Time of Emergence (ToE) is the time when a signal emerges from the noise of natural variability. Commonly used in climate science for the detection of anthropogenic forcing, this concept has recently been applied to geochemical variables, to assess the emerging times of anthropogenic ocean acidification (OA), mostly in the open ocean using global climate and Earth System Models. Yet studies of OA variables are scarce within costal margins, due to limited multidecadal time-series observations of carbon parameters. ToE provides important information for decision making regarding the strategic configuration of observing assets, to ensure they are optimally positioned either for signal detection and/or process elicitation and to identify the most suitable variables in discerning OA-related changes. Herein, we present a short overview of ToE estimates on an OA variable, CO2fugacity f(CO2,sw), in the North American ocean margins, using coastal data from the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT) V5. ToE suggests an average theoretical timeframe for an OA signal to emerge, of 23(±13) years, but with considerable spatial variability. Most coastal areas are experiencing additional secular and/or multi-decadal forcing(s) that modifies the OA signal, and such forcing may not be sufficiently resolved by current observations. We provide recommendations, which will help scientists and decision makers design and implement OA monitoring systems in the next decade, to address the objectives of OceanObs19 (http://www.oceanobs19.net) in support of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021–2030) (https://en.unesco.org/ocean-decade) and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.3 (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg14) target to “Minimize and address the impacts of OA.”
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Comprehensive and objective evaluation of all observing assets, tools, and services within an ocean observing system is essential to maximize effectiveness and efficiency; yet, it often eludes programs due to the complexity of such robust evaluation. In order to address this need, the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) transformed an evaluation matrix developed for the energy sector to one suitable for ocean observing. The resulting innovation is a decision analysis methodology that factors in multiple attributes (market, risk, and performance factors) and allows for selective weighting of attributes based on system maturity, external forcing, and consumer demand. This evaluation process is coupled with an annual review of priorities with respect to stakeholder needs and the program’s 5-year strategic framework in order to assess the system’s components. The results provide information needed to assess the effectiveness, efficiency, and impact of each component within the system, and informs a decision-making process that determines additional investment, refinement, sustainment, or retirement of individual observing assets, services, or component groups. Regularly evaluating, and taking action to improve, modify, or terminate weak system components allows for the continuous improvement of PacIOOS services by ensuring resources are directed to the priorities of the stakeholder community. The methodology described herein is presented as an innovative opportunity for others looking for a systematic approach to evaluate their observing systems to inform program-level decision-making as they develop, refine, and distribute data and information products.
Sustained ocean observations benefit many users and societal goals but could benefit many more. Such information is critical for using ocean resources responsibly and sustainably as the ocean becomes increasingly important to society. The contributions of many nations cooperating to develop the Global Ocean Observing System has resulted in a strong base of global and regional ocean observing networks. However, enhancement of the existing observation system has been constrained by flat funding and limited cooperation among present and potential users. At the same time, a variety of actors are seeking new deployments in remote and newly ice-free regions and new observing capabilities, including biological and biogeochemical sensors. Can these new needs be met? In this paper, a vision for how to sustain ocean observing in the future is presented. A key evolution will be to grow the pool of users, engaging end users across society. Users with shared values need to be brought together with commitment to sustainable use of the ocean in the broadest sense. Present planning for sustained observations builds on the development of the Global Ocean Observing System which has primarily targeted increased scientific understanding of ocean processes and of the ocean's role in climate. We must build on that foundation to develop an Ocean Partnership for Sustained Observing that will incorporate the growing needs of a broad constituency of users beyond climate and make the case for new resources. To be most effective this new Partnership should incorporate the principles of a collective impact organization, enabling closer engagement with the private sector, philanthropies, governments, NGOs, and other groups. Steps toward achieving this new Partnership are outlined in this paper, with the intent of establishing it early in the UN Decade of Ocean Science.
Small-scale fisheries (SSF) remain a largely under-assessed and overlooked sector by governments and researchers, despite contributing approximately 50% to global fish landings and providing food and income for millions of people. The multi-species, multi-gear and data-poor nature of SSF makes implementation of traditional single-species management approaches – like catch-quotas or size limits – particularly challenging and insufficient. A more holistic approach is thus required, which demands assessment of ecological impacts. Here we carried out an estimation of selected ecological indicators of the impact of fisheries (mean length, maximum body size, mean trophic level, trophic and spatial guilds, threatened species and landed by-catch) based on the nominal catch of different gears in three representative SSF along the Colombian Pacific using landings data collected in multiple years (2011–2017). Results showed that taxonomic, size-based, functional and conservation features of the nominal catch vary greatly with geographical location and gear type used. Overall, handlines and longlines tend to select larger sizes and higher trophic levels than nets, but they also catch a higher proportion of intrinsically vulnerable species and species of conservation concern. This challenges the idea that more selective gears have overall lower ecological impacts. In contrast, nets target a wider size range – although focusing on small or medium sized fish – and include a higher diversity of trophic and spatial guilds, which could arguably be considered a more “balanced harvest” type of fishing that retains ecosystem structure and functionality. Bottom trawls, though, exhibited a relatively high percentage of landed by-catch, an undesirable feature for any fisheries in terms of sustainability. We propose that the assessment of a suite of ecological indicators, like those implemented here, should be included as part of periodic evaluations of multi-gear and multi-species SSF in tropical coastal areas, as a practical step toward ecosystem-based fisheries management.
As changes in climate, governance, and organization reshape the dynamics of small-scale fisheries around the globe, the persistence of many local livelihoods appears contingent upon the ability of resource users to respond and adapt. Though significant scholarship has considered the limiting roles of resources and infrastructure, recent research has highlighted the importance of local learning and knowledge. Rather than being driven by forces exogenous to local communities, it is increasingly recognized that adaptation may be limited by perceptions and processes within them. Here, we explore knowledge production and adaptive response within a small-scale fishery in the central Gulf of California following system perturbation. Using mixed methods from the natural and social sciences, we (1) identify local drivers of social-ecological change, (2) document knowledge concerning their causes and consequences across a diverse group of small-scale fishermen, and (3) identify patterns of intracultural agreement and disagreement associated with divergent adaptive response. Results indicate that perceptions of social-ecological change were heterogeneous and that gear ownership and target species diversification were critical factors in determining the cultural models through which fishermen understood and responded to changes in the resource system. Unlike other user groups, owner-operator fishermen pursuing generalist livelihood strategies held consensus beliefs regarding changes to system structure and function and demonstrated increased ability to modify fishing tactics with the best practices for sustainable use. Our findings highlight how local knowledge can be used to assess the proximate impacts of external drivers of change and provide insight into the cultural models influencing in situ decision-making and adaptive response within modern fishery systems.
Cultivation of kelp has been well established throughout Asia, and there is now growing interest in the cultivation of macroalgae in Europe to meet future resource needs. If this industry is to become established throughout Europe, then balancing the associated environmental risks with potential benefits will be necessary to ensure the carrying capacity of the receiving environments are not exceeded and conservation objects are not undermined. This is a systematic review of the ecosystem changes likely to be associated with a developing seaweed aquaculture industry. Monitoring recommendations are made by risk ranking environmental changes, highlighting the current knowledge gaps and providing research priorities to address them. Environmental changes of greatest concern were identified to include: facilitation of disease, alteration of population genetics and wider alterations to the local physiochemical environment. Current high levels of uncertainty surrounding the true extent of some environmental changes mean conservative risk rankings are given. Recommended monitoring options are discussed that aim to address uncertainty and facilitate informed decision-making. Whilst current small-scale cultivation projects are considered ‘low risk,’ an expansion of the industry that includes ‘large-scale’ cultivation will necessitate a more complete understanding of the scale dependent changes in order to balance environmental risks with the benefits that seaweed cultivation projects can offer.
In developing countries where data and resources are lacking, the practical relevance of local ecological knowledge (LEK) to expand our understanding of the environment, has been highlighted. The potential roles of the LEK varies from direct applications such as gathering environmental information to a more participative involvement of the community in the management of resources they depend on. Fishers’ LEK could therefore be useful in order to obtain information on how to advance management of coastal fisheries. Many targeted fish species migrate between habitats to feed, spawn or recruit, connecting important habitats within the seascape. LEK could help provide answers to questions related to this connectivity and the identification of fish habitat use, and migrations for species and areas where such knowledge is scarce. Here we assess fishers’ LEK on connectivity between multiple habitats within a tropical seascape, investigate the differences in LEK among fisher groups and the coherence between LEK and conventional scientific knowledge (CSK). The study was conducted in 2017 in Zanzibar, Tanzania, a tropical developing country. One hundred and thirty-five semi-structured interviews were conducted in six different locations focusing on fish migrations, and matching photos of fish and habitats. Differences between fisher groups were found, where fishers traveling further, exposed to multiple habitats, and who fish with multiple gears had a greater knowledge of connectivity patterns within the seascape than those that fish locally, in single habitats and with just one type of gear. A high degree of overlap in LEK and CSK was found, highlighting the potential benefits of a collaboration between scientists and fishers, and the use of LEK as complementary information in the management of small-scale fisheries.
Trophic models of the Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) type and local ecological knowledge (LEK) have widely been applied to fisheries assessment and management. However, there are no specific methodologies describing how LEK from local fishers can be incorporated with the scientific data from the models in the context of ecosystem-based fisheries management. To our knowledge this is the first contribution exploring a systematic integration of LEK with EwE modeled output. An EwE food web model of the Nicoya Gulf ecosystem constructed 20 years ago and recently revisited by the authors and collaborators, was used in workshops to stimulate discussion among local stakeholders regarding changes in the marine ecosystem. For this study, 58 artisanal fishers were recruited to eight workshops. To assess the LEK, we documented the discussions, and the qualitative data were analyzed with quantitative frequency of responses to identify trends. Next, we systematically compared the changes in the fishery over time through an analysis of similar, complementary, and contradictory information across knowledge systems. In general, the analysis across systems reflected changes in species composition of the catches, paralleled by a harvest reduction in high-trophic-level species, as well as economic losses due to a shift in harvesting low-value species and due to an increase in operational costs. Particularly, we identified (1) similar pieces of information that delivered the same message, providing robust evidence of changes in the social–ecological system; (2) information complementary to each other, which together provided a broader picture (descriptors and attributes) of the changes of some fishing resources; and (3) conflicting pieces of information that indicated mismatches between sources of knowledge, which might suggest the cause of management problems. This study demonstrated how integrating knowledge systems can enhance our understanding of the state and changes in ecosystems, helping to improve fisheries management. We also found that an EwE model can be an effective communication tool to be used with fishers and to promote discussion and engagement. Our aspiration is to bring new and replicable tools to the policy interface in Latin-American fisheries, based on both stakeholder participation (including LEK) and the best scientific information available.
Mangroves are an important ecosystem-based protection against cyclonic storm surge. As the surge moves through the mangrove forest, the tree roots, trunks, and leaves obstruct the flow of water. Damage to adjacent coastal lands is attenuated mainly by reducing (i) surge height, which determines the area and depth of inundation and (ii) water flow velocity. But the extent of mangrove protection depends on the density of tree plantings and the diameter of trunks and roots, along with an array of other forest characteristics (e.g., floor shape, bathymetry, spectral features of waves, and tidal stage at which waves enter the forest). Making efficient use of mangroves’ protective capacity has been hindered by a lack of location-specific information. This study helps to fill that gap by estimating reduction in storm surge height and water flow velocity from mangroves at selected sites in cyclone-prone, coastal Bangladesh. A hydrodynamic model for the Bay of Bengal, based on the MIKE21FM system, was run multiple times to simulate the surge of cyclone Sidr (2007) at the Barisal coast. Estimates of surge height and water flow velocity were recorded first without mangroves and then with mangroves of various forest widths and planting densities, including specific information on local topography, bathymetry, and Manning’s coefficients estimated from species’ root and trunk systems. The results show a significant reduction in water flow velocity (29–92%) and a modest reduction in surge height (4–16.5 cm). These findings suggest that healthy mangroves can contribute to significant savings in rehabilitation and maintenance costs by protecting embankments from breaching, toe-erosion, and other damage.
Dolphin stranding events occur frequently in Florida and Massachusetts. Dolphins are an excellent sentinel species for toxin exposures in the marine environment. In this report we examine whether cyanobacterial neurotoxin, β-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA), is present in stranded dolphins. BMAA has been shown to bioaccumulate in the marine food web, including in the muscles and fins of sharks. Dietary exposure to BMAA is associated with the occurrence of neurofibrillary tangles and β-amyloid plaques in nonhuman primates. The findings of protein-bound BMAA in brain tissues from patients with Alzheimer’s disease has advanced the hypothesis that BMAA may be linked to dementia. Since dolphins are apex predators and consume prey containing high amounts of BMAA, we examined necropsy specimens to determine if dietary and environmental exposures may result in the accumulation of BMAA in the brains of dolphins. To test this hypothesis, we measured BMAA in a series of brains collected from dolphins stranded in Florida and Massachusetts using two orthogonal analytical methods: 1) high performance liquid chromatography, and 2) ultra-performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry. We detected high levels of BMAA (20–748 μg/g) in the brains of 13 of 14 dolphins. To correlate neuropathological changes with toxin exposure, gross and microscopic examinations were performed on cortical brain regions responsible for acoustico-motor navigation. We observed increased numbers of β-amyloid+plaques and dystrophic neurites in the auditory cortex compared to the visual cortex and brainstem. The presence of BMAA and neuropathological changes in the stranded dolphin brain may help to further our understanding of cyanotoxin exposure and its potential impact on human health.
This study assessed morphological variation of the depth-generalist coral Montastraea cavernosa across shallow and mesophotic coral ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) using thirteen corallite metrics. While corallite structure differed significantly across sites, we observed that mean corallite diameters were smaller and spacing was greater in mesophotic corals as compared to shallow corals. Additional corallite variation, including greater mean corallite height of mesophotic samples, are hypothesized to be photoadaptive responses to low light environments. Multivariate analyses also revealed two distinct morphotypes identified by significant variation in corallite spacing with >90% accuracy. A ‘shallow’ morphotype was characterized by larger, more closely-spaced corallites, while a ‘depth-generalist’ type exhibited smaller, further-spaced corallites. Variable presence of morphotypes within some sites suggests genotypic influence on corallite morphology as there was a slight, but significant, impact of morphotype on genetic structure within shallow zones in the Flower Garden Banks. Patterns of increased algal symbiont (Symbiodiniaceae) density and chlorophyll concentration were retained in the depth-generalist morphotype even in shallow zones, identifying multiple photoadaptive strategies between morphotypes. The results of this study suggest that morphological variation among M. cavernosa represents a combination of genotypic variation and phenotypic plasticity rather than responses to environmental stimuli alone.
Sharks constitute a vital sector of marine and estuarine nekton and are of great commercial importance all over the world. International concern over the fate of shark fisheries has grown recently. However, information concerning the species diversity, geographic distribution and life histories of sharks in the Indo-Pacific region is highly limited. Comprehensive research on the species composition, distribution and seasonal occurrence of sharks in the southern South China Sea (SSCS) was conducted for four years. A total of 4742 sharks belonging to 10 families and 28 species were recorded from 6 fishing ports in SSCS. The families recorded included Squalidae, Heterodontidae, Orectolobidae, Hemiscylliidae, Alopiidae, Scyliorhinidae, Triakidae, Hemigaleidae, Carcharhinidae and Sphyrnidae. Seventeen of 28 shark species were landed at various developmental stages from in the ranges of or even less than the length at birth and from newborn juveniles to fully-mature. The results suggest that these sharks were born just before fishing and landing, and reproductive-stage sharks were also fished and landed. In total, 15 species, four species and one species in 28 shark species were categorized as Near Threatened, Vulnerable and Endangered species, respectively, on the IUCN Red List. Sharks are not targeted by fisheries practices in the SSCS, but are caught as bycatch throughout the year in various developmental stages. Thus, current fisheries practices in the SSCS area might lead to further decline to critical levels and lead to extinction of some of species in the future. These results suggest that the need for gear selectivity of the commercial fishing gears in order to reduce mortality and to conserve shark stocks.
Coral recruitment refers to the processes allowing maintenance and renewal of coral communities. Recruitment success is therefore indispensable for coral reef recovery after disturbances. Recruitment processes are governed by a variety of factors occurring at all spatial and temporal scales, from centimetres to hundreds of kilometres. In the present context of rising disturbances, it is thus of major importance to better understand the relative importance of different scales in this variation, and when possible, the factors associated with these scales. Multiscale spatio-temporal variability of scleractinian coral recruitment was investigated at two of the Mascarene Islands: Reunion and Rodrigues. Recruitment rates and taxonomic composition were examined during three consecutive six-month periods from regional to micro-local scales (i.e. from hundreds of kilometres to few centimetres) and between two protection levels (no-take zones and general protection zones). Very low recruitment rates were observed. Rodrigues displayed lower recruitment rates than Reunion. Recruit assemblage was dominated by Pocilloporidae (77.9%), followed by Acroporidae (9.9%) and Poritidae (5.2%). No protection effect was identified on coral recruitment, despite differences in recruitment rates among sites within islands. Recruits were patchily distributed within sites but no aggregative effect was detected, i.e. the preferentially colonised tiles were not spatially grouped. Recruits settled mainly on the sides of the tiles, especially at Rodrigues, which could be attributed to the high concentration of suspended matter. The variability of recruitment patterns at various spatial scales emphasises the importance of micro- to macro-local variations of the environment in the dynamics and maintenance of coral populations. High temporal variability was also detected, between seasons and years, which may be related to the early 2016 bleaching event at Rodrigues. The low recruitment rates and the absence of protection effect raise questions about the potential for recovery from disturbances of coral reefs in the Mascarene Islands.
Natural resource rules exist to control resources and the people that interact with them. These rules often fail because people do not comply with them. Decisions to comply with natural resource rules often are based on attitudes about legitimacy of rules and the perceived risks of breaking rules. Trust in agencies promulgating rules in part may determine perceptions of legitimacy of the rule, and in turn depends on individuals’ trust in different agency actors. The purpose of this research is to explore the relationship between fishing rule noncompliance and trust in scientists, a key group within management agencies. We interviewed 41 individuals in one rural fishing community in the Brazilian Pantanal from April to August, 2016, to assess (1) noncompliance rates, (2) noncompliance-related attitudes, and (3) the relationship between trust in scientists and noncompliance decisions in the region. We found that among study participants, noncompliance was common and overt. Trust in scientists performing research in the region was the best predictor of noncompliance rate with a fishing rule (nonparametric rank correlation ρ = -0.717; Probit model pseudo-R2 = 0.241). Baseline data from this research may help inform future interventions to minimize IUU fishing and protect the Pantanal fishery. Although our results are specific to one community in the Pantanal, trust in scientists is potentially an important factor for compliance decisions in similar situations around the world. These results build not only on compliance theory but also speak to the important role that many scientists play in rural areas where they conduct their research.
The dynamics of nitrogen (N) loss in the ocean’s oxygen-deficient zones (ODZs) are thought to be driven by climate impacts on ocean circulation and biological productivity. Here we analyze a data-constrained model of the microbial ecosystem in an ODZ and find that species interactions drive fluctuations in local- and regional-scale rates of N loss, even in the absence of climate variability. By consuming O2 to nanomolar levels, aerobic nitrifying microbes cede their competitive advantage for scarce forms of N to anaerobic denitrifying bacteria. Because anaerobes cannot sustain their own low-O2 niche, the physical O2 supply restores competitive advantage to aerobic populations, resetting the cycle. The resulting ecosystem oscillations induce a unique geochemical signature within the ODZ—short-lived spikes of ammonium that are found in measured profiles. The microbial ecosystem dynamics also give rise to variable ratios of anammox to heterotrophic denitrification, providing a mechanism for the unexplained variability of these pathways observed in the ocean.
Promising approaches for indicative analysis of ballast water samples have been developed that require study in the field to examine their utility for determining compliance with the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments. To address this gap, a voyage was undertaken on board the RV Meteor, sailing the North Atlantic Ocean from Mindelo (Cape Verde) to Hamburg (Germany) during June 4–15, 2015. Trials were conducted on local sea water taken up by the ship's ballast system at multiple locations along the trip, including open ocean, North Sea, and coastal water, to evaluate a number of analytic methods that measure the numeric concentration or biomass of viable organisms according to two size categories (≥ 50 μm in minimum dimension: 7 techniques, ≥ 10 μm and < 50 μm: 9 techniques). Water samples were analyzed in parallel to determine whether results were similar between methods and whether rapid, indicative methods offer comparable results to standard, time- and labor-intensive detailed methods (e.g. microscopy) and high-end scientific approaches (e.g. flow cytometry). Several promising indicative methods were identified that showed high correlation with microscopy, but allow much quicker processing and require less expert knowledge. This study is the first to concurrently use a large number of analytic tools to examine a variety of ballast water samples on board an operational ship in the field. Results are useful to identify the merits of each method and can serve as a basis for further improvement and development of tools and methodologies for ballast water compliance monitoring.
Global elasmobranch populations have declined dramatically over the past 50 years, and continued research into the drivers of their habitats and distributions is vital for improved conservation and management. How environmental factors influence elasmobranch behavior, habitat use, and movement patterns is still relatively poorly understood, in part because of the scale over which many of these animals roam and the remote nature of the marine ecosystems they inhabit. In the last decade there has been an explosion of satellite remote sensing (SRS) technologies that can cover these vast spatial scales for the marine environment. Consequentially, SRS presents an opportunity to analyze important environmental drivers in elasmobranch ecology and to aid management decisions for the conservation of declining populations. A systematic literature review was undertaken to synthesize the current use of SRS environmental data in elasmobranch research. In addition, to facilitate the use of SRS in this field moving forward, we have compiled a list of popular SRS data sources and sensors for common environmental variables in marine science. Our review of 71 papers (55 published in the last 10 years) identified ten SRS-derived environmental variables that have been used in elasmobranch studies, from a range of satellite sensors and data sources. Sea surface temperature and ocean productivity were the most frequently used variables. Articles primarily analyzed variables individually or in pairs, with few studies looking at a suite of interacting variables. Here, we present a summary of the current state of knowledge on the application of SRS, current gaps and limitations, and discuss some of the potential future directions in which we envisage this field developing. Threatened elasmobranch populations inhabit some of the world’s most remote marine ecosystems. With often global coverage, SRS presents an opportunity to analyze the important environmental drivers of elasmobranch ecology to aid management decisions for the conservation of declining and threatened populations.
This research takes a holistic approach to considering the consequences of marine plastic pollution. A semi-systematic literature review of 1191 data points provides the basis to determine the global ecological, social and economic impacts. An ecosystem impact analysis demonstrates that there is global evidence of impact with medium to high frequency on all subjects, with a medium to high degree of irreversibility. A novel translation of these ecological impacts into ecosystem service impacts provides evidence that all ecosystem services are impacted to some extent by the presence of marine plastic, with a reduction in provision predicted for all except one. This reduction in ecosystem service provision is evidenced to have implications for human health and wellbeing, linked particularly to fisheries, heritage and charismatic species, and recreation.
Many species of sharks and some tunas are threatened by overexploitation, yet the degree of overlap between industrial fisheries and pelagic fishes remains poorly understood. Using satellite tracks from 933 industrial fishing vessels and predictive habitat models from 876 electronic tags deployed on seven shark and tuna species, we developed fishing effort maps across the northeast Pacific Ocean and assessed overlap with core habitats of pelagic fishes. Up to 35% of species’ core habitats overlapped with fishing effort. We identified overlap hotspots along the North American shelf, the equatorial Pacific, and the subtropical gyre. Results indicate where species require international conservation efforts and effective management within national waters. Only five national fleets (Mexico, Taiwan, China, Japan, and the United States) account for >90% of overlap with core habitats of our focal sharks and tunas on the high seas. These results inform global negotiations to achieve sustainability on the high seas.
This study investigates the association between an index of mesozooplankton biomass, derived from the Continuous Plankton Recorder survey and satellite-derived productivity fronts in the North Atlantic. While chlorophyll-a content (CHL) is commonly described as a proxy for phytoplankton biomass, the size of productivity fronts estimated from the horizontal gradient of CHL appears to be directly linked to mesozooplankton biomass. Our results suggest that the lifespan of productivity fronts, which ranges from weeks to months, meets the time requirement of mesozooplankton to develop. The proposed indicator describes the daily distribution of mesozooplankton’s suitable feeding habitat. It also provides a coherent interpretation of the productivity front development with respect to phytoplankton activity (CHL values) and potential predation by higher trophic levels. Since mesozooplankton are essential for feeding at higher trophic levels, this satellite-derived indicator delivers essential information for research and policy. An unanticipated positive trend of the indicator from 2003 to 2017 is observed at a basin scale under the current effects of climate change, with regional peaks in relatively poorly productive areas. Such monitoring indicator is potentially important to advances in marine food web modelling, fisheries science and the dynamic management of oceans towards sustainability.