Literature Library

Currently indexing 7902 titles

Cold Seeps in a Warming Arctic: Insights for Benthic Ecology

Åström EKL, Sen A, Carroll ML, Carroll JL. Cold Seeps in a Warming Arctic: Insights for Benthic Ecology. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00244/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1348443_45_Marine_20200609_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Cold-seep benthic communities in the Arctic exist at the nexus of two extreme environments; one reflecting the harsh physical extremes of the Arctic environment and another reflecting the chemical extremes and strong environmental gradients associated with seafloor seepage of methane and toxic sulfide-enriched sediments. Recent ecological investigations of cold seeps at numerous locations on the margins of the Arctic Ocean basin reveal that seabed seepage of reduced gas and fluids strongly influence benthic communities and associated marine ecosystems. These Arctic seep communities are mostly different from both conventional Arctic benthic communities as well as cold-seep systems elsewhere in the world. They are characterized by a lack of large specialized chemo-obligate polychetes and mollusks often seen at non-Arctic seeps, but, nonetheless, have substantially higher benthic abundance and biomass compared to adjacent Arctic areas lacking seeps. Arctic seep communities are dominated by expansive tufts or meadows of siboglinid polychetes, which can reach densities up to >3 × 105 ind.m–2. The enhanced autochthonous chemosynthetic production, combined with reef-like structures from methane-derived authigenic carbonates, provides a rich and complex local habitat that results in aggregations of non-seep specialized fauna from multiple trophic levels, including several commercial species. Cold seeps are far more widespread in the Arctic than thought even a few years ago. They exhibit in situ benthic chemosynthetic production cycles that operate on different spatial and temporal cycles than the sunlight-driven counterpart of photosynthetic production in the ocean’s surface. These systems can act as a spatio-temporal bridge for benthic communities and associated ecosystems that may otherwise suffer from a lack of consistency in food quality from the surface ocean during seasons of low production. As climate change impacts accelerate in Arctic marginal seas, photosynthetic primary production cycles are being modified, including in terms of changes in the timing, magnitude, and quality of photosynthetic carbon, whose delivery to the seabed fuels benthic communities. Furthermore, an increased northward expansion of species is expected as a consequence of warming seas. This may have implications for dispersal and evolution of both chemosymbiotic species as well as for background taxa in the entire realm of the Arctic Ocean basin and fringing seas.

Thermally Variable, Macrotidal Reef Habitats Promote Rapid Recovery From Mass Coral Bleaching

Schoepf V, Jung MU, McCulloch MT, White NE, Stat M, Thomas L. Thermally Variable, Macrotidal Reef Habitats Promote Rapid Recovery From Mass Coral Bleaching. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00245/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1348443_45_Marine_20200609_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Coral reefs are severely threatened by climate change and recurrent mass bleaching events, highlighting the need for a better understanding of the factors driving recovery and resilience both at the community and species level. While temperature variability has been shown to promote coral heat tolerance, it remains poorly understood whether this also influences coral recovery capacity. Similarly, few studies have investigated how the presence of cryptic species influences bleaching and recovery responses. Using an integrated ecological, physiological, and genetic approach (i.e., reef-wide coral health surveys as well as chlorophyll a concentration and cryptic species diversity of Acropora aspera), we examined the recovery of both coral communities and their dominant species from the 2016 mass bleaching event in the macrotidal Kimberley region, NW Australia. We show that recovery of coral communities inhabiting adjacent but environmentally contrasting reef habitats differed dramatically following unprecedented bleaching in 2016. Both intertidal (thermally extreme) and subtidal (thermally moderate) habitats experienced extensive bleaching (72–81%), but subtidal coral communities had a greater percentage of severely bleached corals than the intertidal community (76 versus 53%). Similarly, subtidal A. aspera corals suffered much greater losses of chlorophyll a than intertidal conspecifics (96 versus 46%). The intertidal coral community fully recovered to its prebleaching configuration within 6 months, whereas the adjacent subtidal suffered extensive mortality (68% loss of live coral cover). Despite the presence of three cryptic genetic lineages in the dominant coral species, the physiological response of A. aspera was independent of host cryptic genetic diversity. Furthermore, both intertidal and subtidal A. aspera harbored symbionts in the genus Cladocopium (previously clade C). Our findings therefore highlight the important role of tidally controlled temperature variability in promoting coral recovery capacity. While the underlying physiological and molecular mechanisms require further investigation, we propose that shallow reef environments characterized by strong environmental gradients may generally promote coral resilience to extreme climatic events. Thermally variable reef environments may therefore provide important spatial refugia for coral reefs under rapid climate change.

Dead Cetacean? Beach, Bloat, Float, Sink

Moore MJ, Mitchell GH, Rowles TK, Early G. Dead Cetacean? Beach, Bloat, Float, Sink. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00333/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1348443_45_Marine_20200609_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Variably buoyant, dead Cetacea may float, or sink and later bloat to refloat if ambient temperature and pressure allow sufficient decomposition gas formation and expansion. Mortality can result from acute or chronic disease, fishery entanglement, vessel collision, noxious noises, or toxicant spills. Investigators often face the daunting task of elucidating a complex series of events, in reverse order, from when and where an animal is found, and to diagnose the cause of death. Various scenarios are possible: an animal could die at sea remaining there or floating ashore, or strand on a beach alive, where it dies and, if cast high enough, remain beached to be scavenged or decompose. An animal that rests low on a beach may refloat again, through increased buoyancy from decomposition gas and favorable tides, currents, and wind. Here we review the factors responsible for the different outcomes, and how to recognize the provenance of a cetacean mortality found beached, or floating at sea. In conclusion, only some carcasses strand, or remain floating. Negatively buoyant animals that die at depth, or on the surface, and sink, may never surface, even after decomposition gas accumulation, as in cold, deep waters gas may fail to adequately reduce the density of a carcass, precluding it from returning to the surface.

Automating the Analysis of Fish Abundance Using Object Detection: Optimizing Animal Ecology With Deep Learning

Ditria EM, Lopez-Marcano S, Sievers M, Jinks EL, Brown CJ, Connolly RM. Automating the Analysis of Fish Abundance Using Object Detection: Optimizing Animal Ecology With Deep Learning. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00429/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1348443_45_Marine_20200609_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Aquatic ecologists routinely count animals to provide critical information for conservation and management. Increased accessibility to underwater recording equipment such as action cameras and unmanned underwater devices has allowed footage to be captured efficiently and safely, without the logistical difficulties manual data collection often presents. It has, however, led to immense volumes of data being collected that require manual processing and thus significant time, labor, and money. The use of deep learning to automate image processing has substantial benefits but has rarely been adopted within the field of aquatic ecology. To test its efficacy and utility, we compared the accuracy and speed of deep learning techniques against human counterparts for quantifying fish abundance in underwater images and video footage. We collected footage of fish assemblages in seagrass meadows in Queensland, Australia. We produced three models using an object detection framework to detect the target species, an ecologically important fish, luderick (Girella tricuspidata). Our models were trained on three randomized 80:20 ratios of training:validation datasets from a total of 6,080 annotations. The computer accurately determined abundance from videos with high performance using unseen footage from the same estuary as the training data (F1 = 92.4%, mAP50 = 92.5%) and from novel footage collected from a different estuary (F1 = 92.3%, mAP50 = 93.4%). The computer’s performance in determining abundance was 7.1% better than human marine experts and 13.4% better than citizen scientists in single image test datasets, and 1.5 and 7.8% higher in video datasets, respectively. We show that deep learning can be a more accurate tool than humans at determining abundance and that results are consistent and transferable across survey locations. Deep learning methods provide a faster, cheaper, and more accurate alternative to manual data analysis methods currently used to monitor and assess animal abundance and have much to offer the field of aquatic ecology.

Past and Future Grand Challenges in Marine Ecosystem Ecology

Borja A, Andersen JH, Arvanitidis CD, Basset A, Buhl-Mortensen L, Carvalho S, Dafforn KA, Devlin MJ, Escobar-Briones EG, Grenz C, et al. Past and Future Grand Challenges in Marine Ecosystem Ecology. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00362/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1348443_45_Marine_20200609_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Initial Grand Challenges

Frontiers in Marine Science launched the Marine Ecosystems Ecology (FMARS-MEE) section in 2014, with a paper that identified eight grand challenges for the discipline (Borja, 2014). Since then, this section has published a total of 370 papers, including 336 addressing aspects of those challenges. As editors of the journal, with a wide range of marine ecology expertise, we felt it was timely to evaluate research advances related to those challenges; and to update the scope of the section to reflect the grand challenges we envision for the next 10 years. This output will match with the United Nations (UN) Decade on Oceans Science for Sustainable Development (DOSSD; Claudet et al., 2020), UN Decade of Ecosystems Restoration (DER; Young and Schwartz, 2019), and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs; Visbeck et al., 2014).

First, we analyzed each published paper and assigned their topic to a maximum of two out of the eight challenges (all information available in Supplementary Table 1). We then extracted the 3–5 most cited papers within each challenge using two criteria: the total number of citations during this 6-year period, and the annual citation rate (i.e., the mean annual number of citations since publication). We then collated the topics covered by this reduced list of papers (Table 1) and summarized the outcomes for each topic. 

150 shades of green: Using the full spectrum of remote sensing reflectance to elucidate color shifts in the ocean

Vandermeulen RA, Mannino A, Craig SE, P. Werdell J. 150 shades of green: Using the full spectrum of remote sensing reflectance to elucidate color shifts in the ocean. Remote Sensing of Environment [Internet]. 2020 ;247:111900. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0034425720302704
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

This article proposes a simple and intuitive classification system by which to define full spectral remote sensing reflectance (Rrs(λ)) data with a quantitative output that enables a more manageable handling of spectral information for aquatic science applications. The weighted harmonic mean of the Rrs(λ) wavelengths outputs an Apparent Visible Wavelength (in units of nanometers), representing a one-dimensional geophysical metric of color that is inherently correlated to spectral shape. This dimensionality reduction of spectral information combined with the output along a continuum of wavelength values offers a robust and user-friendly means to describe and analyze spectral Rrs(λ) in terms of spatial and temporal trends and variability. The uncertainty in the algorithm's estimation of spectral shape is demonstrated on a global scale, in addition to the utility of the algorithm to discern spectral-spatial-temporal trends in the ocean, on a per-pixel basis for the entire 22 year continuous ocean color (SeaWiFS and MODIS-Aqua) time-series. This technique can be applied to datasets of varying multi- and hyper-spectral resolutions, providing continuity between heritage and future satellite sensors, and further enabling an effective means of elucidating similarities or differences in complex spectral signatures within the constraints of two dimensions. This straightforward means of conceptualizing multi-dimensional variability can help maximize the potential of the spectral information embedded in remote sensing data.

The Importance of the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico to Foraging Loggerhead Sea Turtles

Hart KM, Lamont MM, Iverson AR, Smith BJ. The Importance of the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico to Foraging Loggerhead Sea Turtles. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00330/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1334659_45_Marine_20200521_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Identification of high-use foraging sites where imperiled sea turtles are resident remains a globally-recognized conservation priority. In the biodiverse Gulf of Mexico (GoM), recent telemetry studies highlighted post-nesting foraging sites for federally threatened loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta). Our aim here was to discern loggerhead use of additional northern GoM regions that may serve as high-use foraging sites. Thus, we used satellite tracking and switching state-space modeling to show that the Big Bend region off the northwest Florida coast is a coastal foraging area that supports imperiled adult female loggerhead turtles tracked from different nesting subpopulations. From 2011 to 2016, we satellite-tagged 15 loggerheads that nested on four distinct beaches around the GoM: Dry Tortugas National Park, FL; Everglades National Park, FL; St. Joseph Peninsula, FL; and Gulf Shores, AL. Turtles arrived at their foraging ground in the Big Bend region between June and September and remained resident in their respective foraging sites for an average of 198 tracking days, where they established mean home ranges (95% kernel density estimate) 232.7 km2. Larger home ranges were in deeper water; 50% kernel density estimate centroid values were a mean 26.4 m deep and 52.7 km from shore. The Big Bend region provides a wide area of suitable year-round foraging habitat for loggerheads from at least 3 different nesting subpopulations. Understanding where and when threatened loggerheads forage and remain resident is key for designing both surveys of foraging resources and additional protection strategies that can impact population recovery trajectories for this imperiled species.

Life Cycle Dynamics of a Key Marine Species Under Multiple Stressors

Otto SA, Niiranen S, Blenckner T, Tomczak MT, Müller-Karulis B, Rubene G, Möllmann C. Life Cycle Dynamics of a Key Marine Species Under Multiple Stressors. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00296/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1334659_45_Marine_20200521_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Identifying key indicator species, their life cycle dynamics and the multiple driving forces they are affected by is an important step in ecosystem-based management. Similarly important is understanding how environmental changes and trophic interactions shape future trajectories of key species with potential implications for ecosystem state and service provision. We here present a statistical modeling framework to assess and quantify cumulative effects on the long-term dynamics of the copepod Pseudocalanus acuspes, a key species in the Baltic Sea. Our model integrates linear and non-linear responses to changes in life stage density, climate and predation pressure as well as stochastic processes. We use the integrated life cycle model to simulate copepod dynamics under a combination of stressor scenarios and to identify conditions under which population responses are potentially mitigated or magnified. Our novel modeling approach reliably captures the historical P. acuspes population dynamics and allows us to identify females in spring and younger copepodites in summer as stages most sensitive to direct and indirect effects of the main environmental stressors, salinity and temperature. Our model simulations furthermore demonstrate that population responses to stressors are dampened through density effects. Multiple stressor interactions were mostly additive except when acting on the same life stage. Here, negative synergistic and positive dampening effects lead to a lower total population size than expected under additive interactions. As a consequence, we found that a favorable increase of oxygen and phosphate conditions together with a reduction in predation pressure by 50% each could counteract the negative effect of a 25% decrease in salinity by only 6%. Ultimately, our simulations suggest that P. acuspes will most certainly decline under a potential freshening of the Baltic Sea and increasing temperatures, which is conditional on the extent of the assumed climate change. Also the planned nutrient reduction strategy and fishery management plan will not necessarily benefit the temporal development of P. acuspes. Moving forward, there is a growing opportunity for using population modeling in cumulative effects assessments. Our modeling framework can help here as simple tool for species with a discrete life cycle to explore stressor interactions and the safe operating space under future climate change.

Using qualitative network models to assess the influence of mussel culture on ecosystem dynamics

Forget NL, Duplisea DE, Sardenne F, McKindsey CW. Using qualitative network models to assess the influence of mussel culture on ecosystem dynamics. Ecological Modelling [Internet]. 2020 ;430:109070. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304380020301423
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The expansion of the aquaculture industry in the last several decades has raised concerns about potential ecological impacts of the industry. Bivalve culture, particularly mussel farming, relies on naturally occurring plankton and numerous studies have demonstrated top-down control on phytoplankton, increased nutrients through excretion of metabolic wastes and remineralization of faeces and pseudofaeces, and bottom-up effects on predators and scavengers through mussel fall-off. However, results are inconsistent between studies, and hydrodynamic conditions and nutrient availability are thought to play an important role in the magnitude and the direction of the ecological effects of mussel culture on the surrounding ecosystem. We used qualitative network models (QNMs), to outline a general model that integrates these environmental conditions and (1) evaluated the ability of different model configurations to reproduce known responses to perturbations, (2) analyzed the behaviour of key components to contrasting hydrodynamic and nutrient condition scenarios, and (3) identified the most influential features of the derived scenarios. The model that included uncertain linkages to characterize unknown relationships performed best based on predetermined validation criteria; the addition of semi-quantitative information on the relative strength of certain linkages improved accuracy and sign determinacy of outcomes. The presence of suspended mussel culture negatively affected primary producers, zooplankton and deposit-feeders, and had a positive effect on predators and scavengers, especially in low-energy environments. Hydrodynamic conditions were shown to have a major impact on the response of the community to mussel culture, while nutrient availability had a very minor impact.

Establishing the links between marine ecosystem components, functions and services: An ecosystem service assessment tool

Armoškaitė A, Puriņa I, Aigars J, Strake S, Pakalniete K, Frederiksen P, Schrøder L, Hansen HSten. Establishing the links between marine ecosystem components, functions and services: An ecosystem service assessment tool. Ocean & Coastal Management [Internet]. 2020 ;193:105229. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964569120301393
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Although the concept of ecosystem services has been in use for many decades, its application for policy support is limited, particularly with respect to marine ecosystems. Gaps in the assessments of ecosystem services supply prevent its empirical application. We advance these assessments by providing an assessment tool, which links marine ecosystem components, functions and services, and graphically represents the assessment process and its results. The tool consists of two parts: (i) a matrix following the ecosystem services cascade structure for quantifying the contribution of ecosystem components in the provision of ecosystem services; (ii) and a linkage diagram for visualising the interactions between the elements. With the aid of the Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES), the tool was used to assess the relative contribution of a wide range of marine ecosystem components in the supply of ecosystem services in the Latvian marine waters. Results indicate that the tool can be used to assess the impacts of environmental degradation in terms of ecosystem service supply. These impacts could further be valued in socioeconomic terms, as change in the socioeconomic values derived from the use of ecosystem services. The tool provides an opportunity for conducting a holistic assessment of the ecosystem service supply and communicating the results to marine spatial planning practitioners, and increasing their understanding and use of the ecosystem service concept.

Conservation value of a subtropical reef in south-eastern Queensland, Australia, highlighted by citizen-science efforts

Grol MGG, Vercelloni J, Kenyon TM, Bayraktarov E, van den Berg CP, Harris D, Loder JA, Mihaljević M, Rowland PI, Roelfsema CM. Conservation value of a subtropical reef in south-eastern Queensland, Australia, highlighted by citizen-science efforts. Marine and Freshwater Research [Internet]. 2020 . Available from: https://www.publish.csiro.au/MF/MF19170
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Subtropical reefs are important habitats for many marine species and for tourism and recreation. Yet, subtropical reefs are understudied, and detailed habitat maps are seldom available. Citizen science can help fill this gap, while fostering community engagement and education. In this study, 44 trained volunteers conducted an ecological assessment of subtropical Flinders Reef using established Reef Check and CoralWatch protocols. In 2017, 10 sites were monitored to provide comprehensive information on reef communities and to estimate potential local drivers of coral community structure. A detailed habitat map was produced by integrating underwater photos, depth measurements, wave-exposure modelling and satellite imagery. Surveys showed that coral cover ranged from 14% to 67%. Site location and wave exposure explained 47% and 16% respectively, of the variability in coral community composition. Butterflyfishes were the most abundant fish group, with few invertebrates being observed during the surveys. Reef impacts were three times lower than on other nearby subtropical reefs. These findings can be used to provide local information to spatial management and Marine Park planning. To increase the conservation benefits and to maintain the health of Flinders Reef, we recommend expanding the current protection zone from 500- to a 1000-m radius.

Global hotspots for coastal ecosystem-based adaptation

Jones HP, Nickel B, Srebotnjak T, Turner W, Gonzalez-Roglich M, Zavaleta E, Hole DG. Global hotspots for coastal ecosystem-based adaptation Villamayor-Tomas S. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2020 ;15(5):e0233005. Available from: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0233005
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Helping the world’s coastal communities adapt to climate change impacts requires evaluating the vulnerability of coastal communities and assessing adaptation options. This includes understanding the potential for ‘natural’ infrastructure (ecosystems and the biodiversity that underpins them) to reduce communities’ vulnerability, alongside more traditional ‘hard’ infrastructure approaches. Here we present a spatially explicit global evaluation of the vulnerability of coastal-dwelling human populations to key climate change exposures and explore the potential for coastal ecosystems to help people adapt to climate change (ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA)). We find that mangroves and coral reefs are particularly well situated to help people cope with current weather extremes, a function that will only increase in importance as people adapt to climate change now and in coming decades. We find that around 30.9 million people living within 2km of the coast are highly vulnerable to tropical storms and sea-level rise (SLR). Mangroves and coral reefs overlap these threats to at least 5.3 and 3.4 million people, respectively, with substantial potential to dissipate storm surges and improve resilience against SLR effects. Significant co-benefits from mangroves also accrue, with 896 million metric tons of carbon stored in their soils and above- and below-ground biomass. Our framework offers a tool for prioritizing ‘hotspots’ of coastal EbA potential for further, national and local analyses to quantify risk reduction and, thereby, guide investment in coastal ecosystems to help people adapt to climate change. In doing so, it underscores the global role that conserving and restoring ecosystems can play in protecting human lives and livelihoods, as well as biodiversity, in the face of climate change.

Passive acoustic methods for tracking the 3D movements of small cetaceans around marine structures

Gillespie D, Palmer L, Macaulay J, Sparling C, Hastie G. Passive acoustic methods for tracking the 3D movements of small cetaceans around marine structures Halliday WDavid. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2020 ;15(5):e0229058. Available from: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0229058
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

A wide range of anthropogenic structures exist in the marine environment with the extent of these set to increase as the global offshore renewable energy industry grows. Many of these pose acute risks to marine wildlife; for example, tidal energy generators have the potential to injure or kill seals and small cetaceans through collisions with moving turbine parts. Information on fine scale behaviour of animals close to operational turbines is required to understand the likely impact of these new technologies. There are inherent challenges associated with measuring the underwater movements of marine animals which have, so far, limited data collection. Here, we describe the development and application of a system for monitoring the three-dimensional movements of cetaceans in the immediate vicinity of a subsea structure. The system comprises twelve hydrophones and software for the detection and localisation of vocal marine mammals. We present data demonstrating the systems practical performance during a deployment on an operational tidal turbine between October 2017 and October 2019. Three-dimensional locations of cetaceans were derived from the passive acoustic data using time of arrival differences on each hydrophone. Localisation accuracy was assessed with an artificial sound source at known locations and a refined method of error estimation is presented. Calibration trials show that the system can accurately localise sounds to 2m accuracy within 20m of the turbine but that localisations become highly inaccurate at distances greater than 35m. The system is currently being used to provide data on rates of encounters between cetaceans and the turbine and to provide high resolution tracking data for animals close to the turbine. These data can be used to inform stakeholders and regulators on the likely impact of tidal turbines on cetaceans.

How to model social-ecological systems? – A case study on the effects of a future offshore wind farm on the local society and ecosystem, and whether social compensation matters

Haraldsson M, Raoux A, Riera F, Hay J, Dambacher JM, Niquil N. How to model social-ecological systems? – A case study on the effects of a future offshore wind farm on the local society and ecosystem, and whether social compensation matters. Marine Policy [Internet]. 2020 ;119:104031. Available from: 10.1016/j.marpol.2020.104031
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Models of social-ecological systems (SES) are acknowledged as an important tool to understand human-nature relations. However, many SES models fail to integrate adequate information from both the human and ecological subsystems. With an example model of a future Offshore Wind Farm development and its effects on both the ecosystem and local human population, we illustrate a method facilitating a “balanced” SES model, in terms of including information from both subsystems. We use qualitative mathematical modeling, which allows to quickly analyze the structure and dynamics of a system without including quantitative data, and therefore to compare alternative system structures based on different understandings of how the system works. By including similar number of system variables in the two subsystems, we balanced the complexity between them. Our analyses show that this complexity is important in order to predict indirect and sometimes counterintuitive effects. We also highlight some conceptually important questions concerning social compensations during developmental projects in general, and wind farms in particular. Our results suggest that the more project holders get involved in various manner in the local socio-ecological system, the more society will benefit as a whole. Increased involvement through e.g. new projects or job-opportunities around the windfarm has the capacity to offset the negative effects of the windfarm on the local community. These benefits are enhanced when there is an overall acceptance and appropriation of the project. We suggest this method as a tool to support the decision-making process and to facilitate discussions between stakeholders, especially among local communities.

Global hotspots for coastal ecosystem-based adaptation

Jones HP, Nickel B, Srebotnjak T, Turner W, Gonzalez-Roglich M, Zavaleta E, Hole DG. Global hotspots for coastal ecosystem-based adaptation Villamayor-Tomas S. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2020 ;15(5):e0233005. Available from: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0233005
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Helping the world’s coastal communities adapt to climate change impacts requires evaluating the vulnerability of coastal communities and assessing adaptation options. This includes understanding the potential for ‘natural’ infrastructure (ecosystems and the biodiversity that underpins them) to reduce communities’ vulnerability, alongside more traditional ‘hard’ infrastructure approaches. Here we present a spatially explicit global evaluation of the vulnerability of coastal-dwelling human populations to key climate change exposures and explore the potential for coastal ecosystems to help people adapt to climate change (ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA)). We find that mangroves and coral reefs are particularly well situated to help people cope with current weather extremes, a function that will only increase in importance as people adapt to climate change now and in coming decades. We find that around 30.9 million people living within 2km of the coast are highly vulnerable to tropical storms and sea-level rise (SLR). Mangroves and coral reefs overlap these threats to at least 5.3 and 3.4 million people, respectively, with substantial potential to dissipate storm surges and improve resilience against SLR effects. Significant co-benefits from mangroves also accrue, with 896 million metric tons of carbon stored in their soils and above- and below-ground biomass. Our framework offers a tool for prioritizing ‘hotspots’ of coastal EbA potential for further, national and local analyses to quantify risk reduction and, thereby, guide investment in coastal ecosystems to help people adapt to climate change. In doing so, it underscores the global role that conserving and restoring ecosystems can play in protecting human lives and livelihoods, as well as biodiversity, in the face of climate change.

Preventing shipping accidents: Past, present, and future of waterway risk management with Baltic Sea focus

Kulkarni K, Goerlandt F, Li J, Banda OValdez, Kujala P. Preventing shipping accidents: Past, present, and future of waterway risk management with Baltic Sea focus. Safety Science [Internet]. 2020 ;129:104798. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925753520301958
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Various national maritime authorities and international organizations show strong interest to implement risk management processes to decision making for shipping accident prevention in waterway areas. There is a recurring need for approaches, models, and tools for identifying, analysing, and evaluating risks of shipping accidents, and for strategies for preventively managing these in (inter-)organizational settings. This article presents a comprehensive review of academic work in this research area, aiming to identify patterns, trends, and gaps, serving as a guide for future research and development, with a particular focus on the Baltic Sea Region. To understand the links between research in the Baltic Sea area and the global community, a bibliometric analysis is performed, focusing on identifying dominant narratives and social networks in the research community. Articles from the Baltic Sea area are subsequently analysed more in-depth, addressing issues like the nature of the academic work done, the risk management processes involved, and the underlying accident theories. From the results, patterns in the historical evolution of the research domain are detected, and insights about current trends gained, which are used to identify future avenues for research.

Estimation of tsunami debris on seafloors towards future disaster preparedness: Unveiling spatial varying effects of combined land use and oceanographic factors

Matsuba M, Tanaka Y, Yamakita T, Ishikawa Y, Fujikura K. Estimation of tsunami debris on seafloors towards future disaster preparedness: Unveiling spatial varying effects of combined land use and oceanographic factors. Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 2020 ;157:111289. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X20304070
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

A large amount of tsunami debris from the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 was sunk on the seafloor and threatened the marine ecosystem and local communities' economy, especially in fisheries. However, few studies estimated spatial accumulations of tsunami benthic debris, comparing to their flows on the ocean surface. Here, a spatially varying coefficient model was used to estimate tsunami debris accumulation considering the spatial structure of the data off the Tohoku region. Our model revealed the number of vessels nearest the coast at the tsunami event had the highest positive impact, whereas the distance from the coast and kinetic energy influenced negatively. However, the effect of the proximity to the coast wasn't detected in the Sendai bay, indicating spatial dependency of these effects. Our model estimation provides the fundamental information of tsunami debris accumulation on the seafloor, supporting early reconstruction and risk reduction in marine ecosystems and local communities.

Prioritizing debt conversion opportunities for marine conservation

McGowan J, Weary R, Carriere L, Game ET, Smith JL, Garvey M, Possingham HP. Prioritizing debt conversion opportunities for marine conservation. Conservation Biology [Internet]. 2020 . Available from: https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/cobi.13540
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Incentivized debt conversion is a financing mechanism that can assist countries with a heavy debt burden to bolster their long‐term domestic investment in nature conservation. The Nature Conservancy, an international conservation‐based nongovernmental organization, is adapting debt conversions to support marine conservation efforts by small island developing states and coastal countries. Prioritizing debt conversion opportunities according to their potential return on investment can increase the impact and effectiveness of this finance mechanism. We developed guidance on how to do so with a decision‐support approach that relies on a novel threat‐based adaptation of cost‐effectiveness analysis. We constructed scenarios by varying parameters of the approach, including enabling conditions, expected benefits, and threat classifications. Incorporating both abatable and unabatable threats affected priorities across planning scenarios. Similarly, differences in scenario construction resulted in unique solution sets for top priorities. We show how environmental organizations, private entities, and investment banks can adopt structured prioritization frameworks for making decisions about conservation finance investments, such as debt conversions. Our guidance can accommodate a suite of social, ecological, and economic considerations, making the approach broadly applicable to other conservation finance mechanisms or investment strategies that seek to establish a transparent process for return‐on‐investment decision‐making.

Article impact statement : Prioritizations that explicitly incorporate abatable and unabatable threats can improve conservation return on investment decision‐making.

Major Role of Surrounding Environment in Shaping Biofilm Community Composition on Marine Plastic Debris

Basili M, Quero GMarina, Giovannelli D, Manini E, Vignaroli C, Avio CGiacomo, De Marco R, Luna GMarco. Major Role of Surrounding Environment in Shaping Biofilm Community Composition on Marine Plastic Debris. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00262/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1334659_45_Marine_20200521_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Plastic debris in aquatic environments is colonized by microbes, yet factors influencing biofilm development and composition on plastics remain poorly understood. Here, we explored the microbial assemblages associated with different types of plastic debris collected from two coastal sites in the Mediterranean Sea. All plastic samples were heavily colonized by prokaryotes, with abundances up to 1.9 × 107 cells/cm2. Microbial assemblages on plastics significantly differed between the two geographic areas but not between polymer types, suggesting a major role of the environment as source for the plastisphere composition. Nevertheless, plastic communities differed from those in the surrounding seawater and sediments, indicating a further selection of microbial taxa on the plastic substrates. The presence of potential pathogens on the plastic surface reflected the levels of microbial pollution in the surrounding environment, regardless of the polymer type, and confirmed the role of plastics as carriers for pathogenic microorganisms across the coastal ocean, deserving further investigations.

Influence of Storm Events on Chlorophyll Distribution Along the Oligotrophic Continental Shelf Off South-Western Australia

Chen M, Pattiaratchi CB, Ghadouani A, Hanson C. Influence of Storm Events on Chlorophyll Distribution Along the Oligotrophic Continental Shelf Off South-Western Australia. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00287/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1334659_45_Marine_20200521_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The role of storm events in controlling chlorophyll distribution along the oligotrophic Rottnest continental shelf is examined data collected by autonomous ocean gliders combined with meteorological data. Spatial and temporal distribution of chlorophyll concentrations were obtained from a repeated transect across the shallow continental shelf that revealed complex relationships among wind events (e.g., differences in wind speed and direction) and chlorophyll concentrations. Data indicated that the water column responded rapidly to changes in wind speeds alternating between stratification, de-stratification and vice-versa over 1–3 days. Under low wind conditions (wind speeds < 7 ms–1), the water column was stratified and dense shelf water cascades (DSWC) was the dominant feature. The majority of DSWC events were associated with synchronous increases in chlorophyll and suspended sediment, often close to the seabed. During storm events (wind speeds > 15 ms–1) higher chlorophyll values were present throughout the vertically mixed water column. Maximum chlorophyll concentrations, more than double that due to climatology, were observed 1–3 days after the passage of storms subsequent to sediment re-suspension. Storm events, with an onshore component, promoted downwelling, the water column retained vertical stratification, and DSWC was present across the shelf. Here, DSWC intensified with higher chlorophyll in the cascaded water extending further offshore. It is concluded that wind speed and direction are the dominant parameters controlling the distribution of chlorophyll particularly during storm events.

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