Over the past decade, the increasing demand for renewable energy has driven the rapid development of China's offshore wind industry. However, it is not clear to developers and management departments which types of sea areas can be used for offshore wind projects. According to the provincial marine functional zoning (MFZ), China's coastal provinces have put offshore wind zoning (OWZ) into practice. This paper clarifies the method of OWZ, collects the results from offshore wind zones (OWZs) of 10 coastal provinces, and assesses the characteristics of OWZs by area, functional attribute and distance from the coastline. The results show that most of the areas available for offshore wind are co-existence zones where offshore wind can be sited in an agricultural and fisheries zone, an industrial and urban construction zone, a special-use zone, etc. Currently, 47% of existing offshore wind projects have been located in the OWZs in the East China Sea. Moreover, parts of the coastline distance of OWZs do not meet the “double-ten principle” in China or global siting trends. Generally, the existing areas for OWZ would allow China to meet its national target by 2020, but measures still need to be taken to meet the demands of conservation and sea-use management.
The following titles are freely-available, or include a link to a preprint or postprint.
Rising seawater temperature and ocean acidification threaten the survival of coral reefs. The relationship between coral physiology and its microbiome may reveal why some corals are more resilient to these global change conditions. Here, we conducted the first experiment to simultaneously investigate changes in the coral microbiome and coral physiology in response to the dual stress of elevated seawater temperature and ocean acidification expected by the end of this century. Two species of corals, Acropora millepora containing the thermally sensitive endosymbiont C21a and Turbinaria reniformis containing the thermally tolerant endosymbiont Symbiodinium trenchi, were exposed to control (26.5°C and pCO2 of 364 μatm) and treatment (29.0°C and pCO2 of 750 μatm) conditions for 24 days, after which we measured the microbial community composition. These microbial findings were interpreted within the context of previously published physiological measurements from the exact same corals in this study (calcification, organic carbon flux, ratio of photosynthesis to respiration, photosystem II maximal efficiency, total lipids, soluble animal protein, soluble animal carbohydrates, soluble algal protein, soluble algal carbohydrate, biomass, endosymbiotic algal density, and chlorophyll a). Overall, dually stressed A. millepora had reduced microbial diversity, experienced large changes in microbial community composition, and experienced dramatic physiological declines in calcification, photosystem II maximal efficiency, and algal carbohydrates. In contrast, the dually stressed coral T. reniformis experienced a stable and more diverse microbiome community with minimal physiological decline, coupled with very high total energy reserves and particulate organic carbon release rates. Thus, the microbiome changed and microbial diversity decreased in the physiologically sensitive coral with the thermally sensitive endosymbiotic algae but not in the physiologically tolerant coral with the thermally tolerant endosymbiont. Our results confirm recent findings that temperature-stress tolerant corals have a more stable microbiome, and demonstrate for the first time that this is also the case under the dual stresses of ocean warming and acidification. We propose that coral with a stable microbiome are also more physiologically resilient and thus more likely to persist in the future, and shape the coral species diversity of future reef ecosystems.
Oceans are essential to human survival and prosperity, yet our activities are pushing many critical marine species toward extinction. Marine biologists suggest that the best way to maintain the oceans’ diversity, abundance and resilience is to protect marine life in their ecosystems, especially in marine protected areas (MPAs) that minimize extractive activities such as fishing, mining and oil and gas development.
However, numerous MPAs lack the regulations and design characteristics critical to ensuring they successfully safeguard marine life. No-take marine reserves, in contrast, prohibit all extractive activities and deliver the conservation benefits that marine life need to thrive. Protecting biodiversity in marine reserves increases the abundance and diversity of marine life exported to surrounding areas, both securing food resources for millions of people and preventing loss of species. In this report we group these fully protected no-take marine reserves with large and isolated strongly protected MPAs3 where commercial extraction is prohibited, recreational fishing is by permit, carefully managed and highly restrictive, and subsistence use is minimal.
SeaStates is a rigorous, quantitative account of strongly protected MPAs in the waters of US coastal states and territories updated annually by the team at the Atlas of Marine Protection (mpatlas.org). First published in 2013, our annual reports are intended to be a tool to measure and evaluate the progress towards effective marine protection in US waters.
Coastal habitats provide important benefits to people, including habitat for species targeted by fisheries and opportunities for tourism and recreation. Yet, such human activities also can imperil these habitats and undermine the ecosystem services they provide to people. Cumulative risk assessment provides an analytical framework for synthesizing the influence of multiple stressors across habitats and decision-support for balancing human uses and ecosystem health. To explore cumulative risk to habitats in the U.S. Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Ocean Planning regions, we apply the open-source InVEST Habitat Risk Assessment model to 13 habitats and 31 stressors in an exposure-consequence framework. In doing so, we advance the science priorities of EBM and both regional planning bodies by synthesizing the wealth of available data to improve our understanding of human uses and how they affect marine resources. We find that risk to ecosystems is greatest first, along the coast, where a large number of stressors occur in close proximity and secondly, along the continental shelf, where fewer, higher consequence activities occur. Habitats at greatest risk include soft and hard-bottom nearshore areas, tidal flats, soft-bottom shelf habitat, and rocky intertidal zones—with the degree of risk varying spatially. Across all habitats, our results indicate that rising sea surface temperatures, commercial fishing, and shipping consistently and disproportionally contribute to risk. Further, our findings suggest that management in the nearshore will require simultaneously addressing the temporal and spatial overlap as well as intensity of multiple human activities and that management in the offshore requires more targeted efforts to reduce exposure from specific threats. We offer a transparent, generalizable approach to evaluating cumulative risk to multiple habitats and illustrate the spatially heterogeneous nature of impacts along the eastern Atlantic coast and the importance of spatial scale in estimating such impacts. These results offer a valuable decision-support tool by helping to constrain the decision space, focus attention on habitats and locations at the greatest risk, and highlight effect management strategies.
Hydroacoustic technologies are widely used in fisheries research but few studies have used them to examine the effects of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). We evaluate the efficacy of hydroacoustics to examine the effects of closure to fishing and habitat type on fish populations in the Cabo Pulmo National Park (CPNP), Mexico, and compare these methods to Underwater Visual Censuses (UVC). Fish density, biomass and size were all significantly higher inside the CPNP (299%, 144% and 52% respectively) than outside in non-MPA control areas. These values were much higher when only accounting for the reefs within the CPNP (4715%, 6970% and 97% respectively) highlighting the importance of both habitat complexity and protection from fishing for fish populations. Acoustic estimates of fish biomass over reef-specific sites did not differ significantly from those estimated using UVC data, although acoustic densities were less due to higher numbers of small fish recorded by UVC. There is thus considerable merit in nesting UVC surveys, also providing species information, within hydroacoustic surveys. This study is a valuable starting point in demonstrating the utility of hydroacoustics to assess the effects of coastal MPAs on fish populations, something that has been underutilised in MPA design, formation and management.
This report presents the health status of 319 sites along the MAR, analyzes the changes over the last decade for several indicators and proposes actions to improve reef health.
Worldwide, coral reef ecosystems are experiencing increasing pressure from a variety of anthropogenic perturbations including ocean warming and acidification, increased sedimentation, eutrophication, and overfishing, which could shift reefs to a condition of net calcium carbonate (CaCO3) dissolution and erosion. Herein, we determine the net calcification potential and the relative balance of net organic carbon metabolism (net community production; NCP) and net inorganic carbon metabolism (net community calcification; NCC) within 23 coral reef locations across the globe. In light of these results, we consider the suitability of using these two metrics developed from total alkalinity (TA) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) measurements collected on different spatiotemporal scales to monitor coral reef biogeochemistry under anthropogenic change. All reefs in this study were net calcifying for the majority of observations as inferred from alkalinity depletion relative to offshore, although occasional observations of net dissolution occurred at most locations. However, reefs with lower net calcification potential (i.e., lower TA depletion) could shift towards net dissolution sooner than reefs with a higher potential. The percent influence of organic carbon fluxes on total changes in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) (i.e., NCP compared to the sum of NCP and NCC) ranged from 32% to 88% and reflected inherent biogeochemical differences between reefs. Reefs with the largest relative percentage of NCP experienced the largest variability in seawater pH for a given change in DIC, which is directly related to the reefs ability to elevate or suppress local pH relative to the open ocean. This work highlights the value of measuring coral reef carbonate chemistry when evaluating their susceptibility to ongoing global environmental change and offers a baseline from which to guide future conservation efforts aimed at preserving these valuable ecosystems.
Rising demand for minerals and metals, including for use in the technology sector, has led to a resurgence of interest in exploration of mineral resources located on the seabed. Such resources, whether seafloor massive (polymetallic) sulfides around hydrothermal vents, cobalt-rich crusts (CRCs) on the flanks of seamounts or fields of manganese (polymetallic) nodules on the abyssal plains, cannot be considered in isolation of the distinctive, in some cases unique, assemblages of marine species associated with the same habitats and structures. In addition to mineral deposits, there is interest in extracting methane from gas hydrates on continental slopes and rises. Many of the regions identified for future seabed mining are already recognized as vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs). Since its inception in 1982, the International Seabed Authority (ISA), charged with regulating human activities on the deep-sea floor beyond the continental shelf, has issued 27 contracts for mineral exploration, encompassing a combined area of more than 1.4 million km2, and continues to develop rules for commercial mining. At the same time, some seabed mining operations are already taking place within continental shelf areas of nation states, generally at relatively shallow depths, and with others at advanced stages of planning. The first commercial enterprise, expected to target mineral-rich sulfides in deeper waters, at depths between 1,500 and 2,000 m on the continental shelf of Papua New Guinea, is scheduled to begin early in 2019. In this review, we explore three broad aspects relating to the exploration and exploitation of seabed mineral resources: (1) the current state of development of such activities in areas both within and beyond national jurisdictions, (2) possible environmental impacts both close to and more distant from mining activities and (3) the uncertainties and gaps in scientific knowledge and understanding which render baseline and impact assessments particularly difficult for the deep sea. We also consider whether there are alternative approaches to the management of existing mineral reserves and resources, which may reduce incentives for seabed mining.
Since the discovery of Chromera velia as a novel coral-associated microalga, this organism has attracted interest because of its unique evolutionary position between the photosynthetic dinoflagellates and the parasitic apicomplexans. The nature of the relationship between Chromera and its coral host is controversial. Is it a mutualism, from which both participants benefit, a parasitic relationship, or a chance association? To better understand the interaction, larvae of the common Indo-Pacific reef-building coral Acropora digitifera were experimentally infected with Chromera, and the impact on the host transcriptome was assessed at 4, 12, and 48 h post-infection using Illumina RNA-Seq technology. The transcriptomic response of the coral to Chromera was complex and implies that host immunity is strongly suppressed, and both phagosome maturation and the apoptotic machinery is modified. These responses differ markedly from those described for infection with a competent strain of the coral mutualist Symbiodinium, instead resembling those of vertebrate hosts to parasites and/or pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Consistent with ecological studies suggesting that the association may be accidental, the transcriptional response of A. digitifera larvae leads us to conclude that Chromera could be a coral parasite, commensal, or accidental bystander, but certainly not a beneficial mutualist.
"Methods to Locate Derelict Fishing Gear in Marine Waters" contains a general overview of the methodologies used globally to locate lost, abandoned and discarded fishing gear in the marine environment. It describes a number of different methods used to locate lost gear, outlines the benefits and limitations of each method, and provides contact information for individuals / organizations experienced in the methods described. The document also contains a selection of case studies and examples for each method and suggests contacts for further information.
Climate change affects species and ecosystems around the globe . The impacts of rising temperature are particularly pertinent in species with temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), where the sex of an individual is determined by incubation temperature during embryonic development . In sea turtles, the proportion of female hatchlings increases with the incubation temperature. With average global temperature predicted to increase 2.6°C by 2100 , many sea turtle populations are in danger of high egg mortality and female-only offspring production. Unfortunately, determining the sex ratios of hatchlings at nesting beaches carries both logistical and ethical complications. However, sex ratio data obtained at foraging grounds provides information on the amalgamation of immature and adult turtles hatched from different nesting beaches over many years. Here, for the first time, we use genetic markers and a mixed-stock analysis (MSA), combined with sex determination through laparoscopy and endocrinology, to link male and female green turtles foraging in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) to the nesting beach from which they hatched. Our results show a moderate female sex bias (65%–69% female) in turtles originating from the cooler southern GBR nesting beaches, while turtles originating from warmer northern GBR nesting beaches were extremely female-biased (99.1% of juvenile, 99.8% of subadult, and 86.8% of adult-sized turtles). Combining our results with temperature data show that the northern GBR green turtle rookeries have been producing primarily females for more than two decades and that the complete feminization of this population is possible in the near future.
Species invasions often occur at geographic scales that preclude complete eradication, setting up long-term battles for population control. To understand the extent to which exotic species removal by volunteers can contribute to local invasion suppression and alleviate invasion effects, we studied the activities of volunteers culling invasive lionfish during annual “derby” events in the Atlantic. From 2012 to 2014, single-day derbies reduced lionfish densities by 52% over 192 km2 on average each year. Differences in recolonization and productivity between regions meant that annual events were sufficient to suppress the invasion below levels predicted to cause declines in native species in one region, but not the other. Population reduction was not related to catch per unit effort, confirming the importance of in situ monitoring to gauge control effectiveness. Culling by volunteers may be a useful tool in areas where exotic species are easily identified and safely captured, and culling can be promoted as an ongoing recreational activity. Strategically guiding volunteer effort toward sensitive or underserved habitats could aid practitioners in optimizing their use of limited resources for invasion management.
The Canterbury earthquakes resulted in numerous changes to the waterways of Ōtautahi Christchurch. These included bank destabilisation, liquefaction effects, changes in bed levels, and associated effects on flow regimes and inundation levels. This study set out to determine if these effects had altered the location and pattern of sites utilised by inanga (Galaxias maculatus) for spawning, which are typically restricted to very specific locations in upper estuarine areas.
Extensive surveys were carried out in the Heathcote/Ōpāwaho and Avon/Ōtākaro catchments over the four peak months of the 2015 spawning season. New spawning sites were found in both rivers and analysis against pre-earthquake records identified that other significant changes have occurred.
Major changes include the finding of many new spawning sites in the Heathcote/Ōpāwaho catchment. Sites now occur up to 1.5km further downstream than the previously reported limit and include the first records of spawning below the Woolston Cut. Spawning sites in the Avon/Ōtākaro catchment also occur in new locations. In the mainstem, sites now occur both upstream and downstream of all previously reported locations. A concentrated area of spawning was identified in Lake Kate Sheppard at a distinctly different location versus pre-quake records, and no spawning was found on the western shores. Spawning was also recorded for the first time in Anzac Creek, a nearby waterway connected to Lake Kate Sheppard via a series of culverts. Overall the results indicate that spawning is taking place in different locations from the pre-quake pattern. Although egg survival was not measured in this study, sites in new locations may be vulnerable to current or future land-use activities that are incompatible with spawning success. Consequently, there are considerable management implications associated with this spatial shift, primarily relating to riparian management. In particular, there is a need to control threats to spawning sites and achieve protection for the areas involved. This is required under the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 and is a prominent objective in a range of other policies and plans.mainstem, sites now occur both upstream and downstream of all previously reported locations. A concentrated area of spawning was identified in Lake Kate Sheppard at a distinctly different location versus pre-quake records, and no spawning was found on the western shores. Spawning was also recorded for the first time in Anzac Creek, a nearby waterway connected to Lake Kate Sheppard via a series of culverts.
Overall the results indicate that spawning is taking place in different locations from the pre-quake pattern. Although egg survival was not measured in this study, sites in new locations may be vulnerable to current or future land-use activities that are incompatible with spawning success. Consequently, there are considerable management implications associated with this spatial shift, primarily relating to riparian management. In particular, there is a need to control threats to spawning sites and achieve protection for the areas involved. This is required under the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 and is a prominent objective in a range of other policies and plans.
Size generally dictates metabolic requirements, trophic level, and consequently, ecosystem structure, where inefficient energy transfer leads to bottom-heavy ecosystem structure and biomass decreases as individual size (or trophic level) increases. However, many animals deviate from simple size-based predictions by either adopting generalist predatory behavior, or feeding lower in the trophic web than predicted from their size. Here we show that generalist predatory behavior and lower trophic feeding at large body size increase overall biomass and shift ecosystems from a bottom-heavy pyramid to a top-heavy hourglass shape, with the most biomass accounted for by the largest animals. These effects could be especially dramatic in the ocean, where primary producers are the smallest components of the ecosystem. This approach makes it possible to explore and predict, in the past and in the future, the structure of ocean ecosystems without biomass extraction and other impacts.
Molecular mechanisms underlying coral larval competence, the ability of larvae to respond to settlement cues, determine their dispersal potential and are potential targets of natural selection. Here, we profiled competence, fluorescence and genome-wide gene expression in embryos and larvae of the reef-building coral Acropora millepora daily throughout 12 days post-fertilization.
Gene expression associated with competence was positively correlated with transcriptomic response to the natural settlement cue, confirming that mature coral larvae are “primed” for settlement. Rise of competence through development was accompanied by up-regulation of sensory and signal transduction genes such as ion channels, genes involved in neuropeptide signaling, and G-protein coupled receptor (GPCRs). A drug screen targeting components of GPCR signaling pathways confirmed a role in larval settlement behavior and metamorphosis.
These results gives insight into the molecular complexity underlying these transitions and reveals receptors and pathways that, if altered by changing environments, could affect dispersal capabilities of reef-building corals. In addition, this dataset provides a toolkit for asking broad questions about sensory capacity in multicellular animals and the evolution of development.
Within the discussion around sustainable diets, seafood consumption is still a relatively neglected field. This article discusses relevant behaviours consumers can perform to consume seafood sustainably. The predictive power of intention, descriptive social norms, trust, awareness and pro-environmental attitudes are theoretically discussed and statistically tested across two studies in regards to (a) using sustainable seafood labels, and (b) using sustainable seafood guides. Data analysis (N1 = 309, N2 = 881 Norwegian adults) shows that intentions, social norms and trust predict seafood label use across studies. The variables predicting seafood guide use are less stable which might be due to this behaviour being performed by a very small fraction of consumers only. Causal relationships have been identified in study 2 by applying cross-lagged panel analyses between intentions, trust and social norms and seafood label use. Further causal relationships were found between intentions, trust and awareness and seafood guide use. A bidirectional relationship was confirmed between descriptive social norms and seafood guide use. Potential strategies to promote seafood label- and seafood guide use, are discussed based on these results.
The highly globalized and competitive nature of the shipping industry poses serious governance challenges. Recently, the use of voluntary measures, such as corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, has been explored in terms of moving towards environmentally and socially responsible as well as safe shipping industry practices. Limited attention has been paid on the role of stakeholders such as consumers, employees, NGOs, and academia in pressuring the shipping industry towards greater environmental and social responsibility. Here, by applying stakeholder theory and drawing on examples of already materialized stakeholder actions and multi-stakeholder initiatives, we study the potential ways that stakeholders can promote CSR in the shipping industry: we explore the resource dependencies between stakeholders, the stakeholder influence strategies, and the importance of multi-stakeholder pressure. We show that stakeholders can gain more power by using indirect strategies such as working via and/or in alliances with NGOs, trade unions, banks and financers, and/or different national or international regulatory bodies, as well as with the industry itself. Our results reveal the potential of multi-stakeholder pressure and action to promote the adoption of CSR activities, support the transparency, legitimacy, and enforcement of the practices, as well as widen the scope and focus of CSR initiatives and practices by focusing on a broad range of social and environmental issues. Finally, stakeholder pressure can push towards improved regulations. The study suggests that increased attention needs to be paid on the multi-stakeholder demands, especially considering the accentuated importance of effective maritime governance in the future.
While high biodiversity has been widely reported from the tropics, we suggest that in reality there is a considerable underestimate of the total biodiversity. We have concentrated on the tropical regions of Australia and the Coral Triangle. The best known groups are the corals, fish, and commercially important invertebrates. In considering whether this is true, we have concentrated on the diversity of benthic communities and water column communities which are poorly known. Yet at the bottom of the food chain these communities are highly dynamic and susceptible to the anthropogenic changes that are occurring with the rapid development in this highly populated region. Tropical biodiversity is under increasing stress from a synergistic combination of changes in climate, oceanographic regimes, increasing coastal development, overfishing, and poor water quality, resulting in bleaching of corals and loss of habitat and of associated fauna. These changes on reefs have received substantial research attention; in comparison, there is limited data on inter-reefal areas and water column communities and limited understanding of the ecological interconnectivity of all these habitats. While in this region there is growing marine protected area coverage, the major focus is on coral reefs with other habitats based on surrogacy with little if any ground-truthing. Within this region, there is limited capacity or inclination to rectify this lack of knowledge of the structure and ecology of the broader non-commercial benthic and pelagic communities. We suggest this lack of knowledge and limited expertise may be widespread throughout the tropics and compromises our ability to understand and predict the changes that are occurring with increasing anthropogenic impacts on these tropical ecosystems.
While some progress has been made, Europe is far from achieving its policy objective of healthy aquatic ecosystems. This paper presents an integrated assessment of how EU policies influence aquatic biodiversity, in order to determine how EU policies and laws contribute to achieving and/or hindering EU and international biodiversity targets. The paper also discusses whether European policy has a synergistic or conflicting mix of instruments to address the main problems facing aquatic biodiversity, and whether gaps in the existing policy framework exist. The integrated policy review assessment presented in this paper is based on the application of the drivers–pressures–state–impact–responses (DPSIR) framework to six known pressures on aquatic biodiversity, selected to provide a representative range: nitrogen pollution, species extraction, invasive alien species, water abstraction, alterations to morphology, and plastic waste. The DPSIR framework is used to characterize these pressures and how they are influenced by underpinning socio-economic drivers and major European policies. The conclusions highlight that the policy framework is most developed when it comes to defining environmental targets and sets a number of instruments to reduce pressures by encouraging the adoption of more resource-efficient practices, but it becomes less specific when tackling sectors (drivers) and supporting more environmental sound economic development
Rising temperatures in the Arctic Ocean region are responsible for changes such as reduced ice cover, permafrost thawing, and increased river discharge, which, together, alter nutrient and carbon cycles over the vast Arctic continental shelf. We show that the concentration of radium-228, sourced to seawater through sediment-water exchange processes, has increased substantially in surface waters of the central Arctic Ocean over the past decade. A mass balance model for 228Ra suggests that this increase is due to an intensification of shelf-derived material inputs to the central basin, a source that would also carry elevated concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and nutrients. Therefore, we suggest that significant changes in the nutrient, carbon, and trace metal balances of the Arctic Ocean are underway, with the potential to affect biological productivity and species assemblages in Arctic surface waters.