This study aimed to determine the main anthropogenic pressures and the effectiveness of management practices in marine protected areas (MPAs) (Rocas Atoll and Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, South Atlantic). The MPAs exhibited high management effectiveness over the last 25 years due to the control of local pressures (i.e., fishing and tourism). However, the increase in regional and global pressures, such as invasive species, marine debris, and climate change stressors (sea-level rise, extreme events, range shifts of species, warming, and ocean acidification), are environmental risks that need to be considered during conservation. Strategies for large scale marine spatial planning, as well as proposals for an integrated management of MPAs (including coral reef islands and seamounts) by the articulation of a network, which reduces regional human pressures and improves ocean governance were discussed. This study provided insights into the challenges faced in the management of MPAs in a rapidly changing ocean.
The following titles are freely-available, or include a link to a preprint or postprint.
Increased loads of land-based pollutants are a major threat to coastal-marine ecosystems. Identifying the affected marine areas and the scale of influence on ecosystems is critical to assess the impacts of degraded water quality and to inform planning for catchment management and marine conservation. Studies using remotely-sensed data have contributed to our understanding of the occurrence and influence of river plumes, and to our ability to assess exposure of marine ecosystems to land-based pollutants. However, refinement of plume modeling techniques is required to improve risk assessments. We developed a novel, complementary, approach to model exposure of coastal-marine ecosystems to land-based pollutants. We used supervised classification of MODIS-Aqua true-color satellite imagery to map the extent of plumes and to qualitatively assess the dispersal of pollutants in plumes. We used the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), the world's largest coral reef system, to test our approach. We combined frequency of plume occurrence with spatially distributed loads (based on a cost-distance function) to create maps of exposure to suspended sediment and dissolved inorganic nitrogen. We then compared annual exposure maps (2007–2011) to assess inter-annual variability in the exposure of coral reefs and seagrass beds to these pollutants. We found this method useful to map plumes and qualitatively assess exposure to land-based pollutants. We observed inter-annual variation in exposure of ecosystems to pollutants in the GBR, stressing the need to incorporate a temporal component into plume exposure/risk models. Our study contributes to our understanding of plume spatial–temporal dynamics of the GBR and offers a method that can also be applied to monitor exposure of coastal-marine ecosystems to plumes and explore their ecological influences.
Although the importance of Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) as a concept is know acknowledged and the legal framework is in place, the task of applying it remains a delicate one. One of the keys to success is having pertinent data. Knowing how maritime uses unfold in a spatio-temporal context, and what conflicting or synergistic interactions exist between activities, is crucial. However, this information is especially hard to obtain in a marine environment. As a result this information has often been identified as the missing layer in information systems developed by maritime stakeholders. Since 2002, the Automatic Identification System (AIS) has been undergoing a major development. Allowing for real time geo-tracking and identification for equipped vessels, the data that issues from AIS data promises to map and describe certain marine human activities.
After recapitulating the main characteristics of AIS and the data it provides, this article proposes to evaluate how AIS is currently used in MSP at a European level, and to concisely present a series of methods and results obtained within the framework of several operational research projects. The objective is to illustrate how the AIS data processing and analysis can produce adequate information for MSP: maritime traffic density, shipping lanes and navigation flows, hierarchical network of maritime routes, alleged fishing zones, spatio-temporal interactions between activities (potential conflicting uses or synergies). The conclusion looks in particular at the legal questions concerning the use of AIS.
The status of fisheries requires establishing and evaluating benchmarks derived from unfished ecosystems. Habitats, environmental conditions, properties of the fish communities and management systems could potentially influence the variability surrounding benchmarks. Consequently, eighteen variables including habitat, number of species, life histories, thermal and productivity environments were tested for influences on reef fish biomass in 62 reefs within old high compliance closures along the east African coastline. Biomass and weighted life history characteristics were classified and described for total, fishable, target and non‐target groups. Benchmark biomass fell within a 95% confidence interval of ~1,030–1,250 kg/ha and equally distributed among target and non‐target groups. While some relationships were statistically significant, most were weak, poorly sampled (ocean exposed reefs), had uncertain relationships with biomass (number of species), or the explained variation was bounded within the above confidence intervals (habitat and environment). Therefore, a regional unfished biomass benchmark (B0) of 1,150 and 560 kg/ha is recommended for total and target biomasses, respectively. Weighted life history metrics indicate that the target had slower life histories than the non‐target fish communities. Consequently, they will be fished unsustainably if yield recommendations are derived from the total, resilient or non‐target fish life history metrics. The intrinsic rates of increase (r) and target categorization of biomass were the most influential metrics in estimating yields.
Human and natural systems have adapted to and evolved within historical climatic conditions. Anthropogenic climate change has the potential to alter these conditions such that onset of unprecedented climatic extremes will outpace evolutionary and adaptive capabilities. To assess whether and when future climate extremes exceed their historical windows of variability within impact‐relevant socioeconomic, geopolitical, and ecological domains, we investigate the timing of perceivable changes (time of emergence; TOE) for 18 magnitude‐, frequency‐, and severity‐based extreme temperature (10) and precipitation (8) indices using both multimodel and single‐model multirealization ensembles. Under a high‐emission scenario, we find that the signal of frequency‐ and severity‐based temperature extremes is projected to rise above historical noise earliest in midlatitudes, whereas magnitude‐based temperature extremes emerge first in low and high latitudes. Precipitation extremes demonstrate different emergence patterns, with severity‐based indices first emerging over midlatitudes, and magnitude‐ and frequency‐based indices emerging earliest in low and high latitudes. Applied to impact‐relevant domains, simulated TOE patterns suggest (a) unprecedented consecutive dry day occurrence in >50% of 14 terrestrial biomes and 12 marine realms prior to 2100, (b) earlier perceivable changes in climate extremes in countries with lower per capita GDP, and (c) emergence of severe and frequent heat extremes well‐before 2030 for the 590 most populous urban centers. Elucidating extreme‐metric and domain‐type TOE heterogeneities highlights the challenges adaptation planners face in confronting the consequences of elevated twenty‐first century radiative forcing.
Socio-economic development of small-island fishing communities is greatly dependent on local coastal and marine resources. However, illegal fishing and aggressive practices in insular ecosystems lead to over-exploitation and environmental deterioration. Moreover, a lack of scientific data increases uncertainty and prevents the adequate monitoring of marine resources. This paper focuses on the integration of local fishing communities into decision-making processes with the aim of promoting artisanal fishing on the Island of Tenerife (the Canary Islands), as a way to preserve the marine ecosystem and socio-economic development of traditional cofradias (fishers' organisations). A qualitative methodological framework, based on participatory problem-solution trees and focus groups, was used to identify the main factors impeding the sustainable development of the artisanal fishing sector on the island and to elaborate collective proposals with policy implications. The fishing community involved identified four main issues that are maintaining an unsustainable island fishery: 1) Over-exploitation; 2) Poor self-management of cofradias and commercialisation problems; 3) Fisher individualism and low co-management strategies, and 4) Illegal fishing increase vs. artisanal fishing decline. Results show the required policy enhancements to tackle them and the need to adapt regulations to the local situation.
Floating litter in the estuarine system of Santos-São Vicente is common and is part of day-to-day activities of various users of the area. The objective of the present study was to carry out a quali-quantitative evaluation of the occurrence of floating litter, to infer their sources, and to identify environmental factors that are likely to control occurrence and distribution, with particular emphasis on the effects of tidal regimes. Six sampling stations were selected along the aforementioned estuary and visited monthly between July 2010 and January 2012. Floating litter was counted from a fixed sampling station. Plastics prevailed (89.64%) and their main source was domestic activities (55.41%). More litter was found during ebb spring tides, with higher concentrations obeying confluence patterns of the estuary's channels. Results indicated that occurrence can be attributed to the deficiency in basic sewage system in the area and the deliberate disposal into the estuary by the local population.
There is a growing recognition for the need to understand how seawater carbonate chemistry over coral reef environments will change in a high-CO2 world to better assess the impacts of ocean acidification on these valuable ecosystems. Coral reefs modify overlying water column chemistry through biogeochemical processes such as net community organic carbon production (NCP) and calcification (NCC). However, the relative importance and influence of these processes on seawater carbonate chemistry vary across multiple functional scales (defined here as space, time, and benthic community composition), and have not been fully constrained. Here, we use Bermuda as a case study to assess (1) spatiotemporal variability in physical and chemical parameters along a depth gradient at a rim reef location, (2) the spatial variability of total alkalinity (TA) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) over distinct benthic habitats to infer NCC:NCP ratios [< several km2; rim reef vs. seagrass and calcium carbonate (CaCO3) sediments] on diel timescales, and (3) compare how TA-DIC relationships and NCC:NCP vary as we expand functional scales from local habitats to the entire reef platform (10's of km2) on seasonal to interannual timescales. Our results demonstrate that TA-DIC relationships were strongly driven by local benthic metabolism and community composition over diel cycles. However, as the spatial scale expanded to the reef platform, the TA-DIC relationship reflected processes that were integrated over larger spatiotemporal scales, with effects of NCC becoming increasingly more important over NCP. This study demonstrates the importance of considering drivers across multiple functional scales to constrain carbonate chemistry variability over coral reefs.
The use of aquatic mammals as bait to enhance the harvest of fisheries species has garnered little attention by the scientific and conservation communities, often receiving only brief mention in reports focused on the human consumption or bycatch of aquatic mammals. A number of studies, however, highlight the negative impact of this practice on affected mammal populations. A systematic review of relevant literature published since 1970 yields new insight into the scope of the issue. Findings indicate that the practice of using aquatic mammals for bait has been and continues to be geographically widespread, has affected at least 42 species, and often involves deliberate killing for the express purpose of securing bait. The nature of the fisheries involved is diverse, encompassing a wide range of target species and gear types; however, shark fisheries that employ longlines appear to be the most widely engaged in using aquatic mammals as bait. This practice appears to be most common in Latin America and Asia. It is evident, based on our review, that there is little information on the impact of the direct take on most targeted mammal populations, commonly small cetaceans, and increased monitoring efforts are needed in many locales. In most instances, the ecology and population dynamics of the targeted fishery species is poorly understood and in some cases the species is classified as threatened, suggesting a fishery sustainability issue that cannot be fully addressed with a substitute for the aquatic mammal bait. It is essential that natural resource managers implement mitigation approaches that consider the socio-economic, cultural, political, and ecological circumstances leading to the use of aquatic mammal bait in each fishery.
Globally, tropical coral reefs are being degraded by human activities, and as a result, reef-building corals have declined while macroalgae have increased. Recent work has focused on measuring macroalgal abundance in response to anthropogenic stressors. To accurately evaluate the effects of human impacts, however, it is necessary to understand the effects of natural processes on reef condition. To better understand how coral reef communities are influenced by natural processes, we investigated how spatial and seasonal changes in environmental conditions (temperature and PAR) influence benthic community structure, and the composition and frequency of coral-algal interactions across eight distinct zones and over a 23-month period at Heron reef on the southern Great Barrier Reef. Hard coral cover and macroalgal density showed distinct spatio-temporal variations, both within and between zones. Broad hard coral cover was significantly higher at the reef slope sites compared to the lagoon and was not significantly influenced by season. The composition and biomass of macroalgae increased in spring and declined in summer, with maximum macroalgal abundance corresponding with average temperatures of between 22 and 24°C and average 24 h PAR of 300–500 μmol qanta m−2 s−1. Changes in macroalgal biomass further influenced the composition and frequency of coral-algal interactions, however the incidence of coral-algal contact was best explained by coral cover. The results presented here emphasize that natural levels of macroalgae and coral-algal interactions are context-specific, and vary not only with-in zones, but in somewhat predictable seasonal cycles. Further, these results emphasize that the frequency of coral-algal interactions is dependent on hard coral, not just macroalgal cover, and an increase in coral-algal interactions does not necessarily translate to degradation of coral reefs.
Biological invasions threaten biodiversity in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems, requiring substantial conservation and management efforts. To examine how the conservation planning literature addresses biological invasions and if planning in the marine environment could benefit from experiences in the freshwater and terrestrial systems, we conducted a global systematic review. Out of 1,149 scientific articles mentioning both “conservation planning” and “alien” or any of its alternative terms, 70 articles met our selection criteria. Most of the studies were related to the terrestrial environment, while only 10% focused on the marine environment. The main conservation targets were species (mostly vertebrates) rather than habitats or ecosystems. Apart from being mentioned, alien species were considered of concern for conservation in only 46% of the cases, while mitigation measures were proposed in only 13% of the cases. The vast majority of the studies (73%) ignored alien species in conservation planning even if their negative impacts were recognized. In 20% of the studies, highly invaded areas were avoided in the planning, while in 6% of the cases such areas were prioritized for conservation. In the latter case, two opposing approaches led to the selection of invaded areas: either alien and native biodiversity were treated equally in setting conservation targets, i.e., alien species were also considered as ecological features requiring protection, or more commonly invaded sites were prioritized for the implementation of management actions to control or eradicate invasive alien species. When the “avoid” approach was followed, in most of the cases highly impacted areas were either excluded or invasive alien species were included in the estimation of a cost function to be minimized. Most of the studies that followed a “protect” or “avoid” approach dealt with terrestrial or freshwater features but in most cases the followed approach could be transferred to the marine environment. Gaps and needs for further research are discussed and we propose an 11-step framework to account for biological invasions into the systematic conservation planning design.
Marine macrophytes are the foundation of algal forests and seagrass meadows–some of the most productive and diverse coastal marine ecosystems on the planet. These ecosystems provide nursery grounds and food for fish and invertebrates, coastline protection from erosion, carbon sequestration, and nutrient fixation. For marine macrophytes, temperature is generally the most important range limiting factor, and ocean warming is considered the most severe threat among global climate change factors. Ocean warming induced losses of dominant macrophytes along their equatorial range edges, as well as range extensions into polar regions, are predicted and already documented. While adaptive evolution based on genetic change is considered too slow to keep pace with the increasing rate of anthropogenic environmental changes, rapid adaptation may come about through a set of non-genetic mechanisms involving the functional composition of the associated microbiome, as well as epigenetic modification of the genome and its regulatory effect on gene expression and the activity of transposable elements. While research in terrestrial plants demonstrates that the integration of non-genetic mechanisms provide a more holistic picture of a species' evolutionary potential, research in marine systems is lagging behind. Here, we aim to review the potential of marine macrophytes to acclimatize and adapt to major climate change effects via intraspecific variation at the genetic, epigenetic, and microbiome levels. All three levels create phenotypic variation that may either enhance fitness within individuals (plasticity) or be subject to selection and ultimately, adaptation. We review three of the most important phenotypic variations in a climate change context, including physiological variation, variation in propagation success, and in herbivore resistance. Integrating different levels of plasticity, and adaptability into ecological models will allow to obtain a more holistic understanding of trait variation and a realistic assessment of the future performance and distribution of marine macrophytes. Such multi-disciplinary approach that integrates various levels of intraspecific variation, and their effect on phenotypic and physiological variation, is of crucial importance for the effective management and conservation of seagrasses and macroalgae under climate change.
The release of hydrocarbons and chemical dispersant in marine environments may disrupt benthic ecosystems, including artificial reefs, formed by historic steel shipwrecks, and their associated organisms. Experiments were performed to determine the impacts of crude oil, dispersed crude oil, and dispersant on the community structure and function of microorganisms in seawater (SW) and biofilms formed on carbon steel, a common ship hull construction material. Steel corrosion was also monitored to illustrate how oil spills may impact preservation of steel shipwrecks. Microcosms were filled with seawater (SW) and incubated at 4°C. Carbon steel disks (CSDs) were placed in each tank, and tanks were amended with crude oil and/or dispersant or no treatment. SW and CSD biofilms were sampled biweekly for genetic analysis using Illumina sequencing of 16S ribosomal RNA gene amplicons. Predicted and sequenced bacterial metagenomes were analyzed to examine impacts of oil and dispersant on metabolic function. Gammaproteobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, and Flavobacteriia dominated SW and biofilms. Bacterial community structure differed significantly between treatments for SW and biofilms. OTUs affiliated with known (Pseudomonas) and potential (Marinomonas) hydrocarbon-degraders were roughly twice as abundant in biofilms treated with oil and dispersed oil, and steel corrosion of CSDs in these treatments was higher compared to control and dispersant treatments. OTUs affiliated with the Rhodobacteraceae family (biofilm formers and potential oil degraders) were less abundant in the dispersant treatment compared to other treatments in biofilm and SW samples, but OTUs affiliated with the Pseudoalteromonas genus (biofilm formers and proposed hydrocarbon degraders) were more abundant in dispersant-treated biofilms. Overall, functional gene analyses revealed a decrease in genes (predicted using PICRUSt and observed in sequenced metagenomes) associated with hydrocarbon degradation in dispersant-treated biofilms. This study indicates that exposure to oil and dispersant could disrupt the composition and metabolic function of biofilms colonizing metal hulls, as well as corrosion processes, potentially compromising shipwrecks as ecological and historical resources.
Globally, the production of marine bivalves has been steadily increasing over the past several decades. As the effects of human population growth are magnified, bivalves help provide food security as a source of inexpensive protein. However, as climate change alters sea surface temperatures (SST), the physiology, and thus the survival, growth, and distribution of bivalves are being altered. Challenges with managing bivalves may become more pronounced, as the uncertainty associated with climate change makes it difficult to predict future production levels. Modeling techniques, applied to both climate change and bivalve bioenergetics, can be used to predict and explore the impacts of changing ocean temperatures on bivalve physiology, and concomitantly on aquaculture production. This study coupled a previously established high resolution climate model and two dynamic energy budget models to explore the future growth and distribution of two economically and ecologically important species, the eastern oyster (Crassotrea virginica), and the blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) along the Atlantic coast of Canada. SST was extracted from the climate model and used as a forcing variable in the bioenergetic models. This approach was applied across three discreet time periods: the past (1986–1990), the present (2016–2020), and the future (2046–2050), thus permitting a comparison of bivalve performance under different temporal scenarios. Results show that the future growth is variable both spatially and interspecifically. Modeling outcomes suggest that warming ocean temperatures will cause an increase in growth rates of both species as a result of their ectothermic nature. However, as the thermal tolerance of C. virginica is higher than M. edulis, oysters will generally outperform mussels. The predicted effects of temperature on bivalve physiology also provided insight into vulnerabilities (e.g., mortality) under future SST scenarios. Such information is useful for adapting future management strategies for both farmed and wild shellfish. Although this study focused on a geographically specific area, the approach of coupling bioenergetic and climate models is valid for species and environments across the globe.
The topic of Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) for climate geoengineering is becoming increasingly salient following the IPCC's 5th Assessment Report and the Paris Agreement. GGR is thought of as a separate category to mitigation techniques such as low-carbon supply or demand reduction, yet multiple social, ethical and acceptability concerns cut across categories. We propose moving beyond classifying climate strategies as a set of discrete categories (which may implicitly homogenize diverse technologies), toward a prioritization of questions of scale of both technology and decision-making in the examination of social and ethical risks. This is not just a theoretical issue: important questions for policy, governance and finance are raised, for instance over the future inclusion of GGR in carbon markets. We argue that the conclusions drawn about how best to categorize, govern and incentivize any strategy will depend on the framing used, because different framings could lead to very different policy recommendations being drawn. Because of this, a robust approach to developing, governing and financing GGR should pay attention first to urgent concerns regarding democracy, justice and acceptability.
Salmon management has generally failed to rebuild depressed wild salmon populations or to manage many of them sustainably, despite a broad and growing scientific understanding of salmon ecology. We argue that to correct this failure, management policies and practices related to salmon need to become place‐based. Key changes in management practices required to achieve place‐based management include requiring that fishing occur closer to rivers of origin where particular populations can be identified with high precision, requiring that fishing gear be capable of releasing (with very low postrelease mortality) nontarget species and populations, and managing harvest to ensure that spawning escapements in most years exceed levels that would produce maximum sustainable yield. The scientific basis in support of place‐based salmon management is clear, but implementing the required changes presents serious challenges that must be faced if the diversity and abundance of wild salmon are to be restored and if the world's wild salmon populations are to effectively cope with environmental changes imposed by climate change and continuing habitat degradation. Lessons from locations where management practices are based on a place‐based conceptual foundation show how to successfully rebuild or maintain productive wild salmon populations.
Who owns ocean biodiversity? This is an increasingly relevant question, given the legal uncertainties associated with the use of genetic resources from areas beyond national jurisdiction, which cover half of the Earth’s surface. We accessed 38 million records of genetic sequences associated with patents and created a database of 12,998 sequences extracted from 862 marine species. We identified >1600 sequences from 91 species associated with deepsea and hydrothermal vent systems, reflecting commercial interest in organisms from remote ocean areas, as well as a capacity to collect and use the genes of such species. A single corporation registered 47% of all marine sequences included in gene patents, exceeding the combined share of 220 other companies (37%). Universities and their commercialization partners registered 12%. Actors located or headquartered in 10 countries registered 98% of all patent sequences, and 165 countries were unrepresented. Our findings highlight the importance of inclusive participation by all states in international negotiations and the urgency of clarifying the legal regime around access and benefit sharing of marine genetic resources. We identify a need for greater transparency regarding species provenance, transfer of patent ownership, and activities of corporations with a disproportionate influence over the patenting of marine biodiversity. We suggest that identifying these key actors is a critical step toward encouraging innovation, fostering greater equity, and promoting better ocean stewardship.
Accelerating coastal development and shipping activities dictate that dredging operations will intensify, increasing potential impacts to fishes. Coastal fishes have high economic, ecological, and conservation significance and there is a need for evidence‐based, quantitative guidelines on how to mitigate the impacts of dredging activities. We assess the potential risk from dredging to coastal fish and fisheries on a global scale. We then develop quantitative guidelines for two management strategies: threshold reference values and seasonal restrictions. Globally, threatened species and nearshore fisheries occur within close proximity to ports. We find that maintaining suspended sediment concentrations below 44 mg/L (15–121 bootstrapped CI) and for less than 24 hours would protect 95% of fishes from dredging‐induced mortality. Implementation of seasonal restrictions during peak periods of reproduction and recruitment could further protect species from dredging impacts. This study details the first evidence‐based defensible approach to minimize impacts to coastal fishes from dredging activities.
Virtually all studies reporting deepening with increasing size or age by fishes involve commercially harvested species. Studies of North Sea plaice in the early 1900s first documented this phenomenon (named Heincke’s law); it occurred at a time of intensive harvesting and rapid technological changes in fishing methods. The possibility that this deepening might be the result of harvesting has never been evaluated. Instead, age- or size-related deepening have been credited to interactions between density-dependent food resources and density-independent environmental factors. Recently, time-dependent depth variations have been ascribed to ocean warming. We use a model, initialized from observations of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) on the eastern Scotian Shelf, where an age-dependent deepening of ∼60 m was observed, to assess the effect of size- and depth-selective exploitation on fish distribution. Exploitation restricted to the upper 80 m can account for ∼72% of the observed deepening; by extending exploitation to 120 m, all of the deepening can be accounted for. In the absence of fishing, the model indicated no age-related deepening. Observations of depth distributions of older cod during a moratorium on fishing supported this prediction; however, younger cod exhibited low-amplitude deepening (10–15 m) suggestive of an ontogenetic response. The implications of these findings are manifold, particularly as they relate to hypotheses advanced to explain the ecological and evolutionary basis for ontogenetic deepening and to recent calls for the adoption of evidence of species deepening as a biotic indicator or “footprint” of warming seas.
Adaptation to sea level rise (SLR) is primarily taking place at the local level, with varied governments grappling with the diverse ways that SLR will affect cities. Interpreting SLR in the context of local planning requires integrating knowledge across many disciplines, and expert knowledge can help planners understand the potential ramifications of decisions. Little research has focused on the role that experts play in local adaptation planning. Understanding how and when local governments undertake adaptation planning, and how scientists and scientific information can be effectively incorporated into the planning process, is vital to guide scientists who wish to engage in the planning process. This study aimed to establish how experts are currently involved in SLR planning, identify any gaps between planners’ needs and expert involvement, and determine the characteristics of experts that are perceived as highly valuable to the planning process. We surveyed individuals involved with planning in a broad range of US coastal communities about SLR planning and the role that experts have played in the process. We found that SLR planning is widespread in cities across geographic regions, population sizes, and population characteristics and has increased rapidly since 2012. Contrary to our expectation, whether a SLR plan existed for each city was not related to the percentage of the population living on vulnerable lands or the property value of those lands. Almost all cities that have engaged in SLR planning involved experts in that process. Planners identify atmospheric scientists, oceanographers, economists and political scientists, and geologists as currently underutilized according to planners’ needs. Members of these expert disciplines, when involved in planning, were also unlikely to be affiliated with the local planning government, but rather came from other governmental and academic institutions. Highly effective experts were identified as making scientific research more accessible and bringing relevant research to the attention of planners. Results from our dataset suggest that planners perceive local SLR planning could benefit from increased involvement of experts, particularly atmospheric scientists, oceanographers, economists and political scientists, and geologists. Since experts in these disciplines were often not affiliated with local governments, increasing the exchange of information between local governments and academic and other (non-local) government organizations could help draw valued experts into the planning process.