in the future.
We report wild octopuses (Octopus tetricus) living at high density at a rock outcrop, the second such site known. O. tetricus are often observed as solitary individuals, with the species known to exist at similar densities and exhibiting complex social behaviors at only one site other than that described here. The present site was occupied by 10–15 octopuses on eight different days. We recorded frequent interactions, signaling, mating, mate defense, eviction of octopuses from dens, and attempts to exclude individuals from the site. These observations demonstrate that high-density occupation and complex social behaviors are not unique to the earlier described site, which had been affected to some extent by remains of human activity. Behavior at this second site confirms that complex social interactions also occur in association with natural substrate, and suggest that social interactions are more wide spread among octopuses than previously recognized.
A proposed nationwide ban on the sale of shark fins within the United States would undermine sustainable shark fisheries, would have little effect on global shark mortality, and would perpetuate the misconception that the shark fin trade is the only threat facing sharks. Instead, placing a priority on policies focusing on sustainable shark fisheries management is preferred for meeting the goals of shark conservation.
Hard coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is on a trajectory of decline. However, little is known about past coral mortality before the advent of long-term monitoring (circa 1980s). Using paleoecological analysis and high-precision uranium-thorium (U-Th) dating, we reveal an extensive loss of branching Acropora corals and changes in coral community structure in the Palm Islands region of the central GBR over the past century. In 2008, dead coral assemblages were dominated by large, branching Acropora and living coral assemblages by genera typically found in turbid inshore environments. The timing of Acropora mortality was found to be occasionally synchronous among reefs and frequently linked to discrete disturbance events, occurring in the 1920s to 1960s and again in the 1980s to 1990s. Surveys conducted in 2014 revealed low Acropora cover (<5%) across all sites, with very little evidence of change for up to 60 y at some sites. Collectively, our results suggest a loss of resilience of this formerly dominant key framework builder at a regional scale, with recovery severely lagging behind predictions. Our study implies that the management of these reefs may be predicated on a shifted baseline.
- It is necessary, yet challenging, to manage coral reefs to simultaneously address a suite of global and local stressors that act over the short and long term. Therefore, managers need practical guidance on prioritizing the locations and types of conservation that most efficiently address their goals using limited resources.
- This study is one of the first examples of a vulnerability assessment for coral reefs that uses downscaled global climate change projections and local anthropogenic stress data to prioritize coral reef locations for conservation investment. Vulnerability was separated into manageable and unmanageable components (bleaching likelihood and local anthropogenic stressors, respectively), and the highest priority was given to places with low levels of unmanageable threats and high levels of manageable threats. Following prioritization, resilience characteristics were derived from standard reef monitoring data and used to identify the specific conservation strategies most likely to succeed given local ecological conditions and threats.
- Using Indonesian coral reefs as a case study, 9.1% of total coral reef area was identified as of high conservation priority, including parts of Raja Ampat, Sulawesi, and Sumatra that are not currently included in marine protected areas (MPAs).
- Existing MPAs tend to be located in areas less threatened by local-scale anthropogenic activities, which has implications for both the implementation costs and the likely impact of conservation investment. This approach employs common and publicly available data and can therefore be replicated wherever managers face the familiar challenge of allocating limited conservation resources in the face of rapid global change and uncertainty.
Please note this is a pre-publication version, though we do not expect significant (if any) changes to content.
In 2011, at Big Ocean’s third network business meeting, the original six member LSMPAs began conceptualising these Guidelines as a repository of their collective experience in designing and managing LSMPAs. The hope was that they would provide useful resources and tools for existing, new, and future LSMPAs. The development of the first draft of a manuscript commenced in 2012 during the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Republic of Korea. Big Ocean invited marine management professionals and international experts to contribute to the draft manuscript. In early 2013, the network established its partnership with IUCN and WCPA-Marine, which increased the momentum for the development of the manuscript. Shortly thereafter, Big Ocean was asked to help develop the IUCN WCPA LSMPA Task Force, and then became the network’s lead partner on this publication. The first publicly available consultative draft was reviewed in 2013 at the 3rd International Marine Protected Area Congress in Marseille, France. Two rounds of peer review followed, the second of which directly engaged members of IUCN’s WCPA Commission following the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
Intended to supplement and build upon the existing IUCN materials and MPA guidance cited throughout this document, the content for these Guidelines was extracted from four main sources: (1) shared experiences documented by Big Ocean members during the network’s first five business meetings, site-to-site exchange visits and other network events; (2) focus group interviews with senior managers, scientists and staff of member sites; (3) international partner and peer inputs, including contributions from hundreds of marine managers and conservation professionals, and (4) collaborations with key reviewers and subject matter experts. Relevant peer-reviewed and professional publications were also utilised.
This thematic study focuses on the contribution the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (UNESCO 1972), commonly known as the World Heritage Convention (“the Convention”), can make to wilderness conservation around the world.
Chapter 1 first reviews the definition of the term “wilderness” and summarizes the reasons why wilderness conservation is a critical conservation objective. Chapter 1 then provides a brief discussion of some of the key aspects of the World Heritage Convention, and suggests that an even more systematic wilderness approach would be important to further some of the Convention’s key objectives, including maintaining the integrity of existing sites in the face of rapid global change, promoting the goal of a credible and representative World Heritage List (UNESCO 2011a, UNESCO 2015), and achieving better integration of natural and cultural heritage.
Chapter 2 highlights the fact that wilderness areas and large landscapes and seascapes are often home to Indigenous Peoples whose survival and cultural integrity are closely linked to these areas. Chapter 2 assesses the important leadership role the Convention can play in shifting conservation thinking and practice with respect to ensuring biocultural integrity and social equity, and in particular recognizing Indigenous Peoples not just as stakeholders but also as rights holders. Chapter 2 also notes the on-going efforts by IUCN, ICOMOS and ICCROM to connect practice and build the capacity of heritage practitioners as a crucial contribution towards creating the space and the tools for integrated and equitable conservation approaches.
Chapter 3 reviews Statements of Outstanding Universal Value (SoOUV) for the numerous natural and mixed World Heritage sites that have been inscribed on the World Heritage List for their wilderness values or where wilderness is key to the conditions of integrity that lead to a site’s Outstanding Universal Value. This chapter reviews the types of sites that the Convention has already recognized as wilderness at a protected area scale, providing a crucial guide for what might qualify for inscription in the future.
Chapter 4 reviews the extent to which natural and mixed World Heritage sites overlap with global-scale terrestrial and marine wilderness. This analysis makes it possible to assess broad gaps in coverage of global-scale wilderness areas on the World Heritage List, which in turn makes it possible to identify regions where wilderness sites with potential Outstanding Universal Value might be found in the future. Chapter 5 summarizes the activities that are necessary for implementing a wilderness and large landscape and seascapes approach under the Convention. These include two broad categories of activities. The first category involves assessing existing World Heritage sites to gauge whether they are sufficiently large and/or connected to other protected areas to maintain their integrity into the future, or with a view to expanding sites to better recognize nature-culture linkages. The second category includes nominating new wilderness World Heritage sites to fill gaps in wilderness coverage, while ensuring that these new sites are also sufficiently large and/or connected to other protected areas to maintain their values. Chapter 5 also reviews the tools that are available under the Convention to facilitate these activities and suggests policy innovations that could further facilitate a wilderness and large landscapes and seascapes approach.
Finally, we conclude with five case studies describing indigenous and community relationships with wilderness and large landscapes and seascapes that are partially or completely covered by World Heritage sites. The four sites are the Golden Mountains of Altai in the Russian Federation, Kakadu National Park in Australia, Manú National Park in Peru, the Okavango Delta in Botswana and Papahānaumokuākea in the United States. The purpose of these case studies is to give voice on complex issues relating to biocultural landscapes, World Heritage and protected areas to Indigenous Peoples and communities themselves. A second purpose is to express the profound personal dimension of protecting wild nature: the need for an individual (i.e. not just societal) ethical commitment to conserving wild places, the need for reciprocity between human beings and wild landscapes and seascapes and the profound spiritual dimension of this relationship.
The European Union (EU) recently agreed on a reform of the legal framework for its external fleet that fishes outside of EU waters. EU vessels fish in third-country waters under different arrangements; one such arrangement is the official EU-funded bilateral agreements—termed (Sustainable) Fisheries Partnership Agreements or (S)FPAs—that allow EU vessels to fish for surplus stocks in the coastal State’s waters. However, under the previous governing framework, there was a catch: EU vessels could also fish in foreign waters under private agreements without EU oversight or standards, while enjoying the same EU market access as EU vessels with official access agreements.
To show the importance of effective implementation of the future legal framework, especially regarding the lack of EU-wide control for private agreements, and as part of its efforts to bring transparency to commercial fishing, Oceana used Global Fishing Watch (http://globalfishingwatch.org/) to investigate the fishinga activity of EU vessels operating in the waters of the eight countries with “dormant” (S)FPAs. When there is an active (S)FPA, EU-flagged vessels are forbidden to fish under private agreements. This is also known as “the exclusivity clause” (see annex 1 for full definition). This exclusivity clause also applies if the fisheries agreement is considered “dormant” (i.e. there is no protocol, and therefore no fishing under the agreement is allowed, but the agreement itself is not denounced).
Chronic anthropogenic disturbances on coral reefs in the form of overfishing and pollution can shift benthic community composition away from stony corals and toward macroalgae. The use of reefs for recreational snorkeling and diving potentially can lead to similar ecological impacts if not well-managed, but impacts of snorkeling on benthic organisms are not well understood. We quantified variation in benthic community structure along a gradient of snorkeling frequency in an intensively-visited portion of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. We determined rates of snorkeling in 6 water sections and rates of beach visitation in 4 adjacent land sections at Akumal Bay, Mexico. For each in-water section at 1–3 m depth, we also assessed the percent cover of benthic organisms including taxa of stony corals and macroalgae. Rates of recreational snorkeling varied from low in the southwestern to very high (>1000 snorkelers d-1) in the northeastern sections of the bay. Stony coral cover decreased and macroalgal cover increased significantly with levels of snorkeling, while trends varied among taxa for other organisms such as gorgonians, fire corals, and sea urchins. We conclude that benthic organisms appear to exhibit taxon-specific variation with levels of recreational snorkeling. To prevent further degradation, we recommend limitation of snorkeler visitation rates, coupled with visitor education and in-water guides to reduce reef-damaging behaviors by snorkelers in high-use areas. These types of management activities, integrated with reef monitoring and subsequent readjustment of management, have the potential to reverse the damage potentially inflicted on coral reefs by the expansion of reef-based recreational snorkeling.
Methods to quantify biodiversity impacts through life cycle assessment (LCA) are evolving for both land- and marine-based production systems, although typically independently from each other. An indicator for terrestrial food production systems that may be suitable to assess marine biodiversity, and is applicable across all food production systems, is a measure of hemeroby or distance from the natural state. We explore the possibility of adapting this approach to marine systems to assess the impact of fishing on seawater column and seafloor systems.
The terrestrial hemeroby concept is adapted here for marine ecosystems. Two commercial fishery case studies are used to trial the effectiveness of hemeroby in measuring the influence exerted by fishing practices on marine biodiversity. Available inventory data are used to score areas to a hemeroby class, following a semi-quantitative scoring matrix and a seven-point scale, to determine how far the seafloor and seawater column are from their natural state. Assessment can progress to the impact assessment stage involving characterisation of the hemeroby score, to determine the Naturalness Degradation Potential (NDP) for use in calculating the Naturalness Degradation Indicator (NDI). The method builds on well-established processes for assessing fisheries within the ecosystem-based fisheries management framework and is designed to enhance assessment of fishing impacts within LCA.
Results and discussion
Australian fisheries case studies were used to demonstrate the application of this method. The naturalness of these fisheries was scored to a hemeroby level using the scoring matrix. The seafloor of the Northern Prawn Fishery and the seawater column of the South Australian Sardine Fishery were both classified as partially close to nature. Impact assessment was carried out following the process outlined for the NDI. The naturalness degradation results were highly sensitive to area calculation method and data. There was also variation in results when using annual or averaged data for catch. Results should therefore be interpreted in the context of these sensitivities.
Adaptation of the hemeroby concept to marine habitats may present an opportunity for more informed comparison of impacts between terrestrial and marine systems. Incorporating a measure of naturalness into assessments of food production can be useful to better understand the cost, in terms of transforming ecosystems from natural to more artificial, of meeting growing food demand. Biodiversity is a broad concept not easily captured through one indicator, and this method can complement emerging biotic LCA indicators, to provide a suite of indicators capable of capturing the full impact of fishing on marine biodiversity.
- On a global scale, most of the coastal zones in the world are undergoing rapid and accelerating changes. This coastal syndrome combines two major trends: one linked to the growth of coastal populations, habitat, transport and industrial infrastructures (assets); the other linked to the influence of climate change and its effects in terms of sea-level rise, increased frequency of extreme weather events, acidification and increase in ocean surface temperature, both affecting the health of coastal ecosystems. This situation is also reflected in the increase in coastal engineering solutions, which have significant impacts on coastal hydrodynamics and natural ecosystems.
- This extremely dynamic context calls for an evolution in conservation and spatial planning strategies in order to better anticipate changes that may affect not only the sustainability of both the distribution and health of natural ecosystems, but also the relevance of conservation efforts. Marine and coastal protected areas help preserve ecological services, and reduce the risks faced by coastal communities. Therefore, it can be argued that the effectiveness of these conservation units will depend on the ability, (i) to take into account their territorial context, and also (ii) to base the management decisions on a prospective and sufficiently anticipated (future-oriented) approach. MPA management must be proactive to cope with such rapid changes.
- The Nexus approach, promoted by the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management - coastal ecosystem group (CEM/CEG), places marine and coastal spatial planning as a key integrative element linking conservation, adaptation to climate change and coastal risk reduction, and as a part of no-regret adaptation strategies. This paper highlights the main factors that characterize current coastal dynamics, and then briefly presents three future-oriented pilot operations, implemented in Western Africa at different scales. These operations illustrate how MPAs must become structuring elements for the organization and development of coastal territories if they are to contribute to the resilience of coastal systems and to ensure their own long-term sustainability.
Using twelve years of high resolution global lightning stroke data from the World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN), we show that lightning density is enhanced by up to a factor of two directly over shipping lanes in the northeastern Indian Ocean and the South China Sea as compared to adjacent areas with similar climatological characteristics. The lightning enhancement is most prominent during the convectively active season, November-April for the Indian Ocean and April-December in the South China Sea, and has been detectable from at least 2005 to the present. We hypothesize that emissions of aerosol particles and precursors by maritime vessel traffic lead to a microphysical enhancement of convection and storm electrification in the region of the shipping lanes. These persistent localized anthropogenic perturbations to otherwise clean regions are a unique opportunity to more thoroughly understand the sensitivity of maritime deep convection and lightning to aerosol particles.
- Oceans and coasts provide a wide array of services to humans, including climate regulation, food security, and livelihoods. Managing them well is vital to human well-being as well as the maintenance of marine biodiversity and ocean-dependent economies.
- Carbon sequestration and storage is increasingly recognized as a valuable service provided by coastal vegetation. Carbon sequestered and stored by mangrove forests, tidal marshes, and seagrass meadows is known as ‘blue’ carbon. These habitats capture and store carbon within the plants themselves and in the sediment below them. When the habitats are destroyed, much of their carbon is released back to the atmosphere and ocean contributing to global climate change.
- Therefore, blue carbon ecosystem protection is becoming a greater priority in marine management and is an area of interest to scientists, policy makers, coastal communities, and the private sector including those that contribute to ecosystem degradation but also those that are looking to reduce their carbon footprint. A range of policy and management responses aim to reduce coastal ecosystem loss, including the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs).
- This paper explores how MPA design, location, and management could be used to protect and increase carbon sequestration and ensure integrity of carbon storage through conservation and restoration activities. While additional research is necessary to validate the proposed recommendations, this paper describes much needed first steps and highlights the potential for blue carbon finance mechanisms to provide sustainable funding for MPAs.
- Coastal blue carbon activities are being implemented by a variety of countries, using different approaches. Existing regulatory regimes, including on coastal protection, are still very useful tools to protect and conserve mangroves, seagrasses and saltmarshes, and preserve their carbon value and role. These approaches suffer, however, from ‘traditional’ issues such as lack of enforcement, human and financial constraints as well as unclear or misguiding government mandates.
- Successes are witnessed using a community-based carbon project approach, ensuring high stakeholder participation via direct or indirect incentive programmes. Comprehensive coastal zone management approaches seem very promising, but success overall, and regarding carbon specifically, are yet to be reported.
- The Paris Agreement has introduced new tools which could serve as means to trigger more and better coastal adaptation and mitigation efforts. Their implementation details are, however, still under negotiation and their impacts can only be expected in a few years.
- Innovative financing, that is the development of new funding sources and mechanisms including from the private sector, can be used to deliver promising ocean conservation opportunities. Capital markets are increasingly accessible for sustainable development and climate finance, and are gaining traction for biodiversity conservation. Such financing concepts could also be applied in the High Seas. Drawing on natural capital economics as a way to ascribe economic value, specific marine investment opportunities can be identified and made accessible to new financiers and funding processes.
- International waters cover nearly half of the planet's surface, yet governance deficiencies have meant that marine habitats and ecosystems are rapidly deteriorating. Improved governance through the proposed Marine Biodiversity Implementing Agreement discussed under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular ocean goal 14, will require additional financial support for High Seas solutions, including for the effective management of marine reserves.
- For projects to be attractive to funders they need to be clearly structured and deliver quantifiable benefits. A comprehensive ocean data infrastructure could be put in place to support large-scale marine conservation monitoring cost-effectively. This infrastructure could serve also other ocean users, thereby defraying the cost and could be delivered through public–private partnerships. Development finance and climate finance provide examples for relevant pathways for such integrated approaches.
- Existing efforts to find additional funding for ocean solutions can be enhanced through the range of specific innovative ocean finance mechanisms that are identified. These offer the prospect of long-term support.
- This review draws on progress made at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, Hawai'i in September 2016 and builds on the momentum created by the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The sensitivity of corals and their Symbiodinium to warming has been extensively documented; however very few studies considered that anthropogenic inputs such as metal pollution have already an impact on many fringing reefs. Thus, today, nickel releases are common in coastal ecosystems. In this study, two major reef-building species Acropora muricata and Pocillopora damicornis were exposed in situ to ambient and moderate nickel concentrations on a short-term period (1 h) using benthic chamber experiments. Simultaneously, we tested in laboratory conditions the combined effects of a chronic exposure (8 weeks) to moderate nickel concentrations and ocean warming on A. muricata. The in situ experiment highlighted that nickel enrichment, at ambient temperature, stimulated by 27 to 47% the calcification rates of both species but not their photosyntheticperformances. In contrast, an exposure to higher nickel concentration, in combination with elevated temperature simulated in aquaria, severely depressed by 30% the growth of A. muricata.