Interdisciplinary research is vital in addressing complex real-world problems. To understand how the scientific workforce is being engaged in the interdisciplinary research, it is important to track the involvement of different research fields over time and the grants that drive the research endeavour. Unfortunately, there has been very little work in this understanding of interdisciplinary research and grant success. In this paper, we analysed the contribution of different disciplines within multidisciplinary research that secured grants. We tracked these contributions over a 10-year period to understand how different research fields evolved over time and played roles in interdisciplinary grant success. We followed a basic statistical approach and proposed a network-based approach to understand relative participation of different disciplines. We found disparities within different disciplines which showed that only few research fields contributed more in the interdisciplinary research grant success.
Deep-sea mining (DSM) may become a significant stressor on the marine environment. The DSM industry should demonstrate transparently its commitment to preventing serious harm to the environment by complying with legal requirements, using environmental good practice, and minimizing environmental impacts. Here existing environmental management approaches relevant to DSM that can be used to improve performance are identified and detailed. DSM is still predominantly in the planning stage and will face some unique challenges but there is considerable environmental management experience in existing related industries. International good practice has been suggested for DSM by bodies such as the Pacific Community and the International Marine Minerals Society. The inherent uncertainty in DSM presents challenges, but it can be addressed by collection of environmental information, area-based/spatial management, the precautionary approach and adaptive management. Tools exist for regional and strategic management, which have already begun to be introduced by the International Seabed Authority, for example in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone. Project specific environmental management, through environmental impact assessment, baseline assessment, monitoring, mitigation and environmental management planning, will be critical to identify and reduce potential impacts. In addition, extractive companies’ internal management may be optimised to improve performance by emphasising sustainability at a high level in the company, improving transparency and reporting and introducing environmental management systems. The DSM industry and its regulators have the potential to select and optimize recognised and documented effective practices and adapt them, greatly improving the environmental performance of this new industry.
The study presents the first systematic review of the existing literature on Arctic ES. Applying the Search, Appraisal, Synthesis and Analysis (SALSA) and snowballing methods and three selection criteria, 33 publications were sourced, including peer-reviewed articles, policy papers and scientific reports, and their content synthesised using the thematic analysis method. Five key themes were identified: (1) general discussion of Arctic ES, (2) Arctic social-ecological systems, (3) ES valuation, (4) ES synergies and/or trade-offs, and (5) integrating the ES perspective into management. The meta-synthesis of the literature reveals that the ES concept is increasingly being applied in the Arctic context in all five themes, but there remain large knowledge gaps concerning mapping, assessment, economic valuation, analysis of synergies, trade-offs, and underlying mechanisms, and the social effects of ES changes. Even though ES are discussed in most publications as being relevant for policy, there are few practical examples of its direct application to management. The study concludes that more primary studies of Arctic ES are needed on all of the main themes as well as governance initiatives to move Arctic ES research from theory to practice.
Computer vision and image processing approaches for automatic underwater fish detection are gaining attention of marine scientists as quicker and low-cost methods for estimating fish biomass and assemblage in oceans and fresh water bodies. However, the main challenge that is encountered in unconstrained underwater imagery is poor luminosity, turbidity, background confusion and foreground camouflage that make conventional approaches compromise on their performance due to missed detections or high false alarm rates. Gaussian Mixture Modelling is a powerful approach to segment foreground fish from the background objects through learning the background pixel distribution. In this paper, we present an algorithm based on Gaussian Mixture Models together with Pixel-Wise Posteriors for fish detection in complex background scenarios. We report the results of our method on the benchmark Complex Background dataset that is extracted from Fish4Knowledge repository. Our proposed method yields an F-score of 84.3%, which is the highest score reported so far on the aforementioned dataset for detecting fish in an unconstrained environment.
Understanding processes that drive community recovery are needed to predict ecosystem trajectories and manage for impacts under increasing global threats. Yet, the quantification of community recovery in coral reefs has been challenging owing to a paucity of long-term ecological data and high frequency of disturbances. Here we investigate community re-assembly and the bio-physical drivers that determine the capacity of coral reefs to recover following the 1998 bleaching event, using long-term monitoring data across four habitats in Palau. Our study documents that the time needed for coral reefs to recover from bleaching disturbance to coral-dominated state in disturbance-free regimes is at least 9–12 years. Importantly, we show that reefs in two habitats achieve relative stability to a climax community state within that time frame. We then investigated the direct and indirect effects of drivers on the rate of recovery of four dominant coral groups using a structural equation modelling approach. While the rates of recovery differed among coral groups, we found that larval connectivity and juvenile coral density were prominent drivers of recovery for fast growing Acropora but not for the other three groups. Competitive algae and parrotfish had negative and positive effects on coral recovery in general, whereas wave exposure had variable effects related to coral morphology. Overall, the time needed for community re-assembly is habitat specific and drivers of recovery are taxa specific, considerations that require incorporation into planning for ecosystem management under climate change.
Fisheries management interventions that protect certain species by redistributing fishing effort may generate unintended consequences for other species. In the California drift gillnet fishery for swordfish and sharks, a large spatial closure was implemented in 2001 to protect endangered leatherback turtles, which limited fishing effort to the Southern California Bight. Leatherback bycatch has since decreased, but the effects on other species have not been comprehensively examined. Here, we explore the effects of this closure on the community catch composition in the fishery and find that other protected species may have benefited, while catch per unit effort of major target species increased or was not significantly affected over the long term. However, a time-series analysis reveals that changes in catch trends across twenty species began at least five years before the closure was implemented, suggesting that previous regulatory measures or other drivers may also contribute to these trends. These results highlight the importance of comprehensive approaches that include the historical context when evaluating management outcomes.
This article traces the emergence of the ‘fisheries crime’ concept from its national Nordic roots through its introduction to, and subsequent acceptance within, the international political arena. The centrality of the associated law enforcement approach is underscored and key international processes aimed at addressing transnational organised crime in the international fishing sector are discussed. The importance of cooperation both domestically, amongst relevant government agencies, and across borders, at a region and global level, in this regard is highlighted
Creativity and playfulness are important skills that educators use to promote environmental awareness and changes in beliefs, attitudes, and values. The production of reusable and easily available didactic materials can assist in this process. The purpose of this chapter is to present some teaching and learning didactic materials developed in Brazil for different marine and coastal environmental education activities. We will present some examples of materials produced for interpretive trails, as well as books, guides, folders, radio programs, games, and materials for exhibitions. Also, we will reflect upon the necessity of enhancing the dissemination and sharing of these materials among Brazilian environmental educators as well as their proper evaluation.
Adverse impacts of marine litter is documented on >1400 species, including marine megafauna (fish, birds, sea turtles and mammals). The primary impacts include ingestion and entanglement, and there is increasing concern about chemical contamination via ingestion. Numerous survey approaches and monitoring programs have been developed and implemented around the world. They may aim to provide data about parameters such as species distribution and interactions with anthropogenic activities. During the Sixth International Marine Debris Conference, a session was dedicated to the tools and constraints in monitoring interactions between litter and megafauna. In the present paper, we summarize 7 case studies which discuss entanglement and ingestion including macro- and micro-debris in several taxa and across multiple geographic regions. We then discusses the importance of tools and standardizing methods for assessment and management purposes, in the context of international environmental policies and marine litter strategies.
Marine environments are subject to a range of human disturbances. Identifying effective conservation strategies, in order to manage or mitigate the negative impacts of human activities, requires a way to first identify and evaluate the impact of activities on ecosystem components. Multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) techniques such as the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) offer a way to systematically evaluate and integrate stakeholder opinion in order to set priorities and make decisions. With a goal to synthesize current knowledge of the potential impacts of human activity on breeding and non-breeding seabirds in the western North Atlantic Ocean, we present a case study involving the use of AHP to assess sensitivity of species to such hazards as: fisheries bycatch, oiling, light pollution, vessel traffic, marine debris, and offshore wind turbines. Based on responses from ten North Atlantic seabird experts, fisheries bycatch (particularly when involving suspended gill nets) was identified as the greatest risk across a wide range of species, with an overall relative value of 0.47 ± SE 0.026. Oiling risk was the second most highly ranked (0.26 ± 0.026, of which 0.214 corresponded with surface oil, 0.044 with oil and gas platform interactions), and was considered to have the greatest potential impact on alcids (Common and Thick-billed Murre, Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill, Dovekie). Offshore wind turbines (0.097 ± 0.022), marine debris (0.08 ± 0.016), light pollution (0.058 ± 0.0077), and traffic (0.042 ± 0.0053) were considered to be less serious risks for seabirds than fisheries bycatch and oiling. In addition to demonstrating how relative risk can be quantified using a multicriteria decision analysis technique such as AHP, we summarize the sensitivities of fourteen seabirds and suggest ways in which multicriteria decision analysis can enhance conservation planning.
Demand for renewable energy is increasing steadily and regulated by national and international policies. Offshore wind energy sector has been clearly the fastest in its development among other options, and development of new wind farms requires large ocean space. Therefore, there is a need of efficient spatial planning process, including the site selection constrained by technical (wind resource, coastal distance, seafloor) and environmental (impacts) factors and competence of uses. We present a novel approach, using Bayesian Belief Networks (BBN), for an integrated spatially explicit site feasibility identification for offshore wind farms. Our objectives are to: (i) develop a spatially explicit model that integrates the technical, economic, environmental and social dimensions; (ii) operationalize the BBN model; (iii) implement the model at local (Basque Country) and regional (North East Atlantic and Western Mediterranean), and (iv) develop and analyse future scenarios for wind farm installation in a local case study. Results demonstrated a total of 1% (23 km2) of moderate feasibility areas in local scaled analysis, compared to 4% of (21,600 km2) very high, and 5% (30,000 km2) of high feasibility in larger scale analysis. The main challenges were data availability and discretization when trying to expand the model from local to regional level. The use of BBN models to determine the feasibility of offshore wind farm areas has been demonstrated adequate and possible, both at local and regional scales, allowing managers to take management decisions regarding marine spatial planning when including different activities, environmental problems and technological constraints.
We have evaluated the cultivation potential of sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) as a function of latitude and position (near- and offshore) along the Norwegian coast using a coupled 3D hydrodynamic-biogeochemical-kelp model system (SINMOD) run for four growth seasons (2012–2016). The results are spatially explicit and may be used to compare the suitability of different regions for kelp cultivation, both inshore and offshore.The simulation results were compared with growth data from kelp cultivation experiments and in situ observations on coverage of naturally growing kelp. The model demonstrated a higher production potential offshore than in inshore regions, which is mainly due to the limitations in nutrient availability caused by the stratification found along the coast. However, suitable locations for kelp cultivation were also identified in areas with high vertical mixing close to the shore. The results indicate a latitudinal effect on the timing of the optimal period of growth, with the prime growth period being up to 2 months earlier in the south (58 °N) than in the north (71 °N). Although the maximum cultivation potential was similar in the six marine ecoregions in Norway (150–200 tons per hectare per year), the deployment time of the cultures seems to matter significantly in the south, but less so in the north. The results are discussed, focusing on their potential significance for optimized cultivation and to support decision making toward sustainable management.
We modelled and assessed the past, present and predicted future eutrophication status of the Baltic Sea. The assessment covers a 350-year period from 1850 to 2200 and is based on: (1) modelled concentrations of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), dissolved inorganic phosphorous (DIP), chlorophyll-a, Secchi depth, and oxygen under four different of nutrient input scenarios and (2) the application of a multi-metric indicator-based tool for assessment of eutrophication status: HEAT 3.0. This tool was previously applied using historical observations to determine eutrophication status from 1901 to 2012. Here we apply HEAT 3.0 using results of a biogeochemical model to reveal significant changes in eutrophication status from 1850 to 2200. Under two scenarios where Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) nutrient reduction targets are met, we expect future good status will be achieved in most Baltic Sea basins. Under two scenarios where nutrient loads remain at 1997–2003 levels or increase, good status will not be achieved. The change from a healthy state without eutrophication problems in the open waters took place in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Following introduction of the first nutrient abatement measures, recovery began in some basins in the late 1990s, whilst in others it commenced in the beginning of the 21st century. Based on model results, we expect that the first basin to achieve a status without eutrophication will be Arkona, between 2030 and 2040. By 2060–2070, a status without eutrophication is anticipated for the Kattegat, Bornholm Basin and Gulf of Finland, followed by the Danish straits around 2090. For the Baltic Proper and Bothnian Sea, a good status with regard to eutrophication is not expected before 2200. Further, we conclude that two basins are not likely to meet the targets agreed upon and to attain a status unaffected by eutrophication, i.e., the Gulf of Riga and Bothnian Bay. These results, especially the prediction that some basins will not achieve a good status, can be used in support of continuous development and implementation of the regional ecosystem-based nutrient management strategy, the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan.
The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is the largest contiguous coral reef system in the world. Carbonate chemistry studies and flux quantification within the GBR have largely focused on reef calcification and dissolution, with relatively little work on shelf-scale CO2 dynamics. In this manuscript, we describe the shelf-scale seasonal variability in inorganic carbon and air-sea CO2 fluxes over the main seasons (wet summer, early dry and late dry seasons) in the GBR.
Our large-scale dataset reveals that despite spatial-temporal variations, the GBR as a whole is a net source of CO2 to the atmosphere, with calculated air–sea fluxes varying between −6.19 and 12.17 mmol m−2 d−1 (average ± standard error: 1.44 ± 0.15 mmol m−2 d−1), with the strongest release of CO2occurring during the wet season. The release of CO2 to the atmosphere is likely controlled by mixing of Coral Sea surface water, typically oversaturated in CO2, with the warm shelf waters of the GBR. This leads to oversaturation of the GBR system relative to the atmosphere and a consequent net CO2 release.
Climate change, represented by ever-rising ocean temperatures, is a mounting threat to the marine ecosystem and its services. This is most evident in the longitudinal and depth-related migrations of the ectothermic species. Although the impacts of climate change on the marine ecosystem of the Arabian Gulf are expected to be exacerbated—owing to its semi-enclosed basin that limits species range shift, extreme environmental conditions, overfishing, and pollution—very few studies have been carried out to evaluate such impacts. Here, we conduct a systematic review of literature over the period 1950–2018 to assess the status of knowledge about climate change impacts on the Arabian Gulf's marine ecosystem and fisheries resources. We found that this region suffers a significant research gap in this critical subject, with only a handful of studies that explicitly addresses the effects of climate change. Our finding raises an urgent need for initiating long-term monitoring programs, along with establishing effective transboundary institutions to advance the current knowledge in climate change.
Many models have assessed how marine reserves protect fish populations and—under certain conditions—simultaneously increase yield. Only recently have models considered the effects of fishing-induced habitat damage by assuming reduced population growth in fishing areas. Even though it is understood that fish movement patterns affect the functioning and design of marine reserves, fishing-induced changes in movement patterns, as a response to decreased habitat quality, have not been studied in this context. Our work explores how harvesting-induced movement behaviour of fish can affect optimal yield and size of a marine reserve. Our model is based on reaction-diffusion equations and recent advances in their application to strongly heterogeneous environments with sharp transitions in environmental conditions. We model movement behaviour in response to harvesting and habitat destruction via increased diffusion rates and increased preference for protected areas, and implement reduced reproduction as an effect of habitat degradation. We find an alternative mechanistic explanation for the empirical observation that high fish mobility may not decrease fish density inside a reserve. We also find that movement-behavioural responses of fish to harvesting can decrease the economic value of protected areas and increase their conservation value. For maximum sustainable yield, we find that a low harvesting rate and small protected area are optimal when fish show a strong preference for protected areas as a response to fishing efforts. On the other hand, a high harvesting rate and a large protected area are optimal if fish respond to harvesting by a strong increase in movement rates in fishing areas.
Identifying the species that are at risk of local extinction in highly diverse ecosystems is a big challenge for conservation science. Assessments of species status are costly and difficult to implement in developing countries with diverse ecosystems due to a lack of species-specific surveys, species-specific data, and other resources. Numerous techniques are devised to determine the threat status of species based on the availability of data and budgetary limits. On this basis, we developed a framework that compared occurrence data of historically exploited reef species in Kenya from existing disparate data sources. Occurrence data from archaeological remains (750-1500CE) was compared with occurrence data of these species catch assessments, and underwater surveys (1991-2014CE). This comparison indicated that only 67 species were exploited over a 750 year period, 750-1500CE, whereas 185 species were landed between 1995 and 2014CE. The first step of our framework identified 23 reef species as threatened with local extinction. The second step of the framework further evaluated the possibility of local extinction with Bayesian extinction analyses using occurrence data from naturalists’ species list with the existing occurrence data sources. The Bayesian extinction analysis reduced the number of reef species threatened with local extinction from 23 to 15. We compared our findings with three methods used for assessing extinction risk. Commonly used extinction risk methods varied in their ability to identify reef species that we identified as threatened with local extinction by our comparative and Bayesian method. For example, 12 of the 15 threatened species that we identified using our framework were listed as either least concern, unevaluated, or data deficient in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature red list. Piscivores and macro-invertivores were the only functional groups found to be locally extinct. Comparing occurrence data from disparate sources revealed a large number of historically exploited reef species that are possibly locally extinct. Our framework addressed biases such as uncertainty in priors, sightings and survey effort, when estimating the probability of local extinction. Our inexpensive method showed the value and potential for disparate data to fill knowledge gaps that exist in species extinction assessments.
Coastal environments of the world have been exposed to eutrophication for several decades. Recently the quality of coastal waters has been gradually and successfully improved, however the improvement has caused another issue in ecoastal ecosystem services, called oligotrophication. Local stakefolders have suggested that oligotrophication reduces pelagic productivity and moreover fishery production in coastal ecosystems, while oligotrophication with high transparency has recovered benthic macrophyte vegetation which have been depressed by phytoplankton derived from eutrophication. In particular, seagrass species is one of the most important coastal vegetation for climate change mitigation and adaptation, which has been welcomed by another stakefolders. Therefore, harmonizing coastal fishery with environmental conservation is now essential for the sustainable use of ecosystem services. Here, we just started some practice in field based on the interdisciplinary approach including ecological actions, socio-economical actions and moreover psychological actions to find the integrative coastal management maximizing well-beings of various stakefolders, which is essential to harmonize environmental conservation with sustainable fishery and aquaculture. Now we are focusing on the interaction between oyster aquaculture and seagrass vegetation as an ecological action.
Determining what abiotic and biotic factors affect the diversity and abundance of species through time and space is a basic goal of ecology and an integral step in predicting current and future distributions. Given the pervasive effect of humans worldwide, including anthropogenic factors when quantifying community dynamics is needed to understand discrete and emergent effects of humans on marine ecosystems, especially systems with economically important species. However, there are limited studies that combine a large-scale ecological survey with multiple natural and anthropogenic factors to determine the drivers of community dynamics of temperate reef systems. We combined data from a 24-year fish survey on temperate reefs along the Southeast United States coast with information on recreational and commercial fisheries landings, surface and bottom temperature, habitat characteristics, and climate indices to determine what factors may alter the community structure of fishes within this large marine ecosystem. We found that both abundance and richness of temperate reef fishes declined from 1990 to 2013. Climate indices and local temperature explained the greatest variation, and recreational fishing explained slightly more variation compared to commercial fishing in the temperate reef fish community over a multi-decadal scale. When including habitat characteristics in a 3 year analysis, depth, and local temperature explained the greatest variation in fish assemblage, while the influence of habitat was comparatively minimal. Finally, the interaction between predictor variables and fish traits indicated that bigger and longer-lived fishes were positively correlated with depth and winter temperature. Our findings suggest that lesser-studied anthropogenic impacts, such as recreational fishing, may influence communities throughout large ecosystems as much as other well-studied impacts such as climate change and commercial fishing. In addition, climate indices should be considered when assessing changes, natural or anthropogenic, to fish communities.