Freely-available Literature

Currently indexing 3637 freely-available titles

The following titles are freely-available, or include a link to a preprint or postprint.

A new gall crab species (Brachyura, Cryptochiridae) associated with the free-living coral Trachyphyllia geoffroyi (Scleractinia, Merulinidae)

van der Meij SET. A new gall crab species (Brachyura, Cryptochiridae) associated with the free-living coral Trachyphyllia geoffroyi (Scleractinia, Merulinidae). ZooKeys [Internet]. 2015 ;500:61 - 72. Available from: http://zookeys.pensoft.net/articles.php?id=5170
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

A new species of gall crab is described from the free-living stony coral Trachyphyllia geoffroyi. Specimens were collected during field work in Lembeh Strait (Indonesia) and off Kudat (Malaysian Borneo). This new species, here named Lithoscaptus semperi sp. n., is the ninth species assigned to the genus. It can be separated from its congeners by not having the internal orbital angle extending beyond the external orbital angle, and by the stout female P2 merus with prominent distomesial projection. In addition, the carapace surface appears smooth, despite having small tubercles on the anterior half, and is without noticeable spines, other than those on the frontal margin. The distinctive carapace pattern in life is a diagnostic character in male specimens.

A climate-informed, ecosystem approach to fisheries management

Heenan A, Pomeroy R, Bell J, Munday PL, Cheung W, Logan C, Brainard R, Amri AYang, Aliño P, Armada N, et al. A climate-informed, ecosystem approach to fisheries management. Marine Policy [Internet]. 2015 ;57:182 - 192. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X15000676
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

This paper outlines the benefits of using the framework for an ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM) for dealing with the inevitable yet unclear impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on coastal fisheries. With a focus on the Asia-Pacific region, it summarizes the projected biological and socio-economic effects of increased emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) for coastal fisheries and illustrates how all the important dimensions of climate change and ocean acidification can be integrated into the steps involved in the EAFM planning process. The activities required to harness the full potential of an EAFM as an adaptation to climate change and ocean acidification are also described, including: provision of the necessary expertise to inform all stakeholders about the risks to fish habitats, fish stocks and catches due to climate change; promotion of trans-disciplinary collaboration; facilitating the participation of all key stakeholders; monitoring the wider fisheries system for climate impacts; and enhancing resources and capacity to implement an EAFM. By channeling some of the resources available to the Asia-Pacific region to adapt to climate change into an EAFM, developing countries will not only build resilience to the ecological and fisheries effects of climate change, they will also help address the habitat degradation and overfishing presently reducing the productivity of coastal fisheries.

Using AIS to inform Marine Spatial Planning and marine industries

Shelmerdine RL, Shucksmith RJ. Using AIS to inform Marine Spatial Planning and marine industries. 2014 .
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Presentation

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) require all marine vessels over 300 gross tonnage on an international voyage, all cargo vessels greater than 500 gt, and all passenger vessels irrespective of size to be fitted with an Automatic Identification System (AIS). AIS is a shipboard transponder which automatically transmits vessel information, through VHF, as a ship to ship or ship to shore signal. Transmitted data includes information on the vessel identity (mmsi number), position, speed, course, vessel type, dimensions, and other information as outlined by Ou and Zhu.

An increasing number of marine users have recognized the benefits of having an AIS system fitted aboard their vessels which has resulted in a large quantity of available vessel data ranging from large oil tankers to pleasure craft and sailing ships. The European Commission has additionally stated that all fishing vessels greater than 15 m in length must be equipped with an AIS system by 31st May 2014.

Maritime Spatial Planning, EU Policy Update: April 2015

Anon. Maritime Spatial Planning, EU Policy Update: April 2015. [Internet]. 2015 . Available from: http://www.assembly.wales/Research%20Documents/016%20-%20Policy%20Updates%20-%20Marine%20Spatial%20Planning/15-016.pdf
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Miscellaneous

In July 2014, the European Parliament and the Council adopted Directive 2014/89/EU to create a common framework for maritime spatial planning in the European Union. In broad terms, the Directive places a legal requirement on Member States to develop and implement Maritime Spatial Plans (MSP) by 2021 at the latest. Ultimately, the Directive aims to establish ‘a framework for maritime spatial planning aimed at promoting the sustainable growth of maritime economies, the sustainable development of marine areas and the sustainable use of marine resources.’1 Member States are required to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive by 18 September 2016.

Sargassum Fact Sheet

Doyle E, Franks J. Sargassum Fact Sheet. [Internet]. 2015 . Available from: http://www.gcfi.org/Publications/GCFISargassumFactSheet.pdf
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Miscellaneous

During 2011, massive quantities of pelagic sargassum occurred throughout the Caribbean, impacting aquatic resources, fisheries, shorelines, waterways, and tourism. A similar event occurred in 2014 and continues in 2015. This Fact Sheet seeks to share the state of knowledge about the sargassum influx and to promote the adoption of best management practices.

How can marine spatial planning lead to a thriving natural marine environment in Scotland?

Brooker E, Duncan C, Gardner S, Kinninmonth A, Nathan C, Smith A, Tedcastle S, Underdown N, Whyte A. How can marine spatial planning lead to a thriving natural marine environment in Scotland?. Scottish Environment LINK Marine Taskforce workshop; 2015. Available from: http://www.scotlink.org/public-documents/how-can-marine-spatial-planning-lead-to-a-thriving-natural-marine-environment-in-scotland/
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

A workshop under the theme 'How can marine spatial planning lead to a thriving natural marine environment in Scotland?' was held on 12th February 2015, organised by Scottish Environment LINK’s Marine Taskforce1. The event was attended by approximately 60 participants representing a range of interests in marine and terrestrial planning, including local authorities, national Government, academic researchers, environmental law experts, non-Government organisations (environmental charities), and independent consultants. The workshop had the following objectives:

  • To raise awareness of national and regional marine planning and their scope for marine ecosystem enhancement across a wider national forum
  • To explore current understanding of the importance and relevance of marine planning
  • To facilitate productive discussion on the challenges of marine planning still to be resolved and how to address them on a local, national and international scale
  • To help inform the on-going agenda for marine planning in Scotland and the wider UK

This report summarises two presentations delivered by keynote speakers considered experts in the fields of marine planning and environmental law, and key points of discussion from the workshop session, which focused on 3 questions:

  1. What aspect of the planning system on land works well/best?
  2. Bearing in mind lessons from Q1, how can marine planning lead to a flourishing natural marine environment?
  3. What are the requirements to be able to deliver environmental enhancement through marine spatial planning?

This report also presents the results of a short questionnaire answered by participants designed to assess their perceptions of marine spatial planning.

Connectivity of Marine Protected Areas Using Biophysical Modelling

D’Agostini A, Gherardi DFrancisco, Pezzi LPonzi. Connectivity of Marine Protected Areas Using Biophysical Modelling. Proceedings XVII Brazilian Symposium on Remote Sensing [Internet]. 2015 . Available from: http://www.dsr.inpe.br/pagina_dsr_ingles/index_ingles.html
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Conference Proceedings

The connectivity between reef areas in the East Continental Shelf (ECS) of Brazil was investigated with a hydrodynamic model (ROMS) and an Individual Based Model (IBM - Ichthyop), using groupers (genus Mycteroperca) as functional group. The hydrodynamic outputs from ROMS used as physical forcings by Ichthyop was compared with satellite data and showed good agreement. IBM experiments were realized releasing eggs from April to September along six years (2002 - 2007) in five groups of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) along the ECS. An intra-annual variability of recruitment and self-recruitment of grouper larvae was observed, as well as a negative correlation between these population parameters with total Kinetic Energy (KE) in the region. Higher KE is related to higher larval advection to offshore regions and a lower total recruitment and connectivity on coastal MPAs. Our results suggest a high and directional connectivity between MPAs, occurring from north to south with potential influence of Brazil Current which flows in this direction. Some MPAs act predominantly as “sink” areas, and others as “source” areas.

Temporal modelling of ballast water discharge and ship-mediated invasion risk to Australia

Cope RC, Prowse TAA, Ross JV, Wittmann TA, Cassey P. Temporal modelling of ballast water discharge and ship-mediated invasion risk to Australia. Royal Society Open Science [Internet]. 2015 ;2(4). Available from: http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/cgi/doi/10.1098/rsos.150039
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Biological invasions have the potential to cause extensive ecological and economic damage. Maritime trade facilitates biological invasions by transferring species in ballast water, and on ships' hulls. With volumes of maritime trade increasing globally, efforts to prevent these biological invasions are of significant importance. Both the International Maritime Organization and the Australian government have developed policy seeking to reduce the risk of these invasions. In this study, we constructed models for the transfer of ballast water into Australian waters, based on historic ballast survey data. We used these models to hindcast ballast water discharge over all vessels that arrived in Australian waters between 1999 and 2012. We used models for propagule survival to compare the risk of ballast-mediated propagule transport between ecoregions. We found that total annual ballast discharge volume into Australia more than doubled over the study period, with the vast majority of ballast water discharge and propagule pressure associated with bulk carrier traffic. As such, the ecoregions suffering the greatest risk are those associated with the export of mining commodities. As global marine trade continues to increase, effective monitoring and biosecurity policy will remain necessary to combat the risk of future marine invasion events.

First Record of Invasive Lionfish (Pterois volitans) for the Brazilian Coast

Ferreira CEL, Luiz OJ, Floeter SR, Lucena MB, Barbosa MC, Rocha CR, Rocha LA. First Record of Invasive Lionfish (Pterois volitans) for the Brazilian Coast. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2015 ;10(4):e0123002. Available from: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0123002
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The invasion of the northwestern Atlantic by the Indo-Pacific lionfish has developed extraordinarily fast, and is expected to cause one of the most negative ecological impacts among all marine invasions. In less than 30 years, lionfish have dramatically expanded their distribution range to an area encompassing the eastern coast of the USA, Bermuda, the entire Caribbean region and the Gulf of Mexico. The rapidity of the lionfish spread has raised concerns in other parts of the Atlantic that may be under the reach of the invasion. Despite the anticipation that lionfish would eventually extend their range throughout most of the eastern coast of South America, it had not been recorded in Brazil until now. Here we report the first lionfish appearance for the Brazilian coast and show that the individual collected by us is genetically linked to the invasive Caribbean population. Since small-range endemics are found in several locations in Brazil and are among the species that are most vulnerable to extinction, we recommend urgent control, management and education measures aimed at minimizing the effects of this impending invasion.

Nearshore Substrate Mapping Change Analysis Using Historical and Contemporary Multispectral Aerial Imagery

Svejkovsky J. Nearshore Substrate Mapping Change Analysis Using Historical and Contemporary Multispectral Aerial Imagery. La Jolla, CA: California Sea Grant; 2015. Available from: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/news/summaries-of-projects-selected-for-funding-through-the-south-coast-mpa-baseline-program
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

In the Nearshore Substrate Mapping Using Multi-Spectral Aerial Imagery project, researchers from Ocean Imaging created high-resolution maps for shallow subtidal and intertidal benthic habitats in the South Coast region.

The maps developed in this project depict features such as surfgrass meadows, kelp canopy, algal-covered rock and bare rock habitats. Researchers validated substrate classifications with field data provided by collaborating research teams and new sampling specifically for this project.

Establishing a Spatial and Economic Baseline and Assessing Initial Changes in the California South Coast CPFV Fisheries

Chen C, Hesselgrave T, Sheeran K, Steinback C, Weiss L. Establishing a Spatial and Economic Baseline and Assessing Initial Changes in the California South Coast CPFV Fisheries. La Jolla, CA: California Sea Grant; 2015. Available from: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/news/summaries-of-projects-selected-for-funding-through-the-south-coast-mpa-baseline-program
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

The primary goal of this project was to inform long-term MPA monitoring efforts by summarizing up-to- date information to illustrate historical trends, establish a MPA baseline, and assess initial changes since MPA implementation for the commercial passenger fishing vessel (CPFV) fleet in the South Coast region of California. To do so we utilized CPFV logbooks data from 2000 to 2012 obtained under a non- disclosure agreement with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. This study is a part of the baseline marine protected area monitoring effort to characterize the ecological and socioeconomic conditions and changes within the South Coast Region since MPA implementation. As part of the baseline marine protected area monitoring effort, this report provides two sets of primary findings:

  1. A baseline characterization of the spatial fishing patterns and economic status of commercial passenger fishing vessel fleet in the South Coast region; and

  2. An assessment of historical economic trends and initial economic changes in the commercial passenger fishing vessel fleet following MPA implementation.

An Economic and Spatial Baseline of Coastal Recreation in the South Coast of California

Chen C, Hesselgrave T, Enelow N, Steinback C, Sheeran K, Mertens M, Lyman N. An Economic and Spatial Baseline of Coastal Recreation in the South Coast of California. La Jolla, CA: California Sea Grant; 2015. Available from: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/news/summaries-of-projects-selected-for-funding-through-the-south-coast-mpa-baseline-program
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

This study is a part of a larger baseline marine protected areas monitoring effort, entitled the South Coast MPA Baseline Program, tasked with characterizing the ecological and socioeconomic conditions and changes within the South Coast region since MPA implementation. To investigate coastal recreation patterns in the South Coast region, we utilized a standing internet panel hosted by Knowledge Networks (KN) designed to be demographically representative and surveyed 4,492 individuals in select South Coast region counties. The data collected established a baseline characterization of coastal visitation and recreation statistics and a spatial baseline of coastal recreation use patterns in the region.

Establishing a Baseline and Assessing Initial Spatial and Economic Change in the California South Coast Commercial Fisheries

Chen C, Weiss L, Hesselgrave T, Steinback C, Sheeran K, Lyman N, Crowther D. Establishing a Baseline and Assessing Initial Spatial and Economic Change in the California South Coast Commercial Fisheries. La Jolla, CA: California Sea Grant; 2015. Available from: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/news/summaries-of-projects-selected-for-funding-through-the-south-coast-mpa-baseline-program
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

The primary goal of this project was to inform long-term marine protected area (MPA) monitoring efforts by gathering up-to-date socioeconomic information to illustrate historical trends, establish a post MPA baseline, and assess initial changes since MPA implementation for the commercial fishing fleet in the South Coast region of California. To accomplish this goal our research team conducted extensive community outreach and engagement in the region and conducted in-person interviews with 114 commercial fishermen to gather post MPA baseline socioeconomic data and spatial fishing data for the year 2012. In it important to note that the interview data gathered is self-reported data and thus as with all self-reported data may be subject to recall error or under/over-reporting. Additional to the interview data gathered, we summarized commercial fishing landings data from 1992 to 2012 obtained from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to explore historical economic trends and initial changes in South Coast commercial fisheries.

This study is a part of the baseline marine protected area monitoring effort to characterize the ecological and socioeconomic conditions and changes within the South Coast region since MPA implementation. As part of the baseline MPA monitoring effort, this report provides three sets of primary findings:

  1. A baseline characterization of spatial fishing patterns and socioeconomic status of commercial fishermen in the South Coast region;

  2. An assessment of initial spatial and economic changes following MPA implementation; and

  3. A qualitative investigation into the impact of MPAs on commercial fishermen and the specific MPAs impacting commercial fisheries at the port and region scale.

Use of Estuarine, Intertidal, and Subtidal Habitats by Seabirds Within the MLPA South Coast Study Region

Robinette DP, Howar J, Elliott ML, Jahncke J. Use of Estuarine, Intertidal, and Subtidal Habitats by Seabirds Within the MLPA South Coast Study Region. La Jolla, CA: California Sea Grant; 2015. Available from: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/news/summaries-of-projects-selected-for-funding-through-the-south-coast-mpa-baseline-program
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

MPAs can benefit seabird populations both directly and indirectly. Direct benefits include reduced disturbance to breeding and roosting sites and decreased human interaction (e.g., bycatch, light attraction, gear entanglement) at feeding sites. Indirect benefits include reduced competition with humans for food resources and greater prey supplies resulting from increased prey production.

The overarching goal of the Baseline Characterization of Nearshore and Estuarine Seabirds study was to determine how seabirds are using coastal habitats inside and outside of newly established MPAs in the South Coast region. Researchers focused monitoring efforts on pelagic cormorants, Brandt’s cormorants, western gulls, black oystercatchers, pigeon guillemots, California least terns, and California brown pelicans because of their dependence on nearshore habitats and their susceptibility to human disturbances.

In this project, researchers from Point Blue Conservation Science evaluated seabird use of nearshore habitats for breeding, roosting, and foraging. The study examined foraging in estuarine and nearshore habitats, use of rocky coastlines for roosting, breeding population size and productivity, and disturbance at breeding and roosting sites. The results of this study provide a baseline to aid in future adaptive management of South Coast MPAs.

Baseline Characterization of the Shallow Rocky Reef and Kelp Forest Ecosystems of the South Coast Study Region

Pondella DJ, Caselle JE, Claisse JT, Williams JP, Davis K, Williams CM, Zahn LA. Baseline Characterization of the Shallow Rocky Reef and Kelp Forest Ecosystems of the South Coast Study Region. La Jolla, CA: California Sea Grant; 2015. Available from: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/news/summaries-of-projects-selected-for-funding-through-the-south-coast-mpa-baseline-program
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

The Baseline Characterization of Kelp and Shallow Rock Ecosystems project is a collaboration between researchers at Vantuna Research Group at Occidental College and the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) at the University of California Santa Barbara. In this project, researchers characterized kelp and shallow rock ecosystems inside and outside MPAs in the South Coast region. The baseline surveys, together with historical and future data, are enabling scientists to measure changes in species and communities over both short and long time scales.

From 2011-2013, SCUBA divers surveyed kelp forests and associated reference sites to estimate fish, kelp and benthic invertebrate densities, fish size distributions, and percent cover of invertebrates and algae to produce a quantitative baseline characterization of the structure of kelp and shallow rock ecosystems in the South Coast. Kelp and shallow rock ecosystems inside the MPAs were compared with associated reference areas outside MPAs.

Surveys were conducted using methods developed by PISCO and the Cooperative Research and Assessment of Nearshore Ecosystems (CRANE) program, which allowed integration of historical, long-term datasets into this analysis. As part of this project, researchers also worked to develop easily interpretable ecosystem indicators for assessing the state of kelp forests and made recommendations for future monitoring.

South Coast Marine Protected Areas Baseline Characterization and Monitoring of Mid-Depth Rocky and Soft-Bottom Ecosystems (20-350m)

Lindholm J, Knight A, Moye F, Cramer AN, Smith J, Bolton H, Esgro M, Finstad S, McCollough R, Fredle M, et al. South Coast Marine Protected Areas Baseline Characterization and Monitoring of Mid-Depth Rocky and Soft-Bottom Ecosystems (20-350m). La Jolla, CA: California Sea Grant; 2015. Available from: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/news/summaries-of-projects-selected-for-funding-through-the-south-coast-mpa-baseline-program
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

The Baseline ROV Surveys of Subtidal Ecosystems project is a collaboration between researchers at the Institute for Applied Marine Ecology (IfAME) at California State University Monterey Bay, Marine Applied Research and Exploration (MARE), and Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. In this project, researchers used a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to “fly” half a meter above the seafloor at depths ranging from 20 – 500 meters. The ROV took video and still images that were used to characterize these deep-sea communities.

Researchers identified, counted, and sized fishes and invertebrates in both soft-bottom and rocky habitats. On-going analyses of the data collected during the baseline period include the vertical distribution of fishes and invertebrates in the La Jolla Canyons, the interaction of depth and substrate in structuring communities on the continental shelf across the region, and the habitat associations of spot and ridgeback prawns. The data collected as part of this project provides a baseline characterization of selected MPAs and reference sites, an assessment of initial changes following MPA implementation, and recommendations for future monitoring efforts in the region.

Baseline Characterization of Sandy Beach Ecosystems Along the South Coast of California

Dugan JE, Hubbard DM, Nielsen KJ, Altstatt J, Bursek J. Baseline Characterization of Sandy Beach Ecosystems Along the South Coast of California. La Jolla, CA: California Sea Grant; 2015. Available from: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/news/summaries-of-projects-selected-for-funding-through-the-south-coast-mpa-baseline-program
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

Sandy beaches and their adjacent surf zones provide important habitat and prey resources for birds, wildlife and fish that feed on the abundant intertidal and subtidal invertebrates in the beach food web.  Beach ecosystem functions also include water filtering, nutrient cycling, and accumulating and storing sand that can buffer the impacts of storm waves and surges. Beach ecosystems are also highly valued and intensively used for recreation including beachcombing, jogging, sunbathing, surfing, swimming, birding and wildlife viewing, picnicking, dog-walking, and volleyball, frisbee and other sports, as well as shore-based fishing, clamming and bait collection.

Sandy beach ecosystems are strongly linked with other nearshore ecosystems. For example, beach food webs rely largely on subsidies from adjacent ecosystems, thus the amount of wrack and plankton delivered to these food webs is dynamically linked to the features of adjacent ecosystems and nearshore ocean characteristics. The condition of beach ecosystems can in turn affect the reproductive success of beach-nesting fishes and birds. Measuring and monitoring these trophic linkages on sandy beaches will help us assess direct and indirect effects of MPAs in the south coast region.

The Baseline Characterization of Sandy Beach Ecosystems project was led by scientists at the Marine Science Institute at the University of California Santa Barbara with collaborators from Sonoma State University, Romberg Tiburon Center at San Francisco State University, and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. In this project, scientists identified and measured important linkages between sandy beaches and other nearshore ecosystems to produce a comprehensive baseline characterization of sandy beach ecosystems in the South Coast region. This quantitative baseline will be used to evaluate future changes in important ecological features of sandy beaches and linkages with other nearshore ecosystems.

The project team surveyed a number of pairs of MPAs and adjacent reference beaches on the mainland coast from Gaviota to San Diego over 2 years.  These results were used to investigate potential indicators of ecosystem conditions that can be applied to increase our understanding of how the condition of sandy beach ecosystems may provide insights on the condition and functioning of MPAs in the South Coast MPA network. The project team also developed and tested new protocols for potential use in long-term monitoring of beach ecosystem features involving citizen-scientists.

Baseline Characterization of the Rocky Intertidal Ecosystems of the South Coast Study Region

Blanchette CA, Raimondi PT, Gaddam R, Burnaford J, Smith J, Hubbard DM, Dugan JE, Altstatt J, Bursek J. Baseline Characterization of the Rocky Intertidal Ecosystems of the South Coast Study Region. La Jolla, CA: California Sea Grant; 2015. Available from: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/news/summaries-of-projects-selected-for-funding-through-the-south-coast-mpa-baseline-program
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

The Baseline Characterization of Rocky Intertidal Ecosystems project is a collaboration between researchers at UC Santa Barbara and UC Santa Cruz, California State University Fullerton, Cal Poly Pomona, and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

The goals of this project were to:

  • produce a quantitative baseline characterization of the structure of rocky intertidal ecosystems in all of the South Coast MPAs that have accessible rocky intertidal; and
  • provide a quantitative comparison between the rocky intertidal ecosystems in these MPAs and associated reference areas in the South coast region using a combination of biodiversity surveys and targeted species sampling.

Researchers analytically explored the baseline characterizations for potential indicators of the state of the rocky intertidal ecosystems using newly collected data along with historical and contextual data from the region; evaluated the suitability of proposed draft metrics and other metrics for long term monitoring; and assessed initial changes in size and abundance of targeted species across newly created MPAs, existing MPAs and reference areas.

Reef Check California: Citizen Scientist monitoring of rocky reefs and kelp forests: Creating a baseline for California’s South Coast

Freiwald J, Wisniewski C. Reef Check California: Citizen Scientist monitoring of rocky reefs and kelp forests: Creating a baseline for California’s South Coast. Pacific Palisades, CA : Reef Check Foundation; 2015. Available from: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/news/summaries-of-projects-selected-for-funding-through-the-south-coast-mpa-baseline-program
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

In the Citizen Science SCUBA baseline project, citizen scientists and staff in the Reef Check California Program conducted SCUBA‐based surveys of the South Coast MPAs and reference sites to provide a quantitative assessment of rocky reefs and kelp forests.

Divers estimated density, population size, diversity, trophic structure, and biological habitat availability for key fish, invertebrate, and algae species. Researchers also drew on Reef Check California’s existing dataset to provide historical context for ongoing data collection. Data collected as part of this project were used to make recommendations for long-term monitoring. The project also built capacity for cost-effective long-term monitoring through a community network of citizen scientists.

Predators drive community structure in coral reef fish assemblages

Boaden AE, Kingsford MJ. Predators drive community structure in coral reef fish assemblages. Ecosphere [Internet]. 2015 ;6(4):art46. Available from: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/10.1890/ES14-00292.1
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The importance of top-down effects in structuring ecological communities has been widely debated by ecologists. One way in which to examine these processes is to study the secondary effects of predator removal on communities. This study examined the role of predatory fishes in structuring communities of coral reef fishes, by using a network of marine reserves (the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park) as a natural experiment. We hypothesized that reefs with high densities of piscivores (marine reserves) would have distinct fish communities from those where piscivores have been depleted through fishing, due to variation in predation pressure. We predicted that predator depletion would result in “prey release”, and a corresponding increase in prey densities along a gradient of fishing intensity, causing a change in the community composition of reef fishes. To address this, fish counts and habitat surveys were conducted at four locations on the Great Barrier Reef. At each location, comparisons were made amongst three marine park zones that varied in their exposure to fishing practices; no- take marine reserves, limited fishing areas, and open fishing areas.

The density and biomass of predators varied consistently among zones at each location. Furthermore, we found strong evidence for prey release at all four locations, resulting in distinct fish assemblages amongst zones. Reefs open to fishing had much lower densities of piscivores, and higher densities of prey and herbivorous fishes compared to marine reserves. This broad pattern was consistent amongst locations, and persisted at the level of species, trophic groups, families and communities. Habitat characteristics did not vary significantly amongst zones in a consistent manner amongst locations. Although habitat relationships were strong for specialist species such as butterflyfishes, densities of predators were stronger predictors of prey density for most species, and the trophic composition of reef fish communities differed significantly amongst zones at all locations. Results from this study support the concept that top-down effects can be strong divers of prey populations and influence community structure in highly diverse systems. These data emphasize the vital role of predators, and reinforce the importance of preserving and restoring top-down trophic interactions in ecological systems.

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