In this paper we aim to establish a conceptual and practical framework for investigating sense of place as a category of cultural ecosystem services, drawing upon transdisciplinary research on assessing cultural value and ecosystem change in the Irish Sea. We examine sense of place as a material phenomenon, embedded in and expressive of the relationship between determining ecological conditions of particular locations and the determining social and cultural conditions of human habitation. Our emphasis on sense of place as a material phenomenon contrasts with the prevailing tendency in ecosystem services literature to treat cultural ecosystem services as ‘non-material’, ‘immaterial’, or ‘intangible’, and builds on a call to conceptualize cultural ecosystem services in ‘a more theoretically nuanced approach’ which yields practical means of researching and assessing cultural benefits (Fish et al., 2016a, p. 215). The paper emerges from a transdisciplinary project on ‘The Cultural Value of Coastlines’, which seeks to define a mechanism for integrating materialist research on cultural benefits into the ecosystem services framework. We demonstrate the need for a more significant role for sense of place as a category of cultural ecosystem services, and for research practices which can account for the material and socially-produced nature of sense of place.
The following titles are freely-available, or include a link to a preprint or postprint.
The Ocean Literacy movement is predominantly driven forward by scientists and educators working in subject areas associated with ocean science. While some in the scientific community have heeded the responsibility to communicate with the general public to increase scientific literacy, reaching and engaging with diverse audiences remains a challenge. Many academic institutions, research centers, and individual scientists use social network sites (SNS) like Twitter to not only promote conferences, journal publications, and scientific reports, but to disseminate resources and information that have the potential to increase the scientific literacy of diverse audiences. As more people turn to social media for news and information, SNSs like Twitter have a great potential to increase ocean literacy, so long as disseminators understand the best practices and limitations of SNS communication. This study analyzed the Twitter account of MaREI – Ireland’s Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy – coordinated by University College Cork Ireland, as a case study. We looked specifically at posts related to ocean literacy to determine what types of audiences are being engaged and what factors need to be considered to increase engagement with intended audiences. Two main findings are presented in this paper. First, we present overall user retweet frequency as a function of post characteristics, highlighting features significant in influencing users’ retweet behavior. Second, we separate users into two types – INREACH and OUTREACH – and identify post characteristics that are statistically relevant in increasing the probability of engaging with an OUTREACH user. The results of this study provide novel insight into the ways in which science-based Twitter users can better use the platform as a vector for science communication and outreach.
Relational values (RV) are values that arise from a relationship with nature, encompassing a sense of place, feelings of well-being (mental and physical health), and cultural, community, or personal identities. With sharks, such values are formed by diverse groups that interact with these animals and their ecosystems, either physically or virtually, whether a scientist, student, fisher, or media-viewer. Further, these user groups may overlap or come into conflict over management plans, media portrayals of sharks, and their conservation status. Although scientists have not explicitly aimed to assess RV through sharks, qualitative studies of shark fishers, tourism operators, tourists, and the public, as well as historical and archeological accounts, can be interpreted through an analytical lens to reveal values which can also be defined as relational. To this end, this review considers studies capturing RV alongside those of economic value (increasingly, the value of a shark is appraised by their financial value in shark tourism) and the social and cultural roles of sharks. Based on these studies and the broader RV literature, we then outline a workflow for how RV can be leveraged in scientific inquiry, equitable resource management, and education. We conclude that via collaborative assessments of RV, with implicit inclusion of multiple values of sharks and by acknowledging their importance to all parties involved in user conflicts, the RV framework can lead to a constructive dialog on polarizing conservation and management issues. By illuminating shared values, and/or revealing dichotomies of values ascribed toward certain areas or objects, this framework can provide inroads to mediation, seeking to conserve or even restore relationships with nature, and their derived values as much as is possible. This approach can yield unexpected knowledge, solutions, and compromises in an increasingly complex conservation landscape.
The MSP Challenge uses game technology and role-play to support communication and learning for Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning. Since 2011, a role-playing game, a board game and a digital interactive simulation platform have been developed. The MSP Challenge editions have been used in workshops, conferences, education, as well as for real life stakeholder engagement. The authors give an overview of the development of the MSP Challenge and reflect on the value of the approach as an engaging and ‘fun’ tool for building mutual understanding and communicating MSP.
Barrier island lagoons are the most common type of estuary in the world and can be prone to eutrophication as well as the formation and closure of ocean inlets via severe storm activity. This study describes the biological, chemical, and physical changes that occurred along the south shore of Long Island, NY, USA, following the formation of a new ocean inlet in eastern Great South Bay (GSB) by Hurricane Sandy in October of 2012. Time series sampling and experiments were performed at multiple locations within GSB and neighboring Moriches Bay from 2013 through to 2018. Historical comparisons to prior water quality monitoring data, fecal coliform concentrations, and hard clam growth rates were also made. Measurements indicated that the New Inlet provided asymmetrical ocean flushing. Within locations north (Bellport Bay) and/or east (Narrow Bay, western Moriches Bay) of the New Inlet, water residence times, summer water temperatures, total and dissolved nitrogen, chlorophyll a, the harmful brown tide alga, Aureococcus anophagefferens, pigments associated with diatoms and dinoflagellates (fucoxanthin and peridinin), and fecal coliform bacteria levels all significantly decreased, while salinity, dissolved oxygen, and water clarity significantly increased. In contrast, waters west of the New Inlet within the center of GSB experienced little change in residence times, significant increases in chlorophyll a and harmful brown tides caused by A. anophagefferens, as well as a significant decrease in water clarity and summer dissolved oxygen levels. Growth rates of juvenile hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria) near the New Inlet increased compared to before the inlet and were significantly higher than in central GSB, where growth rates significantly declined compared to before the inlet. Hence, while enhanced ocean flushing provided a series of key ecosystem benefits for regions near the New Inlet, regions further afield experienced more frequent HABs and poorer performance of bivalves, demonstrating that enhanced ocean flushing provided by the breach was not adequate to fully restore the whole GSB ecosystem.
The UN General Assembly has made a unanimous decision to start negotiations to establish an international, legally-binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity within Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ). However, there has of yet been little discussion on the importance of this move to the ecosystem services provided by coastal zones in their downstream zone of influence. Here, we identify the ecological connectivity between ABNJ and coastal zones as critically important in the negotiation process and apply several approaches to identify some priority areas for protection from the perspective of coastal populations of Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Initially, we review the scientific evidence that demonstrates ecological connectivity between ABNJ and the coastal zones with a focus on the LDCs. We then use ocean modelling to develop a number of metrics and spatial maps that serve to quantify the connectivity of the ABNJ to the coastal zone. We find that the level of exposure to the ABNJ influences varies strongly between countries. Similarly, not all areas of the ABNJ are equal in their impacts on the coastline. Using this method, we identify the areas of the ABNJ that are in the most urgent need of protection on the grounds of the strength of their potential downstream impacts on the coastal populations of LDCs. We argue that indirect negative impacts of the ABNJ fishing, industrialisation and pollution, communicated via oceanographic, cultural and ecological connectivity to the coastal waters of the developing countries should be of concern.
In this paper, we investigate the occurrence and spatial variability of marine heat waves (MHWs) off the southeast coast of Queensland, Australia. The focus is on identifying sea surface temperature (SST) variability in two key ecological hotspots located south of the Australian Great Barrier Reef. This coastal region is bordered in the east by the intensification zone of the East Australian Current (EAC). It includes Hervey Bay, which is part of a UNESCO declared marine biosphere and the Southeast Fraser Island Upwelling System. The analysis of remotely sensed SST for the period 1993 to 2016 identifies the largest number of MHW days for Hervey Bay with a mean length of 12 days. The maximum length of 64 days occurred during the austral summer 2005/2006. The years with the largest number of MHW days was found to occur following the El Niño events in 1998, 2010, and 2016. A cross-correlation and Empirical Orthogonal Function analysis identified a significant correlation with a time lag of 7 months between SST anomalies in the Niño 3.4 region and the southeast Queensland coast. 78% of variance in SST anomalies is explained by the first mode of variability. The strength of the relationship with El Niño was spatially variable and the weakest in Hervey Bay. Due to its sheltered location and shallowness, it is argued that local weather patterns and air-sea fluxes influence this area more than the other two regions, where remotely forced changes in oceanic heat advection may have a stronger impact on generating MHWs. Biodiverse coastal shelf ecosystems are already under tremendous pressure due to human activities. This is likely to be compounded by continued climatic change and an increasing number of MHWs. Thus, similar studies are encouraged for other regional shelfs and smaller scale coastal systems.
Stock enhancement activities provide an opportunity to examine density-dependent suppression of population biomass which is a fundamental issue for resource management and design of no-take-zones. We document ‘catch-and-wait’ fisheries enhancement where all but the largest lobsters are thrown back, recapturing them later after they have grown to a larger size. The residency, rate of return, and potential negative density-dependent effects of this activity are described using a combination of tagging and v-notching and by relating spatial growth patterns to population density defined with Catch Per Unit Effort. The results successfully demonstrated the concept of catch-and-wait practices. However, a density-dependent suppression of growth (in body size) was observed in male lobsters. This demonstrates a mechanism to explain differences in lobster sizes previously observed across EU fishing grounds with different stock densities. This negative effect of density could also affect individual biomass production in marine reserve or no-take zones.
Indicators are effective tools for summarizing and communicating key aspects of ecosystem state and have a long record of use in marine pollution and fisheries management. The application of biodiversity indicators to assess the status of species, habitats, and functional diversity in marine conservation and policy, however, is still developing and multiple indicator roles and features are emerging. For example, some operational biodiversity indicators trigger management action when a threshold is reached, while others play an interpretive, or surveillance, role in informing management. Links between biodiversity indicators and the pressures affecting them are frequently unclear as links can be obscured by environmental change, data limitations, food web dynamics, or the cumulative effects of multiple pressures. In practice, the application of biodiversity indicators to meet marine conservation policy and management demands is developing rapidly in the management realm, with a lag before academic publication detailing indicator development. Making best use of biodiversity indicators depends on sharing and synthesizing cutting-edge knowledge and experience. Using lessons learned from the application of biodiversity indicators in policy and management from around the globe, we define the concept of ‘biodiversity indicators,’ explore barriers to their use and potential solutions, and outline strategies for their effective communication to decision-makers.
We revisit the challenges and prospects for ocean circulation models following Griffies et al. (2010). Over the past decade, ocean circulation models evolved through improved understanding, numerics, spatial discretization, grid configurations, parameterizations, data assimilation, environmental monitoring, and process-level observations and modeling. Important large scale applications over the last decade are simulations of the Southern Ocean, the Meridional Overturning Circulation and its variability, and regional sea level change. Submesoscale variability is now routinely resolved in process models and permitted in a few global models, and submesoscale effects are parameterized in most global models. The scales where nonhydrostatic effects become important are beginning to be resolved in regional and process models. Coupling to sea ice, ice shelves, and high-resolution atmospheric models has stimulated new ideas and driven improvements in numerics. Observations have provided insight into turbulence and mixing around the globe and its consequences are assessed through perturbed physics models. Relatedly, parameterizations of the mixing and overturning processes in boundary layers and the ocean interior have improved. New diagnostics being used for evaluating models alongside present and novel observations are briefly referenced. The overall goal is summarizing new developments in ocean modeling, including: how new and existing observations can be used, what modeling challenges remain, and how simulations can be used to support observations.
There is a growing impetus to increase marine protected areas coverage globally from 6% to 30% in 2030. Successfully establishing and maintaining marine protected areas require incorporating public preferences into their establishment and management. We investigate the role of alternate management regimes (top-down and bottom-up) on preferences for marine protected areas and the marginal rate of substitution between natural and man-made capital using a case study in the Asia-Pacific region of Okinawa, Japan. We implemented a choice experiment survey to infer which attributes of marine protected areas are most important for the respondents. We use our survey results to calculate respondents’ willingness to support marine protected areas in Okinawa. This study contributes to the policy debate on management of marine protected areas with empirical data that characterizes the perception of Okinawan residents with respect to the role of local coastal communities (bottom-up) compared to central government based agencies (top-down) management. We extend the analysis and estimate the trade-offs to residents in Okinawa between natural capital (i.e. coral coverage and marine biodiversity attribute) and man-made capital (i.e. restrictions on coastal development). We find that the underlying management regime affects the local residents’ valuation of the marine protected area with residents showing a higher willingness to support bottom-up management regimes. There is also substantial differences in the willingness to support different characteristics of marine protected areas by management type. Finally, we find that the marginal rate of substitution between natural capital and man-made capital varies by management type such that residents would need to be compensated relatively less in terms of man-made capital in the presence of a policy scenario that proposes an increase in natural capital under a bottom-up management regime.
Microplastics are emergent contaminants in the marine environment. They enter the ocean in a variety of sizes and shapes, with plastic microfiber being the prevalent form in seawater and in the guts of biota. Most of the laboratory experiments on microplastics has been performed with spheres, so knowledge on the interactions of microfibers and marine organisms is limited. In this study we examined the ingestion of microfibers by the sea anemone Aiptasia pallida using three different types of polymers: nylon, polyester and polypropylene. The polymers were offered to both symbiotic (with algal symbionts) and bleached (without algal symbionts) anemones. The polymers were introduced either alone or mixed with brine shrimp homogenate. We observed a higher percentage of nylon ingestion compared to the other polymers when plastic was offered in the absence of shrimp. In contrast, we observed over 80% of the anemones taking up all types of polymers when the plastics were offered in the presence of shrimp. Retention time differed significantly between symbiotic and bleached anemones with faster egestion in symbiotic anemones. Our results suggest that ingestion of microfibers by sea anemones is dependent both on the type of polymers and on the presence of chemical cues of prey in seawater. The decreased ability of bleached anemones to reject plastic microfiber indicates that the susceptibility of anthozoans to plastic pollution is exacerbated by previous exposure to other stressors. This is particularly concerning given that coral reef ecosystems are facing increases in the frequency and intensity of bleaching events due to global change stressors such as ocean warming and acidification.
Human-induced climate change such as ocean warming and acidification, threatens marine ecosystems and associated fisheries. In the Western Baltic cod stock socio-ecological links are particularly important, with many relying on cod for their livelihoods. A series of recent experiments revealed that cod populations are negatively affected by climate change, but an ecological-economic assessment of the combined effects, and advice on optimal adaptive management are still missing. For Western Baltic cod, the increase in larval mortality due to ocean acidification has experimentally been quantified. Time-series analysis allows calculating the temperature effect on recruitment. Here, we include both processes in a stock-recruitment relationship, which is part of an ecological-economic optimization model. The goal was to quantify the effects of climate change on the triple bottom line (ecological, economic, social) of the Western Baltic cod fishery. Ocean warming has an overall negative effect on cod recruitment in the Baltic. Optimal management would react by lowering fishing mortality with increasing temperature, to create a buffer against climate change impacts. The negative effects cannot be fully compensated, but even at 3 °C warming above the 2014 level, a reduced but viable fishery would be possible. However, when accounting for combined effects of ocean warming and acidification, even optimal fisheries management cannot adapt to changes beyond a warming of +1.5° above the current level. Our results highlight the need for multi-factorial climate change research, in order to provide the best available, most realistic, and precautionary advice for conservation of exploited species as well as their connected socio-economic systems.
Coastal sand dunes are complex transitional systems hosting high levels of biodiversity and providing important benefits to society. In this paper we aimed to evaluate the multi-service nature of ecosystem services (ES) supply in the dunes of the Italian Adriatic coast within Natura 2000 (N2K) sites. We i) identified ES indicators and assessed the supply capacity (Climate regulation, Protection from wind and aerosol, Erosion regulation, Recreation and Tourism and Existence value of biodiversity) of natural dune ecosystems of European conservation concern; ii) upscaled this data to create an inventory of ES supply for all dune N2K sites in the study area; iii) explored the trade-offs among ES; and iv) summarized and spatially compared the overall multi-service value of the N2K sites.
The study provides a method for quantifying the role of N2K sites in supplying benefits for our society. We found that the multi-service capacity of coastal dunes is uneven within sites and within administrative regions. This variability is related to both ecological (e.g. distribution, ecological integrity, extent and conservation status of dune habitats) and administrative (e.g. local implementation of the Habitats Directive) characteristics of the analysed area. ES are not coupled as several sites with high values for one ES show very low values for others.
The results suggest that conservation actions should favour restoration of the natural dune zonation, since this underpins multi-service ES supply. The approach can distinguish regions with high ES values and regions where the paucity of protected areas represents a gap in ES supply, fact that offers an incentive to enhance the protection strategy but also suggests an urgent need to improve the N2K network by enlarging existent sites and including new ones.
The Mediterranean sperm whale population is listed as ‘Endangered”. The Hellenic Trench is the core habitat of the eastern Mediterranean sperm whale sub-population that numbers two to three hundred individuals. Major shipping routes running on or very close to the 1000 m depth contour along the Hellenic Trench are causing an unsustainable number of ship-strikes with sperm whales reviewed in this paper. Sperm whale sighting and density data were combined with specific information on the vessel traffic in the area (e.g., types of vessels, traffic patterns, speed and traffic density), in order to estimate the risk of a whale/ship interaction. Routing options to significantly reduce ship strike risk by a small offshore shift in shipping routes were identified. The overall collision risk for sperm whales in the study area would be reduced by around 70%, while a maximum of 11 nautical miles would be added to major routes and only around 5 nautical miles for the majority of ships. No negative impacts were associated with re-routing by shipping away from sperm whale habitat and there would be additional shipping safety and environmental benefits. A significant contribution to the overall conservation status of the marine Natura2000 sites in the area and very important population units of threatened species such as Cuvier’s beaked whales, monk seals and loggerhead turtles would be achieved, by the reduction of shipping noise and reduced risk of any oil spills reaching the coasts, which are also important touristic destinations in Greece.
Procellariiformes are the most threatened bird group globally, and the group with the highest frequency of marine debris ingestion. Marine debris ingestion is a globally recognized threat to marine biodiversity, yet the relationship between how much debris a bird ingests and mortality remains poorly understood. Using cause of death data from 1733 seabirds of 51 species, we demonstrate a signifcant relationship between ingested debris and a debris-ingestion cause of death (dose-response). There is a 20.4% chance of lifetime mortality from ingesting a single debris item, rising to 100% after consuming 93 items. Obstruction of the gastro-intestinal tract is the leading cause of death. Overall, balloons are the highest-risk debris item; 32 times more likely to result in death than ingesting hard plastic. These fndings have signifcant implications for quantifying seabird mortality due to debris ingestion, and provide identifable policy targets aimed to reduce mortality for threatened species worldwide.
There are no doubts that plastics problem in the ocean environment has become an increasingly worldwide focus in past several decades. A number of experts regard the plastic wastes as one of the hardest anthropogenic threats. The degraded items of large individual plastics lead to millions of microplstics (MPs) ultimately. As a result, the new pollution has appeared in the ocean. The ever-growing MPs have been detected in subtotal sea products, such as sea food and table salts. The MPs can bring potential health risk to people by enrichment in sea products. Furthermore, the economic development of offshore fishery and the marine tourism have been inhibited badly. This article will make a brief review on present studies about MPs in the ocean.
Oil spills are serious environmental issues that potentially can cause adverse effects on marine ecosystems. In some marine areas, like the Baltic Sea, there is a large number of wrecks from the first half of the 20th century, and recent monitoring and field work have revealed release of oil from some of these wrecks. The risk posed by a wreck is governed by its condition, hazardous substances contained in the wreck and the state of the surrounding environment. Therefore, there is a need for a common standard method for estimating the risks associated with different wrecks. In this work a state-of-the-art model is presented for spatial and stochastic risk assessment of oil spills from wrecks, enabling a structured approach to include the complex factors affecting the risk values. A unique feature of this model is its specific focus on uncertainty, facilitating probabilistic calculation of the total risk as the integral expected sum of many possible consequences. A case study is performed in Kattegat at the entrance region to the Baltic Sea to map the risk from a wreck near Sweden. The developed model can be used for oil spill risk assessment in the marine environment all over the world.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an area-based conservation strategy commonly used to safeguard marine biodiversity and ecosystem services. Ecological connectivity governs the exchange of individuals among spatially fragmented habitats and is often highlighted as an important element in the design of MPAs. However, the degree to which measured or modelled representations of connectivity are applied to marine management decisions worldwide remains unclear. We reviewed the scientific and management literature to explore the application of connectivity in MPAs located in six countries or regions with advanced marine spatial planning. Only 11% of the 746 MPAs we examined considered connectivity as an ecological criterion, increasingly so since 2007. Landscape measures such as habitat linkages were used most frequently by managers and genetic and modelling approaches by scientists. Of the MPAs that considered connectivity, 71% were for state marine conservation areas or reserves in California and commonwealth marine reserves in Australia. This pattern indicates substantial geographic bias. We propose that the incorporation of connectivity in conservation planning needs to become more accessible to practitioners and provide four recommendations that together will allow scientists and managers to bridge this gap: 1. determine whether to prioritize connectivity as an ecological criterion, 2. identify the role of an MPA in supporting connectivity, 3. identify the appropriate spatial and temporal scale of connectivity, and 4. improve regional knowledge of connectivity patterns. We also propose a framework to facilitate the communication of metrics and patterns of connectivity between scientists and practitioners to apply the best available information in the design and adaptive management of MPAs and networks of MPAs.
While sponges are well‐known to be suspension feeders, consumption of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) has recently been highlighted as a mechanism whereby sponges may avoid food limitation. Further, the sponge‐loop hypothesis proposes that sponges consume DOC and then release shed cellular detritus back to the reef benthos. We examined the carbon flux mediated by the giant barrel sponge, Xestospongia testudinaria, on reefs in the Red Sea across an inshore–offshore gradient that had previously been proposed to affect sponge nutrition in other parts of the tropics. Seawater samples were collected from the incurrent and excurrent flow of 35 sponges. Concentrations of total organic carbon and its components, DOC, live particulate organic carbon (LPOC), and detritus, were all significantly higher in incurrent seawater on inshore than offshore reefs. The diet of X. testudinaria was comprised primarily of DOC and detritus, with mean values across all reef sites of 61.5% DOC, 34.6% detritus, and 3.9% LPOC. Across the inshore–offshore gradient, there was evidence (1) of a threshold concentration of DOC (≈ 79 μmol C Lseawater−1) below which sponges ceased to be net consumers of DOC, and (2) that sponges on offshore reefs were food limited, with a mean carbon deficit relative to sponges on inshore reef sites. Sponges on offshore reef sites exhibited higher pumping rates, perhaps indicating optimal foraging for POC. As previously demonstrated for Xestospongia muta, and contrary to the sponge‐loop hypothesis, there was no evidence that X. testudinaria returned DOC to the benthos in the form of detritus.