Observations of conditions at the ocean surface have been made for centuries, contributing to some of the longest instrumental records of climate change. Most prominent is the climate data record (CDR) of sea surface temperature (SST), which is itself essential to the majority of activities in climate science and climate service provision. A much wider range of surface marine observations is available however, providing a rich source of data on past climate. We present a general error model describing the characteristics of observations used for the construction of climate records, illustrating the importance of multi-variate records with rich metadata for reducing uncertainty in CDRs. We describe the data and metadata requirements for the construction of stable, multi-century marine CDRs for variables important for describing the changing climate: SST, mean sea level pressure, air temperature, humidity, winds, clouds, and waves. Available sources of surface marine data are reviewed in the context of the error model. We outline the need for a range of complementary observations, including very high quality observations at a limited number of locations and also observations that sample more broadly but with greater uncertainty. We describe how high-resolution modern records, particularly those of high-quality, can help to improve the quality of observations throughout the historical record. We recommend the extension of internationally-coordinated data management and curation to observation types that do not have a primary focus of the construction of climate records. Also recommended is reprocessing the existing surface marine climate archive to improve and quantify data and metadata quality and homogeneity. We also recommend the expansion of observations from research vessels and high quality moorings, routine observations from ships and from data and metadata rescue. Other priorities include: field evaluation of sensors; resources for the process of establishing user requirements and determining whether requirements are being met; and research to estimate uncertainty, quantify biases and to improve methods of construction of CDRs. The requirements developed in this paper encompass specific actions involving a variety of stakeholders, including funding agencies, scientists, data managers, observing network operators, satellite agencies, and international co-ordination bodies.
Measuring and monitoring the behavior and biomedical condition of free-ranging whales remains a fundamental challenge in cetacean science and conservation. Advances in unoccupied aerial systems (UAS) and infrared thermography (IRT) create unprecedented opportunities to fill these knowledge gaps and advance our understanding of how cetaceans interact with the environment. Here, we show that non-invasive UAS-IRT systems, deployed from shore-based positions in a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) calving ground, can be used to document rarely observed whale behaviors and to quantify biomedical vital signs, including blowhole and dorsal fin skin temperature, respiration rate, and heart rate. Our findings demonstrate: (1) prolonged (>3 h) logging behavior by a mother-calf pair located ∼550 m offshore; (2) that the calf’s respiration rate (∼3 breaths per minute) was six times higher than its mother’s (∼0.5 breaths per minute); (3) that the calf’s blowholes were ∼1.55°C warmer than adjacent ocean water and that the mother’s blowholes were ∼2.16°C warmer than adjacent ocean water; (4) that the mother’s dorsal fin included four infrared (IR) hot-spots, each separated by ∼20 cm in horizontal distance, that ranged between 1 and 2°C warmer than adjacent ocean water; (5) a significant (p <<0.05; wavelet analysis) temporal cyclicity in the hottest of the mother’s dorsal fin hot-spots consistent with cardiovascular blood flow pumped at an apneic heart rate of ∼9.3 beats per minute. Despite these novel results, there remain several key limitations to UAS-IRT, including its: sensitivity to environmental conditions and animal behavior; equipment costs and associated risks; potential regulatory restrictions; time-intensive nature of IR data processing; factors that can impact data quality, such as imaging angle and sensor accuracy. Future opportunities created by the UAS-IRT results we report center on the potential to couple non-invasive behavioral and physiological monitoring tools, quantify cetacean response to prolonged environmental change and acute disturbances, and extend UAS-IRT applications to cover a wider range of environmental and behavioral contexts. Considering the small sample size of the dataset we report, application of UAS-IRT to live-stranded and captive cetaceans, where environmental and cetacean conditions can be independently measured, is of paramount importance.
The incidence of marine traffic has risen in recent decades and is expected to continue rising as maritime traffic, vessel speed, and engine power all continue to increase. Although long considered anecdotal, ship strikes are now recognized as a major threat to cetaceans. However, estimation of ship strike rates is still challenging notably because such events occurred generally far offshore and collision between large ships and whales go often unnoticed by ship crew. The monitoring of marine mammal strandings remain one the most efficient ways to evaluate the problem. In France, a national coordinated network collected data and samples on stranded marine mammals since 1972 along the Mediterranean and Atlantic French coasts. We examined stranding data, including photography and necropsy reports, collected between 1972 and 2017 with the aim to provide a comprehensive review of confirmed collision records of large whales in France. During this period, a total of 51 ship strike incidents were identified which represents the 1st identified causes of mortality for large whale in France. It has increased since 1972 with seven records during the 1st decade to reach 22 stranded animals observed between 2005 and 2017. This issue appears particularly critical in the Mediterranean Sea where one in five stranded whales showed evidence of ship strike. This review of collision records highlights the risk of a negative impact of this anthropogenic pressure on the dynamic of whale populations in Europe, suggesting that ship strike rates could not allow achieving the Good Environmental Status of marine mammal populations required by the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
Plastics and microplastics (MPs) are emerging pollutants which have become a global environmental issue. They are abundant in oceanic and terrestrial environments, undergoing bioaccumulation and trophic transfer and potentially harming the entirety of mankind. Microplastics in the environment may be transferred to humans via different pathways, such as dietary intake and inhalation. This chapter summarizes the occurrences of MPs in seawaters, sediments, freshwaters, bivalves, and atmospheric fallouts. Generally, the spatial distribution of plastics and MPs in seawaters suggested that higher levels were found in areas which are closer to lands. Similarly, high levels of MPs in freshwaters, sediments, and aquatic organisms were associated with intensified human activities. The occurrences of MPs in bivalves from around the globe suggested a potential human exposure via dietary intake. Moreover, trophic transfer of MPs under controlled conditions suggested that MPs can be transferred to organisms at higher trophic levels. Plastics and MPs were found in atmospheric fallouts from urban, suburban, and remote mountain sites, suggesting the potential for long-range atmospheric transport of MPs. This chapter provides the reader with a snapshot of the plastic and MP pollution in the global oceans and planetary boundaries. Future studies are desirable for examining the exposure pathways, mechanisms of toxicity, and possible health effects.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) seeks to integrate traditionally disconnected oceans activities, management arrangements, and practices through a rational and comprehensive governance system. This article explores the emerging critical literature on MSP, focusing on key elements of MSP engaged by scholars: (1) planning discourse and narrative; (2) ocean economies and equity; (3) online ocean data and new digital ontologies; and (4) new and broad networks of ocean actors. The implications of these elements are then illustrated through a discussion of MSP in the United States. Critical scholars are beginning to go beyond applied or operational critiques of MSP projects to engage the underlying assumptions, practices, and relationships involved in planning. Interrogating MSP with interdisciplinary ideas drawn from critical social science disciplines, such as emerging applications of relational theory at sea, can provide insights into how MSP and other megaprojects both close and open new opportunities for social and environmental well-being.
Intertidal mangrove forests are a dynamic ecosystem experiencing rapid changes in extent and habitat quality over geological history, today and into the future. Climate and sea level have drastically altered mangrove distribution since their appearance in the geological record ∼75 million years ago (Mya), through to the Holocene. In contrast, contemporary mangrove dynamics are driven primarily by anthropogenic threats, including pollution, overextraction, and conversion to aquaculture and agriculture. Deforestation rates have declined in the past decade, but the future of mangroves is uncertain; new deforestation frontiers are opening, particularly in Southeast Asia and West Africa, despite international conservation policies and ambitious global targets for rehabilitation. In addition, geological and climatic processes such as sea-level rise that were important over geological history will continue to influence global mangrove distribution in the future. Recommendations are given to reframe mangrove conservation, with a view to improving the state of mangroves in the future.
Since the last Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) effort to review biological effects of the exposure to organohalogen compounds (OHCs) in Arctic biota, there has been a considerable number of new Arctic effect studies. Here, we provide an update on the state of the knowledge of OHC, and also include mercury, exposure and/or associated effects in key Arctic marine and terrestrial mammal and bird species as well as in fish by reviewing the literature published since the last AMAP assessment in 2010. We aimed at updating the knowledge of how single but also combined health effects are or can be associated to the exposure to single compounds or mixtures of OHCs. We also focussed on assessing both potential individual as well as population health impacts using population-specific exposure data post 2000. We have identified quantifiable effects on vitamin metabolism, immune functioning, thyroid and steroid hormone balances, oxidative stress, tissue pathology, and reproduction. As with the previous assessment, a wealth of documentation is available for biological effects in marine mammals and seabirds, and sentinel species such as the sledge dog and Arctic fox, but information for terrestrial vertebrates and fish remain scarce. While hormones and vitamins are thoroughly studied, oxidative stress, immunotoxic and reproductive effects need further investigation. Depending on the species and population, some OHCs and mercury tissue contaminant burdens post 2000 were observed to be high enough to exceed putative risk threshold levels that have been previously estimated for non-target species or populations outside the Arctic. In this assessment, we made use of risk quotient calculations to summarize the cumulative effects of different OHC classes and mercury for which critical body burdens can be estimated for wildlife across the Arctic. As our ultimate goal is to better predict or estimate the effects of OHCs and mercury in Arctic wildlife at the individual, population and ecosystem level, there remain numerous knowledge gaps on the biological effects of exposure in Arctic biota. These knowledge gaps include the establishment of concentration thresholds for individual compounds as well as for realistic cocktail mixtures that in fact indicate biologically relevant, and not statistically determined, health effects for specific species and subpopulations. Finally, we provide future perspectives on understanding Arctic wildlife health using new in vivo, in vitro, and in silico techniques, and provide case studies on multiple stressors to show that future assessments would benefit from significant efforts to integrate human health, wildlife ecology and retrospective and forecasting aspects into assessing the biological effects of OHC and mercury exposure in Arctic wildlife and fish.
World leaders signed the Paris Agreement in 2015 to keep global temperatures well below 2 °C. This Paris Agreement will facilitate achieving Sustainable Development Goal-13 (Climate Action) by 2030. However, without collective action, it is quite impossible to achieve the terms of this agreement. In this regard, the mass media can contribute to making people aware of the subsequent effect of climate change at all levels. The mass media, as a source of information, might play a significant role in raising public awareness and understanding of climate sciences. This paper examines the influence of the mass media on awareness, attitudes and knowledge of climate change, which may lead to environmentally friendly behaviour. This paper employs structural equation modelling to examine the relationship among the studied variables. The results reveal that the mass media influences awareness, attitudes and knowledge of climate change. This study also finds mediating effects of awareness, attitudes and knowledge of climate change between the mass media and environmentally friendly behaviour. The results imply that the mass media contributes to creating awareness, enhancing understating and shaping favourable attitudes towards climate change. The findings could guide policymakers to take appropriate steps to promote a greater awareness of climate change using the mass media.
Djiboutian coral reefs are poorly studied, but are of critical importance to tourism and artisanal fishing in this small developing nation. In 2014 and 2016 we carried out the most comprehensive survey of Djiboutian reefs to date, and present data on their ecology, health and estimate their vulnerability to future coral bleaching and anthropogenic impacts. Reef type varied from complex reef formations exposed to wind and waves along the Gulf of Aden, to narrow fringing reefs adjacent to the deep sheltered waters of the Gulf of Tadjoura. Evidence suggests that in the past 35 years the reefs have not previously experienced severe coral bleaching or significant human impacts, with many reefs having healthy and diverse coral and fish populations. Mean coral cover was high (52%) and fish assemblages were dominated by fishery target species and herbivores. However, rising sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and rapid recent coastal development activities in Djibouti are likely future threats to these relatively untouched reefs.
Humans interact with the oceans in diverse and profound ways. The scope, magnitude, footprint and ultimate cumulative impacts of human activities can threaten ocean ecosystems and have changed over time, resulting in new challenges and threats to marine ecosystems. A fundamental gap in understanding how humanity is affecting the oceans is our limited knowledge about the pace of change in cumulative impact on ocean ecosystems from expanding human activities – and the patterns, locations and drivers of most significant change. To help address this, we combined high resolution, annual data on the intensity of 14 human stressors and their impact on 21 marine ecosystems over 11 years (2003–2013) to assess pace of change in cumulative impacts on global oceans, where and how much that pace differs across the ocean, and which stressors and their impacts contribute most to those changes. We found that most of the ocean (59%) is experiencing significantly increasing cumulative impact, in particular due to climate change but also from fishing, land-based pollution and shipping. Nearly all countries saw increases in cumulative impacts in their coastal waters, as did all ecosystems, with coral reefs, seagrasses and mangroves at most risk. Mitigation of stressors most contributing to increases in overall cumulative impacts is urgently needed to sustain healthy oceans.
The replacement of natural marine habitats with less structurally complex human infrastructure has been linked to the homogenisation of epibenthic assemblages and associated changes in fish assemblages. To mitigate these impacts, eco-engineering efforts have focussed on increasing the physical and biogenic complexity of artificial structures, in the form of crevices added to seawalls and the seeding of the substrate with habitat-forming organisms such as oysters. While these studies have assessed how these interventions affect epibenthic assemblages, the effect of these strategies on the behaviour, such as feeding and habitat use, of different functional groups of fish (e.g. cryptobenthic and pelagic) remains uncertain. To do this, we manipulated complexity on seawalls by adding concrete tiles with different physical (flat or structured with crevices and ridges) and biogenic (seeding with two common habitat-forming species or naturally recruited fouling) complexities. We assessed pelagic and cryptobenthic fish species composition, abundance, interaction time with the tiles and number of feeding bites on three occasions 8–12 months after deployment. Cryptobenthic fish interacted more with physically complex tiles than flat tiles, regardless of biogenic complexity. In contrast, cryptobenthic fish fed more from flat tiles compared to physically complex tiles, and also appeared to feed more from tiles seeded with oysters. Pelagic fish interacted and fed more from naturally fouled tiles compared to unfouled control tiles, regardless of physical complexity. This study showed that manipulating complexity at the scales used here affects behaviour of fish, but it does not affect fish community. Increasing physical complexity facilitated fish use of seawalls as habitat by providing refuge, while it also hindered fish feeding by providing refuge for their prey. Cryptobenthic fish are important trophic linkages in their ecosystems and we have shown that by changing habitat complexity, we can change the habitat use and feeding activity of these fish, allowing them to fulfil this essential ecosystem role.
Beaches' development on small islands has become increasingly important due to touristic appeals on their unique landscapes and natural endowments. However, compared with large islands and continental areas, the natural conditions of these islands are quite poor, their degree of development is relatively low, and they are insufficiently managed. Therefore, it is urgently necessary to undertake comprehensive management activities for tourist beaches on small islands. Three small islands in China, i.e. Meizhou, Gulang, and Weizhou, were selected as case studies to develop a preliminary beach management strategy. On the basis of a literature search, field observation, interviews with relevant officers, visits to shopkeepers and residents, tourist questionnaires and internet comment collection, this study summarizes the status of tourist beach management on small islands, analyzes tourist perceptions, and establishes a SWOT framework. A comprehensive tourist beach management system is developed with natural environmental, facility-cultural, and management sub-systems that are highly interactive and interrelated. The development pathway of tourist beach management on small islands can be subdivided into three individual stages, namely, passive, positive, and balanced development stages. Management should focus on the island's unique advantages and infrastructure building in the stage of passive development, management facilities improvement, recreational activities, policies and regulations in the stage of positive development, and balance tourist numbers against the ecological environment, the needs of residents and the tourist experience in the stage of balanced development. Moreover, the beach management being appropriate for a small island is highly correlated with its natural and/or cultural landscapes.
Globally, coral reefs are degrading rapidly due to the combined impact of wide-scale anthropogenic activities and climate change. Similarly, coral reefs in India are facing an existential threat because of intensified environmental degradation, which challenges reef ecosystem resilience and socio-ecological stability. Recently, Govt. of India has taken up the ‘SagarMala Programme’ aiming to increase its port capacity by the expansion of existing ports, construction of several new ports and allied infrastructure development by 2025. Synergistic impact of coastal development coupled with the on-going environmental changes is deemed to accelerate coral reef degradation in Indian reefs. Therefore, the present article aims to highlight the urgency of positive intervention and initiation of long-term holistic coral reef restoration program as an active reef management tool. Along with conventional management practices, reef restoration program could curtail further reef degradation and will ensure the persistence of Indian coral reefs and the services they provide.
Managing fisheries to meet social, economic and ecological objectives is a fundamental problem encountered in fisheries management worldwide. In Australia, fisheries management involves a complex set of national and sub-national policy arrangements, including those designed to deliver against ecologically sustainable development (ESD) objectives. The complex policy framework makes ensuring policy coherence and avoiding unintended consequences difficult, particularly where potential trade-offs are not made explicit. Coherence, or potential policy weakness, of Australian fisheries management in relation to ESD objectives was examined in a subset of Australian wild capture fisheries, at national and jurisdictional scales. Coherent policy frameworks with ESD objectives were found to be more likely at the legislative-level across jurisdictions (horizontal coherence), than other levels of implementation. Many fisheries had problems demonstrating coherence between legislation and management plans due to lack of inclusion of ESD policy themes at management and operational levels. Case studies revealed substantial variation in the likelihood for horizontal and vertical coherence between fisheries policy frameworks managing the same species. The lack of explicit ESD objectives observed in many Australian fisheries suggests a high likelihood of incoherence in fisheries management, or alternatively that managers may be informally persuing higher levels of policy coordination and coherence than can be detected. Lack of detectability of coherence is problematic for demonstrating accountability and transparency in decision-making and public policy. Furthermore, use of discretion by managers when developing management plans, in order to overcome policy weakness, may lead to drifts in individual management direction within a jurisdiction.
This article aims to provide a critical view of the global scientific production involved in cruise tourism study. Global references in this field were identified and emphasised for managing existing data to establish ‘bridges’ among researchers. Scientometric analysis was conducted on publications about cruise tourism in mainstream journals integrated into Web of Science. This methodology enabled us to identify current topics, relevant journals, authors, institutions, profitable countries, ‘visible’ and ‘invisible’ collaborative colleges and the research areas considered as the epicentre of the cruise tourism debate. A significant contribution of this work is the use of indicators at the three levels of scientometric complexity, i.e. scientific activity, impact and relational character.
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.