Freely-available Literature

Currently indexing 4386 freely-available titles

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

Applying the ecosystem services - EBM framework to sustainably manage Qatar's coral reefs and seagrass beds

Fanning LM, Al-Naimi MNasser, Range P, Ali A-SM, Bouwmeester J, Al-Jamali F, Burt JA, Ben-Hamadou R. Applying the ecosystem services - EBM framework to sustainably manage Qatar's coral reefs and seagrass beds. Ocean & Coastal Management [Internet]. 2021 ;205:105566. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096456912100051X?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Given the current natural and anthropogenic threats facing Qatar's marine environment and the consequential expected decline in ecosystem services, this paper examines the potential application of the Ecosystem Services-EBM framework developed by Granek et al. (2010) to sustainably manage Qatar's coral reef and seagrass bed ecosystems. Using interviews with stakeholders and field-collected data from sixteen coral reef sites and 6 seagrass meadows as well as secondary data, the paper presents new knowledge regarding the status of these ecosystems and the benefits they provide that are most valued by stakeholders. The research identifies existing and missing ecological and socio-economic data, as well as the processes and management strategies required to implement the five-step framework within a Qatari context. Key goals for implementing EBM identified by stakeholders include: adoption of scientific planning and valuation of marine environment, contextualizing and drafting legislation, regulations and policies in support of EBM; monitoring and enforcement of laws; and, promotion of public awareness and engagement. The article concludes with recommendations for filling remaining data gaps and highlights opportunities available to Qatar to become a leader in implementing EBM. These include maximizing the increasing role that stakeholders can play in mitigating further decline of the country's coastal ecosystems and leveraging mega events planned in Qatar, such as FIFA World Cup 2022.

An evaluation of the effectiveness of protected areas in Thailand

Singh M, Griaud C, C. Collins M. An evaluation of the effectiveness of protected areas in Thailand. Ecological Indicators [Internet]. 2021 ;125:107536. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1470160X21002016?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Thailand is a biodiversity hotspot and home to over 1000 bird species, 15,000 plant species, and five of the World Wildlife Fund’s Global 200 Ecoregions of ecological significance. To preserve their unique ecosystems, the Thai government has established and maintained protected areas (PA) which in 2020, are estimated to cover 19% of Thailand’s land area. The success of these areas in preserving biodiversity to date is somewhat ambiguous. Using gap analyses, we evaluated the extent and adequacy of coverage provided by these PAs for the preservation of these unique ecoregions, to threatened amphibian, bird, and mammal species richness hotspots and at a range of altitudes within Thailand.

Regionally, the Indochina dry forests, Northern Khorat Plateau moist deciduous forests and Malaysian Peninsula rainforests are all under-represented. Though opportunities exist for their protection through marine designation, mangrove and wetland ecosystems are also seriously under-represented in the current spatial layout and network connectivity of Thailand’s protected area system. Highland areas (>750 m elevation) are well-protected, in contrast to the lower altitude areas where human and agricultural pressures are higher. Hotspots of threatened birds located in the northern and southern regions of Thailand, as well as most of the central threatened mammal hotspot, are inadequately covered (<10%). The current PAs could be expanded with a focus on these key areas, or further PAs created to address these gaps in provision. The Thai PA network is also highly fragmented and, in addition to increasing the area covered, contiguity and connectivity of the network should be considered. With human population expansion in the central lowland area particularly, there will be challenges and trade-offs to be negotiated along with enforcement within existing areas. We hope, though, that the results of this study can aid policymakers in improving Thai conservation effectiveness.

Silent winters and rock-and-roll summers: The long-term effects of changing oceans on marine fish vocalization

Siddagangaiah S, Chen C-F, Hu W-C, Danovaro R, Pieretti N. Silent winters and rock-and-roll summers: The long-term effects of changing oceans on marine fish vocalization. Ecological Indicators [Internet]. 2021 ;125:107456. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1470160X21001217?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The analysis of temporal trends and spatial patterns of marine sounds can provide crucial insights to assess the abundance, distribution, and behavior of fishes and of many other species. However, data on species-specific temporal and seasonal changes are still extremely limited. We report here the result of the longest recording ever conducted (five years, from 2014 to 2018) on fish vocalization. Findings from the Eastern Taiwan Strait (ETS) revealed a periodic fish chorusing pattern, with peaks in summer and almost complete silence, for ~2 months, during winter. Chorusing pattern was influenced by abiotic parameters, including temperature, tides and moon phase. We also report, for the first time, that extreme weather events (e.g., typhoons, storms with sediment resuspension) caused the cessation of the chorusing. The chorusing pattern explored in this long-term study provides important baseline data to understand the impact of climate change and of climate-driven extreme/episodic events on the phenology of fishes; this work also provides evidence that changes in the ambient conditions might significantly alter the phenology of vocalizing marine species.

“It's not just about putting a smile on your face, it's about keeping people safe”: Causes and consequences of sleep loss and fatigue in the coral reef tourism industry

Reynolds AC, Pabel A, Ferguson SA, Naweed A. “It's not just about putting a smile on your face, it's about keeping people safe”: Causes and consequences of sleep loss and fatigue in the coral reef tourism industry. Annals of Tourism Research [Internet]. 2021 ;88:103160. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160738321000220?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

This study provides an in-depth understanding of the causes and consequences of sleep loss and fatigue in the coral reef tourism industry. Utilizing a qualitative methodology, data were obtained from eight focus groups conducted in Far North Queensland with 42 reef tourism employees. Analysis involved identifying and inductively coding any emergent categories of the causes and consequences of sleep loss and fatigue. Findings are applied to Baum, Kralj, Robinson, and Solnet's (2016) taxonomy of tourism research to highlight where the causes of sleep loss and fatigue originate. This reflects individual, occupational and industry-level causes of sleep loss and fatigue which workers indicate have consequences for their wellbeing, and the safety and efficacy of their operations. Implications for the broader tourism industry are discussed.

Modeling the impact of climate change on mussel aquaculture in a coastal upwelling system: A critical assessment

Fuentes-Santos I, Labarta U, Fernández-Reiriz MJosé, Kay S, Hjøllo SSætre, X. Alvarez-Salgado A. Modeling the impact of climate change on mussel aquaculture in a coastal upwelling system: A critical assessment. Science of The Total Environment [Internet]. 2021 ;775:145020. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969721000863?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Forecasting of climate change impacts on marine aquaculture production has become a major research task, which requires taking into account the biases and uncertainties arising from ocean climate models in coastal areas, as well as considering culture management strategies. Focusing on the suspended mussel culture in the NW Iberian coastal upwelling system, we simulated current and future mussel growth by means of a multistructural net production Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) model. We considered two scenarios and three ocean climate models to account for climate uncertainty, and applied a bias correction to the climate models in coastal areas. Our results show that the predicted impact of climate change on mussel growth is low compared with the role of the seeding time. However, the response of mussels varied across climate models, ranging from a minor growth decline to a moderate growth increase. Therefore, this work confirms that an accurate forecasting of climate change impacts on shellfish aquaculture should take into account the variability linked to both management strategies and climate uncertainty.

Troubled seas? The changing politics of maritime boundary disputes

Østhagen A. Troubled seas? The changing politics of maritime boundary disputes. Ocean & Coastal Management [Internet]. 2021 ;205:105535. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096456912100020X?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Maritime space is growing in importance. How states utilise, emphasise and view the maritime domain is changing. At the same time, maritime boundary disputes exist on all continents. Why do states engage in disputes over who owns what at sea? How do states delineate ownership and rights? How are these dynamics evolving? These core questions are examined in this article, which explores and reviews the concept of maritime boundaries and related disputes. The focus is on exclusive economic zones (EEZ), the extended maritime zones beyond territorial waters. Ocean boundaries delineating EEZs are important constructs for everything from oil and gas production to fisheries and environmental protection. Beyond function, trends like an increasing focus on the intangible attributes of disputes at sea, combined with the ongoing institutionalisation of ocean-space since the adoption of the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1982, force us to update our assumptions regarding the political dynamics of ocean-space.

Establishing a pre-COVID-19 baseline for surf tourism: Trip expenditure and attitudes, behaviors and willingness to pay for sustainability

Mach L, Ponting J. Establishing a pre-COVID-19 baseline for surf tourism: Trip expenditure and attitudes, behaviors and willingness to pay for sustainability. Annals of Tourism Research Empirical Insights [Internet]. 2021 ;2(1):100011. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666957921000021?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

This manuscript provides the only empirically derived pre-COVID-19 global estimation of international surf travel spending and the first assessment of sustainable surf tourism attitudes, behaviors, and willingness to pay. It establishes important baselines that can serve as points of comparison as, and after, surf tourism returns, inevitably changed, post-COVID-19. Employing a direct cost method, international surf tourism expenditure was valued between $31.5 to $64.9 billion USD per year and surfers reported being willing to pay between $1.99 and $4.1 billion USD more annually for sustainable surf tourism products. These results suggest surfing tourism deserves a more significant place in funding initiatives, discussions, and research related to fostering sustainable development from ocean resources in the rapidly changing world.

A food chain-based ecological risk assessment model for oil spills in the Arctic environment

Fahd F, Yang M, Khan F, Veitch B. A food chain-based ecological risk assessment model for oil spills in the Arctic environment. Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 2021 ;166:112164. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X21001983?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

This paper investigates the linkage between the acute impacts on apex marine mammals with polar cod responses to an oil spill. It proposes a Bayesian network-based model to link these direct and indirect effects on the apex marine mammals. The model predicts a recruitment collapse (for the scenarios considered), causing a higher risk of mortality of polar bears, beluga whales, and Narwhals in the Arctic region. Whales (adult and calves) were predicted to be at higher risk when the spill was under thick ice, while adult polar bears were at higher risk when the spill occurred on thin ice. A spill over the thick ice caused the least risk to whale and adult polar bears. The spill's timing and location have a significant impact on the animals in the Arctic region due to its unique sea ice dynamics, simple food web, and short periods of food abundance.

Applying the ecosystem services - EBM framework to sustainably manage Qatar's coral reefs and seagrass beds

Fanning LM, Al-Naimi MNasser, Range P, Ali A-SM, Bouwmeester J, Al-Jamali F, Burt JA, Ben-Hamadou R. Applying the ecosystem services - EBM framework to sustainably manage Qatar's coral reefs and seagrass beds. Ocean & Coastal Management [Internet]. 2021 ;205:105566. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096456912100051X?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Given the current natural and anthropogenic threats facing Qatar's marine environment and the consequential expected decline in ecosystem services, this paper examines the potential application of the Ecosystem Services-EBM framework developed by Granek et al. (2010) to sustainably manage Qatar's coral reef and seagrass bed ecosystems. Using interviews with stakeholders and field-collected data from sixteen coral reef sites and 6 seagrass meadows as well as secondary data, the paper presents new knowledge regarding the status of these ecosystems and the benefits they provide that are most valued by stakeholders. The research identifies existing and missing ecological and socio-economic data, as well as the processes and management strategies required to implement the five-step framework within a Qatari context. Key goals for implementing EBM identified by stakeholders include: adoption of scientific planning and valuation of marine environment, contextualizing and drafting legislation, regulations and policies in support of EBM; monitoring and enforcement of laws; and, promotion of public awareness and engagement. The article concludes with recommendations for filling remaining data gaps and highlights opportunities available to Qatar to become a leader in implementing EBM. These include maximizing the increasing role that stakeholders can play in mitigating further decline of the country's coastal ecosystems and leveraging mega events planned in Qatar, such as FIFA World Cup 2022.

Why they must be counted: Significant contributions of Fijian women fishers to food security and livelihoods

Thomas A, Mangubhai S, Fox M, Meo S, Miller K, Naisilisili W, Veitayaki J, Waqairatu S. Why they must be counted: Significant contributions of Fijian women fishers to food security and livelihoods. Ocean & Coastal Management [Internet]. 2021 ;205:105571. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964569121000569?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Worldwide, small-scale fisheries (SSF) are an important source of food and livelihoods for rural communities and contribute substantially to national economies. Women play crucial roles in these fisheries, yet their contributions are largely invisible, often ignored and unrecognized. We conducted household and focus group surveys to examine the role of indigenous Fijian (iTaukei) women in SSF, documenting fishing practices and contributions to household food security and income. Our results reinforced several traditional views, such as iTaukei women preferentially fishing closer to their villages; but also challenged other assumptions with women fishing a wider range of habitats (from inland rivers to the open ocean) and species than previously described, and many using a boat and fishing with men. In addition to gleaning for invertebrates and seaweed, women also caught over 100 species of fish. Women fished primarily for subsistence, emphasizing their significant contribution to household food security. Although almost half of the women sold part of their catch to supplement household incomes, they also engaged in other income earning livelihoods, and therefore were not solely dependent on fisheries. Of concern was the high targeting of nursery areas for fish and invertebrate species by women fishers, and species with low spawning potential ratios. Given the level of engagement in, and contributions to fisheries, the inclusion of iTaukei women fishers in fisheries planning and management is critical for ensuring the sustainability of SSF in Fiji. Furthermore, empowering women for full participation in fisheries and lifting them out of poverty requires a re-consideration of traditional gender norms in rural communities, which are already shifting and evolving.

Modelling ecosystem dynamics to assess the effect of coastal fisheries on cetacean species

Paradell OGiralt, Methion S, Rogan E, López BDíaz. Modelling ecosystem dynamics to assess the effect of coastal fisheries on cetacean species. Journal of Environmental Management [Internet]. 2021 ;285:112175. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301479721002371?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The expansion of fisheries and its increased efficiency are causing severe detrimental impacts on marine species and ecosystems, that can be categorised into operational and ecological effects. While impacts directly caused by fishing activities have been extensively documented, it is difficult to set an empirical link between fisheries and changes in predator biomass and abundance. Therefore, exploring the functioning of ecosystems as a whole, the interactions between the different species within them and the impact of human activities, is key to understanding the ecological effects of fisheries on top predators and ecosystems, and to develop effective conservation measures, while ensuring a more sustainable exploitation of fishing resources. For instance, mass balance models, such as Ecopath with Ecosim, have proven to be a useful tool to develop more holistic fisheries management and conservation strategies. In this study, Ecopath with Ecosim was used to investigate the temporal dynamics of the Rías Baixas shelf ecosystem (North-West Spain) between 2005 and 2017. Additionally, nine 30-year forward projecting simulations covering the period 2018–2047 were developed to examine the effects of differing fisheries management strategies on common dolphins (Delphinus delphis), bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). Results from these models suggest that when intense fishing increases it poses a major threat to the conservation of these top predators in the area, by reducing the variety of their available prey and potentially enhancing competition amongst them. The study highlights the applicability of Ecopath with Ecosim to develop cetacean conservation measures and despite its small spatial scale, it provides a general framework that can be used to assess cetacean conservation in larger and impacted areas.

How ready are we to cope with climate change? Extent of adaptation to sea level rise and coastal risks in local planning documents of southern France

Robert S, Schleyer-Lindenmann A. How ready are we to cope with climate change? Extent of adaptation to sea level rise and coastal risks in local planning documents of southern France. Land Use Policy [Internet]. 2021 ;104:105354. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264837721000776?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Sea-level rise and related risks are an aspect of climate change that deeply affects coastal areas worldwide and calls for adaptive responses. Spatial planning is one key to adaptation, in particular at local level, where coastal risks might be experienced and solutions need to be developed. However, local spatial planning is a complex process involving various governance levels and decision-makers in specific social, cultural, economic and geographical contexts. Focusing on Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southern France, this article proposes an analysis of the extent to which coastal risks are taken into account in the town planning documents of 65 coastal municipalities. The objective is to assess how seriously sea-level rise, coastal risks and adaptation are addressed in spatial planning. Results show that there is still a long way to go. Local development strategies often run counter to the idea of adapting, while local authorities and central government need to take a more collaborative approach. This work also shows the relevance of using spatial planning documents to reveal territories’ attitudes to adaptive policies, and the crucial role played by interaction between decisional levels.

COVID pollution: impact of COVID-19 pandemic on global plastic waste footprint

Benson NU, Bassey DE, Palanisami T. COVID pollution: impact of COVID-19 pandemic on global plastic waste footprint. Heliyon [Internet]. 2021 ;7(2):e06343. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405844021004485?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Plastic products have played significant roles in protecting people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The widespread use of personal protective gear created a massive disruption in the supply chain and waste disposal system. Millions of discarded single-use plastics (masks, gloves, aprons, and bottles of sanitizers) have been added to the terrestrial environment and could cause a surge in plastics washing up the ocean coastlines and littering the seabed. This paper attempts to assess the environmental footprints of the global plastic wastes generated during COVID-19 and analyze the potential impacts associated with plastic pollution. The amount of plastic wastes generated worldwide since the outbreak is estimated at 1.6 million tonnes/day. We estimate that approximately 3.4 billion single-use facemasks/face shields are discarded daily as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, globally. Our comprehensive data analysis does indicate that COVID-19 will reverse the momentum of years-long global battle to reduce plastic waste pollution. As governments are looking to turbo-charge the economy by supporting businesses weather the pandemic, there is an opportunity to rebuild new industries that can innovate new reusable or non-plastic PPEs. The unanticipated occurrence of a pandemic of this scale has resulted in unmanageable levels of biomedical plastic wastes. This expert insight attempts to raise awareness for the adoption of dynamic waste management strategies targeted at reducing environmental contamination by plastics generated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cetacean habitat modelling to inform conservation management, marine spatial planning, and as a basis for anthropogenic threat mitigation in Indonesia

Sahri A, Putra MIqbal Herw, Mustika PLiza Kusum, Kreb D, Murk AJ. Cetacean habitat modelling to inform conservation management, marine spatial planning, and as a basis for anthropogenic threat mitigation in Indonesia. Ocean & Coastal Management [Internet]. 2021 ;205:105555. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964569121000405?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Indonesia harbours a high diversity of cetaceans, yet effective conservation is hampered by a lack of knowledge about cetacean spatial distribution and habitat preferences. This study aimed to address this knowledge gap at an adequate resolution to support national cetacean conservation and management planning. Maximum Entropy (Maxent) modelling was used to map the distribution of 15 selected cetacean species in seven areas within Indonesian waters using recent cetacean presence datasets as well as environmental predictors (topographic and oceanographic variables). We then combined the individual species suitable habitat maps and overlaid them with provincial marine spatial planning (MSP) jurisdictions, marine protected areas (MPAs), oil and gas contract areas, and marine traffic density. Our results reflect a great heterogeneity in distribution among species and within species among different locations. This heterogeneity reflects an interrelated influence of topographic variables and oceanographic processes on the distribution of cetacean species. Bathymetry, distance to- coast and the −200m isobaths, and chlorophyll-a concentration and sea surface temperature were important variables influencing distribution of most species in many regions. Areas rich in species were mainly related to coastal areas or insular-reef complexity, representing high productivity and upwelling-modified waters. Although some important suitable habitats currently fall within MPAs, other areas are not and overlap with oil and gas exploration activities and marine traffic, indicating potentially high risk areas for cetaceans. The results of this study can support national cetacean conservation and management planning, and be used to reduce or avoid adverse anthropogenic threats. We advise to consider currently unprotected suitable cetacean habitats in MPA and MSP development.

Hitchhiking of encrusting organisms on floating marine debris along the west coast of Qatar, Arabian/Persian Gulf

Al-Khayat JA, Veerasingam S, Aboobacker VM, Vethamony P. Hitchhiking of encrusting organisms on floating marine debris along the west coast of Qatar, Arabian/Persian Gulf. Science of The Total Environment [Internet]. 2021 ;776:145985. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969721010524?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The floating marine debris (FMD) and the associated rafting communities are one of the major stressors to ecosystem services, global biodiversity and economy and human health. In this study, assemblages of encrusting organisms on different types of stranded FMD along the west coast of Qatar, Arabian/Persian Gulf (hereafter referred to as ‘Gulf’) were examined. The analysis showed 18 fouling species belonging to 5 phyla (Annelida, Anthropoda, Bryozoa, Mollusca and Porifera) on the FMD. The most abundant fouling species were the encrusting Amphibalanus amphitrite, polychaete Spirobranchus kraussiiBryozoan species and Megabalanus coccopoma. More number of taxa were found on larger size FMD than on smaller FMD. Some of the barnacle rafting types were found to be non-indigenous species. The central and northwest parts of the Qatar had more FMD and fouled species than in other locations. Winds and the prevailing hydrodynamic conditions (waves and currents) played an important role in the transportation and distribution of FMD and associated organisms along the west coast of Qatar. The present study confirmed that huge amount of bio-fouled FMD items, causing great damage to biodiversity, drift in the surface layer of ocean and eventually strand onto the beaches. We propose a simple, but an effective management plan for FMD and associated organisms at regional scale to restore the biodiversity, sustainability and health of the marine ecosystem in the Gulf.

Robust regional differences in marine heatwaves between transient and stabilization responses at 1.5 °C global warming

Liu J, Luo J-J, Xu H, Ma J, Deng J, Zhang L, Bi D, Chen X. Robust regional differences in marine heatwaves between transient and stabilization responses at 1.5 °C global warming. Weather and Climate Extremes [Internet]. 2021 ;32:100316. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212094721000141?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The increase in frequency and duration of marine heatwaves (MHWs) under global warming brings great pressure to society. The high vulnerability of ecosystems to MHWs may lead to severe ecological and socioeconomic impacts. Most studies assessed future climate responses at the Paris Agreement temperature goals based on transient, rather than stabilization, model simulations. Here, we investigate the differences between transient and stabilization responses at global warming of 1.5 °C in terms of MHWs. Concentrations of greenhouse gases and response time scales to the anthropogenic forcing differ in these two types of simulations because subsurface ocean temperatures take decades to centuries to adjust under external forcing. While global mean metrics of MHWs show little difference between the transient and stabilization responses, significant regional disparities are revealed worldwide, including many climate change hotspots. Regionally intensified MHWs at stabilized 1.5 °C are mostly due to air-sea interactions and subsurface ocean warming that contributes to the stronger SST warming in eastern boundary upwelling systems and the southern Indian Ocean, indicative of potentially greater impacts on marine ecosystems in these regions. In contrast, MHWs would be alleviated in the central equatorial Pacific and Arctic in stabilization responses. Substantial differences in regional MHWs between the transient and stabilization responses oblige us to reconsider previous assessments regarding 1.5 °C warming and future mitigation pathways.

Plastic debris composition and concentration in the Arctic Ocean, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea

Hänninen J, Weckström M, Pawłowska J, Szymańska N, Uurasjärvi E, Zajaczkowski M, Hartikainen S, Vuorinen I. Plastic debris composition and concentration in the Arctic Ocean, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 2021 ;165:112150. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X21001843?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Neuston samples were collected with a Manta trawl in the rim of the Arctic Ocean, in the Northern Atlantic Ocean and the Baltic Sea at eleven coastal and open-sea locations. All samples contained plastics identified by FTIR microscopy. Altogether, 110 microplastics pieces were classified according to size, shape, and polymer type. The concentrations at the locations were generally low (x̅ = 0.06, SD ± 0.04 particles m−3) as compared to previous observations. The highest concentrations were found towards the Arctic Ocean, while those in the Baltic Sea were generally low. The most abundant polymer type was polyethylene. Detected particle types were mainly fragments. The number of films and fibers was very low. The mean particle size was 2.66 mm (SD ± 1.55 mm). Clustering analyses revealed that debris compositions in the sea regions had characteristic differences possibly reflecting the dependences between compositions, drifting distances, sinking rates, and local oceanographic conditions.

Modelling ecosystem dynamics to assess the effect of coastal fisheries on cetacean species

Paradell OGiralt, Methion S, Rogan E, López BDíaz. Modelling ecosystem dynamics to assess the effect of coastal fisheries on cetacean species. Journal of Environmental Management [Internet]. 2021 ;285:112175. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301479721002371?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The expansion of fisheries and its increased efficiency are causing severe detrimental impacts on marine species and ecosystems, that can be categorised into operational and ecological effects. While impacts directly caused by fishing activities have been extensively documented, it is difficult to set an empirical link between fisheries and changes in predator biomass and abundance. Therefore, exploring the functioning of ecosystems as a whole, the interactions between the different species within them and the impact of human activities, is key to understanding the ecological effects of fisheries on top predators and ecosystems, and to develop effective conservation measures, while ensuring a more sustainable exploitation of fishing resources. For instance, mass balance models, such as Ecopath with Ecosim, have proven to be a useful tool to develop more holistic fisheries management and conservation strategies. In this study, Ecopath with Ecosim was used to investigate the temporal dynamics of the Rías Baixas shelf ecosystem (North-West Spain) between 2005 and 2017. Additionally, nine 30-year forward projecting simulations covering the period 2018–2047 were developed to examine the effects of differing fisheries management strategies on common dolphins (Delphinus delphis), bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). Results from these models suggest that when intense fishing increases it poses a major threat to the conservation of these top predators in the area, by reducing the variety of their available prey and potentially enhancing competition amongst them. The study highlights the applicability of Ecopath with Ecosim to develop cetacean conservation measures and despite its small spatial scale, it provides a general framework that can be used to assess cetacean conservation in larger and impacted areas.

Plastic ingestion by fish in the coastal waters of the Hengchun Peninsula, Taiwan: Associated with human activity but no evidence of biomagnification

Chen K-J, Chen M-C, Chen T-H. Plastic ingestion by fish in the coastal waters of the Hengchun Peninsula, Taiwan: Associated with human activity but no evidence of biomagnification. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety [Internet]. 2021 ;213:112056. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0147651321001676?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Plastic pollution has become a global threat to the marine environment. Many studies have indicated that marine creatures are at risk of plastic ingestion, but relevant studies are still lacking in Taiwan. In this study, we quantified plastic debris ingestion by marine fish in the coastal waters of the Hengchun Peninsula, including the Kenting National park, located in southern Taiwan. We also investigated possible biotic and abiotic factors associated with the quantity of ingested plastic by fish. In the 117 fish samples we examined, 94.87% of them had ingested plastic debris, and all of the observed debris was microplastics (<5 mm). The average number of ingested microplastics was 5.6 ± 5.1 pieces per fish (ranged 0–32 pieces per fish). The major type and color of microplastics were fiber (96%) and blue (43%), respectively. The quantity of ingested microplastics was not significantly different between the reef and pelagic fish. However, reef fish from the more populated west and south coast ingested more microplastics than that from the east coast, suggesting that microplastic ingestion by fish is related to human activity. Regarding biotic factors, the size, trophic level, and taxonomic family of the fish were not significantly associated with the number of ingested microplastics. Our results, the first investigation of microplastic ingestion in marine fish of Taiwan, show a high prevalence of microplastic ingestion but no biomagnification of microplastics in the fish. More research is much needed to better characterize the biological and ecological impacts of plastic debris on fish.

Hurricane impacts on a coral reef soundscape

Simmons KR, Eggleston DB, Bohnenstiehl DWR. Hurricane impacts on a coral reef soundscape Chen CAllen. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2021 ;16(2):e0244599. Available from: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0244599
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Soundscape ecology is an emerging field in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and provides a powerful approach for assessing habitat quality and the ecological response of sound-producing species to natural and anthropogenic perturbations. Little is known of how underwater soundscapes respond during and after severe episodic disturbances, such as hurricanes. This study addresses the impacts of Hurricane Irma on the coral reef soundscape at two spur-and-groove fore-reef sites within the Florida Keys USA, using passive acoustic data collected before and during the storm at Western Dry Rocks (WDR) and before, during and after the storm at Eastern Sambo (ESB). As the storm passed, the cumulative acoustic exposure near the seabed at these sites was comparable to a small vessel operating continuously overhead for 1–2 weeks. Before the storm, sound pressure levels (SPLs) showed a distinct pattern of low frequency diel variation and increased high frequency sound during crepuscular periods. The low frequency band was partitioned in two groups representative of soniferous reef fish, whereas the high frequency band represented snapping shrimp sound production. Daily daytime patterns in low-frequency sound production largely persisted in the weeks following the hurricane. Crepuscular sound production by snapping shrimp was maintained post-hurricane with only a small shift (~1.5dB) in the level of daytime vs nighttime sound production for this high frequency band. This study suggests that on short time scales, temporal patterns in the coral reef soundscape were relatively resilient to acoustic energy exposure during the storm, as well as changes in the benthic habitat and environmental conditions resulting from hurricane damage.

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