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Currently indexing 10148 titles

Are we predicting the actual or apparent distribution of temperate marine fishes?

Citation Information: PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34558. Epub 2012 Apr 19

Authors: Monk J, Ierodiaconou D, Harvey E, Rattray A, Versace VL.

Abstract: Planning for resilience is the focus of many marine conservation programs and initiatives. These efforts aim to inform conservation strategies for marine regions to ensure they have inbuilt capacity to retain biological diversity and ecological function in the face of global environmental change - particularly changes in climate and resource exploitation. In the absence of direct biological and ecological information for many marine species, scientists are increasingly using spatially-explicit, predictive-modeling approaches. Through the improved access to multibeam sonar and underwater video technology these models provide spatial predictions of the most suitable regions for an organism at resolutions previously not possible. However, sensible-looking, well-performing models can provide very different predictions of distribution depending on which occurrence dataset is used. To examine this, we construct species distribution models for nine temperate marine sedentary fishes for a 25.7 km(2) study region off the coast of southeastern Australia. We use generalized linear model (GLM), generalized additive model (GAM) and maximum entropy (MAXENT) to build models based on co-located occurrence datasets derived from two underwater video methods (i.e. baited and towed video) and fine-scale multibeam sonar based seafloor habitat variables. Overall, this study found that the choice of modeling approach did not considerably influence the prediction of distributions based on the same occurrence dataset. However, greater dissimilarity between model predictions was observed across the nine fish taxa when the two occurrence datasets were compared (relative to models based on the same dataset). Based on these results it is difficult to draw any general trends in regards to which video method provides more reliable occurrence datasets. Nonetheless, we suggest predictions reflecting the species apparent distribution (i.e. a combination of species distribution and the probability of detecting it). Consequently, we also encourage researchers and marine managers to carefully interpret model predictions.

Seabed geomorphic features in a glaciated shelf of the Baltic Sea

Citation Information: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science; Volume 100; p. 150-161; March 2012

DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2012.01.008

Authors: Kaskela, A. M.; Kotilainen, A. T.; Al-Hamdani, Z.; Leth, J. O.; Reker, J.

Abstract: Due to a continuous increase in human activities occurring throughout marine and coastal areas worldwide (e.g., marine traffic and construction), the lack of in-depth information on vast marine areas is problematic. However, the spatial informatics field has enabled the development of new applications based on pre-existing spatial data. This paper discusses the physical structure and complexity of the continental shelf seafloor, using geospatial modelling and GIS analysis to gain insight into the physical environment of the Baltic Sea seafloor as a basis for ecosystem management. We demonstrate the mapping of coherent features over a broad region and identify geomorphic features of the seabed by analysing and modelling bathymetric, seabed substrate, and photic depth datasets. The analysis was performed at the kilometre scale using a grid size of 200 m.In total, 18 unique seabed geomorphic features were identified from the entire Baltic Sea (including the Skagerrak). The features are similar to geomorphic seafloor structures typically occurring on glaciated continental shelves. The Baltic Sea is primarily characterized by various plains and basins, and on average, one-third of the seafloor can be regarded as a sediment accumulation area. Other seabed geomorphic features are mainly present in certain local sub regions. The archipelagos as well as the coastal areas of southern Sweden and the Bothnian Bay have a heterogeneous seafloor environment. These areas are characterized by sea valleys and holes, sea troughs, and bedrock elevations, partly due to a crystalline basement and glacial erosion. In addition, the shallow coastal areas suffer from intense wave exposure and have erosional features that differ from those in open sea areas.Effective transnational marine spatial planning requires extensive knowledge of the environmental characteristics of the region in question. Background data for marine spatial planning can be obtained through an analysis of seabed geomorphic features, which provides consistent information on the physical marine environment over a broad area.

Identifying critical regions in small-world marine metapopulations

Citation Information: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Oct 25;108(43):E907-13. Epub 2011 Oct 10

Authors: Watson JR, Siegel DA, Kendall BE, Mitarai S, Rassweiller A, Gaines SD

Abstract: The precarious state of many nearshore marine ecosystems has prompted the use of marine protected areas as a tool for management and conservation. However, there remains substantial debate over their design and, in particular, how to best account for the spatial dynamics of nearshore marine species. Many commercially important nearshore marine species are sedentary as adults, with limited home ranges. It is as larvae that they disperse greater distances, traveling with ocean currents sometimes hundreds of kilometers. As a result, these species exist in spatially complex systems of connected subpopulations. Here, we explicitly account for the mutual dependence of subpopulations and approach protected area design in terms of network robustness. Our goal is to characterize the topology of nearshore metapopulation networks and their response to perturbation, and to identify critical subpopulations whose protection would reduce the risk for stock collapse. We define metapopulation networks using realistic estimates of larval dispersal generated from ocean circulation simulations and spatially explicit metapopulation models, and we then explore their robustness using node-removal simulation experiments. Nearshore metapopulations show small-world network properties, and we identify a set of highly connected hub subpopulations whose removal maximally disrupts the metapopulation network. Protecting these subpopulations reduces the risk for systemic failure and stock collapse. Our focus on catastrophe avoidance provides a unique perspective for spatial marine planning and the design of marine protected areas.

Multi-scale approach for predicting fish species distributions across coral reef seascapes

Citation Information: PLoS One. 2011;6(5):e20583. Epub 2011 May 26.

Authors: Pittman SJ, Brown KA

Abstract: Two of the major limitations to effective management of coral reef ecosystems are a lack of information on the spatial distribution of marine species and a paucity of data on the interacting environmental variables that drive distributional patterns. Advances in marine remote sensing, together with the novel integration of landscape ecology and advanced niche modelling techniques provide an unprecedented opportunity to reliably model and map marine species distributions across many kilometres of coral reef ecosystems. We developed a multi-scale approach using three-dimensional seafloor morphology and across-shelf location to predict spatial distributions for five common Caribbean fish species. Seascape topography was quantified from high resolution bathymetry at five spatial scales (5-300 m radii) surrounding fish survey sites. Model performance and map accuracy was assessed for two high performing machine-learning algorithms: Boosted Regression Trees (BRT) and Maximum Entropy Species Distribution Modelling (MaxEnt). The three most important predictors were geographical location across the shelf, followed by a measure of topographic complexity. Predictor contribution differed among species, yet rarely changed across spatial scales. BRT provided 'outstanding' model predictions (AUC = >0.9) for three of five fish species. MaxEnt provided 'outstanding' model predictions for two of five species, with the remaining three models considered 'excellent' (AUC = 0.8-0.9). In contrast, MaxEnt spatial predictions were markedly more accurate (92% map accuracy) than BRT (68% map accuracy). We demonstrate that reliable spatial predictions for a range of key fish species can be achieved by modelling the interaction between the geographical location across the shelf and the topographic heterogeneity of seafloor structure. This multi-scale, analytic approach is an important new cost-effective tool to accurately delineate essential fish habitat and support conservation prioritization in marine protected area design, zoning in marine spatial planning, and ecosystem-based fisheries management.

Functional responses and scaling in predator-prey interactions of marine fishes: contemporary issues and emerging concepts

Citation Information: Ecol Lett. 2011 Dec;14(12):1288-99. doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01696.x. Epub 2011 Oct 11

Authors: Hunsicker ME, Ciannelli L, Bailey KM, Buckel JA, Wilson White J, Link JS, Essington TE, Gaichas S, Anderson TW, Brodeur RD, Chan KS, Chen K, Englund G, Frank KT, Freitas V, Hixon MA, Hurst T, Johnson DW, Kitchell JF, Reese D, Rose GA, Sjodin H, Sydeman WJ, van der Veer HW, Vollset K, Zador S.

Abstract: Predator-prey interactions are a primary structuring force vital to the resilience of marine communities and sustainability of the world's oceans. Human influences on marine ecosystems mediate changes in species interactions. This generality is evinced by the cascading effects of overharvesting top predators on the structure and function of marine ecosystems. It follows that ecological forecasting, ecosystem management, and marine spatial planning require a better understanding of food web relationships. Characterising and scaling predator-prey interactions for use in tactical and strategic tools (i.e. multi-species management and ecosystem models) are paramount in this effort. Here, we explore what issues are involved and must be considered to advance the use of predator-prey theory in the context of marine fisheries science. We address pertinent contemporary ecological issues including (1) the approaches and complexities of evaluating predator responses in marine systems; (2) the 'scaling up' of predator-prey interactions to the population, community, and ecosystem level; (3) the role of predator-prey theory in contemporary fisheries and ecosystem modelling approaches; and (4) directions for the future. Our intent is to point out needed research directions that will improve our understanding of predator-prey interactions in the context of the sustainable marine fisheries and ecosystem management.

Identification of marine and coastal biodiversity conservation priorities in Costa Rica

Citation Information: Rev Biol Trop. 2011 Jun;59(2):829-42.

Language: Spanish

Authors: Alvarado JJ, Herrera B, Corrales L, Asch J, Paaby P.

Abstract: Costa Rica is recognized as one of the most diverse countries in species and ecosystems, in their terrestrial realm as well as in the marine. Besides this relevance, the country presents a delay on conservation and management of marine and coastal biodiversity, with respect to terrestrial. For 2006, the marine protected surface was 5,208.8 km2, with 331.5 km of coastline, in 20 protected areas. The country has made progress on the conservation priority sites identification for terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity, with few efforts on marine planning. This research presents the analysis and results of the gap identification process, for marine and coastal biodiversity conservation in the protected areas system of Costa Rica. The analysis was built with the spatial information available on the presence and distribution of coastal and marine biodiversity, the establishment of the conservation goals and a threat analysis over the ecological integrity of this biodiversity. The selection of high-priority sites was carried out using spatial optimization techniques and the superposition over the current shape of marine protected areas, in order to identify representation gaps. A total of 19,076 km2 of conservation gaps were indentified, with 1,323 km2 in the Caribbean and 17,753 km2 in the Pacific. Recommendations are aimed at planning and strengthening the marine protected areas system, using the gaps identified as a framework. It is expected that the results of this study would be the scientific base needed for planning and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in the country.

Endangered and Threatened Species: Final Rule To Revise the Critical Habitat Designation for the Endangered Leatherback Sea Turtle

50 CFR Part 226

Docket No. 0808061067–1664–03]

RIN 0648–AX06

Agency: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

Action: Final rule.

Summary: We, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), issue a final rule to revise the current critical habitat for the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) by designating additional areas within the Pacific Ocean. This designation includes approximately 16,910 square miles (43,798 square km) stretching along the California coast from Point Arena to Point Arguello east of the 3,000 meter depth contour; and 25,004 square miles (64,760 square km) stretching from Cape Flattery, Washington to Cape Blanco, Oregon east of the 2,000 meter depth contour. The designated areas comprise approximately 41,914 square miles (108,558 square km) of marine habitat and include waters from the ocean surface down to a maximum depth of 262 feet (80 m). Other Pacific waters within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) were evaluated based on the geographical area occupied by the species, but we determined that they were not eligible for designation, as they do not contain the feature identified as essential to the conservation of the species. The total estimated annualized economic impact associated with this designation is estimated to range between $188,000 and $9.1 million U.S. dollars.

Dates: This rule becomes effective February 27, 2012.

Commercial Renewable Energy Transmission on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Offshore Rhode Island, Notice of Proposed Grant Area and Request for Competitive Interest (RFCI) in the Area of the Deepwater Wind Block Island Transmission System Proposal

Docket No. BOEM–2012–0009

Agency: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Department of the Interior.

Action: Public Notice of an Unsolicited Request for a Transmission Cable Right-of-Way Grant Supporting RenewableEnergy, Request for Submission of Indications of Competitive Interest, and Request for Public Comment.

Summary: The purpose of this public notice is to: (1) Describe the Deepwater Wind Block Island LLC (Deepwater Wind) Transmission System (BITS) proposal submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM); (2) solicit submissions of indications of competitive interest for a right-of-way (ROW) grant for renewable energy purposes for the area identified in this notice; and (3) solicit public input regarding the proposal, its potential environmental consequences, and other uses of the area in which the proposal would be located.

Commercial Renewable Energy Transmission on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Offshore Mid-Atlantic States, Notice of Proposed Grant Area and Request for Competitive Interest (RFCI) in the Area of the Atlantic Wind Connection Proposal

Docket No. BOEM–2011–0023

Agency: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Department of the Interior.

Action: Provide Public Notice of an Unsolicited Application for a Transmission Right-of-Way Grant Supporting Renewable Energy, Request for Submission of Indications of Competitive Interest, and Request for Public Comment.

Summary: The purpose of this public notice is to: (1) Describe the Atlantic Wind Connection proposal submitted to BOEM; (2) solicit public input regarding the proposal, its potential environmental consequences, and the use of the area in which the proposal would be located; and (3) solicit submissions of indications of competitive interest for a right-of-way (ROW) grant for renewable energy purposes for the area identified in this notice.

Revisions of Boundaries, Regulations and Zoning Scheme for Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary...

15 CFR Part 922; 50 CFR Part 1

Title: Revisions of Boundaries, Regulations and Zoning Scheme for Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary; Revisions of Fish and Wildlife Service and State of Florida Management Agreement for Submerged Lands Within Boundaries of the Key West and Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuges and Regulations; Intent To Prepare a Draft Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement; Notice of Scoping Meetings

Agency: Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS), National Ocean Service (NOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce (DOC) and National Wildlife Refuge System, Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI).

Action: Notice of Intent to Conduct Scoping Meetings for the Revision of Boundaries, Regulations and Zoning Scheme for Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Key West and Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuges; and to Prepare an Environmental Assessment or Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Summary: In accordance with the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, as amended, (NMSA) and the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Wildlife Refuge System of the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have initiated a review of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS or sanctuary) boundaries, regulations and zoning scheme. This review of existing regulations and marine zoning may result in changes to regulations, marine zoning, such as altering boundaries of current zones, creating new zones, or amending the regulations that apply to individual zones, and possibly sanctuary boundaries. The review will also include the FWS’s Backcountry Management Plan and associated regulations, as authorized by the FWS and State of Florida Management Agreement for Submerged Lands within boundaries of the Key West and Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuges, to evaluate substantive progress toward implementing the backcountry management goals for the refuges.

National Ocean Council—National Ocean Policy Draft Implementation Plan

Agency: Council on Environmental Quality

Action: Notice of availability; request for comments.

Summary: On July 19, 2010, President Obama signed Executive Order 13547 establishing a National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, our Coasts, and the Great Lakes (National Ocean Policy). As part of the President’s charge for Federal agencies to implement the National Ocean Policy, the National Ocean Council developed actions to achieve the Policy’s nine priority objectives, and to address some of the most pressing challenges facing the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. Collectively, the actions are encompassed in a single draft National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan (Implementation Plan). The draft Implementation Plan describes more than 50 actions the Federal Government will take to improve the health of the ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes, which support tens of millions of jobs, contribute trillions of dollars a year to the national economy, and are essential to public health and national security.

Small Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Cape Wind’s High Resolution Survey in Nantucket Sound, MA

RIN 0648–XA408

Agency: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

Action: Notice; issuance of an incidental harassment authorization.

Summary: In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to Cape Wind Associates (CWA) to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to pre-construction high resolution survey activities in Nantucket Sound. Includes comments and responses.

Dates: Effective January 1, 2012, through December 31, 2012.

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Regulations Revisions

Citation Information: 15 CFR Part 922

Docket No. 100827401–1597–02

RIN 0648-BA20

Agency: Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS), National Ocean Service (NOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce (DOC).

Action: Final rule.

Summary: Pursuant to the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has conducted a review of the management plan and regulations for Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS or sanctuary), located off the outer coast of the Olympic Peninsula in the State of Washington. As a result of the review, NOAA determined that it was necessary to revise the sanctuary’s management plan and implementing regulations. NOAA is revising the OCNMS regulations to: Prohibit wastewater discharges from cruise ships; clarify the language referring to consideration of the objectives of the governing bodies of Indian tribes when issuing permits; correct the size of the sanctuary based on new area estimates (without revising the sanctuary’s actual boundaries); update of definitions; and update information such as office location. NOAA also makes additional changes to the grammar and wording of several sections of the regulations to ensure clarity and consistency with the NMSA and other sanctuaries in the National Marine Sanctuary System.

Effective Date: December 1, 2011.

Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force

Author: The White House Council on Environmental Quality

Date: July 19, 2010

Summary: In order to better meet our Nation’s stewardship responsibilities for the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes, President Obama established the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force (Task Force) on June 12, 2009. The Task Force is composed of 24 senior-level officials from executive departments, agencies, and offices across the Federal government and led by the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). The President charged the Task Force with developing recommendations to enhance our ability to maintain healthy, resilient, and sustainable ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

Changing Course: A Proposed Framework for Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning in the U.S.

Citation Information: National Wetlands Newsletter, Vol. 32, No. 4, 2010, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC, USA

Author: Jane Lubchenco

Abstract: Managing our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes is far more complicated today than in the past. Increasing uses have put significant strain on these vital resources. Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning is a proposed comprehensive new effort to coordinate and sustainable manage these resources for current and future generations.

Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports

RIN 0648–XA595

Agency: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

Action: Notice of availability; response to comments.

Summary: As required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS has incorporated public comments into revisions of marine mammal stock assessment reports (SARs). The 2011 reports are final and available to the public. Includes comments and responses.

Date: 21 May 2012

Minimizing Collision Risk Between Migrating Raptors and Marine Wind Farms: Development of a Spatial Planning Tool

Citation Information: Environmental Management, Volume 46, Issue 5, pp.801-808, November 2011

DOI: 10.1007/s00267-010-9541-z

Authors: Baisner, Anette Jægerfeldt; Andersen, Jonas Lembcke; Findsen, Anders; Yde Granath, Simon Wilhelm; Madsen, Karin Ølgaard; Desholm, Mark

Abstract: An increased focus on renewable energy has led to the planning and construction of marine wind farms in Europe. Since several terrestrial studies indicate that raptors are especially susceptible to wind turbine related mortality, a Spatial Planning Tool is needed so that wind farms can be sited, in an optimal way, to minimize risk of collisions. Here we use measurements of body mass, wingspan and wing area of eight European raptor species, to calculate their Best Glide Ratio (BGR). The BGR was used to construct a linear equation, which, by the use of initial take-off altitude, could be used to calculate a Theoretical Maximum Distance (TMD) from the coast, attained by these soaring-gliding raptor species. If the nearest turbine, of future marine wind farms, is placed farther away from the coast than the estimated TMD, the collision risk between the turbine blades and these gliding raptors will be minimized. The tool was demonstrated in a case study at the Rødsand II wind farm in Denmark. Data on raptor migration altitude were gathered by radar. From the TMD attained by registered soaring-gliding raptors in the area, we concluded that the Rødsand II wind farm is not sited ideally, from an ornithological point of view, as potentially all three registered species are at risk of gliding through the area swept by the turbine rotor blades, and thereby at risk of colliding with the wind turbines.

Co-Managing the Arctic Ocean and Coasts: How to Support Subsistence Uses in Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP)

Citation Information: Environmental Law Institute, Washington DC

Date: April 2011

Abstract: In July 2010, President Obama created a new national ocean policy for the U.S. oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes. By executive order, he called for two actions that could affect management of ocean resources in the Arctic: (1) the development of an Arctic...

Mapping Human Uses of the Ocean: Informing Marine Spatial Planning through Participatory GIS

Citation Information:

National Marine Protected Areas Center
NOAA’s National Ocean Service
Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management
1305 East West Highway, N/ORM
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 713-3100 x136
Authors: Dr. Charles Wahle and Dr. Mimi D'Iorio
Date: November 2010
Abstract: Understanding human uses of the ocean is an essential component to successful marine resource planning and management. Unfortunately, spatial data on ocean uses are limited, as use patterns are often qualitative, subjective and difficult to capture consis...

Marine Spatial Planning Stakeholder Analysis

The NOAA Coastal Services Center recently contracted with Eastern Research Group (ERG) to conduct a marine spatial planning (MSP) stakeholder analysis. The purpose of this project was to help NOAA gain a better understanding of current stakeholder use, the level of stakeholder collaboration (on specific MSP projects as well as possible regional applications), and potential future use of MSP tools. The information in the resulting report was gleaned from literature reviews, Web searches, and interviews with stakeholders from across the NOAA coastal regions.

The report provides current information on the audiences involved in coastal and marine spatial planning. In addition, the material is organized by NOAA-defined regions, making information easily accessible for a specific state or area.

The report discusses several common themes, including

  • Governance
  • The scale of MSP
  • MSP drivers
  • Data resources
  • Stakeholder engagement and support
  • The future of MSP


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