Solid-liquid filtration is a ubiquitous process found in industrial and biological systems. Although implementations vary widely, almost all filtration systems are based on a small set of fundamental separation mechanisms, including sieve, cross-flow, hydrosol, and cyclonic separation. Anatomical studies showed that manta rays have a highly specialized filter-feeding apparatus that does not resemble previously described filtration systems. We examined the fluid flow around the manta filter-feeding apparatus using a combination of physical modeling and computational fluid dynamics. Our results indicate that manta rays use a unique solid-fluid separation mechanism in which direct interception of particles with wing-like structures causes particles to “ricochet” away from the filter pores. This filtration mechanism separates particles smaller than the pore size, allows high flow rates, and resists clogging.
The following titles are freely-available, or include a link to a preprint or postprint.
Aquaculture is a booming industry. It currently supplies almost half of all fish and shellfish eaten today, and it continues to grow faster than any other food production sector. But it is immature relative to terrestrial crop and livestock sectors, and as a consequence it lags behind in terms of the use of aquaculture specific financial risk management tools. In particular, the use of insurance instruments to manage weather related losses is little used. In the aquaculture industry there is a need for new insurance products that achieve both financial gains, in terms of reduced production and revenue risk, and environmental wins, in terms of incentivizing improved management practices. Here, we have developed a cooperative form of indemnity insurance for application to small-holder aquaculture communities in developing nations. We use and advance the theory of risk pools, applying it to an aquaculture community in Myanmar, using empirical data recently collected from a comprehensive farm survey. These data were used to parameterize numerical simulations of this aquaculture system with and without a risk pool. Results highlight the benefits and costs of a risk pool, for various combinations of key parameters. This information reveals a path forward for creating new risk management products for aquaculturalists around the world.
Knowing the spatial scales at which effective management can be implemented is fundamental for conservation planning. This is especially important for mobile species, which can be exposed to threats across large areas, but the space use requirements of different species can vary to an extent that might render some management approaches inefficient. Here the space use patterns of seabirds were examined to provide guidance on whether conservation management approaches should be tailored for taxonomic groups with different movement characteristics. Seabird tracking data were synthesised from 5419 adult breeding individuals of 52 species in ten families that were collected in the Atlantic Ocean basin between 1998 and 2017. Two key aspects of spatial distribution were quantified, namely how far seabirds ranged from their colony, and to what extent individuals from the same colony used the same areas at sea. There was evidence for substantial differences in patterns of space-use among the ten studied seabird families, indicating that several alternative conservation management approaches are needed. Several species exhibited large foraging ranges and little aggregation at sea, indicating that area-based conservation solutions would have to be extremely large to adequately protect such species. The results highlight that short-ranging and aggregating species such as cormorants, auks, some penguins, and gulls would benefit from conservation approaches at relatively small spatial scales during their breeding season. However, improved regulation of fisheries, bycatch, pollution and other threats over large spatial scales will be needed for wide-ranging and dispersed species such as albatrosses, petrels, storm petrels and frigatebirds.frigatebirds.
Marine monitoring in the northeast Atlantic is delivered within identifiable monitoring themes, established through time and defined by the geographical area and policy drivers they serve, the sampling methodologies they use, their assessment methodologies, their funding and governance structures and the people or organisations involved in their implementation. Within a monitoring theme, essential components for effective monitoring are governance, strategy and work plan, sampling protocols, quality assurance, and data and assessment structures. This simple framework is used to analyse two monitoring theme case studies; national ecosystem health monitoring, and regional fish stock monitoring. Such essential component analyses, within marine monitoring themes, can help improve monitoring implementation by identifying gaps and overlaps. Once monitoring themes are recognised, explicitly defined and streamlined, travel towards integrated monitoring may be made easier as the current lack of clarity in thematic marine monitoring implementation is one barrier to integration at both national and regional scales.
It is proposed that emissions of volatile sulfur compounds by coral reefs contribute to the formation of a biologically-derived feedback on sea surface temperature (SST) through the formation of marine biogenic aerosol (MBA). The direction and strength of this feedback remains uncertain and constitutes a fundamental constraint on predicting the ability of corals to cope with future ocean warming. We investigate the effects of elevated SST and irradiance on satellite-derived fine-mode aerosol optical depth (AOD) throughout the Great Barrier Reef, Australia (GBR) over an 18-year time period. AOD is positively correlated with SST and irradiance and increases two-fold during spring and summer with high frequency variability. As the influence of non-biogenic and distant aerosol sources are found to be negligible, the results support recent findings that the 2,300 km stretch of coral reefs can be a substantial source of biogenic aerosol and thus, influence local ocean albedo. Importantly however, a tipping point in the coral stress response is identified, whereby thermal stress reaches a point that exceeds the capacity of corals to influence local atmospheric properties. Beyond this point, corals may become more susceptible to permanent damage with increasing stress, with potential implications for mass coral bleaching events.
The loss of coral cover is often accompanied by an increase of benthic algae, a decline in biodiversity and habitat complexity. However, it remains unclear how surrounding communities influence the trajectories of re-colonization between pulse disturbance events. Over a 12-month field experiment in the central Red Sea, we examined how healthy (hard-coral dominated) and degraded (algae-dominated) reef areas influence recruitment and succession patterns of benthic reef foundation communities on bare substrates. Crustose coralline algae and other calcifiers were important colonizers in the healthy reef area, promoting the accumulation of inorganic carbon. Contrary, substrates in the degraded area were predominantly colonized by turf algae, lowering the accumulation of inorganic carbon by 178%. While coral larvae settlement similarly occurred in both habitats, degraded areas showed 50% fewer recruits. Our findings suggest that in degraded reefs the replenishment of adult coral populations is reduced due to recruitment inhibition through limited habitat complexity and grazing pressure, thereby restraining reef recovery.
Hazards resulting from asteroid ocean impacts were modelled using hydrocode simulations to examine the near-field effects including the initial formation and subsequent long range propagation of tsunami waves that can transport potentially damaging energy far from the impact site.
Three-dimensional simulations of oblique impacts into deep water, with trajectory angles ranging from 27° to 60° above the horizontal, were performed with the Los Alamos Rage hydrocode. The simulations include atmospheric effects such as ablation and airbursts. These oblique impact simulations are performed in order to help determine whether there are additional dangers due to the obliquity of impact not covered by previous studies. The energy transferred to both the air blast wave and the water are calculated as well as the amount of sea water lofted into the upper atmosphere. Water crater sizes and subsequent surface elevation profiles, surface pressures, and depth-averaged mass fluxes within the water are prepared for use in far-field propagation studies. Like previous three-dimensional simulations, these simulations show that except at exceedingly shallow entry angles below those simulated here the resulting waves are roughly circular and that the initial waves and central jet oscillation are highly turbulent and dissipate a lot of the energy.
Two-dimensional axisymmetric simulations of long range propagation of impact tsunami were performed using the Lawrence Livermore ALE3D hydrocode on the NASA Pleiades supercomputer. These simulations showed that impacts under 1 gigaton TNT equivalent into the deep ocean basins will create deep-water waves that undergo dispersion, whereas impacts onto continental shelves will create shallow-water waves that do not suffer dispersion. The simulations also showed that on the order of 1% of the kinetic energy of the impact is converted into the tsunami wave. This is an order of magnitude less than previous semi-empirical estimates of ∼15% based on explosion test data and laboratory scale impacts.
Prevalence of microplastics (MPs) throughout the world's oceans has raised growing concerns due to its detrimental effects on the environment and living organisms. Most recent studies of MPs, however, have focused on the estuaries and coastal regions. There is a lack of study of MPs pollution in the open ocean. In the present study, we conducted field observations to investigate the abundance, spatial distribution, and characteristics (composite, size, color, shape and surface morphology) of MPs at the surface of the Northwestern Pacific Ocean. Samples of MPs were collected at 18 field stations in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean using a surface manta trawl with a mesh size of ~330 μm and width of 1 m from August 25 to September 26, 2017. The MPs were characterized using light microscopy, Micro-Raman spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Our field survey results indicate the ubiquity of MPs at all stations with an abundance from 6.4 × 102 items km−2 to 4.2 × 104 items km−2 and an average abundance of 1.0 × 104 items km−2. The Micro-Raman spectroscopic analysis of the MPs samples collected during our field survey indicates that the dominant MPs is polyethylene (57.8%), followed by polypropylene (36.0%) and nylon (3.4%). The individual chemical compositions of MPs from the stations within the latitude range 123–146°E are comparable with each other, with PE being the dominating composition. Similar chemical fingerprints were observed at these field stations, suggesting that the MPs originated from similar sources. In contrast, the major MPs at the field stations adjacent to Japan is polypropylene, which may originate from the nearby land along the coast of Japan. Physical oceanography parameters were also collected at these stations. The spatial distribution of MPs is largely attributed to the combined effects of flow pattern, adjacent ocean circulation eddies, the Kuroshio and Kuroshio Extension system.
Fishing intensity and selectivity patterns affect ecosystem structure and fisheries yield, the 2 fundamental performance measures in the ecosystem approach to fisheries. We used a simple multispecies predation model to explore the effect of alternative fishing strategies on a 3‑trophic-level food chain. Fishing strategies included highly selective fishing, nonselective fishing, and balanced harvesting that harvests all species at an instantaneous fishing mortality rate either proportional to intrinsic population growth rate or proportional to current population growth rate. The results showed that harvesting species at higher trophic levels has a low impact on total biomass but results in very low yields and severe impacts on trophic structure. Selectively harvesting species at the bottom of the food chain reduces the biomass of all fish, results in high yields, and is the only strategy that maintains unfished trophic structure. Non-selective fishing produces high total yield, but can cause extinction of fish at high trophic levels, and severely alters the trophic structure. Balanced harvest strategies produce higher total yield than harvesting species only at the bottom of the food chain, and have a smaller impact on trophic structure than selectively harvesting the top predator or nonselective fishing, but cannot fully maintain trophic structure. While these findings from a very simple model can provide insight into results from more complex models, analysis of sensitivity to structural assumptions in such simple models will be required to shed further light on the dynamic consequences of fishing across multiple trophic levels.
During the planning phase the efficacy of different strategies to manage marine resources should ultimately be assessed by their potential impact, or ability to make a difference to ecological and social outcomes. While community‐based and systematic approaches to establishing marine protected areas have their strengths and weaknesses, comparisons of their effectiveness often fail to explicitly address potential impact. Here, we predict conservation impact to compare recently implemented community‐based marine reserves in Tonga to a systematic configuration specifically aimed at maximizing impact. Boosted regression tree outputs indicated that fishing pressure accounted for ∼24% of variation in target species biomass. We estimate that the community‐based approach provides 84% of the recovery potential of the configuration with the greatest potential impact. This high potential impact results from community‐based reserves being located close to villages, where fishing pressure is greatest. These results provide strong support for community‐based marine management, with short‐term benefits likely to accrue even where there is little scope for systematic reserve design.
Manta and devil rays are filter-feeding elasmobranchs that are found circumglobally in tropical and subtropical waters. Although relatively understudied for most of the Twentieth century, public awareness and scientific research on these species has increased dramatically in recent years. Much of this attention has been in response to targeted fisheries, international trade in mobulid products, and a growing concern over the fate of exploited populations. Despite progress in mobulid research, major knowledge gaps still exist, hindering the development of effective management and conservation strategies. We assembled 30 leaders and emerging experts in the fields of mobulid biology, ecology, and conservation to identify pressing knowledge gaps that must be filled to facilitate improved science-based management of these vulnerable species. We highlight focal research topics in the subject areas of taxonomy and diversity, life history, reproduction and nursery areas, population trends, bycatch and fisheries, spatial dynamics and movements, foraging and diving, pollution and contaminants, and sub-lethal impacts. Mobulid rays remain a poorly studied group, and therefore our list of important knowledge gaps is extensive. However, we hope that this identification of high priority knowledge gaps will stimulate and focus future mobulid research.
Bringing western science and policy together with Traditional Knowledge and values from indigenous communities for ocean planning is lacking and a framework is needed. This article articulates indigenous perspectives about the ocean and a culturally appropriate methodology developed in the Bering Strait region for a visioning process that can be used to bridge western and indigenous value systems. Recommendations for an indigenous approach focused on inclusion, the examination of values, adequate representation, and Tribal direction in ocean planning and policy are made. This approach is needed to move forward on a path to achieving more equitable, sustainable and inclusive ocean planning for the future.
Systematic conservation planning (SCP) has increasingly been used to prioritize conservation actions, including the design of new protected areas to achieve conservation objectives. Over the last 10 years, the number of marine SCP studies has increased exponentially, yet there is no structured or reliable way to find information on methods, trends, and progress. The rapid growth in methods and marine applications warrants an updated analysis of the literature, as well as reflection on the need for continuous and systematic documentation of SCP exercises in general. To address these gaps, we developed a database to document SCP exercises and populated it with 155 marine SCP exercises found in the primary literature. Based on our review, we provide an update on global advances and trends in marine SCP literature. We found accelerating growth in the number of studies over the past decade, with increasing consideration of socioeconomic variables, land-sea planning, and ecological connectivity. While several studies aimed to inform conservation decisions, we found little evidence of input from practitioners. There are important gaps in geographic coverage and little correspondence with areas most threatened. Five countries lead most studies, but their networks suggest potential for capacity building through collaborations. The varying quality and detail in documentation of studies confirmed the limited opportunities to develop and assess the application of best practice in conservation planning. A global database to track the development, implementation, and impact of SCP applications can thus provide numerous benefits. Our database constitutes an important step towards the development of a centralized repository of information on planning exercises and can serve several roles to advance SCP theory and practice: it facilitates assessing geographic coverage and gaps; scientists and practitioners can access information to identify trends in the use of data, methods, and tools; reviewers and editors of journals can assess whether studies have covered important literature and developments; donors and non-government organizations can identify regions needing further work; and practitioners and policy-makers can learn from previous plans.
Ocean acidification typically reduces calcification in tropical marine corals but the mechanism for this process is not understood. We use skeletal boron geochemistry (B/Ca and δ11B) to reconstruct the calcification fluid DIC of corals cultured over both high and low seawater pCO2 (180, 400 and 750 μatm). We observe strong positive correlations between calcification fluid pH and concentrations of the DIC species potentially implicated in aragonite precipitation (be they CO32−, HCO3− or HCO3− + CO32−). Similarly, with the exception of one outlier, the fluid concentrations of precipitating DIC species are strongly positively correlated with coral calcification rate. Corals cultured at high seawater pCO2usually have low calcification fluid pH and low concentrations of precipitating DIC, suggesting that a reduction in DIC substrate at the calcification site is responsible for decreased calcification. The outlier coral maintained high pHCF and DICCF at high seawater pCO2 but exhibited a reduced calcification rate indicating that the coral has a limited energy budget to support proton extrusion from the calcification fluid and meet other calcification demands. We find no evidence that increasing seawater pCO2 enhances diffusion of CO2into the calcification site. Instead the overlying [CO2] available to diffuse into the calcification site appears broadly comparable between seawater pCO2 treatments, implying that metabolic activity (respiration and photosynthesis) generates a similar [CO2] in the vicinity of the calcification site regardless of seawater pCO2.
During traditional boat-based surveys of marine megafauna, behavioral observations are typically limited to records of animal surfacings obtained from a horizontal perspective. Achieving an aerial perspective has been restricted to brief helicopter or airplane based observations that are costly, noisy, and risky. The emergence of commercial small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) has significantly reduced these constraints to provide a stable, relatively quiet, and inexpensive platform that enables replicate observations for prolonged periods with minimal disturbance. The potential of UAS for behavioral observation appears immense, yet quantitative proof of utility as an observational tool is required. We use UAS footage of gray whales foraging in the coastal waters of Oregon, United States to develop video behavior analysis methods, determine the change in observation time enabled by UAS, and describe unique behaviors observed via UAS. Boat-based behavioral observations from 53 gray whale sightings between May and October 2016 were compared to behavioral data extracted from video analysis of UAS flights during those sightings. We used a DJI Phantom 3 Pro or 4 Advanced, recorded video from an altitude ≥25 m, and detected no behavioral response by whales to the UAS. Two experienced whale ethologists conducted UAS video behavioral analysis, including tabulation of whale behavior states and events, and whale surface time and whale visible time (total time the whale was visible including underwater). UAS provided three times more observational capacity than boat-based observations alone (300 vs. 103 min). When observation time is accounted for, UAS data provided more and longer observations of all primary behavior states (travel, forage, social, and rest) relative to boat-based data, especially foraging. Furthermore, UAS enable documentation of multiple novel gray whale foraging tactics (e.g., headstands: n = 58; side-swimming: n = 17; jaw snapping and flexing: n = 10) and 33 social events (nursing and pair coordinated surfacings) not identified from boat-based observation. This study demonstrates the significant added value of UAS to marine megafauna behavior and ecological studies. With technological advances, robust study designs, and effective analytical tools, we foresee increased UAS applications to marine megafauna studies to elucidate foraging strategies, habitat associations, social patterns, and response to human disturbance.
Slow growing, massive stony corals have often been overlooked in reef-restoration activities, despite their resilience to climate change and contribution to reef framework. Techniques to effectively propagate and outplant these species have proven challenging. However, advancement in methodology may increase rates of success. In 2013, Orbicella faveolataand Montastrea cavernosa fragments were outplanted on reefs in the Florida Keys at a nearshore and offshore location, to determine whether “microfragmenting” corals, the process of creating ∼1 cm2 fragments, increased outplant survival and growth compared with larger fragments (16–64 cm2).
Arrays of eight microfragments were planted near one larger fragment of similar size at each location. Six replicate pairs were haphazardly placed within each ∼700 m2 study site. Fragments at both sites were monitored for growth and survival over 31 months, spanning two bleaching events. Initial predation occurred on microfragments, but was absent in the larger fragments. Survival and growth differed between sites, but did not differ between the larger fragments and microfragment arrays. However, excluding plots with >40% predation at the nearshore site showed that O. faveolata microfragment arrays produced 10 times more tissue than traditionally used larger fragments. Results from this study suggest that if predation events are reduced, massive corals can be successfully grown and outplanted for restoration purposes.
The accepted geographic range of a species is related to both opportunity and effort in sampling that range. In deepwater ecosystems where human access is limited, the geographic ranges of many marine species are likely to be underestimated. A chance recording from baited cameras deployed on deep uncharted reef revealed an eastern blue devil fish (Paraplesiops bleekeri) at a depth of 51 m and more than 2 km further down the continental shelf slope than previously observed. This is the first verifiable observation of eastern blue devil fish, a protected and endemic southeastern Australian temperate reef species, at depths greater than the typically accepted depth range of 30 m. Knowledge on the ecology of this and many other reef species is indeed often limited to shallow coastal reefs, which are easily accessible by divers and researchers. Suitable habitat for many reef species appears to exist on deeper offshore reefs but is likely being overlooked due to the logistics of conducting research on these often uncharted habitats. On the basis of our observation at a depth of 51 m and observations by recreational fishers catching eastern blue devil fishes on deep offshore reefs, we suggest that the current depth range of eastern blue devil fish is being underestimated at 30 m. We also observed several common reef species well outside of their accepted depth range. Notably, immaculate damsel (Mecaenichthys immaculatus), red morwong (Cheilodactylus fuscus), mado (Atypichthys strigatus), white-ear (Parma microlepis) and silver sweep (Scorpis lineolata) were abundant and recorded in a number of locations at up to a depth of at least 55 m. This underestimation of depth potentially represents a large area of deep offshore reefs and micro-habitats out on the continental shelf that could contribute to the resilience of eastern blue devil fish to extinction risk and contribute to the resilience of many reef species to climate change.
The North Norfolk coast is a naturally eroding coastline that has been subject to various management strategies over time, many of which have impeded its natural evolution. The Kelling to Lowestoft-Ness Shoreline Management Plan underpins management of the North Norfolk coast, advocating policies of managed realignment and no active intervention for much of this coastline. Implementation of these policies would give rise to significant loss of housing in North Norfolk during the course of this century. This has caused intense conflict between local communities and coastal planners, with the former feeling abandoned to the vagaries of natural coastal processes. Coastal planners need to work closely with local communities to implement a long-term vision for a sustainable coast. The issues of conflicting land-use planning policies and compensation for affected communities must be addressed. The wider implications of current management strategies are not fully understood and may, in some cases, be unsustainable.
The recent moratorium on the commercial at-sea driftnet fishery for wild Irish Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) attempts to halt the decline witnessed in these stocks over the past three decades. The research investigated stakeholder attitudes to the perceived effects on stock recovery, in Irish rivers and estuaries, of seal predation and seal culling. Structured interviews conducted with 10 key stakeholders during June 2007 revealed divisive attitudes and a feeling of powerlessness in relation to stock recovery, which are impeding successful management of salmon stocks. However, areas of common ground exist between stakeholders, which lay the foundation for a sustainable way forward.
Concerns about the social consequences of conservation have spurred increased attention the monitoring and evaluation of the social impacts of conservation projects. This has resulted in a growing body of research that demonstrates how conservation can produce both positive and negative social, economic, cultural, health, and governance consequences for local communities. Yet, the results of social monitoring efforts are seldom applied to adaptively manage conservation projects. Greater attention is needed to incorporating the results of social impact assessments in long‐term conservation management to minimize negative social consequences and maximize social benefits. We bring together insights from social impact assessment, adaptive management, social learning, knowledge coproduction, cross‐scale governance, and environmental planning to propose a definition and framework for adaptive social impact management (ASIM). We define ASIM as the cyclical process of monitoring and adaptively managing social impacts over the life‐span of an initiative through the 4 stages of profiling, learning, planning, and implementing. We outline 14 steps associated with the 4 stages of the ASIM cycle and provide guidance and potential methods for social‐indicator development, predictive assessments of social impacts, monitoring and evaluation, communication of results, and identification and prioritization of management responses. Successful ASIM will be aided by engaging with best practices – including local engagement and collaboration in the process, transparent communication of results to stakeholders, collective deliberation on and choice of interventions, documentation of shared learning at the site level, and the scaling up of insights to inform higher‐level conservation policies‐to increase accountability, trust, and perceived legitimacy among stakeholders. The ASIM process is broadly applicable to conservation, environmental management, and development initiatives at various scales and in different contexts.