Effectively managing ecosystems is an information intensive endeavour. Yet social, cultural, and economic barriers can limit who is able to access information and how knowledge is exchanged. We draw on social network theory to examine whether co-management institutions break down these traditional barriers. We examined the factors that predict information access and knowledge exchange using interview and knowledge sharing network data from 616 Kenyan coral reef fishers operating in four communities with formal co-management institutions. For access to fisheries management information, we found disparities in fisher's age, leadership status, and wealth. Yet once we accounted for formal engagement in the co-management process, only wealth disparities remained significant. In contrast, knowledge exchange was insensitive to whether or not we accounted for engagement in co-management. We found that community leaders and external actors, such as NGO representatives, were primary sources of fisheries-related knowledge. Among fishers, knowledge exchange tended to occur more often between those using the same landing site. Fishers engaged in the co-management process and community leaders were likely to transfer knowledge widely (acting as ‘central communicators’), yet only leaders bridged disconnected groups (acting as ‘brokers’). Ethnic minorities and those with higher levels of education were more likely to fall on the periphery of the knowledge exchange networks. Taken together, our results suggest that co-management can break down traditional social and cultural – but perhaps not economic – barriers to information access; while social, cultural, and economic factors remain important for structuring knowledge exchange.
Sunscreens can induce ecotoxicological effects and may cause significant impacts in the aquatic ecosystem. In spite of that, ecotoxicological responses of key marine species to sunscreens are scarcely studied in Mediterranean ecosystems, and literature data are lacking. Furthermore, changes in water salinity induced by global warming could significantly affect the ecotoxicological responses of marine species exposed to sunscreens. This research focuses on the evaluation of ecotoxicological responses of Phaeodactylum tricornutum (algae), Corophium orientalis(macroinvertebrate), and Paracentrotus lividus (echinoderms) exposed to sunscreens, which include both chemical- and physical-based. This study, also, analyzes the changes in ecotoxicological responses of the tested species linked to increase in salinity. Results showed that salinity stress significantly increases the toxicity of sunscreens on the tested marine species. Physical-based sunscreens resulted in more toxicity at higher salinity than chemical-based ones toward C. orientalis and P. tricornutum. This study evidenced that risk classifications of sunscreens recorded under standard salinity conditions could be significantly different from that recorded in the natural environment under salinity stress. The collection of a complete dataset on the ecotoxicological effects of sunscreens on marine species tested under salinity stress could be useful to correctly weigh risks for the marine environment under possible future ecological changing scenarios following the global changing driver.
A major challenge in analysis of huge amounts of ocean data is the complexity of the data and the inherent complexity of ocean dynamic process. Interactive visual analysis serves as an efficient complementary approach for the detection of various phenomenon or patterns, and correlation exploring or comparing multiple variables in researchers daily work. Firstly, this paper presents a basic concept of ocean data produced from numerous measurement devices or computer simulations. The characteristics of ocean data and the related data processing techniques are also described. Secondly, the main tasks of ocean data analysis are introduced. Based on the main analysis tasks in ocean domain, the survey emphasizes related interactive visualization techniques and tools from four aspects: visualization of multiple ocean environmental elements and multivariate analysis, ocean phenomena identification and tracking, patterns or correlation discovery, ensembles and uncertainties exploration. Finally, the opportunities are discussed for future studies.
We present the first objective quantitative assessment of the threats to all 359 species of seabirds, identify the main challenges facing them, and outline priority actions for their conservation. We applied the standardised Threats Classification Scheme developed for the IUCN Red List to objectively assess threats to each species and analysed the data according to global IUCN threat status, taxonomic group, and primary foraging habitat (coastal or pelagic). The top three threats to seabirds in terms of number of species affected and average impact are: invasive alien species, affecting 165 species across all the most threatened groups; bycatch in fisheries, affecting fewer species (100) but with the greatest average impact; and climate change/severe weather, affecting 96 species. Overfishing, hunting/trapping and disturbance were also identified as major threats to seabirds. Reversing the top three threats alone would benefit two-thirds of all species and c. 380 million individual seabirds (c. 45% of the total global seabird population). Most seabirds (c. 70%), especially globally threatened species, face multiple threats. For albatrosses, petrels and penguins in particular (the three most threatened groups of seabirds), it is essential to tackle both terrestrial and marine threats to reverse declines. As the negative effects of climate change are harder to mitigate, it is vital to compensate by addressing other major threats that often affect the same species, such as invasive alien species, bycatch and overfishing, for which proven solutions exist.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been used to protect species in need of conservation and as a fisheries management tool. It has been suggested MPAs can benefit mobile stocks by protecting spawning grounds whilst also allowing yields to be maintained as mature fish move out of the protected areas. However, the robustness of this claim in mixed species fisheries has yet to be established. We use a simulation model to explore the efficacy of spatial closures and effort regulation when other forms of fishery control (e.g., Total Allowable Catches) are absent or non-enforced as ways of addressing management objectives that are difficult to reconcile due to the contrasting life-histories of a target and a bycatch, conservation species in a two-species fishery. The mobility of each stock in such a fishery affects the benefits conferred by an MPA. The differing management objectives of the two species can be partially met by effort regulations or closures when the species exhibit similar mobility. However, a more mobile conservation species prevents both sets of aims being met by either management tool. We use simulations to explore how spatial closures and effort regulation can be used to seek compromise between stakeholders when the mobility of one stock prevents conflicting management objectives to be fully met. Our results demonstrate that stock mobility is a key factor in considering whether an MPA can meet conflicting aims in a multispecies fishery compromised of stocks with differing life histories and mobilities.
Environmental degradation is a major obstacle to economic development, especially for coastal communities. Environmental degradation has an incremental adverse impact on the lives and livelihoods of marine park communities (MPCs), the development process of human societies, and the preservation of natural resources. Despite the obvious connection between ecological preservation and economic development, little effort has been devoted to ensure sustainable utilisation of coastal and marine resources. Marine protected areas (MPAs) suffer from poor socioeconomic conditions and environmental degradation; MPCs are most severely affected since they depend on marine and coastal resources. These are the main impediments to sustainable coastal community development. This chapter proposes an integrated management policy framework for the effective and sustainable management of MPAs, from the economic, social, and environmental perspectives. This policy framework will help policymakers to preserve, conserve, and protect marine resources as well as uplift the socioeconomic status of MPCs.
In recent years, with the rapid development of China's economy, the coastal environment is facing large pressure. However, the coastal environment pollution has not attracted much attention as air pollution and land water pollution. Based on the data on economic development and marine ecosystem environmental pollution which collected from the National Bureau of Statistics and China's coastal marine environmental monitoring, the paper analyzes the overall coastal ecosystem environment pollution in China as well as the four sea areas the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and South China Sea. The paper finds that the coastal marine environment pollution differ in different sea areas, taking the seawater quality, over-standard pollutants, water quality of rivers entering seas and coastal marine environmental disasters, such as red tide as index. Couple of policy suggestions provided based on research findings.
Migration is a widespread but highly diverse component of many animal life histories. Fish migrate throughout the world's oceans, within lakes and rivers, and between the two realms, transporting matter, energy, and other species (e.g., microbes) across boundaries. Migration is therefore a process responsible for myriad ecosystem services. Many human populations depend on the presence of predictable migrations of fish for their subsistence and livelihoods. Although much research has focused on fish migration, many questions remain in our rapidly changing world. We assembled a diverse team of fundamental and applied scientists who study fish migrations in marine and freshwater environments to identify pressing unanswered questions. Our exercise revealed questions within themes related to understanding the migrating individual's internal state, navigational mechanisms, locomotor capabilities, external drivers of migration, the threats confronting migratory fish including climate change, and the role of migration. In addition, we identified key requirements for aquatic animal management, restoration, policy, and governance. Lessons revealed included the difficulties in generalizing among species and populations, and in understanding the levels of connectivity facilitated by migrating fishes. We conclude by identifying priority research needed for assuring a sustainable future for migratory fishes.
Sociality—collective living—confers multiple advantages to oceanic dolphins, including enhanced foraging, predator avoidance, and alloparental care and may be particularly important in oceanic environments where prey is patchy and refuge nonexistent. This chapter covers broad aspects of the social lives of the delphinid community that inhabits the vast eastern tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP). Our approach is socio-ecological: the chapter ties dolphin social structure and mating systems to environmental factors, including oceanographic patterns, distribution of prey, and risk of predation that shape behavior. By merging a top-down look at schools distributed over a variable environment, with a bottom-up look from the perspective of subgroups that comprise schools, a picture of fission–fusion societies emerges. We also consider impacts of the tuna purse seine fishery on the socio-ecology of affected dolphins and discuss likely effects on behavior, learning, social bonds, and population dynamics.
ETP dolphin societies are diverse, spatially and compositionally fluid (pure or mixed species), yet socially complex and structured. They have distinct schooling, reproductive, and sexual characteristics, different patterns of association with other species, and differing degrees of interaction with the tuna purse seine fishery. Individuals may have distinct roles (older, experienced, and post-reproductive females), form stable or at least semi-stable subgroups (female/young, adult male, juvenile), and leave or join the company of others in response to a variety of social and ecological factors, including distribution of prey and risk of predation. In some taxa, individuals school with a small number of companions who may be related and recognize one another (common bottlenose, Tursiops truncatus; Risso’s, Grampus griseus; rough-toothed, Steno bredanensis; and striped dolphins, Stenella coeruleoalba), while in other species school size is larger, membership is fluid, and unrelated individuals abound (pantropical spotted, Stenella attenuata; spinner, Stenella longirostris; and common dolphins,Delphinus delphis). Mating systems are variable among species and sometimes within species, likely reflecting differences in habitat productivity. In some taxa, e.g., eastern spinners (S. l. orientalis), a few sexually mature males may be responsible for most mating, while in other taxa, e.g., “whitebelly” spinners, large relative testes suggest a more “open” mating system where many males in the school engage in copulation.
For pantropical spotted and spinner dolphins in the ETP, the behavior of schooling with large tuna that has led to their ecological success and abundance has also led to their depletion by making them a target of purse seiners. Schooling and sociality, normally adaptive traits, have caused ETP dolphins to become collateral damage in the tuna fishery. Yet dolphins have learned some things from their experiences with purse seiners. Some individuals know how to evade capture or, alternatively, how to await a lowering of the net (“backdown”) to escape. But, behavior that helps to avoid capture can cause high stress, exertion, or social separation and disruption, and these could be factors slowing or inhibiting population recovery. Survival and reproductive success of oceanic dolphins likely depends largely on social and behavioral factors that may also help determine their ability to recover from severe depletion caused by human activities.
Cold-water corals (CWCs) were found to occur in association with authigenic carbonates in a cold seep area on the northern continental slopes of the South China Sea (SCS). The taxa identified were: Balanophyllia (Balanophyllia) sp., Balanophyllia (Eupsammia) sp., Lochmaeotrochus sp., Enallopsammia sp., Crispatotrochussp.1 and Crispatotrochus sp.2. The δ13C (−7.36‰ to −1.15‰, V-PDB) and 87Sr/86Sr ratios (0.709126–0.709184) indicated that CWC aragonite skeletons had been precipitated from seawater without the involvement of seeping fluids. The presence and growth of CWCs on the slopes of the submarine seamounts in the south-western (SW) Dongsha area could be directly linked with the hard substrates provided by exhumed hydrocarbon-imprinted authigenic carbonates and fed by the food particles enhanced by high-velocity internal tides and near-bottom currents. A multi-step process for CWC colonization was proposed that encompassed cold-seepage processes as a driver for hard-substrate generation of CWC, as well as the subsequent settlement and maintenance of CWC larvae under the persistent influence of bottom currents.
Without drastic efforts to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate globalized stressors, tropical coral reefs are in jeopardy. Strategic conservation and management requires identification of the environmental and socioeconomic factors driving the persistence of scleractinian coral assemblages—the foundation species of coral reef ecosystems. Here, we compiled coral abundance data from 2,584 Indo-Pacific reefs to evaluate the influence of 21 climate, social and environmental drivers on the ecology of reef coral assemblages. Higher abundances of framework-building corals were typically associated with: weaker thermal disturbances and longer intervals for potential recovery; slower human population growth; reduced access by human settlements and markets; and less nearby agriculture. We therefore propose a framework of three management strategies (protect, recover or transform) by considering: (1) if reefs were above or below a proposed threshold of >10% cover of the coral taxa important for structural complexity and carbonate production; and (2) reef exposure to severe thermal stress during the 2014–2017 global coral bleaching event. Our findings can guide urgent management efforts for coral reefs, by identifying key threats across multiple scales and strategic policy priorities that might sustain a network of functioning reefs in the Indo-Pacific to avoid ecosystem collapse.
This paper revolves around the role that food-from-the-sea plays in European maritime security. It aims to illustrate the links between food, fisheries, and maritime security by considering these as coexisting attributes of security in general and of maritime (in)security, in particular. The article analyzes three dimensions of this issue: the links between food security, maritime security and maritime policy; the principles that inspire the Common Fisheries Policy and their implications for the food system; and the complexity involved in the trade relations between European markets (EU) and non European suppliers (the case of Cape Verde). The relevant conclusions that can be established are i) the EU's food security policy shows little sign of changing the course of its fisheries policy objectives; ii) The different dimensions of the relationship between fisheries and food security should not be neglected. In fact, from a local perspective, the concept of food sovereignty could be applied to some of the European Union's coastal territories. Therefore, European decision-makers should not ignore the fact that subsistence fisheries are still a strategy in some European coastal areas, where access to maritime resources is the key to their economies.
The Caribbean Sea provides significant ecosystem services to the livelihood and well-being of countries in the region. Protection of the marine ecosystem requires policy on coastal water quality that considers ecologically-relevant thresholds and has a scientific foundation linking land-based discharges with seawater quality. This study demonstrates a practical method for setting local-scale coastal water quality targets by applying this approach to Cartagena Bay, Colombia, and setting targets for end-of-river suspended sediment loads to mitigate offshore coral reef turbidity. This approach considers reef thresholds for suspended sediments and applies a field-calibrated 3D hydrodynamic-water quality model (MOHID) to link the marine thresholds to fluvial loads. Monitoring data showed that suspended sediments were consistently above the coral reef ecosystem threshold of 10 mg/l, and the model adequately reproduced field observations. It was shown that ecosystem thresholds could be maintained within the extent of the bay by reducing suspended sediment loads in the Dique Canal from current load estimates of 6.4 × 103 t/d (rainy season) and 4.3 × 103 t/d (transitional season) to target loads of 500–700 t/d, representing reductions of ~80–90%. These substantial reductions reflect ongoing issues in the Magdalena watershed which has experienced severe erosional conditions and intense deforestation over the past four decades. The presented method is practical for countries without access to long-term datasets, and could be applied to other parameters or discharge types. The method is particularly beneficial for developing site-specific targets, which are needed considering the natural and anthropogenic variability between different coastal zones and water bodies.
Pulau Redang and Pulau Tioman have experienced huge tourism growth over the last two decades, but minimal sewage treatment may threaten the resilience of their coral reefs. This study uses stable isotope techniques to identify suitable bioindicators of sewage nutrients (δ15N) at these islands by measuring macroalgae (Lobophora spp.), gastropods (Drupella spp.), scleractinian coral (Acropora spp.), and leather coral (Sinularia spp.). At tourist hubs using seepage septic tank systems, enrichment of Acropora δ15N (Redang, +0.7‰) and Sinularia δ15N (Tioman, +0.4‰) compared to pristine background levels indicate enhanced sewage nutrient discharge. Carbon isotopes and survey data suggest that sedimentation did not confound these δ15N trends. Potential damaging effects of sewage discharge on the coral reef communities at both islands are highlighted by strong correlations between Acropora δ15N and regional variation in coral reef community structure, and exclusive occurrence of degraded reefs at regions of high sewage influence.
Sediment disturbances are important threats affecting marine biodiversity, but the variety of biological responses has not yet been synthesized. Here, we collate all available information to compare the extent of impacts across different taxonomic groups, habitat types and pathways of impact (light attenuation, suspended sediment and sedimentation).
Data collected from 1979 to 2017.
Major taxa studied
Corals, fishes, seagrasses, sponges, macroalgae, ascidians, bryozoans, crustaceans, echinoderms, molluscs and polychaetes.
We used meta‐analyses to evaluate the effects of sediments across 842 observations found in 110 publications. We also evaluated some of the biological and methodological factors that could explain the variable effects observed in different studies.
We found a significant negative effect of sediments on behavioural responses of species, reproduction and recruitment processes, the morphology of organisms, physiology, community abundance and diversity, and species interactions. In contrast, the overall effect on the abundance of individual species was statistically non‐significant and there was a strong positive effect on abundance for sponge and polychaete species. Many individual studies described physiological effects on coral reefs, but the effects on the diversity of soft‐bottom and coral reef communities were particularly detrimental. Phototrophic species were generally more negatively impacted by sediments than heterotrophs, driven by strong physiological responses in crustose coralline algae and seagrasses. Additionally, species with limited mobility were more vulnerable to sediment disturbances than highly mobile species. Sedimentation alone triggered more consistently negative effects on most biological responses than light depletion and suspended sediments. We found evidence for increased impacts on community diversity when more than one pathway of impact was present, indicating that these disturbances can disrupt whole ecosystems.
Our meta‐analysis provided, for the first time, strong quantitative support of negative effects of sediments on marine biodiversity. Taxonomic groups, habitat types and life‐history characteristics were most influential in determining the biological responses to sediment disturbances, highlighting the importance of an ecosystem‐based approach when fully accounting for the impacts of sediments.
Deep-sea ecosystems are the most extensive on Earth and provide key goods and services for human well-being, such as genetic resources and climate regulation. Maintaining the sustainable functioning of the global biosphere therefore requires protection of deep-sea ecosystems, particularly because these ecosystems face major changes related to human and climate-induced impacts. Although we lack data to evaluate the spatial scale of degraded deep-sea habitats, numerous studies document human impacts on the whole ocean. However, protection alone can be insufficient to reverse habitat degradation in the deep sea. Scientifically, deep-sea restoration actions may be feasible, but whether such actions will achieve sustainability goals when applied at broad spatial scales of impact remain questionable. Successful application of most restoration efforts will first require a deeper understanding of biodiversity and functioning of deep-sea ecosystems, and better knowledge of ecosystem resilience and recovery rates of deep-sea fauna. In addition to limited data availability, expensive technologies (with estimated costs up to millions of dollars ha−1) represent a major obstacle to large-scale deep-sea restoration, but international cooperation (like a stronger collaboration between industry and scientists belonging to the academia) could significantly reduce this operational cost. Future deep-sea ecosystem restoration could offer an important business opportunity for technological development and application and an investment in natural capital for a new and competitive blue-growth sector.
The importance of institutions in structuring access to resources is well documented. However, despite the depth of the research, few studies have examined this systematically at the level of an individual fishing activity or, more specifically, within a women's fishery. This paper explores how fisherwomen access octopuses in a small-scale fishery in Mozambique, within a context where an increasing number of conservation initiatives are targeting women's fisheries and could potentially affect fisherwomen's access. The study was conducted within the Quirimbas National Park (QNP) in Cado Delgado, the northern most province of Mozambique. Combining ethnographic fieldwork and an institutional access map as a conceptual framework, this paper provides insight into the multiple institutions that structure how octopus fishing is organised and performed by fisherwomen. The access map reveals the dominant role local normative institutions play in influencing fisherwomen's access to income from fishing for octopus. Purdah, the religious practice of securing a woman's honour, is identified as a key restraining institution that is enforced through unequal gender relations. The paper encourages an understanding of the institutional context of fishing practices in order to promote access in small-scale fisheries (SSFs) to ensure fishers continue to benefit from the fishery in the face of management. The paper concludes that a greater appreciation of power relations – encapsulated in this study by gender relations – is required to further develop institutional analyses in small-scale fisheries policies and management.
Oil spills are a widespread problem in the marine environment and can have extensive acute and chronic adverse impacts to resident and migratory biota. On 19 January 1996, the North Cape oil tanker caught fire and grounded on the coast of Rhode Island resulting in the spill of 828,000 gal (3134 metric tonnes) of home heating oil. It resulted in the estimated death of nearly 2300 birds, including a projected 402 common loons (Gavia immer) and 12 red-throated loons (Gavia stellata). Based on existing demographic data, a resource equivalency analysis (REA) calculated that the total loss, as measured through dead adults and their foregone young over their expected lifetimes, was 2920 discounted loon-years. To generate compensatory loon years, it was initially estimated that 25 common loon nests would need protection from development for 100 years. Following a $3 million settlement with the parties responsible for the spill, we conducted surveys to identify the highest quality breeding loon habitat for protection. Monitoring efforts included 184 loon territories from 2000 to 2009, representing 866 loon territory-years on 70 lakes in four regions of Maine. To evaluate restoration effectiveness, an updated REA was conducted using productivity data collected from these surveys. Results from the updated REA indicated that were these site-specific data available when the REA was originally generated, 70 nests would have been required to offset the lost loon-years – this project permitted the protection of 119 nests. Future REAs should incorporate site specific productivity data whenever possible to most accurately scale restoration to injury. Ranking lake habitat quality further optimizes restoration effectiveness. Our results indicate breeding success was highest on 24–81 ha lakes and that emphasizing protection of lakes with loon territories in this size class is optimal. Our results demonstrate a need for site-specific restoration plans to achieve the greatest restoration benefits.
This paper presents an analysis of key elements contributing towards current and future prospects for governance in two MPAs in the Pacific Region of Guatemala. The paper follows the Marine Protected Area Governance (MPAG) empirical framework through the use of economic, interpretative, knowledge, legal and participative incentives that assess the effectiveness of governance. The first MPA is the Multiple Use Area of Monterrico that is governed through a co-management approach by the Centre of Conservation Studies of the University of San Carlos de Guatemala (CECON-USAC), whilst the second is Guatemala's only privately-owned marine protected area, La Chorrera-Manchón Guamuchal Reserve. The results highlight that the differences in the way they are governed have significantly shaped the effectiveness of governance. In the case of Monterrico, the limited state capacity and cross-jurisdictional coordination among stakeholders has resulted in weak economic and legal incentives, where efforts have failed to develop the necessary participatory approach to management. As a result, environmental degradation and increasing urban development is apparent, which have proven difficult to manage by the park management authority. Conversely, La Chorrera-Manchón Guamuchal has developed a governance approach based on local community involvement, which has proven successful for conservation and management initiatives for the reserve. Management is characterized by strong leadership, which has proven to be the underlying difference in both MPAs. However, the fate of the reserve is uncertain, as there is no long-term planning for success. Future prospects for effective governance are recommended, where efforts should primarily foster state involvement and political will.
Primarily applied to land-based resources, academics have utilised the concept of commodity frontiers to understand the expansionary nature of capitalism, and the ways that existing hegemonies and systems of control and access of resources are challenged and altered. Following recent calls to expand this concept to marine spaces, this paper has used political ecology and in particular its focus on power and access to explore how capitalist expansion has impacted the means and methods of access to key resources in a small-scale marine fishing community in Ghana. The findings of the paper are based upon an eight-month field visit to Aboadze in the Western Region of Ghana, a traditional fishing community that is considered a ‘closing’ frontier, on account of recent research that suggests the small-pelagic fish stocks will collapse within a decade. The findings of the paper show that accessing fish and other necessary resources such as gear and capital has become increasingly difficult as stocks continue to dwindle, and those living in the case study community have to resort to unsustainable fishing methods in order to survive. The paper also finds that the vulnerability caused by decades of overfishing by foreign trawlers is felt disproportionately by certain members of the community, compounding existing vulnerabilities that arise through gender and class.