Literature Library

Currently indexing 8094 titles

Assessing the environmental status of selected North Atlantic deep-sea ecosystems

Kazanidis G, Orejas C, Borja A, Kenchington E, Henry L-A, Callery O, Carreiro-Silva M, Egilsdottir H, Giacomello E, Grehan A, et al. Assessing the environmental status of selected North Atlantic deep-sea ecosystems. Ecological Indicators [Internet]. 2020 ;119:106624. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1470160X20305616?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The deep sea is the largest biome on Earth but the least explored. Our knowledge of it comes from scattered sources spanning different spatial and temporal scales. Implementation of marine policies like the European Union’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and support for Blue Growth in the deep sea are therefore hindered by lack of data. Integrated assessments of environmental status require tools to work with different and disaggregated datasets (e.g. density of deep-sea habitat-forming species, body-size distribution of commercial fishes, intensity of bottom trawling) across spatial and temporal scales. A feasibility study was conducted as part of the four-year ATLAS project to assess the effectiveness of the open-access Nested Environmental status Assessment Tool (NEAT) to assess deep-sea environmental status. We worked at nine selected study areas in the North Atlantic focusing on five MSFD descriptors (D1-Biodiversity, D3-Commercial fish and shellfish, D4-Food webs, D6-Seafloor integrity, D10-Marine litter). The objectives of the present study were to i) explore and propose indicators that could be used in the assessment of deep-sea environmental status, ii) evaluate the performance of NEAT in the deep sea, and iii) identify challenges and opportunities for the assessment of deep-sea status. Based on data availability, data quality and expert judgement, in total 24 indicators (one for D1, one for D3, seven for D4, 13 for D6, two for D10) were used in the assessment of the nine study areas, their habitats and ecosystem components. NEAT analyses revealed differences among the study areas for their environmental status ranging from “poor” to “high”. Overall, the NEAT results were in moderate to complete agreement with expert judgement, previous assessments, scientific literature on human-pressure gradients and expected management outcomes. We suggest that the assessment of deep-sea environmental status should take place at habitat and ecosystem level (rather than at species level) and at relatively large spatial scales, in comparison to shallow-water areas. Limited knowledge across space (e.g. distribution of habitat-forming species) and the scarcity of long-term data sets limit our knowledge about natural variability and human impacts in the deep sea preventing a more systematic assessment of habitat and ecosystem components in the deep sea. However, stronger cross-sectoral collaborations, the use of novel technologies and open data-sharing platforms will be critical for establishing environmental baseline indicator values in the deep sea that will contribute to the science base supporting the implementation of marine policies and stimulating Blue Growth.

Gaps in current Baltic Sea environmental monitoring – Science versus management perspectives

Kahlert M, Eilola K, Mack L, Meissner K, Sandin L, Strömberg H, Uusitalo L, Viktorsson L, Liess A. Gaps in current Baltic Sea environmental monitoring – Science versus management perspectives. Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 2020 ;160:111669. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X20307876?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Legislations and commitments regulate Baltic Sea status assessments and monitoring. These assessments suffer from monitoring gaps that need prioritization. We used three sources of information; scientific articles, project reports and a stakeholder survey to identify gaps in relation to requirements set by the HELCOM's Baltic Sea Action Plan, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Water Framework Directive. The most frequently mentioned gap was that key requirements are not sufficiently monitored in space and time. Biodiversity monitoring was the category containing most gaps. However, whereas more than half of the gaps in reports related to biodiversity, scientific articles pointed out many gaps in the monitoring of pollution and water quality. An important finding was that the three sources differed notably with respect to which gaps were mentioned most often. Thus, conclusions about gap prioritization for management should be drawn after carefully considering the different viewpoints of scientists and stakeholders.

Struggling over shellfish: How diverging perceptions of marine nature distort deliberative governance

de Koning S, Steins NA, Toonen HM. Struggling over shellfish: How diverging perceptions of marine nature distort deliberative governance. Ocean & Coastal Management [Internet]. 2020 ;198:105384. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964569120302921?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Deliberative governance is gaining increasing attention in the management of natural resources with conflicting stakes. Although disputed knowledge is known to affect deliberation, the role of perceptions is understudied. Based on a case study in the Dutch Wadden Sea, a marine protected area, we examine the social representations of shellfish fisheries and marine nature of stakeholders within one deliberative governance arrangement, the Mussel Covenant. Our results show that within this covenant there are two opposing social representations of marine nature which both are not in line with the agreed objectives. Instead, governmental policies still form the guidelines to covenant decisions. We conclude that diverging representations and state-influence decrease deliberation. Therefore, we argue that deliberative governance is not possible without explicitly considering the different cognitive, normative and expressive meanings attached to the marine area or issue at stake. To achieve deliberation, values of stakeholders should explicitly be acknowledged and discussed, and state-influence should be kept to a minimum.

Assessing the environmental status of selected North Atlantic deep-sea ecosystems

Kazanidis G, Orejas C, Borja A, Kenchington E, Henry L-A, Callery O, Carreiro-Silva M, Egilsdottir H, Giacomello E, Grehan A, et al. Assessing the environmental status of selected North Atlantic deep-sea ecosystems. Ecological Indicators [Internet]. 2020 ;119:106624. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1470160X20305616?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The deep sea is the largest biome on Earth but the least explored. Our knowledge of it comes from scattered sources spanning different spatial and temporal scales. Implementation of marine policies like the European Union’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and support for Blue Growth in the deep sea are therefore hindered by lack of data. Integrated assessments of environmental status require tools to work with different and disaggregated datasets (e.g. density of deep-sea habitat-forming species, body-size distribution of commercial fishes, intensity of bottom trawling) across spatial and temporal scales. A feasibility study was conducted as part of the four-year ATLAS project to assess the effectiveness of the open-access Nested Environmental status Assessment Tool (NEAT) to assess deep-sea environmental status. We worked at nine selected study areas in the North Atlantic focusing on five MSFD descriptors (D1-Biodiversity, D3-Commercial fish and shellfish, D4-Food webs, D6-Seafloor integrity, D10-Marine litter). The objectives of the present study were to i) explore and propose indicators that could be used in the assessment of deep-sea environmental status, ii) evaluate the performance of NEAT in the deep sea, and iii) identify challenges and opportunities for the assessment of deep-sea status. Based on data availability, data quality and expert judgement, in total 24 indicators (one for D1, one for D3, seven for D4, 13 for D6, two for D10) were used in the assessment of the nine study areas, their habitats and ecosystem components. NEAT analyses revealed differences among the study areas for their environmental status ranging from “poor” to “high”. Overall, the NEAT results were in moderate to complete agreement with expert judgement, previous assessments, scientific literature on human-pressure gradients and expected management outcomes. We suggest that the assessment of deep-sea environmental status should take place at habitat and ecosystem level (rather than at species level) and at relatively large spatial scales, in comparison to shallow-water areas. Limited knowledge across space (e.g. distribution of habitat-forming species) and the scarcity of long-term data sets limit our knowledge about natural variability and human impacts in the deep sea preventing a more systematic assessment of habitat and ecosystem components in the deep sea. However, stronger cross-sectoral collaborations, the use of novel technologies and open data-sharing platforms will be critical for establishing environmental baseline indicator values in the deep sea that will contribute to the science base supporting the implementation of marine policies and stimulating Blue Growth.

An Interdisciplinary Approach for Valuing Changes After Ecological Restoration in Marine Cultural Ecosystem Services

Pouso S, Borja A, Uyarra MC. An Interdisciplinary Approach for Valuing Changes After Ecological Restoration in Marine Cultural Ecosystem Services. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00715/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1418755_45_Marine_20200903_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Ecological restoration in marine ecosystems is considered strategic to recover environmental conditions and ecosystem services. However, the traditional single-discipline perspectives followed for analyzing the results of both restoration projects (focused in the analysis of biophysical changes) and valuation of ecosystem services (focused in economic valuation), do not provide useful theoretical frameworks when working with cultural ecosystem services, where socio-economic and environmental components are complexly interrelated. We propose an interdisciplinary approach for analyzing changes in cultural ecosystem services in restored marine ecosystems, based on the DAPSI(W)R(M) framework and following a social-ecological system approach. Our methodology considers environmental, social and economic elements that may be contributing to changes in the provision and demand for cultural ecosystem services in restored ecosystems. Our approach was tested in the Nerbioi estuary, a system that, after the implementation of a wastewater treatment plant at the end of the 20th Century, changed from being one of the most polluted estuaries in Europe to a nearly recovered system. Based on previous studies that have analyzed partial components of the restoration process and of the recreational ecosystem services, here we provide an interdisciplinary picture of the changes occurred in the last 25 years, directly linking the management measures adopted to an increase in human well-being. In the applied methodology, the three discipline domains (social, economic, and environmental) transcend each other to provide a new holistic view, completely different from what one would expect from the addition of the parts. In conclusion, this interdisciplinary approach provides a systematic framework for studying changes in cultural ecosystem services in restored systems, with a practical application for valuing human benefits as outcomes of marine restoration projects.

Overcoming the Obstacles Faced by Early Career Researchers in Marine Science: Lessons From the Marine Ecosystem Assessment for the Southern Ocean

Brasier MJ, McCormack S, Bax N, Caccavo JA, Cavan E, Ericson JA, Figuerola B, Hancock A, Halfter S, Hellessey N, et al. Overcoming the Obstacles Faced by Early Career Researchers in Marine Science: Lessons From the Marine Ecosystem Assessment for the Southern Ocean. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00692/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1418755_45_Marine_20200903_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Pressure in academia and science is rapidly increasing and early career researchers (ECRs) have a lot to gain from being involved in research initiatives such as large international projects. But just how inclusive are they? Here we discuss experiences of ECRs directly involved in the Marine Ecosystem Assessment for the Southern Ocean (MEASO), an Australian led international research project to assess the status and trends of Southern Ocean ecosystems. We review the benefits of ECR involvement in large-scale initiatives to the project deliverables, the leadership team and ECRs themselves. Using insights from MEASO, we outline the obstacles that may become barriers to ECRs in scientific research in general but with a focus on large-scale research projects and suggest potential actions to overcome these at the individual, institutional and scientific community level. We consider the potential for ECRs to lead future Antarctic science programmes with a focus on science communication and applied research for policy makers within a global setting.

Discrete Pulses of Cooler Deep Water Can Decelerate Coral Bleaching During Thermal Stress: Implications for Artificial Upwelling During Heat Stress Events

Sawall Y, Harris M, Lebrato M, Wall M, Feng EYuming. Discrete Pulses of Cooler Deep Water Can Decelerate Coral Bleaching During Thermal Stress: Implications for Artificial Upwelling During Heat Stress Events. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00720/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1418755_45_Marine_20200903_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Global warming is considered to be the most severe threat to coral reefs globally, which makes it important for scientists to develop novel strategies that mitigate the impact of warming on corals and associated habitats. Artificial upwelling of cooler deep water to the surface layer may be a possible mitigation/management tool. In this study, we investigated the effect of simulated artificial upwelling with deep water off Bermuda collected at 50 m (24°C) and 100 m (20°C) on coral symbiont biology of 3 coral species (Montastrea cavernosaPorites astreoides, and Pseudodiploria strigosa) in a temperature stress experiment. The following treatments were applied over a period of 3 weeks: (i) control at 28°C (ii) heat at 31°C, (iii) heat at 31°C+ deep water from 50 m depth, and (iv) heat at 31°C+ deep water from 100 m depth. Artificial upwelling was simulated over a period of 25 min on a daily basis resulting in a reduction of temperature for 2 h per day and the following degree-heating-weeks: 5.7°C-weeks for ii, 4.6°C-weeks for iii and 4.2°C-weeks for iv. Comparative analysis of photosynthetic rate, chlorophyll-a concentration and zooxanthellae density revealed a reduction of heat stress responses in artificial upwelling treatments in 2 of the 3 investigated species, and a stronger positive effect of 100-m water than 50-m water. These results indicate that artificial upwelling could be an effective strategy to mitigate coral bleaching during heat stress events allowing corals to adjust to increasing temperatures more gradually. It will still be necessary to further explore the ecological benefits as well as potential ecosystem impacts associated with different artificial upwelling scenarios to carefully implement an effective in situ artificial upwelling strategy in coral reefs.

Will COVID-19 Containment and Treatment Measures Drive Shifts in Marine Litter Pollution?

Canning-Clode J, Sepúlveda P, Almeida S, Monteiro J. Will COVID-19 Containment and Treatment Measures Drive Shifts in Marine Litter Pollution?. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00691/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1418755_45_Marine_20200903_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The persistence and global presence of plastic materials in both aquatic (Andrady, 2011Akindele et al., 2019) and terrestrial ecosystems (Al-Jaibachi et al., 2018) has resulted in the conception of a new era—“The Plasticene” (Reed, 2015). The idea of a “Plasticene” era has been receiving growing support in recent years as research confirms the long-term persistence of plastic pollution and contaminants in the marine environment and suggests that discarded plastics can be traceable through future fossil records (Corcoran et al., 2014). Researchers are still finding new forms of plastic pollution and contamination worldwide (Gestoso et al., 2019Haram et al., 2020), but one thing is clear: tackling plastic pollution in the marine environment requires concerted strategies and strong actions from policy makers and stakeholders on a global scale. Indeed, several efforts are already in place at the international, regional, and national levels, with several instruments [e.g., United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Regional Sea Programme, and the European Union Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD)] being developed in recent decades to reduce and manage marine litter (Chen, 2015).

The incessant and growing delivery of plastic trash and debris to our oceans is recognized now as one of the most relevant pollution problems across the planet, impacting marine life through its ingestion, entanglement, or suffocation (Kühn et al., 2015Rochman et al., 2016Villarrubia-Gómez et al., 2018). In addition, marine litter is now considered a growing vector for the introduction of non-indigenous species with transoceanic rafting, potentially amplifying species invasions at a global scale (Carlton et al., 2017) and can promote microbial colonization by pathogens implicated in outbreaks of coral disease (Lamb et al., 2018).

In recent years, discussions and debates regarding marine litter have intensified around the globe. Governments, industries, scientists, and the public are increasingly seeking strategies and policies to respond to marine plastic pollution by reducing or banning single-use plastic (SUP) (Chen, 2015Newman et al., 2015European Commission, 2018Tiller et al., 2019UNEP–United Nations Environment Programme, 2019). In 2018 alone, environmental actions have reached hundreds of millions of people, with countries and several companies making commitments to ban SUP, which estimates suggest will represent 80% of all marine litter, by 2025 (UNEP–United Nations Environment Programme, 2019).

Variation in Seagrass Carbon Stocks Between Tropical Estuarine and Marine Mangrove-Fringed Creeks

Juma GA, Magana AM, Michael GN, Kairo JG. Variation in Seagrass Carbon Stocks Between Tropical Estuarine and Marine Mangrove-Fringed Creeks. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00696/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1418755_45_Marine_20200903_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Seagrass and associated blue carbon ecosystems are important carbon sinks, and hence understanding their spatial and temporal variability is vital in appreciating their potential roles in climate change mitigation and adaptation. The Indo-Pacific region has the highest seagrass biodiversity, yet little focus has been made to compare seagrass habitat extent and carbon dynamics with their temperate counterparts. The present study assessed habitat characteristics and seagrass species distribution, diversity, and carbon storage in Eastern (marine) and Western (estuarine) mangrove-fringed creeks of Gazi Bay, Kenya. Data on species composition, canopy cover, biomass, and sediment organic carbon were collected in 80 plots of 0.25 × 0.25 m laid along transects established perpendicular to the waterline. Five species formation, viz., Thalassia hemprichiiCymodocea rotundataCymodocea serrulataEnhalus acoroides, and Thalassidendron ciliatum, were encountered as either single or mixed stands. There was a significant difference in total seagrass biomass between creeks (p < 0.01), with the Eastern creek recording a mean of 10.2 ± 0.6 Mg C ha–1 while the Western creek recording 4.3 ± 0.3 Mg C ha–1. In addition, sediment carbon to 1-m depth varied significantly (p < 0.01) between species in the two creeks and ranged from 98 to 302 Mg C ha–1, with the Eastern and Western creeks recording means of 258 ± 90 and 107 ± 21 Mg C ha–1, respectively. The total carbon stock from 50 ha of seagrasses in the Eastern creek was 13,420 Mg C, whereas in the 70 ha of the Western creek it was 7,769 Mg C. The study shows that seagrass community attributes such as species composition and productivity can vary dramatically over a small spatial extent due to differences in biophysical conditions and caution estimations of site-specific carbon stocks using generalized global values.

Marine Heatwave Stress Test of Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management in the Gulf of Alaska Pacific Cod Fishery

Barbeaux SJ, Holsman K, Zador S. Marine Heatwave Stress Test of Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management in the Gulf of Alaska Pacific Cod Fishery. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00703/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1418755_45_Marine_20200903_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

In 2014–2016 an unprecedented warming event in the North Pacific Ocean triggered changes in ecosystem of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) impacting fisheries management. The marine heatwave was noteworthy in its geographical extent, depth range, and persistence, with evidence of shifts in species distribution and reduced productivity. In 2017 a groundfish survey indicated that GOA Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) had experienced a 71% decline in abundance from the previous 2015 survey. The GOA Pacific cod fishery supports a $103 million fishery which is 29% of the groundfish harvest value in the GOA. In this paper, we demonstrate that an increase in metabolic demand during this extended marine heatwave as well as a reduced prey supply can explain the decline in GOA Pacific cod biomass. Although increased mortality likely led to the decline in the Pacific cod population, historically low recruitment concurrent with the heatwave portends a slow recovery for the stock and gives a preview of impacts facing this region due to climate change. We evaluate the intersection of climate change with ecosystem-based fisheries management in the context of GOA Pacific cod with a description of the sensitivities of the ecosystem, how the changes in the ecosystem affected the Pacific cod stock, and a description of how the management system in the North Pacific handled this shock. We also provide suggestions on how fisheries management systems could be improved to better contend with the impacts of climate change such as the effects of heatwaves like that experienced in 2014–2016.

 

Stakeholder perspectives on large-scale marine protected areas

Artis E, Gray NJ, Campbell LM, Gruby RL, Acton L, Zigler SBess, Mitchell L. Stakeholder perspectives on large-scale marine protected areas Hewitt J. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2020 ;15(9):e0238574. Available from: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0238574
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Large-scale marine protected areas (LSMPAs), MPAs greater than 100,000km2, have proliferated in the past decade. However, the value of LSMPAs as conservation tools is debated, in both global scientific and policy venues as well as in particular sites. To add nuance and more diverse voices to this debate, this research examines the perspectives of stakeholders directly engaged with LSMPAs. We conducted a Q Method study with forty LSMPA stakeholders at five sites, including three established LSMPAs (the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, United States; the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, Kiribati; the National Marine Sanctuary, Palau) and two sites where LSMPAs had been proposed at the time of research (Bermuda and Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile). The analysis reveals five distinct viewpoints of LSMPAs. These include three more optimistic views of LSMPAs we have named EnthusiastPurist, and Relativist. It also depicts two more cautious views of LSMPAs, which we have named Critic and Skeptic. The findings demonstrate the multi-dimensionality of stakeholder viewpoints on LSMPAs. These shared viewpoints have implications for the global LSMPA debate and LSMPA decision-makers, including highlighting the need to focus on LSMPA consultation processes. Better understanding of these viewpoints, including stakeholder beliefs, perspectives, values and concerns, may help to facilitate more nuanced dialogue amongst LSMPA stakeholders and, in turn, promote better governance of LSMPAs.

Artificial habitats host elevated densities of large reef-associated predators

Paxton AB, Newton EA, Adler AM, Van Hoeck RV, Iversen ES, J. Taylor C, Peterson CH, Silliman BR. Artificial habitats host elevated densities of large reef-associated predators Chapman MGeraldine. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2020 ;15(9):e0237374. Available from: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0237374
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Large predators play important ecological roles, yet many are disproportionately imperiled. In marine systems, artificial reefs are often deployed to restore degraded reefs or supplement existing reefs, but it remains unknown whether these interventions benefit large predators. Comparative field surveys of thirty artificial and natural reefs across ~200 km of the North Carolina, USA coast revealed large reef-associated predators were more dense on artificial than natural reefs. This pattern was associated with higher densities of transient predators (e.g. jacks, mackerel, barracuda, sharks) on artificial reefs, but not of resident predators (e.g., grouper, snapper). Further analyses revealed that this pattern of higher transient predator densities on artificial reefs related to reef morphology, as artificial reefs composed of ships hosted higher transient predator densities than concrete reefs. The strength of the positive association between artificial reefs and transient predators increased with a fundamental habitat trait–vertical extent. Taller artificial reefs had higher densities of transient predators, even when accounting for habitat area. A global literature review of high trophic level fishes on artificial and natural habitats suggests that the overall pattern of more predators on artificial habitats is generalizable. Together, these findings provide evidence that artificial habitats, especially those like sunken ships that provide high vertical structure, may support large predators.

Shorebirds Affect Ecosystem Functioning on an Intertidal Mudflat

Booty JM, Underwood GJC, Parris A, Davies RG, Tolhurst TJ. Shorebirds Affect Ecosystem Functioning on an Intertidal Mudflat. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00685/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1418755_45_Marine_20200903_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Ecosystem functioning and services have provided a rationale for conservation over the past decades. Intertidal muddy sediments, and the microphytobenthic biofilms that inhabit them, perform crucial ecosystem functions including erosion protection, nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration. It has been suggested that predation on sediment macrofauna by shorebirds may impact biofilms, and shorebirds are known to consume biofilm, potentially causing significant top-down effects on mudflat ecosystem functioning. We carried out an exclusion experiment on the Colne Estuary, Essex, to examine whether shorebird presence significantly affects sediment erodibility measured with a Cohesive Strength Meter (CSM) and microphytobenthos biomass measured using PAM fluorescence (Fo) and chlorophyll a content. We also tested for treatment effects on sediment-water nutrient fluxes [nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, phosphate and dissolved organic carbon (DOC)] during periods of both dark and light incubation. Excluding shorebirds caused statistically significant changes in regulating and provisioning ecosystem functions, including mudflat erodibility and nutrient fluxes. The presence of shorebirds lowered the sediment critical erosion threshold τcr, reduced nitrate fluxes into the sediment under illumination, lowered nitrate efflux, and reduced phosphate uptake, compared to sediments where birds were excluded. There were no significant differences in macrofauna community composition within the sediment between treatments after 45 days of bird exclusion, suggesting a direct link between shorebird presence or absence and the significant differences in biofilm-related variables. This study introduces previously unknown effects of shorebird presence on ecosystem functions within this system and highlights an area of shorebird science that could aid joint conservation and human provisioning action.

Perceptions of Marine Environmental Issues by Saudi Citizens

Almahasheer H, Duarte CM. Perceptions of Marine Environmental Issues by Saudi Citizens. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00600/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1418755_45_Marine_20200903_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

We depend on the sea, economically, social well-being, and for the quality of our lives, yet direct and indirect human activities have affected the marine environment, causing many problems such as overfishing and pollution at the local scale and ocean warming and acidification at the global one. Hence, addressing the cumulative effects of these activities is required to conserve the marine environment for our current and future generations. Social commitment and support for these actions depend, however, on awareness and requires, therefore, an understanding of citizens’ awareness and perceptions on these issues. We assessed the awareness and the perceptions of Saudi citizens on ocean issues through an online questionnaire about environmental issues globally and in the country. The survey was completed by 1,524 Saudi citizens 18 years old and above, with different geographic distributions, gender, and educational status. The participants identified climate change within the top three global problems, with variable level of information and trust on different sources of environmental information. Littering, sewage pollution, and chemical pollution were identified as the top three major marine issues in Saudi Arabia, with the respondents demanding an immediate action through imposing fines to polluters and more regulatory constraints to activities that act as sources of pollution as well as supporting research in science and technologies to address these environmental issues.

Switching Gillnets to Longlines: An Alternative to Mitigate the Bycatch of Franciscana Dolphins (Pontoporia blainvillei) in Argentina

Berninsone LG, Bordino P, Gnecco M, Foutel M, Mackay AI, Werner TB. Switching Gillnets to Longlines: An Alternative to Mitigate the Bycatch of Franciscana Dolphins (Pontoporia blainvillei) in Argentina. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00699/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1418755_45_Marine_20200903_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The franciscana dolphin (Pontoporia blainvillei) is considered the most threatened cetacean in the South Western Atlantic due to bycatch in gillnet fisheries of Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. As gillnet fisheries operate in the same areas inhabited by dolphins, methods and strategies to reduce bycatch require particular attention. This study investigated the potential of switching gillnets to bottom longlines to reduce franciscana bycatch rates while maintaining economic returns in a small-scale artisanal fishery in Argentina. Trials were conducted in Bahía Samborombón and Cabo San Antonio between October 2004 and January 2007, in cooperation with artisanal fishermen who simultaneously fished using bottom longlines and gillnets. Target and non-target catch composition, fishing yield, catch size distribution and quality of catch, as well as bycatch of dolphins, sea turtles, and interaction with sea lions were compared between the two fishing methods to assess the profitability of switching fishing gears. Hauls of both gear types deployed simultaneously in the same locations showed similar fish catch composition and catch size with both gears but reduced catch of juvenile fishes in longlines. Bycatch of franciscana in bottom longlines was limited to only one dolphin in three consecutive years of trials, and no direct interaction between turtles and hooks were recorded. The economic analysis showed financially acceptable perspectives under a 5-year scenario. Reducing gillnet effort by switching to bottom longlines appears a practical approach to creating a sustainable fishery that could result in significant mitigation of current bycatch of franciscana dolphins in Argentina. However, implementation requires acceptance and compliance by the artisanal gillnet fishery.

Mapping the Marine Environment Through a Cross-Cultural Collaboration

Davies HN, Gould J, Hovey RK, Radford B, Kendrick GA. Mapping the Marine Environment Through a Cross-Cultural Collaboration. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00716/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1418755_45_Marine_20200903_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

There is a growing emphasis on formally recognizing the connection to the marine environment of Indigenous peoples and the traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) these strong connections cultivate. The potential for TEK to significantly enrich the scientific comprehension of the marine environment, whilst also celebrating the rich bio-cultural knowledge in its own right, is indisputable. Here, we present a scientifically robust and culturally appropriate participatory mapping methodology for the marine environment which can effectively achieve genuine cross-cultural ecological knowledge transfer between scientists and Indigenous Peoples. Through a case study working with the Anindilyakwa people of the Groote Eylandt Archipelago, we mapped the TEK of benthic habitats off Australia’s poorly surveyed northern coast. Representatives from 14 Anindilyakwa clan groups participated in the marine mapping (n = 53), resulting in 22 individual maps. Eleven broad-scale habitat classifications, predominately in the intertidal and nearshore marine environment, were described in both Anindilyakwa and English. The information gathered was then used to develop benthic habitat maps covering a combined area of ∼1800 km2 and was assessed for accuracy against in situ observations. We found that despite the difficulties in working across two different world views, through the application of this carefully refined methodology, scientists can effectively document the rich TEK of the marine environment in a manner suitable for conservation and management planning while also supporting the prioritization of Indigenous values within the decision-making process.

Growing Into Poverty: Reconstructing Peruvian Small-Scale Fishing Effort Between 1950 and 2018

De la Puente S, de la Lama RLópez, Benavente S, Sueiro JCarlos, Pauly D. Growing Into Poverty: Reconstructing Peruvian Small-Scale Fishing Effort Between 1950 and 2018. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00681/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1418755_45_Marine_20200903_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Small-scale fisheries are globally marginalized by management institutions; thus, they have to endure the consequences of ineffective regulations, environmental uncertainty, social traps and market inequity. Small-scale fisheries in Peru, one of the world’s leading fishing countries, are important contributors to national employment, food security and gross domestic product. Yet, relatively little is known about these fisheries and their evolution, except for the fact that the Peruvian small-scale fleet size is rapidly increasing. Here, we reconstructed small-scale fishing effort across time and developed several indicators using it to assess changes in the fleet’s fishing efficiency and economic performance. Segmented regression analysis was used to identify statistically significant breakpoints and changes in their trajectories between 1950 and 2018. Our results suggest that fishing effort has strongly increased, and at much faster rates than the catches, particularly since 2006. The combined effect of these trends results in significant declines in the fleet’s ratio indicators (i.e., catch per unit of effort, revenue per unit of effort, and fisher’s incomes relative to Peru’s minimum wage), suggesting that the growing fishing effort is unsustainable and uneconomic. The behavior of these indicators differs within the fleet, depending on the vessel’s main fishing method. Most small-scale fishers are currently living in relative poverty. Yet, fishers using the least selective fishing gears, or engaged in illegal fishing, had the most stable incomes over the past decade. These findings are discussed in detail by exploring the social, legal and economic drivers fostering fleet growth. Finally, a list of general recommendations aimed at improving fisheries sustainability and fisher’s wellbeing was produced, based on the local context, fisheries literature and common sense.

The Globalization of Cultural Eutrophication in the Coastal Ocean: Causes and Consequences

Malone TC, Newton A. The Globalization of Cultural Eutrophication in the Coastal Ocean: Causes and Consequences. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00670/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1418755_45_Marine_20200903_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Coastal eutrophication caused by anthropogenic nutrient inputs is one of the greatest threats to the health of coastal estuarine and marine ecosystems worldwide. Globally, ∼24% of the anthropogenic N released in coastal watersheds is estimated to reach coastal ecosystems. Seven contrasting coastal ecosystems subject to a range of riverine inputs of freshwater and nutrients are compared to better understand and manage this threat. The following are addressed: (i) impacts of anthropogenic nutrient inputs on ecosystem services; (ii) how ecosystem traits minimize or amplify these impacts; (iii) synergies among pressures (nutrient enrichment, over fishing, coastal development, and climate-driven pressures in particular); and (iv) management of nutrient inputs to coastal ecosystems. This comparative analysis shows that “trophic status,” when defined in terms of the level of primary production, is not useful for relating anthropogenic nutrient loading to impacts. Ranked in terms of the impact of cultural eutrophication, Chesapeake Bay ranks number one followed by the Baltic Sea, Northern Adriatic Sea, Northern Gulf of Mexico, Santa Barbara Channel, East China Sea, and the Great Barrier Reef. The impacts of increases in anthropogenic nutrient loading (e.g., development of “dead zones,” loss of biologically engineered habitats, and toxic phytoplankton events) are, and will continue to be, exacerbated by synergies with other pressures, including over fishing, coastal development and climate-driven increases in sea surface temperature, acidification and rainfall. With respect to management, reductions in point source inputs from sewage treatment plants are increasingly successful. However, controlling inputs from diffuse sources remains a challenging problem. The conclusion from this analysis is that the severity of coastal eutrophication will likely continue to increase in the absence of effectively enforced, ecosystem-based management of both point and diffuse sources of nitrogen and phosphorus. This requires sustained, integrated research and monitoring, as well as repeated assessments of nutrient loading and impacts. These must be informed and guided by ongoing collaborations among scientists, politicians, managers and the public.

Plastic Ingestion in Post-hatchling Sea Turtles: Assessing a Major Threat in Florida Near Shore Waters

Eastman CB, Farrell JA, Whitmore L, Ramia DRRollins, Thomas RS, Prine J, Eastman SF, Osborne TZ, Martindale MQ, Duffy DJ. Plastic Ingestion in Post-hatchling Sea Turtles: Assessing a Major Threat in Florida Near Shore Waters. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00693/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1418755_45_Marine_20200903_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Pollution from anthropogenic marine debris, particularly buoyant plastics, is ubiquitous across marine ecosystems. Due to the persistent nature of plastics in the environment, their buoyancy characteristics, degradation dynamics, and ability to mimic the behavior of natural prey, there exists significant opportunity for marine organisms to ingest these man-made materials. In this study we examined gastrointestinal (GI) tracts of 42 post-hatchling loggerhead (Caretta caretta) sea turtles stranded in Northeast Florida. Necropsies revealed abundant numbers of plastic fragments ranging from 0.36 to 12.39 mm in size (length), recovered from the GI tracts of 39 of the 42 animals (92.86%), with GI burdens ranging from 0 to 287 fragments with a mass of up to 0.33 g per turtle. Post-hatchlings weighed from 16.0 to 47.59 g yielding a plastic to body weight percentage of up to 1.23%. Several types of plastic fragments were isolated, but hard fragments and sheet plastic were the most common type, while the dominant frequency of fragment color was white. Fragment size and abundance mixed with natural gut contents suggests significant negative health consequences from ingestion in animals at this life stage. Gaining greater insight into the prevalence of plastic ingestion, the types of plastic and the physiological effects of plastic consumption by multiple life-stages of sea turtles will aid the prioritization of mitigation efforts for the growing marine debris problem. This report demonstrates that plastic ingestion is a critical issue for marine turtles from the earliest stages of life.

Large-Scale Variability of Physical and Biological Sea-Ice Properties in Polar Oceans

Castellani G, Schaafsma FL, Arndt S, Lange BA, Peeken I, Ehrlich J, David C, Ricker R, Krumpen T, Hendricks S, et al. Large-Scale Variability of Physical and Biological Sea-Ice Properties in Polar Oceans. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2020 ;7. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00536/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1406443_45_Marine_20200818_arts_A
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

In this study, we present unique data collected with a Surface and Under-Ice Trawl (SUIT) during five campaigns between 2012 and 2017, covering the spring to summer and autumn transition in the Arctic Ocean, and the seasons of winter and summer in the Southern Ocean. The SUIT was equipped with a sensor array from which we retrieved: sea-ice thickness, the light field at the underside of sea ice, chlorophyll a concentration in the ice (in-ice chl a), and the salinity, temperature, and chl a concentration of the under-ice water. With an average trawl distance of about 2 km, and a global transect length of more than 117 km in both polar regions, the present work represents the first multi-seasonal habitat characterization based on kilometer-scale profiles. The present data highlight regional and seasonal patterns in sea-ice properties in the Polar Ocean. Light transmittance through Arctic sea ice reached almost 100% in summer, when the ice was thinner and melt ponds spread over the ice surface. However, the daily integrated amount of light under sea ice was maximum in spring. Compared to the Arctic, Antarctic sea-ice was thinner, snow depth was thicker, and sea-ice properties were more uniform between seasons. Light transmittance was low in winter with maximum transmittance of 73%. Despite thicker snow depth, the overall under-ice light was considerably higher during Antarctic summer than during Arctic summer. Spatial autocorrelation analysis shows that Arctic sea ice was characterized by larger floes compared to the Antarctic. In both Polar regions, the patch size of the transmittance followed the spatial variability of sea-ice thickness. In-ice chl a in the Arctic Ocean remained below 0.39 mg chl a m−2, whereas it exceeded 7 mg chl a m−2 during Antarctic winter, when water chl a concentrations remained below 1.5 mg chl a m−2, thus highlighting its potential as an important carbon source for overwintering organisms. The data analyzed in this study can improve large-scale physical and ecosystem models, habitat mapping studies and time series analyzed in the context of climate change effects and marine management.

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