Model transferability is an emerging and important branch of predictive science that has grown primarily from a need to produce ecological forecasts in the face of widespread data deficiency and escalating environmental novelty. In our recent article in Trends in Ecology and Evolution , we outlined some of the major roadblocks that currently undermine the practice of model transfers in ecology. The response of Radchuk et al.  to our work stresses the value of considering ‘first principles’ in projections of ecosystem change  and offers insights into outstanding challenges specific to mechanistic (synonym: process-based) models .
The ocean knows no political borders. Ocean processes, like summertime wind-driven upwelling, stretch thousands of kilometers along the Northeast Pacific (NEP) coast. This upwelling drives marine ecosystem productivity and is modulated by weather systems and seasonal to interdecadal ocean-atmosphere variability. Major ocean currents in the NEP transport water properties such as heat, fresh water, nutrients, dissolved oxygen, pCO2, and pH close to the shore. The eastward North Pacific Current bifurcates offshore in the NEP, delivering open-ocean signals south into the California Current and north into the Gulf of Alaska. There is a large and growing number of NEP ocean observing elements operated by government agencies, Native American Tribes, First Nations groups, not-for-profit organizations, and private entities. Observing elements include moored and mobile platforms, shipboard repeat cruises, as well as land-based and estuarine stations. A wide range of multidisciplinary ocean sensors are deployed to track, for example, upwelling, downwelling, ocean productivity, harmful algal blooms, ocean acidification and hypoxia, seismic activity and tsunami wave propagation. Data delivery to shore and observatory controls are done through satellite and cell phone communication, and via seafloor cables. Remote sensing from satellites and land-based coastal radar provide broader spatial coverage, while numerical circulation and biogeochemical modeling complement ocean observing efforts. Models span from the deep ocean into the inland Salish Sea and estuaries. NEP ocean observing systems are used to understand regional processes and, together with numerical models, provide ocean forecasts. By sharing data, experiences and lessons learned, the regional ocean observatory is better than the sum of its parts.
The paper deals with the quantitative assessment of scientific publications regarding the Arctic indexed in SciVerse Scopus in the ten-year period (2007–2016 years). The research shows that the number of publications on the Arctic theme was consistently increasing over the previous years. The most frequently published topic concerns indigenous peoples, the most dynamic in its growth topic is renewable energy and the most active countries are The United States of America (USA), Canada, the United Kingdom, Norway, Germany. Basing on the results of this bibliometric study the original typology of the topics concerning the Arctic is created. The conducted bibliometric review shows the current situation of scientific research on this region and gives the data to predict its evolution in the next several years.
As the configuration of global environmental governance has become more complex over the past fifty years, numerous scholars have underscored the importance of understanding the transnational networks of public, private and nonprofit organizations that comprise it. Most methodologies for studying governance emphasize social structural elements or institutional design principles and focus less attention on the social interactions that generate diffuse, hybrid regimes. Yet capturing the dynamics of these networks requires a relational methodology that can account for a range of elements that constantly shift and change relative to overlapping institutional boundaries. Collaborative Event Ethnography draws on insights from multi-sited, team, and institutional ethnography to assemble teams of researchers to study major international conferences, which offer important political spaces where public, private, and nonprofit actors align around sanctioned logics and techniques of governance. Drawing on insights generated from these conferences and field sites across the globe, we trace the constitutive forces behind paradigm shifts in biodiversity conservation, specifically the interconnected rise of market-based approaches, global targets, and new conservation enclosures. We show how the iterative refining of the methodology over five events generated an increasingly robust understanding of global conservation governance as processual, dynamic, and contingent, constituted through constantly shifting assemblages of state and nonstate actors, devices and narratives that collectively configure fields of governance. Finally, we reflect on how our team, as an evolving combination of researchers, research interests, and data collection tools—itself an assemblage, —has informed the continual refinement of the methodology and generated novel understandings of global conservation governance.
The estuaries and continental shelf system of the United States Mid-Atlantic are subject to ocean acidification driven by atmospheric CO2, and coastal acidification caused by nearshore and land-sea interactions that include biological, chemical, and physical processes. These processes include freshwater and nutrient input from rivers and groundwater; tidally-driven outwelling of nutrients, inorganic carbon, alkalinity; high productivity and respiration; and hypoxia. Hence, these complex dynamic systems exhibit substantial daily, seasonal, and interannual variability that is not well captured by current acidification research on Mid-Atlantic organisms and ecosystems. We present recommendations for research priorities that target better understanding of the ecological impacts of acidification in the U. S. Mid-Atlantic region. Suggested priorities are: 1) Determining the impact of multiple stressors on our resource species as well as the magnitude of acidification; 2) Filling information gaps on major taxa and regionally important species in different life stages to improve understanding of their response to variable temporal scales and sources of acidification; 3) Improving experimental approaches to incorporate realistic environmental variability and gradients, include interactions with other environmental stressors, increase transferability to other systems or organisms, and evaluate community and ecosystem response; 4) Determining the capacity of important species to acclimate or adapt to changing ocean conditions; 5) Considering multi-disciplinary, ecosystem-level research that examines acidification impacts on biodiversity and biotic interactions; and 6) Connecting potential acidification-induced ecological impacts to ecosystem services and the economy. These recommendations, while developed for the Mid-Atlantic, can be applicable to other regions will help align research towards knowledge of potential larger-scale ecological and economic impacts.
The Bay of Biscay is being affected by increasing level of marine litter, which is causing a wide variety of adverse environmental, social, public health, safety and economic impacts. The term “beach littering” has been coined to refer to the marine litter that is deposited on beaches. This litter may come from the sea and through land-based pathways, either from remote or adjacent areas. Dirty beaches can derive in loss of aesthetical value, beach cleaning cost, environmental harm or tourism revenue reduction among others. Therefore, local authorities have started to search for cost-effective approaches to understand and reduce litter accumulation in their beaches. A model is presented in this paper, which is based on Bayesian Networks and enables the forecasting of marine litter beaching at seven beaches located on the south-eastern coast of the Bay of Biscay. The model uses 9.5 years of metocean, environmental and beach cleaning data. The class to predict was defined as a variable with two possible values: Low and High accumulation of beach litter. The obtained models reached an average accuracy of 65.3 ± 6.4%, being the river flow, precipitation, wind and wave the most significant predictors and likely drivers of litter accumulation in beaches. These models may provide some insight to local authorities on the drivers affecting the litter beaching and may help to define their strategies for its reduction.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly being used as conservation tools in the marine environment. Success of MPAs depends upon sound scientific design and societal support. Studies that have assessed societal preferences for temperate MPAs have generally done it without considering the existence of discrete groups of opinion within society and have largely considered offshore and deep-sea areas. This study quantifies societal preferences and economic support for coastal MPAs in Wales (UK) and assesses the presence of distinct groups of preference for MPA management, through a latent class choice experiment approach. Results show a general support for the protection of the marine environment in the form of MPAs and that society is willing to bear the costs derived from conservation. Despite a general opposition toward MPAs where human activities are completely excluded, there is some indication that three classes of preferences within society can be established regarding the management of potentially sea-floor damaging activities. This type of approach allows for the distinction between those respondents with positive preferences for particular types of management from those who experience disutility. We conclude that insights from these types of analyses can be used by policy-makers to identify those MPA designs and management combinations most likely to be supported by particular sectors of society.
Isolating the effects of fragmentation per se (i.e., spatial configuration of habitat patches) on species richness is an ongoing challenge as habitat configuration often co‐varies with the amount of habitat. Consequently, there is a lack of experimental evidence for configurational effects on species richness in the whole landscape. Here, we developed a novel experimental system for testing the independent and interactive effects of habitat area and configuration on tropical intertidal species richness. Our results confirmed the expectation that average species richness would increase monotonically with habitat area. More intriguingly, we found mixed evidence for a non‐monotonic relationship between species richness and fragmentation per se, with the highest richness at intermediate fragmentation configuration, i.e., when habitat tiles were placed in a “several‐small” configuration. The effect of habitat configuration was not due to passive sampling (since area was controlled for), variation in total individual abundance, or niche specialization of species to different landscape configurations. We postulate that a combination of processes, including local negative density dependence and dispersal limitation, could give rise to the observed pattern. We emphasize the importance of considering configurational effects on biodiversity at broader spatial scales and for more experimental research to delve into the mechanisms driving the patterns seen here.
This guide provides evidence-based advice on how to use the governance of marine protected areas to promote conservation and share sustainable marine resources. It has been developed using marine protected area (MPA) case studies from around the world. People who can benefit from this guide include planners, decision makers and practitioners engaged in marine protected area development and implementation, or those who have a general interest in protected area governance. It provides a governance framework and highlights key issues to address specific governance situations. It can be used as part of an adaptive management cycle. The case studies (page 12-13) highlight different governance approaches, challenges faced, and solutions implemented to achieve conservation objectives. Some marine protected areas are more effective than others, but they all highlight areas for improvement and indications of what could be implemented to enhance their effectiveness. All MPAs display unique characteristics and face their own complex combination of challenges. There is no "one size fits all" solution. This guidance recognizes this and provides a flexible approach to governance that can be relevant to any MPA and used on an ongoing basis. The case studies cover a variety of MPA types, including notake, multiple-use, small, large, remote, private, governmentled, decentralized and community-led MPAs. The global and varied examples used to support this guidance have demonstrated and highlighted the differences in the various roles that are taken within the governance and management of MPAs, between men and women as well as between different classes and ethnicities. These differences are identified across a variety of regions and cultural contexts, where there is not always equal opportunity to voice concerns and influence decisions and the benefits from protected areas are not equally distributed, frequently resulting in marginalization (Box 1). Global in scope, it recognizes the essential aspects of gender, class and ethnicity-related equality, as fundamental factors to achieving sustainable development goals and delivering effective and equitable governance of MPAs. This should be taken into account for all MPA governance projects to provide equality across all gender class and ethnicityrelated characteristics.
The success of marine management initiatives and our capability for dealing with environmental change largely depend on our understanding regarding the distribution of species and their habitat preferences. In the present study, we deployed baited remote underwater video systems (BRUVs) in a portion of Brazilian central coast (i.e., Todos os Santos Bay) to describe fish species-habitat associations along an estuary-bay-continental shelf gradient. Significant variation in the fish assemblage was found among three ecosystems, four depth classes, and eight different types of habitat, confirming that the structure and composition of fish assemblages is mediated by a set of habitat characteristics forming an ecological mosaic. The highest species richness and relative abundance were found in the mangroves and reefs. The data demonstrated that some species, such as Lutjanus jocu, Lutjanus synagris, Carangoides bartholomaei, Eucinostomus argenteus and Eucinostomus melanopterus had clear ontogenetic shifts among habitats and across ecosystems. Some species (Sphoeroides greeley, L. synagris, and Eucinostomus gula) were widespread along the ecosystem-level gradient and were observed in a number of different habitats, reflecting more generalist habitat associations. By contrast, a large number of species (54; e.g., Ptereleotris randali, Decapterus macarellus and Mugil curema) were recorded in a single habitat type, indicating they were habitat specialists. Despite this apparent habitat-related pattern, the size-mediated relationships found in many species indicate cross-migration along the ecosystem gradient. Our findings have implications for the conservation and monitoring of fish assemblages highlighting the role of the connectivity of marine habitats as a conservation priority toward to an ecosystem-based management strategy.
The dangerous effects of Abandoned, Lost or Discarded Fishing Gears (ALDFG) is documented in the literature. However, there exists an overall lack of understanding in quantifying the pollution loads of fishing gears (FG) in territorial waters or on the beaches. The lack of data on FG life cycle results in mismanagement of one of the troublesome resources across the globe. In the remote and data-less situations, local stakeholders’ knowledge remains the only source of information. Therefore, in this article, we propose:
A methodology to extract fishers’ knowledge (FK) for generating evidence on FG handling and management practices in Norway.
The stepwise approach includes mapping of relevant stakeholders, drafting and finalizing a structured questionnaire using the Delphi method among experts to build the consensus and finally, statistically analyzing the recorded responses from the fishers.
The questions are designed to extract both qualitative and quantitative information on purchase, repair, gear loss and disposal rates of commercial FGs.
The responses from 114 Norwegian fishers are recorded, analyzed and presented as a part of method validation.
The evidence from the survey is then used as an input to coin the regional FG handling and management strategies in Norway. The presented method is proven a robust strategy to retrieve scientific information from the local stakeholders’ and can easily be replicated elsewhere to build global evidence around the ALDFG problematic.
Spatial protection measures have become ubiquitous in fisheries management and marine conservation. Implemented for diverse objectives from stock rebuilding to biodiversity protection and ecosystem management, spatial measures range from temporary fisheries closures to marine protected areas with varying levels of protection. Ecological and economic benefits from spatial protection have been demonstrated for many reef and demersal species, but remain debated and understudied for highly migratory fishes, such as tunas, billfishes, and pelagic sharks. Here we summarize the spatial extent of fisheries closures implemented by the tuna RFMOs as well as marine protected areas worldwide, which together cover ∼15% of global ocean area. We furthermore synthesize results from modeling and tagging studies as well as fisheries-dependent research to provide an overview of the efficacy and benefits of present spatial protection measures for large pelagic fishes and their associated fisheries. We conclude that (1) many species with known migration routes, aggregating behavior, and philopatry can benefit from spatial protection; but (2) spatial protection alone is insufficient and should be integrated with effective fisheries management to protect and rebuild stocks of highly migratory species. We suggest tailoring spatial protection to the biology of large pelagic fishes, including improved protection for aggregation sites and migration corridors. These features currently appear to be an important—yet overlooked— opportunity to safeguard depleted and recovering stocks and protect pelagic biodiversity. New remote-sensing tools that track pelagic fishes and fishing vessels may provide timely support for improved spatial management in waters that were previously difficult to observe.
Human population density within 100 km of the sea is approximately three times higher than the global average. People in this zone are concentrated in coastal cities that are hubs for transport and trade – which transform the marine environment. Here, we review the impacts of three interacting drivers of marine urbanization (resource exploitation, pollution pathways and ocean sprawl) and discuss key characteristics that are symptomatic of urban marine ecosystems. Current evidence suggests these systems comprise spatially heterogeneous mosaics with respect to artificial structures, pollutants and community composition, while also undergoing biotic homogenization over time. Urban marine ecosystem dynamics are often influenced by several commonly observed patterns and processes, including the loss of foundation species, changes in biodiversity and productivity, and the establishment of novel assemblages, ruderal species and synanthropes. Further, we discuss potential urban acclimatization and adaptation among marine taxa, interactive effects of climate change and marine urbanization, and ecological engineering strategies for enhancing urban marine ecosystems. By assimilating research findings across disparate disciplines, we aim to build the groundwork for urban marine ecology – a nascent field; we also discuss research challenges and future directions for this new field as it advances and matures. Ultimately, all sides of coastal city design: architecture, urban planning, and civil and municipal engineering, will need to prioritize the marine environment if negative effects of urbanization are to be minimized. In particular, planning strategies that account for the interactive effects of urban drivers and accommodate complex system dynamics could enhance the ecological and human functions of future urban marine ecosystems.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) is occurring throughout the world, as communities and nation-states seek to resolve spatial conflicts and competition in coastal areas and reduce the impacts of human uses on marine biodiversity. The Marine Plan Partnership (MaPP) in British Columbia, Canada, is a successful example of collaborative marine planning between First Nations governments and the British Columbia provincial government, achieving the protection of ecological and cultural values, while supporting sustainable economic activities. The collaborative planning process was pre-dated by territorial marine planning by each participating First Nation, which allowed for the protection of First Nations governance and economy, cultural values and activities, and resource management priorities.
The Indo-Pacific small island states characteristically have relatively small land areas but large maritime zones that include biodiversity hotspots, fragile ecosystems and unique habitats affected by anthropogenic impacts and natural pressures. Whilst there are differences between these nations in terms of geography, history, and politico-legal systems, the majority are developing countries with limited technical and financial resources to implement laws for marine conservation and management. Despite these limitations all the small island states have laws for marine protected areas (MPAs) in one form or another. Because these countries also rely heavily on the coastal zone and marine resources in terms of subsistence and livelihoods for local communities, the extent to which the law accommodates civil society interests, and involvement in decision-making and management, is critical. Although some studies have explored law and policy relevant to MPAs in individual countries, rarely have countries across the Indo-Pacific region been compared. By doing so, different approaches and success stories can be shared, as well as legislative gaps and challenges addressed. This paper outlines the legal frameworks that provide for the establishment and management of MPAs in a selection of small island states across the Indo Pacific. The laws have been comparatively analysed to demonstrate the extent to which they provide for public participation and community-based management. The results are presented together with lessons learnt and recommendations made for future legal developments. The article, therefore, contributes to the growing body of literature on MPA governance, marine management in island States, and how to advance social sustainability.
Much marine litter comes from land-based sources, with a significant amount coming from activities on bathing beaches. Thus, the overall focus of this exploratory research is to identify elements important for the design of beach infrastructure (i.e., trash cans (TCs)) to reduce littering behaviors. We base our investigation on principles of a relatively new approach, called Design for Sustainable Behavior. In doing so, we consider design for two user groups: bathing beachgoers and beach managers. We examined these users' perceptions of beach TCs through the use of an on-line survey of beachgoers, in-depth interviews with Israeli beach managers, a survey of international Blue Flag beach managers and a design ‘ideation’ workshop. Most importantly, we found that there is interest on the part of beach managers and other stakeholders in applying design principles to improve TCs. The findings of this study have implications for further interdisciplinary – and multidisciplinary – research on this topic.
Ocean resources have been exploited at unprecedented rates, leading to marine biodiversity loss, food web changes, and other alterations of ocean ecosystem functions and structures. The capture of wild fish for human consumption and fishmeal are the primary drivers. Microalgae oil has long been investigated for biofuel production. Its co-product, defatted microalgal biomass, has potential to replace fishmeal from wild fish catch and thus mitigate ocean resource depletion.
This study develops a new indicator for assessing consequential impacts on ocean resources in life cycle assessment. The indicator is based on primary production required, a concept previously used in ecological assessments and life cycle assessments to evaluate ecological impacts of fisheries and aquaculture. We estimate the primary production required for fishmeal production from the ocean (166 kg carbon/kg fishmeal), and the potential of defatted microalgae biomass displacing fishmeal. Results show that defatted microalgae biomass can lead to highly variable, but potentially significant, reductions in ocean resource demand. The variability is a function of the potential for replacement, which depends on the cultured fish species considered. As an example of this significance, based on available data for estimating the potential for defatted microalgal biomass to displace fishmeal for cultured tilapia, salmon, shrimp, carp, flounder, yellowtail and cod, by 2020 net primary production demand from the ocean could be reduced by approximately one billion tons of carbon.
The rationale applied for monitoring and managing fisheries is based on the implicit assumption that yield and stocks status is essentially determined by fisheries. Moreover, the fisheries yield is quantified and analyzed in terms of landings with respect to official management area of registration of vessels. In this way, the real area of activity of each fleet is not considered and this prevent an effective spatial analysis of the factors affecting fisheries yield and stocks status. This paper firstly presents a VMS-based reconstruction of the fishing effort and of the area of activity of the Italian trawlers in the Mediterranean Sea. The fishing area of each fleet is then used as a spatial reference to estimate primary productivity rate and gross primary production and to investigate, by using General Additive Models, the effects of trawling effort, primary production and time on fisheries yield, fisheries productivity and overexploitation rate for some key demersal species. The results evidence that the usage of satellite-based information of fishing activities and of primary production, when combined at the real spatial scale of fishing activities, could effectively improve our ability to analyze the response of the ecosystems to these driving forces and allow capturing the main trends of yield, productivity and overexploitation rate of demersal stocks.
In a world in which ocean degradation is widespread and aggravated by the effects of climate change, there is a need to contribute with new management approaches to ameliorate the situation. Here, inclusive management is proposed as such an alternative. This contribution argues that including all genders in the management process is needed and the inclusion itself can generate new ways to solve problems. An assessment of findings from literature of the positive aspects when considering gender in environmental governance is presented and related to the specific situation of small-scale fisheries (SSF). These positive findings are explained in terms of (1) Participation, (2) Space, actors and activities, (3) Economic power, and (4) Equity and environmental stewardship. Further, a practical approach is taken and a model for gender inclusion in coastal/ocean management for SSF is presented and illustrated with a case of seagrass SSF in East Africa. The central argument is that in view of ongoing coastal/ocean degradation and the moderate governance and management success, it is worth trying management approaches that consciously and explicitly consider gender and diversity of actors. This will bring central actors (e.g., women not previously considered) into the management process and will provide the base for better governance and policy reform.
The structure of the phytoplankton community in surface waters is the consequence of complex interactions between the physical and chemical properties of the upper water column as well as the interaction within the general biological community. Understanding the structure of phytoplankton communities is especially challenging in highly variable and dynamic marine environments. A variety of strategies have been employed to delineate marine planktonic habitats, including both biogeochemical and water-mass-based approaches. These methods have led to fundamental improvements in our understanding of marine phytoplankton distributions, but they are often difficult to apply to systems with physical and chemical properties and forcings that vary greatly over relatively short spatial or temporal scales. In this study, we have developed a method of dynamic habitat delineation based on environmental variables that are biologically relevant, that integrate over varying time scales, and that are derived from standard oceanographic measurements. As a result, this approach is widely applicable, simple to implement, and effective in resolving the spatial distribution of phytoplankton communities. As a test of our approach, we have applied it to the Amazon River-influenced Western Tropical North Atlantic (WTNA) and to the South China Sea (SCS), which is influenced by both the Mekong River and seasonal coastal upwelling. These two systems differ substantially in their spatial and temporal scales, nutrient sources/sinks, and hydrographic complexity, providing an effective test of the applicability of our analysis. Despite their significant differences in scale and character, our approach generated statistically robust habitat classifications that were clearly relevant to surface phytoplankton communities. Additional analysis of the habitat-defining variables themselves can provide insight into the processes acting to shape phytoplankton communities in each habitat. Finally, by demonstrating the biological relevance of the generated habitats, we gain insights into the conditions promoting the growth of distinct communities and the factors that lead to mismatches between environmental conditions and phytoplankton community structure.