There is growing concern that modifications to the global environment such as ocean acidification and increased ultraviolet radiation may interact with anthropogenic pollutants to adversely affect the future marine environment. Despite this, little is known about the nature of the potential risks posed by such interactions. Here, we performed a multifactorial microcosm experiment to assess the impact of ocean acidification, ultraviolet B (UV-B) radiation and oil hydrocarbon contamination on sediment chemistry, the microbial community (composition and function) and biochemical marker response of selected indicator species. We found that increased ocean acidification and oil contamination in the absence of UV-B will significantly alter bacterial composition by, among other things, greatly reducing the relative abundance of Desulfobacterales, known to be important oil hydrocarbon degraders. Along with changes in bacterial composition, we identified concomitant shifts in the composition of oil hydrocarbons in the sediment and an increase in oxidative stress effects on our indicator species. Interestingly, our study identifies UV-B as a critical component in the interaction between these factors, as its presence alleviates harmful effects caused by the combination of reduced pH and oil pollution. The model system used here shows that the interactive effect of reduced pH and oil contamination can adversely affect the structure and functioning of sediment benthic communities, with the potential to exacerbate the toxicity of oil hydrocarbons in marine ecosystems.
Certain stony corals can alternate between a calcifying colonial form and noncalcifying solitary polyps, supporting the hypothesis that corals have survived through geologic timescale periods of unfavorable calcification conditions. However, the mechanisms enabling this biological plasticity are yet to be identified. Here we show that incubation of two coral species (Pocillopora damicornis and Oculina patagonica) under reduced pH conditions (pH 7.2) simulating past ocean acidification induce tissue-specific apoptosis that leads to the dissociation of polyps from coenosarcs. This in turn leads to the breakdown of the coenosarc and, as a consequence, to loss of coloniality. Our data show that apoptosis is initiated in the polyps and that once dissociation between polyp and coenosarc terminates, apoptosis subsides. After reexposure of the resulting solitary polyps to normal pH (pH 8.2), both coral species regenerated coenosarc tissues and resumed calcification. These results indicate that regulation of coloniality is under the control of the polyp, the basic modular unit of the colony. A mechanistic explanation for several key evolutionarily important phenomena that occurred throughout coral evolution is proposed, including mechanisms that permitted species to survive the third tier of mass extinctions.
The genetic enhancement of wild animals and plants for characteristics that benefit human populations has been practiced for thousands of years, resulting in impressive improvements in commercially valuable species. Despite these benefits, genetic manipulations are rarely considered for noncommercial purposes, such as conservation and restoration initiatives. Over the last century, humans have driven global climate change through industrialization and the release of increasing amounts of CO2, resulting in shifts in ocean temperature, ocean chemistry, and sea level, as well as increasing frequency of storms, all of which can profoundly impact marine ecosystems. Coral reefs are highly diverse ecosystems that have suffered massive declines in health and abundance as a result of these and other direct anthropogenic disturbances. There is great concern that the high rates, magnitudes, and complexity of environmental change are overwhelming the intrinsic capacity of corals to adapt and survive. Although it is important to address the root causes of changing climate, it is also prudent to explore the potential to augment the capacity of reef organisms to tolerate stress and to facilitate recovery after disturbances. Here, we review the risks and benefits of the improvement of natural and commercial stocks in noncoral reef systems and advocate a series of experiments to determine the feasibility of developing coral stocks with enhanced stress tolerance through the acceleration of naturally occurring processes, an approach known as (human)-assisted evolution, while at the same time initiating a public dialogue on the risks and benefits of this approach.
A rare opportunity to test hypotheses about potential fishery benefits of large-scale closures was initiated in July 2004 when an additional 28.4% of the 348,000 km2 Great Barrier Reef (GBR) region of Queensland, Australia was closed to all fishing. Advice to the Australian and Queensland governments that supported this initiative predicted these additional closures would generate minimal (10%) initial reductions in both catch and landed value within the GBR area with recovery of catches becoming apparent after three years. To test these predictions, commercial fisheries data from the GBR area and from the two adjacent (non-GBR) areas of Queensland were compared for the periods immediately prior to, and after the closures were implemented.
The observed means for total annual catch and value within the GBR declined from pre-closure (2000-2003) levels of 12,780t and $160 million, to initial post-closure (2005-2008) levels of 8,143t and $102 million; decreases of 35% and 36% respectively. Because the reference areas in the non-GBR had minimal changes in catch and value, the beyond-BACI analyses estimated initial net-reductions within the GBR of 35% for both total catch and value. There was no evidence of recovery in total catch levels or any comparative improvement in catch-rates within the GBR nine years after implementation. These results are not consistent with the advice to governments that the closures would have minimal initial impacts and rapidly generate benefits to fisheries in the GBR through increased juvenile recruitment and adult 'spillovers'. Instead, the absence of evidence of recovery in catches or catch-rates to date currently support an alternative hypothesis that where there is already effective fisheries management, the closing of areas to all fishing will generate reductions in overall catches similar to the percentage of the fished area that is closed.
Whenever satisfied anglers are an important objective of recreational fisheries management, understanding how trip outcomes influence satisfaction reports is critical. While anglers, generally, prefer high catch rates and large fish, the relative importance of these catch outcomes for catch satisfaction has not been established across species and angler types. We examined relationships between angler specialization, trip outcomes (both catch and non-catch characteristics such as crowding), and catch satisfaction across six freshwater fish species in northern Germany. As expected, catch satisfaction was primarily determined by catch rate and fish size in all fish species; however, the relative importance of these two outcomes varied considerably across species and among angler types that differed by commitment to fishing. We found a diminishing marginal return of satisfaction for increasing catch rate for all but small-bodied cyprinid species, while increasing size of largest retained fish monotonically increased catch satisfaction in all species we examined. Non-catch outcomes (e.g., the number of other anglers seen while fishing) also had a significant negative influence on catch satisfaction, suggesting that non-catch factors are important in establishing expectations and for contextual evaluation of catch outcomes. We also determined that diversified trips made anglers more satisfied and that all else being equal, specialized anglers increased catch satisfaction from travel and fishing time. The results highlight the importance for managers to consider their particular mix of anglers as well as the fish species present when setting regulations aimed at increasing angler satisfaction.
Documenting the diversity of marine life is challenging because many species are cryptic, small, and rare, and belong to poorly known groups. New sequencing technologies, especially when combined with standardized sampling, promise to make comprehensive biodiversity assessments and monitoring feasible on a large scale. We used this approach to characterize patterns of diversity on oyster reefs across a range of geographic scales comprising a temperate location [Virginia (VA)] and a subtropical location [Florida (FL)]. Eukaryotic organisms that colonized multilayered settlement surfaces (autonomous reef monitoring structures) over a 6-mo period were identified by cytochrome c oxidase subunit I barcoding (>2-mm mobile organisms) and metabarcoding (sessile and smaller mobile organisms). In a total area of ∼15.64 m2 and volume of ∼0.09 m3, 2,179 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were recorded from 983,056 sequences. However, only 10.9% could be matched to reference barcodes in public databases, with only 8.2% matching barcodes with both genus and species names. Taxonomic coverage was broad, particularly for animals (22 phyla recorded), but 35.6% of OTUs detected via metabarcoding could not be confidently assigned to a taxonomic group. The smallest size fraction (500 to 106 μm) was the most diverse (more than two-thirds of OTUs). There was little taxonomic overlap between VA and FL, and samples separated by ∼2 m were significantly more similar than samples separated by ∼100 m. Ground-truthing with independent assessments of taxonomic composition indicated that both presence–absence information and relative abundance information are captured by metabarcoding data, suggesting considerable potential for ecological studies and environmental monitoring.
Native Papuans are relied on hunting for subsistence purposes and significantly contributed to traditional cultures. However, in Papua information on hunting is limited and largely restricted to anthropological setting with most observations were done on the forest sites in lowland and highland landscapes. This study focuses on the contribution of hunting on food security along the coastal forests at the Bird’s Head Peninsula. Do people live near coastal sites mostly rely on marine resources as protein source? We gathered data on hunting by the majority of Karon ethnic group in the Abun district of Tambrauw Regency at the Bird’s Head Peninsula of Papua, Indonesia. We used information from in-depth interviews with hunters and households meal survey at four villages of Abun: Waibem, Wau, Warmandi and Saubeba. Reasons for hunting were varies among respondents but mostly conducted for trade. Six species of mammals and three birds were commonly hunted by using six different hunting techniques. Wild pig and rusa deer were the major targets in hunting to meet the demand of meat for both trading and household consumption. Meals containing wildmeat was the most consumed meal, greater than meals containing fish, animal products and vegetables, and noodles.
This analysis of representativeness in 1,628 MPAs is based upon the presence/absence of major habitat types, key natural resources and ecologically important areas and processes. Nationally, MPAs are nominally representative of the major marine ecosystems of the U.S. with (a) 70% of select habitat types (e.g., beaches, corals, seagrass) found within MPAs of the 19 marine ecoregions and in at least one National System MPA in each ecoregion; (b) 82% of select birds, invertebrates and algal ecosystem features found within MPAs of the 19 marine ecoregions and in at least one National System MPA in each ecoregion; (c) 71% of select fish, marine mammal or sea turtle ecosystem features and Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed species found within MPAs of the 19 marine ecoregions and in at least one National System MPA in each ecoregion; and (d) 87% of select ecologically important ecosystem processes found within MPAs of the 19 marine ecoregions and in at least one National System MPA in each ecoregion.
This report also aims to indicate the strength of this representation (e.g., an ecosystem feature found in less than 1% of MPAs in an ecoregion versus more than 75%) by presenting “consumer report” graphics that indicate the relative prevalence of the presence of a resource (though not its spatial extent).
Official state response from Australia to the World Heritage Committee, in regards to Decision WHC 38 COM 7B.63, which essentially says Australia is indeed working to protect the GBR and that the Reef is not "in danger."
Sea lice are copepod ectoparasites with vast reproductive potential and affect a wide variety of fish species. The number of parasites causing morbidity is proportional to fish size. Natural low host density restricts massive parasite dispersal. However, expanded salmon farming has shifted the conditions in favor of the parasite. Salmon farms are often situated near wild salmonid migrating routes, with smolts being particularly vulnerable to sea lice infestation. In order to protect both farmed and wild salmonids passing or residing in the proximity of the farms, several measures are taken. Medicinal treatment of farmed fish has been the most predictable and efficacious, leading to extensive use of the available compounds. This has resulted in drug-resistant parasites occurring on farmed and possibly wild salmonids.
The present paper contains statistical analysis of modelled sea state data for the Western Baltic Sea for a time period of 52 years. Twenty charts were created, showing mean wave heights and frequencies of occurrence for different seasons. Taking a closer look at three potential areas for offshore wind energy in the Western Baltic the following mean significant wave heights were calculated (from west to east): Fehmarnbelt 0.6 m, Kadet Furrow 0.7 m and Arkona Basin 0.9 m. A comparison with waverider buoy measurements at five locations for different time series proves the good quality of the modelled data. These charts impart detailed information on the sea state from a spatial and temporal perspective which can be utilized by a wide range of users from different backgrounds. An exemplary monthly analysis of one location shows the possible application of the data set.
This paper presents the results of a study to monitor the socioeconomic impacts of the first extended closure of the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) bigeye tuna (bigeye) fishery to US longliners from the state of Hawai‘i. We applied qualitative and quantitative approaches to examine how diverse members of Hawai‘i's bigeye fishery community, including fishermen, a large fish auction, dealers, processors, retailers, consumers, and support industries, perceived and were affected by the constraints of the 40-day closure of the WCPO bigeye fishery at the end of 2010. Our analysis found that there was reduced supply and reduced quality of bigeye landed along with increased prices for bigeye during the closure period. In addition, Hawai‘i longliners were forced to travel longer distances to fish during the closure. These factors contributed to increased stress and in some cases lost revenue for a variety of individuals and businesses connected to the fishery. We also found that different stakeholder groups responded to the closure in different ways and fish dealers were among those most affected by the closure. However, overall impacts to the bigeye community were not as severe as what had been anticipated at the outset. Several mitigating factors meant this was not a true closure, as US boats could continue to fish for bigeye in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and foreign and dual permitted vessels could still fish in the WCPO. Hawai‘i's longline fleet has since benefited from US legislation and federal rules that have prevented any subsequent closures of the fishery. While this relief from closures could stall short term socioeconomic impacts to Hawai‘i bigeye community, some worry that it could set back global efforts towards sustainable management of the fishery. This study highlights the challenges and equity considerations inherent in efforts to achieve meaningful conservation benefits from localized management actions within a global fishery. It also demonstrates the importance of interdisciplinary socioeconomic monitoring to examine how global fisheries policies scale down to individual fishing communities.
Large-scale aquatic ecosystem restoration is increasing and is often controversial because of the economic costs involved, with the focus of the controversies gravitating to the modeling of fish responses. We present a scheme for best practices in selecting, implementing, interpreting, and reporting of fish modeling designed to assess the effects of restoration actions on fish populations and aquatic food webs. Previous best practice schemes that tended to be more general are summarized, and they form the foundation for our scheme that is specifically tailored for fish and restoration. We then present a 31-step scheme, with supporting text and narrative for each step, which goes from understanding how the results will be used through post-auditing to ensure the approach is used effectively in subsequent applications. We also describe 13 concepts that need to be considered in parallel to these best practice steps. Examples of these concepts include: life cycles and strategies; variability and uncertainty; nonequilibrium theory; biological, temporal, and spatial scaling; explicit versus implicit representation of processes; and model validation. These concepts are often not considered or not explicitly stated and casual treatment of them leads to mis-communication and mis-understandings, which in turn, often underlie the resulting controversies. We illustrate a subset of these steps, and their associated concepts, using the three case studies of Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River, the wetlands of coastal Louisiana, and the Everglades. Use of our proposed scheme will require investment of additional time and effort (and dollars) to be done effectively. We argue that such an investment is well worth it and will more than pay back in the long run in effective and efficient restoration actions and likely avoided controversies and legal proceedings.
Marine protected areas are promoted as a resource management tool for balancing ecological integrity with economic activity. However, MPAs frequently fail to achieve integrated, substantive outcomes. Participation failure is a common symptom of implementation failure. MPA experts often conclude that the remedy, in part, lies in better communication, with the implicit assumption that participation and communication are conjoined or synonymous. In this paper, the geography of communication in marine environments is analyzed as distinct from participation. It is argued that the logistical challenges of communicating in marine time and space must be taken into account beginning with the pre-implementation stage of an MPA; this requires recognition and analysis of the political nuances of whose space, whose time, and whose terms for communication. Research in Wakatobi National Park in Indonesia determined that marine managers and local communities have divergent experiences of participation, prompting three insights. First, the timing of public consultations must accommodate the variable rhythms of life in fishing communities in order to ensure broad representation. Second, co-presence in fishers’ space is critical for effective communication of marine knowledge and management strategies. Third, the deployment of ‘participation time’ by decision-makers communicates the value – or lack thereof – they place on fishing people and collaboration. The constructivist spatial analysis of communication presented here provides a model for MPA decision-makers and managers to identify, overcome and mobilize communication geographies that affect participation in sustainable development.
The Magnuson–Stevens Act is the United States׳ premier law governing fisheries conservation and management. Congress has revisited the Act multiple times since its inception in 1976—most recently in 1996 with the Sustainable Fisheries Act and in 2006 with the Magnuson Stevens Act—and is currently in the process of reauthorizing the Act. The University of Washington focused the 14th annual Bevan Series on Sustainable Fisheries on issues surrounding reauthorization. The symposium featured a diversity of stakeholders, including fisheries scientists, managers, policy analysts, students, non-governmental organizations, Tribes, and industry. The symposium explored the Act׳s history, means of ending overfishing and ensuring accountability, lessons from U.S. West Coast and North Pacific fisheries, and challenges and solutions to ecosystem-based fisheries management.
Consequences of reef phase shifts on fish communities remain poorly understood. Studies on the causes, effects and consequences of phase shifts on reef fish communities have only been considered for coral-to-macroalgae shifts. Therefore, there is a large information gap regarding the consequences of novel phase shifts and how these kinds of phase shifts impact on fish assemblages. This study aimed to compare the fish assemblages on reefs under normal conditions (relatively high cover of corals) to those which have shifted to a dominance of the zoantharian Palythoa cf. variabilis on coral reefs in Todos os Santos Bay (TSB), Brazilian eastern coast. We examined eight reefs, where we estimated cover of corals and P. cf. variabilis and coral reef fish richness, abundance and body size. Fish richness differed significantly between normal reefs (48 species) and phase-shift reefs (38 species), a 20% reduction in species. However there was no difference in fish abundance between normal and phase shift reefs. One fish species, Chaetodon striatus, was significantly less abundant on normal reefs. The differences in fish assemblages between different reef phases was due to differences in trophic groups of fish; on normal reefs carnivorous fishes were more abundant, while on phase shift reefs mobile invertivores dominated.
The seas and oceans are the scene of multiple human actions, all of which cause pressures on the marine environment. Marine spatial planning (MSP) systematizes the evaluations of the spatial impacts of the human actions and take into consideration the cumulative impacts of the actions. A probabilistic model is constructed to estimate the impacts of oil shipping and offshore wind power on 16 species. The quantitative indicators of impacts are the loss of breeding success of 5 birds, the loss of the early development stages of 3 fish species and the change in the probability of presence/absence of 3 benthic species and 5 algae. The thesis model works as an independent application, but can be merged as such into an MSP tool that works with a geoinformatic system (GIS) interface. The impacts of offshore wind power and oil shipping, and especially the possible oil spill, have been studied at other marine areas, but there are only few studies about their impacts in the brackish water conditions of the Baltic Sea. The study area of this thesis is the eastern Gulf of Finland (EGOF).
The model is constructed using Bayesian networks (BNs) which are graphical probabilistic models. The most important human pressures caused by the actions are identified based on literature and placed in the model accordingly. The pressures caused by operational offshore wind power are the disturbance to birds and underwater noise. The pressures caused by oil shipping are underwater noise and the oil exposure of species after a possible oil spill. The attenuation of the pressures as a function of increasing distance from the source of pressure is calculated mathematically, where possible. Expert elicitation is conducted to fill in the gaps in existing data over the subject. Altogether 6 experts were interviewed and another two were consulted informally. The different types of data are integrated in the BN, which allows quantified comparisons between different management options and alternative scenarios.
The model predicts that both human actions have negative impacts on the marine environment of the EGOF. The impacts of an offshore wind mill will realize without uncertainty but they will be negligible. An oil spill, on the other hand, is unlikely to happen, but if it does, the losses will be extensive. The disturbance of the wind mill on birds extends to some hundreds of metres from the mill, depending on the bird species. The losses of the early development stages of fish caused by the underwater noise of a wind mill are nearly certainly below 20% at all distances from the mill for all studied species. With the most likely sound pressure levels of tankers, the losses to the early development stages of the fish also remain below 20% with a high level of certainty at all distances. At these tanker noise levels, the harmless noise class of <90 dB re 1µPa will be reached at some kilometres of the fairway, depending on the original noise level from a tanker. Three alternative oil shipping scenarios for 2020 were compared. The differences among the scenarios are negligible both when it comes to the impacts of underwater noise on fish and to the probability of a species to get exposed to oil.
The model successfully describes the impacts of the human pressures that are known to take place, such as the impacts of offshore wind power, but requires a GIS environment and drift models to be able to predict the probabilities of an oil exposure. The applicability of the model can be increased by taking into consideration additional human actions and a wider selection of human pressures. The thesis model is a part of a MSP tool produced in TOPCONS (Transboundary tools for the spatial planning and conservation of the Gulf of Finland) project, which is a prototype of a tool that can be later applied at marine areas worldwide.
Offshore wind farm (OWF) construction in the UK is progressing rapidly alongside increasing spatial pressures on marine ecosystems and social and economic activities. A need for increased protection of habitats, species and ecological processes that support environmental and economic benefits is being met by designation of marine protected areas (MPAs). Mitigation and spatial planning solutions are required to enable protection of vital ecological habitats, features and processes and support sustainable economic development. A potential solution is to co-locate OWFs and MPAs. This study uses a multi-disciplinary approach to examine if evidence on the environmental effects of existing OWFs and associated effects on fishing activity (as an existing resource use) benefits MPA goals. Through a systematic review and meta-analyses of existing data, knowledge of OWF effects on species abundance and economic effects on fishing were identified as key evidence gaps. The ecological evidence need was approached through a case study of ecological effects of North Hoyle OWF, North Wales, UK, using existing pre and post-construction monitoring data, as well as primary baited remote underwater video data, collected 5 years later (8 years post-construction). Results suggested habitat and species recovered to a stable state that showed some community differences to pre-construction conditions. The presence of OWF monopiles is likely to have increased existing heterogeneity of substratum and increased opportunities for scavenging species. Species benefitting and disadvantaged by habitat provided within the OWF reflected meta-analyses trends. Extended baseline monitoring to provide confident identification of natural levels of variation in sediment and fauna was lacking. Analysis of fishing activity and landings before and after OWF construction in three UK case study regions approached effects on resource users. Fishing activity in the three case study areas showed broad scale similarity to national trends. Small-scale activity patterns indicated greater reductions in mobile (towed) fishing gear effort near to operating OWFs than in static gear activity (using pots or static nets). Semi-structured interviews conducted with fishermen in each region revealed loss of ground and disruption as negative effects from OWFs, in addition to existing pressures. Benefits including habitat creation and species augmentation, as well as reduction of cumulative lost ground, were identified by fishermen from co-location of MPAs and OWFs. Ecological effects of OWFs suggested benefits from habitat creation, species augmentation and potential for protection of sandbank habitats between monopiles. Mitigation requirements were identified to maximise these potential benefits to an MPA network.
- As a consequence of increasing threats to the marine ecosystems, new decision support tools are necessary to support the implementation of the Ecosystem-Based Approach (EBA) to management in order to ensure their sustainable exploitation whilst ensuring their preservation.
- To operationalize Ecosystem-Based Approach (EBA) to management and translate scientific knowledge into decision tools, an innovative Adaptive Marine Policy Toolbox has been created. It provides policymakers with necessary framework and resources to develop adaptive policies according to the EBA.
- The Adaptive Marine Policy Toolbox provides a one-stop single location to access all the guidelines and resources necessary to design and implement adaptive marine policies according to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
- The toolbox presents a high transferability to additional regulations calling for the Ecosystem-Based Approach to management such as the Ecosystem Approach of the Mediterranean Action Plan and the Black Sea´s Strategic Action Plan.
- The Resources existing within the toolbox are presented in a user-friendly format. The presence of assessments and models capable to cope with uncertain conditions allows for high flexibility and adaptation in management strategies when future conditions change.
A major decline in the catch of the banana prawn [shrimp], Penaeus (Fenneropenaeus) merguiensis, occurred over a six-year period in the Weipa region of the northeastern Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Three main hypotheses have been developed to explain this decline: (1) prawn recruitment collapsed due to overfishing; (2) recruitment collapsed due to a change in the prawn's environment; and (3) adult banana prawns were still present, but fishers could no longer effectively find or catch them. Qualitative mathematical models were used to link population biology, environmental factors, and fishery dynamics to evaluate the alternative hypotheses. This modeling approach provides the means to rapidly integrate knowledge across disciplines and consider alternative hypotheses about how the structure and function of an ecosystem affects its dynamics. Alternative models were constructed to address the different hypotheses and also to encompass a diversity of opinion about the underlying dynamics of the system. Key findings from these analyses are that: instability in the system can arise when discarded fishery bycatch supports relatively high predation pressure; system stability can be enhanced by management of fishing effort or stock catchability; catch per unit effort is not necessarily a reliable indicator of stock abundance; a change in early-season rainfall should affect all stages in the banana prawn's life cycle; and a reduced catch in the Weipa region can create and reinforce a shift in fishing effort away from Weipa. Results from the models informed an approach to test the hypotheses (i.e., an experimental fishing program), and promoted understanding of the system among researchers, management agencies, and industry. The analytical tools developed in this work to address stages of a prawn life cycle and fishery dynamics are generally applicable to any exploited natural resource.