Climate change, observed as warming sea surface temperatures, is expected to impact the Eastern coast of Canada at a rate higher than the global average. Changes in marine abiotic conditions will impact the growth and performance of economically important bivalve species, creating an increasingly uncertain future for the bivalve aquaculture industry. Site-selection for new farms, and the management of extant ones could mitigate these potential impacts, but the implementation of this planning process is dependent on stakeholder support and engagement. Recognizing the importance of stakeholder input in management decisions, this research analyzed the perspectives of farmers, researchers, and managers from Nova Scotia (NS) and Prince Edward Island (PEI) on the relationship between climate change and bivalve aquaculture. Stakeholder perspectives were analyzed using a semi-quantitative interview method (Q methodology). These perspectives indicated the need for a higher level of integration both between stakeholder groups, namely farmers and managers, and management tools and climate change. Increased understanding between farmers and managers could be achieved through the use of researchers as knowledge brokers, collaborating and communicating with both groups. Making use of management tools, such as the ecosystem approach to aquaculture, required insurance, and adaptive management, governmental bodies on both a federal and provincial level can act as channels by which uncertainty generated by climate change can be further reduced. In summary, stakeholder perception can be used by marine planners to adapt to these foreseen changes, and to promote the expansion of this industry.
Skin marks occur frequently in many cetacean species across the globe revealing a broad spectrum of causes, including social interactions, infectious diseases and injuries produced by anthropogenic factors. The current study used photo-id data from 2005–2014 to estimate the skin mark pattern on resident bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from the Aeolian Archipelago (Italy). Thirteen skin mark types were identified and their origin, prevalence and permanence time were examined. The pattern of skin marks was assessed for the abundance, richness, distribution and severity in six body regions and compared among age classes, sex and degree of dolphins’ interaction with trammel nets (DIN). Our results showed higher prevalence, abundance, richness and distribution of skin marks in adults than in the younger age classes, with the exception of black marks and white ring lesions. The prevalence and abundance of skin marks were higher in males than females, with the exception of scratches and white patches. Moreover, gunshot wounds, mutilations and irregular dorsal fin edges were found only on adult males. Since males showed higher DIN than females and, in dolphins with higher DIN, skin marks were more abundant and frequently distributed in different body regions, the skin mark pattern in regard to DIN seems to be sex-related. The more severe marks were observed on adults, males and dolphins with higher DIN, namely skin disorder, tooth rake marks, small shallow indentations, deep indentations and mutilations. On the contrary, the severity of scratches, white patches and dark ring lesions was higher in females than males, but not significantly related to DIN and age of the individuals. Our results showed that photo-id data provide an efficient and cost-effective approach to document the occurrence of skin marks in free-ranging bottlenose dolphin populations, a critical step toward understanding the cause and supporting the conservation strategies.
Animals are central to numerous ecological processes that shape the structure and function of ecosystems. It follows that species that are strongly linked to specific functions can represent these functions spatially and hence be useful in conservation planning. Here we test this notion of ‘functional species surrogacy’ for the conservation of seagrass meadows that have been impacted by stressors. We measured algal herbivory and herbivorous fish assemblages across a range of seagrass meadows in the Moreton Bay Marine Park, Queensland, Australia. We determined the suitability of herbivorous fish to act as a surrogate for the function of algal herbivory and modelled the abundance of this surrogate, and thus herbivory, in seagrass meadows to compare the spatial distribution of this function within existing reserves. We used underwater video systems to determine the abundance of all herbivorous fish species in seagrass meadows. The abundance of the dusky rabbitfish (Siganus fuscescens) was the best predictor of algal herbivory in seagrass meadows, supporting the suitability of this species as a functional surrogate. The distribution of dusky rabbitfish, and therefore the ecological function of herbivory, was not well represented in the Moreton Bay Marine Park protected areas. Only 7% of the equivalent area of seagrass meadows protected in marine reserves were found to have high abundances of dusky rabbitfish. We demonstrate that the abundance of functionally important herbivores can be suitable as a surrogate for herbivory in seagrass conservation. Our findings show that data on the spatial distribution of ecological functions can alter priorities for reserve design, and we suggest that our functional approach to species surrogacy is likely to improve conservation performance in seagrass ecosystems.
The Juan Fernández Ridge (JFRE) is a vulnerable marine ecosystem (VME) located off the coast of central Chile formed by the Juan Fernández Archipelago and a group of seamounts. This ecosystem has unique biological and oceanographic features, characterized by: small geographical units, high degree of endemism with a high degree of connectivity within the system. Two fleets have historically operated in this system: a long term coastal artisanal fishery associated with the Islands, focused mainly on lobster, and a mainland based industrial demersal finfish fishery operating on the seamounts which is currently considered overexploited. The management of these fisheries has been based on a classical single-species approach to determine output controls (industrial fleet) and a mixed management system with formal and informal components (artisanal fleet). There has been growing interest in increasing the exploitation of fisheries, and modernization of the fishing fleet already operating in the JFRE. Under this scenario of increased levels of fishing exploitation and the high level of interrelation of species it might be necessary to understand the impact of these fisheries from a holistic perspective based on a ecosystem-based modeling approach. To address these challenges we developed an Atlantis end-to-end model was configured for this ecosystem. The implemented model has a high degree of skill in representing the observed trends and fluctuations of the JFRE. The model shows that the industrial fishing has a localized impact and the artisanal fisheries have a relatively low impact on the ecosystem, mainly via the lobster fishery. The model indicates that the depletion of large sized lobster has leads to an increase in the population of sea urchins. Although this increase is not sufficient, as yet, to cause substantial flow-on effects to other groups, caution is advised in case extra pressure leads the ecosystem towards a regime shift.
The number of recreational fishing licenses in Brazil has been increasing exponentially since 2000, but a drop occurred in 2014, probably associated to an economic crisis. On average, only 20% of the licenses issued in 2011-2014 were for anglers fishing in marine waters. From those, 20% were type A licenses (shore-based) and the remainder were type B-C licenses (boat-based). Based on the licenses database, it was possible to estimate a mean annual expenditure by marine anglers of US$ 524 million between 2011 and 2014. The absolute mean expenditure per trip was usually higher for men but women tended to spend more as a percentage of their income. This was mainly due to the lower average income of women relative to men. Some inconsistences in the licenses database were found which could be easily corrected in the future and the estimates presented here improved.
Internationally, marine spatial planning (MSP) is an integral part of the decision-making protocol for setting up activities in the marine zone, be it the establishment of industries, exploration and mining for oil and minerals, deciding of surface transport, ensuring national security, exploitation of living and non-living resources, or conservation and management of resources and ecosystems. Satellite-based technologies like remote sensing and geographic information system are two powerful tools that provide a common platform to present information on different activities from the marine zone. This would enable the planners and policymakers to interpret the interaction between various factors and derive judicious decisions on the allocation of space and resources to different segments or activities in marine zone. This article reviews how MSP is being used as a decisionsupport tool in various countries for the peaceful coexistence of different stakeholders in the marine zone. It also discusses initiatives in India along with a reminder on the responsibility of the country as a signatory of international organizations to give importance on developing MSP for the conservation of resources as well as marine ecosystems.
Experiments have shown that increasing dissolved CO2concentrations (i.e. Ocean Acidification, OA) in marine ecosystems may act as nutrient for primary producers (e.g. fleshy algae) or a stressor for calcifying species (e.g., coralline algae, corals, molluscs). For the first time, rapid habitat dominance shifts and altered competitive replacement from a reef-forming to a non-reef-forming biogenic habitat were documented over one-year exposure to low pH/high CO2 through a transplant experiment off Vulcano Island CO2 seeps (NE Sicily, Italy). Ocean acidification decreased vermetid reefs complexity via a reduction in the reef-building species density, boosted canopy macroalgae and led to changes in composition, structure and functional diversity of the associated benthic assemblages. OA effects on invertebrate richness and abundance were nonlinear, being maximal at intermediate complexity levels of vermetid reefs and canopy forming algae. Abundance of higher order consumers (e.g. carnivores, suspension feeders) decreased under elevated CO2 levels. Herbivores were non-linearly related to OA conditions, with increasing competitive release only of minor intertidal grazers (e.g. amphipods) under elevated CO2 levels.
Our results support the dual role of CO2 (as a stressor and as a resource) in disrupting the state of rocky shorecommunities, and raise specific concerns about the future of intertidal reef ecosystem under increasing CO2 emissions. We contribute to inform predictions of the complex and nonlinear community effects of OA on biogenic habitats, but at the same time encourage the use of multiple natural CO2 gradients in providing quantitative data on changing community responses to long-term CO2 exposure.
Due to the current interest of research and business at the international and national levels in marine genetic resources, they are regarded as a new frontier and source for genetic and biochemical information. This article seeks to shed light on selected examples and potential or realised economic value of marine bioprospecting for the industry as well as jurisdictional and legal issues in international law over the rights regarding those resources. It will also explore how some countries are starting to regulate access and utilisation in areas within national jurisdiction and introduce some links to their utilisation in patented inventions and implications to patent law. The notes will not cover MGRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction, as this is a regime in the making under a potential new treaty to protect marine resources under the United Nations General Assembly. The note will end on some conclusions on the fact there is a significant interest and increase in the use of MGRs for bioprospecting purposes, R&D and in terms of patent filing trends.
‘Due regard’ obligations occur when a state, in exercising a right, is bound to take into consideration the existence of conflicting rights and interests of other states and to balance their respective importance. They are frequently found in international law of the sea and the LOSC. Within the exclusive economic zone, where the applicable regime is the result of the balancing of the rights of the coastal state with those of other states, international practice shows that the balance shifts in favour of the coastal state if conflicting fishing activities are at stake. The balance may change if other kinds of activities are in conflict within the same zone. Two recent arbitral awards—on the Chagos Marine Protected Area case and the South China Sea case—elaborate on ‘due regard obligations’.
Reef sharks are vulnerable predators experiencing severe population declines mainly due to overexploitation. However, beyond direct exploitation, human activities can produce indirect or sub-lethal effects such as behavioral alterations. Such alterations are well known for terrestrial fauna but poorly documented for marine species. Using an extensive sampling of 367 stereo baited underwater videos systems, we show modifications in grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) occurrence and feeding behavior along a marked gradient of isolation from humans across the New Caledonian archipelago (South-Western Pacific). The probability of occurrence decreased by 68.9% between wilderness areas (more than 25 hours travel time from the capital city) and impacted areas while the few individuals occurring in impacted areas exhibited cautious behavior. We also show that only large no-entry reserves (above 150 km²) can protect the behavior of grey reef sharks found in the wilderness. Influencing the fitness, human linked behavioral alterations should be taken into account for management strategies to ensure the persistence of populations.
Seascape Ecology provides a comprehensive look at the state-of-the-science in the application of landscape ecology to the seas and provides guidance for future research priorities. The first book devoted exclusively to this rapidly emerging and increasingly important discipline, it is comprised of contributions from researchers at the forefront of seascape ecology working around the world. It presents the principles, concepts, methodology, and techniques informing seascape ecology and reports on the latest developments in the application of the approach to marine ecology and management.
Coastal cities continue to experience rapid urbanisation and population growth worldwide, linked to the diverse economic and social benefits flowing from proximity to the sea. Growing concern over human impacts upon coastal waters and global strategic goals for healthier cities requires that coastal cities develop innovative ways to inspire and empower communities to embrace and cherish city seascapes. Coastal city communities have much to gain from a healthier relationship with the sea. This paper proposes a collaborative community-led marine park concept that celebrates a city's connection to the marine environment, enhances sustainable economic prosperity and enables communities to participate in activities that deepen understanding, value, care and enjoyment of the city seascape. A city marine park (CMP) is not a marine protected area because it does not have biodiversity and heritage protection or ecosystem governance as a primary goal and does not aim to restrict human activities. A CMP enables city communities to collaborate towards a shared vision of elevated status and value for the city seascape. A CMP considers socio-economic and geographical context, including land-sea connectivity, and is integrated within a coastal city's strategic urban planning. This paper highlights core themes of a CMP and the diverse and wide-ranging benefits from coordinated activities that better connect the city community with its seascape. If co-created by the coastal city community and civic leaders, a CMP will form an enduring spatial nexus for progress toward healthy cities addressing multiple interlinked global sustainable development goals.
The aesthetic appreciation of natural places is one of the most fundamental ways in which people relate to their environment. It provides wellbeing, an opportunity for recreation and reflection, a sense of place, and cultural enrichment. It also motivates people to take care of natural places and to conserve them for current and future appreciation. Aesthetically valuable places also support significant economic activity. However, there is little guidance available to assist environmental managers and policy-makers to consider and integrate aesthetic values into decision-making processes. In this study, we present an approach for developing robust and practical indicators of aesthetic value to enable environmental managers to consider, assess and report on aesthetic condition and trend. We demonstrate its utility using the case of the Great Barrier Reef, a region currently undergoing significant social, economic and environmental change and an area formally protected, in part, for its aesthetic values. A qualitative scoping study with 30 key informants identified over 180 potential qualities contributing to reef aesthetics. We tested five for their utility in capturing key aspects of the coral reef aesthetic: (i) coral cover, (ii) coral pattern, (iii) coral topography, (iv) fish abundance, and (v) visibility. We asked 1,417 online Australians to aesthetically rate 50 out of 181 underwater coral reef images that varied in relation to these five attributes. Coral topography, fish abundance, and visibility were significantly correlated with aesthetic ratings, whilst coral cover and coral pattern were not. We also tested for demographic patterns in aesthetic ratings. Our pilot study has demonstrated that readily measurable characteristics of coral reefs can provide useful indicators of aesthetic quality, opening up opportunities for coral reef managers and policymakers to assess and track changes in aesthetics in ways that are relevant to the public. There is considerable scope to further advance capacity for monitoring and managing aesthetic values of coral reefs through additional research that resolves nuances in the meanings associated with aesthetics in coral reef settings.
As documented by the numerous publications that have appeared in recent years, plastic pollution of the environment and the effects on the respective ecosystems are currently one of the most intensely discussed issues in environmental science and in society at large. Of special concern are the effects of micro- and nano-sized plastics. A key issue in understanding the fate and potential effects of micro- and nano-sized plastics is their dynamic nature, as the size, shape, and charge of the particles change over time. Moreover, due to various biological processes, such as the aggregation of organic material and/or bacteria (“biofouling”), the density of plastic particles that settle in the sediments of aquatic ecosystems may be several orders of magnitudes higher than that in the surrounding waters. Consequently, the risk posed by plastic pollution to benthic fauna is considerably high. Nonetheless, the vast majority of studies examining the effects of microplastics have focused on pelagic organisms so far. We therefore conducted a comprehensive literature review to examine the impact of micro- and nano-sized plastics on benthic invertebrates, including the physical and chemical effects of leaching and the interactions of plastic particles with contaminants. Overall, 330 papers were reviewed for their fulfillment of different criteria (e.g., test species, plastic material, particle shape, particle size, exposure concentration, exposure route, assay type, assay duration), with 49 publications finally included in our survey. A comprehensive gap-analysis on the effects of plastic particles on benthic invertebrates revealed a wide variety of effects triggered by micro- and/or nano-sized plastics but also distinct differences regarding the plastic materials tested, the size fractions applied, the shape of the respective particles, and the exposure routes tested. Our review concludes with a discussion of the important research gaps concerning freshwater ecosystems and recommendations for future areas of research.
The 1988 Brazilian Federal Constitution established the promotion of environmental education (EE) as a Government’s public policy, which constitutes an important legal frame addressing this subject in Brazil, also considering the EE activities in coastal and marine protected areas (CMPAs). This chapter presents the legal frame, concepts, and potentialities of EE in CMPAs. Also, it highlights some experiences of EE in Brazilian PAs particularly to identify gaps, potentialities, and specificities for the development of coastal and marine environmental education (CMEE). Despite the conceptual and legal support for the development of EE activities in CMPAs, managers have a great difficulty to achieve these goals given the lack of funding, resources, personnel, and training, among other challenges that will be presented throughout this chapter. Thereby, environmental interpretation strategies assume great importance as well as citizen science initiatives and partnerships between public entities, civil society, and educational institutions. Considering this, it is of fundamental importance to encourage the social participation and diversity of partnerships. Also, it is necessary to test and improve CMEE methodologies in order to potentiate the teaching and learning process and to strength the democratic participation in the CMPAs management. In addition, it is clear that the CMEE needs financial independence, which could be supplied by the ecotourism in the CMPAs, but such initiatives are still incipient in Brazil.
For many species, reproductive failure may occur if abundance drops below critical Allee thresholds for successful breeding, in some cases impeding recovery. At the same time, extreme environmental events can cause catastrophic collapse in otherwise healthy populations. Understanding what natural processes and management strategies may allow for persistence and recovery of natural populations is critical in the face of expected climate change scenarios of increased environmental variability. Using a spatially explicit continuous-size fishery model with stochastic dispersal parameterized for abalone—a harvested species with sedentary adults and a dispersing larval phase—we investigated whether the establishment of a system of marine protected areas (MPAs) can prevent population collapse, compared with nonspatial management when populations are affected by mass mortality from environmental shocks and subject to Allee effects. We found that MPA networks dramatically reduced the risk of collapse following catastrophic events (75%–90% mortality), while populations often continued to decline in the absence of spatial protection. Similar resilience could be achieved by closing the fishery immediately following mass mortalities but would necessitate long periods without catch and therefore economic income. For species with Allee effects, the use of protected areas can ensure persistence following mass mortality events while maintaining ecosystem services during the recovery period.
The modern-day reinvigoration of individual Indigenous nations around the world is connected to broader simultaneous movements of Indigenous nationhood worldwide. The origins, implications, philosophies, and diversities of Indigenous resurgences and resistances continue to be discussed in the growing body of literature on Indigenous governance. This article builds on these discussions by focusing on the applied tools and strategies of Indigenous resurgence. In the context of the Pacific herring fishery in British Columbia, Canada, this research explores the strategies and tools used by three Indigenous coastal nations to apply pressure on the colonial government to abdicate its asserted authority over herring governance. Motivated by a time-honored relationship to herring, we discuss how these Indigenous nations have strategized to try to regain authority over herring governance to protect species and Indigenous access to the fishery. We then discuss this ocean-based resurgence in the context of global Indigenous movements for the reassertion of self-determining authority.
Mangrove forests provide valuable coastal protection from erosion, habitat for terrestrial and marine species, nursery grounds for commercial fisheries and are economically important for tourism. Galapagos’ mangroves usually grow directly on solid lava and fragmented rocky shores, thereby stabilizing the sediment and facilitating colonisation by other plants and many animals. However, until very recently, only inaccurate data described mangrove coverage and its distribution. We mapped mangroves using freely available Google Earth Very High Resolution images based on on-screen classification and compared this method to three semi-automatic classification algorithms. We also analysed mangrove change for the period 2004–2014. We obtained an area of 3657.1 ha of fringing mangrove that covers 35% of the coastline. Eighty percent of mangrove cover is found in Isabela island, and 90% in the western and central south-eastern bioregions. The overall accuracy of mangrove classification was 99.1% with a Kappa coefficient of 0.97 when validated with field data. On-screen digitization was significantly more accurate than other tested methods. From the semi-automated methods, Maximum Likelihood Classification with prior land-sea segmentation yielded the best results. During the 2004–2014 period, mangrove coverage increased 24% mainly by expansion of existing mangroves patches as opposed to generation of new patches. We estimate that mangrove cover and growth are inversely proportional to the geological age of the islands. However, many other factors like nutrients, currents or wave exposure protection might explain this pattern. The precise localization of mangrove cover across the Galapagos islands now enables documenting whether it is changing over time.
Several species found in the Bering Sea show significant spatial variation in total mercury concentrations ([THg]) longitudinally along the Aleutian Island chain. We assessed [THg] in other members of the Bering Sea food web to better understand the factors shaping regional differences. [THg] and stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios (δ15N and δ13C values) were measured in muscle tissue from 1052 fishes and cephalopods from parts of the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean adjacent to the Aleutian Islands. The spatial distribution of the samples enabled regional comparisons for 8 species of fish and one species of cephalopod. Four species showed higher mean length-standardized [THg] in the western Aleutian Islands management area. [THg] in yellow Irish lord were very different relative to those observed in other species and when included in multi-species analyses drove the overall regional trends in mean [THg]. Multi-species analyses excluding measurements for yellow Irish lord showed mean length-standardized [THg] was greater in the western Aleutian Islands than in the central Aleutian Islands management area. Linear regression of [THg] and δ15N values showed a significant and positive relationship across all species, varying between regions and across species. Isotopic space of all species was significantly different between the western Aleutian Islands and central Aleutian Islands, driven largely by δ13C values. Stable isotope values observed follow the same regional trend of lower trophic taxa reported in the literature, with significantly lower δ13C values in the western Aleutian Islands. We conclude that there are regional differences in carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ecology, as well as species-specific feeding ecology that influence [THg] dynamics in part of the marine food web along the Aleutian Island chain. These regional differences are likely contributors to the observed regional variations of [THg] in some high-level predators found in these regions.
The recent decline of the Arctic sea ice cover leads to an increasing number of vessels navigating through the Arctic shipping routes. Ballast water, essential for the vessel's safety during voyages and cargo transfers, however, is also considered one of the main vectors for transport and introduction of non-indigenous species. The aim of this paper is to investigate potential effects of the ballast water discharged in the main Arctic shipping routes on the local environment. For that a passive tracer was implemented in a fine resolution coupled ocean-sea ice model covering the entire Arctic and northern North Atlantic, to simulate the spread of the ballast water discharged based on release points along real ship positions from 2013. The model results showed that spring and summer were the seasons with the highest tendency for accumulation of ballast water tracer on the surface layers south of NovayaZemlyaand south of Spitsbergen, not only due to a higher number of vessels navigating in the area but also due to strong stratification. During winter and autumn, the tracer was mixed with and into deeper layers due to vertical convection. The simulated ballast water accumulation during spring and summer indicated that organisms, that survived the voyage in the ballast tanks, could establish a stable or growing population and eventually become invasive.