“Societal teleconnections” – analogous to physical teleconnections such as El Niño – are human-created linkages that link activities, trends, and disruptions across large distances, such that locations spatially separated from the locus of an event can experience a variety of impacts from it nevertheless. In the climate change context, such societal teleconnections add a layer of risk that is currently neither fully appreciated in most impacts or vulnerability assessments nor in on-the-ground adaptation planning. Conceptually, societal teleconnections arise from the interactions among actors, and the institutions that guide their actions, affecting the movement of various substances through different structures and processes. Empirically, they arise out of societal interactions, including globalization, to create, amplify, and sometimes attenuate climate change vulnerabilities and impacts in regions far from those where a climatic extreme or change occurs. This paper introduces a simple but systematic way to conceptualize societal teleconnections and then highlights and explores eight unique but interrelated types of societal teleconnections with selected examples: (1) trade and economic exchange, (2) insurance and reinsurance, (3) energy systems, (4) food systems; (5) human health, (6) population migration, (7) communication, and (8) strategic alliances and military interactions. The paper encourages further research to better understand the causal chains behind socially teleconnected impacts, and to identify ways to routinely integrate their consideration in impacts/vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning to limit the risk of costly impacts.
The Task Force to Study the Impact of Ocean Acidification on State Waters was formed by the Maryland General Assembly during its 2014 session through House Bill 118 (http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2014RS/bills/hb/hb0118e.pdf). The bill states, “The Task Force shall: analyze the best available science regarding ocean acidification and the potential effects of acidification on the ecology of State waters and on State fisheries; and make recommendations regarding potential strategies to mitigate the effects of acidification on State waters and on State fisheries.”
Beginning July 2014, the Task Force comprised of representatives from the Maryland Senate, the Maryland House of Delegates, the National Aquarium, the Aquaculture Industry, the Maryland Watermen’s Association, the Maryland Departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Environment (MDE), the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and several outside experts and interested stakeholders met on a monthly basis to evaluate the basic science and problems of acidification in Maryland waters. Much is known about the ocean becoming more acidic from increased introduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, and the importance of upwelling events in the coastal ocean off of Washington State that have impacted the success of shellfish aquaculture facilities. Much less is known about the more complex acidification processes in shallow estuarine environments like Maryland’s Chesapeake and Coastal Bays, which are highly sensitive to terrestrial inputs, and the potential impacts that may be posed to the aquaculture industry and important fisheries such as oysters, crabs, striped bass, and other aquatic resources.
The information gaps to understanding the impacts of acidification in Maryland’s waters are large. Key findings from Maryland’s Task Force focus on seven areas that should be addressed in order to enhance our acidification understanding, its impacts to Maryland aquatic industries, and to leverage resources to capitalize on federal and other state acidification research and monitoring programs.
- This science advisory report is intended to provide general advice on how shipping activities may potentially impact the marine and freshwater environment. The Pathways of Effects (PoE) models included in this report are general and simply illustrate linkages that may not be universally applicable. The potential impacts of shipping can be widespread or localised, and may be chronic or acute.
- The PoE components included in this report (i.e., movement underway, discharge, oil spills, anchoring, and grounding) are independent of time and space constraints, and do not address the frequency, likelihood of occurrence, nor magnitude of potential impact(s) on an ecosystem. In no way should this advice or the PoE components be interpreted as risk or threat assessments.
- A suite of stressors resulting from movement underway (i.e. water mixing, substrate disturbance, noise emissions, icebreaking, strikes, wake, and light emission) may lead to changes in habitat, community structure, and the health (fitness) and survival (mortality) of organisms.
- Operational and incidental or accidental discharges associated with shipping can result in the discharge of aquatic invasive species, debris, oils and other aquatic or atmospheric contaminants, and nutrients (e.g., via grey water, sewage). Such discharges can result in changes to habitat, community structure, the fitness, mortality, and/or function of aquatic organisms.
- Oil spills are one of the most damaging events in the aquatic environment, affecting multiple species and habitats. Spill recovery measures are often largely ineffective and long-term chronic ecosystem effects often result.
- Anchoring may create vertical obstructions in the water column and/or may result in substantial changes to the substrate composition and structure resulting from crushing and/or sediment re-suspension. Changes to the substrate as a result of anchoring may alter benthic habitats and may result in sub-lethal impacts or an increase in mortality of benthic organisms.
- Vessel grounding can affect the substrate, habitat, and benthic organisms. Groundings are more likely near shore when approaching ports but could also occur offshore (e.g., where shallow seamounts or ridges are located).
- The environmental effects of shipping are multifaceted, with potential consequences on all structures and components of the ecosystem. As such, PoE models can be strongly inter-related leading to linkages at various levels. However, given many of the linkages have limited documentation of varying quality and quantity, predicting the PoEs can be challenging. The PoE components included in this report were developed based on the current state of knowledge with many potential linkages remaining to be thoroughly quantified.
- Bottom-up participatory processes to create and manage no-take marine protected areas have been proposed as a way to scale-up marine conservation and deal with the lack of support and compliance of top-down conservation approaches. However, bottom-up conservation does not always lead to positive outcomes, thus it is increasingly important to understand the conditions that determine the establishment and implementation of these initiatives.
- Establishment and implementation processes were compared empirically for two contrasting bottom-up no-take marine protected areas that have been developing under the same political setting, however, one has been successful and the other has stalled.
- Using mixed methods, stakeholders' (a) motivations to participate in the no-take marine protected area initiatives, (b) communication, support and information flow networks, (c) perceived participation, and (d) satisfaction with the establishment process of the bottom-up no-take marine protected areas, were assessed.
- Non-significant differences were found between the two initiatives in terms of stakeholders' motivations to create a no-take marine protected area.
- Significant differences were found in stakeholders' communication, support and information flow networks, in addition to differences in participation, and satisfaction with the establishment and implementation process.
- Results highlight that for the implementation and consolidation of bottom-up no-take marine protected areas initiatives, common interests do not necessarily lead to common action, partnerships will not emerge automatically in response to potential benefits.
- Understanding disparities in participation, information sharing and communication are key aspects which must be considered for creating and supporting successful marine protected areas based on bottom-up participatory processes.
Societal and scientific challenges foster the implementation of the ecosystem approach to marine ecosystem analysis and management, which is a comprehensive means of integrating the direct and indirect effects of multiple stressors on the different components of ecosystems, from physical to chemical and biological and from viruses to fishes and marine mammals. Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) is a widely used software package, which offers great capability for a dynamic description of the multiple interactions occurring within a food web, and potentially, a crucial component of an integrated platform supporting the ecosystem approach. However, being written for the Microsoft .NET framework, seamless integration of this code with Fortran-based physical oceanographic and/or biogeochemical models is technically not straightforward. In this work we release a re-coding of EwE in Fortran (EwE-F). We believe that the availability of a Fortran version of EwE is an important step towards setting-up integrated end-to-end (E2E) modelling schemes utilising this widely adopted software because it (i) increases portability of the EwE models, (ii) provides greater flexibility towards integrating EwE with Fortran-based modelling schemes. Furthermore, EwE-F might help modellers using Fortran programming language to get close to the EwE approach. In the present work, first the fundamentals of EwE-F are introduced, followed by validation of EwE-F against standard EwE utilising sample models. Afterwards, an E2E ecological representation of the Trieste Gulf (Northern Adriatic Sea) ecosystem is presented as an example of online two-way coupling between an EwE-F food web model and a biogeochemical model. Finally, the possibilities that having EwE-F opens up for are discussed.
Oceans, particularly coastal areas, are getting busier and within this increasingly human-dominated seascape, marine biodiversity continues to decline. Attempts to maintain and restore marine biodiversity are becoming more spatial, principally through the designation of marine protected areas (MPAs). MPAs compete for space with other uses, and the emergence of new industries, such as marine renewable energy generation, will increase competition for space. Decision makers require guidance on how to zone the ocean to conserve biodiversity, mitigate conflict and accommodate multiple uses. Here we used empirical data and freely available planning software to identified priority areas for multiple ocean zones, which incorporate goals for biodiversity conservation, two types of renewable energy, and three types of fishing. We developed an approached to evaluate trade-offs between industries and we investigated the impacts of co-locating some fishing activities within renewable energy sites. We observed non-linear trade-offs between industries. We also found that different subsectors within those industries experienced very different trade-off curves. Incorporating co-location resulted in significant reductions in cost to the fishing industry, including fisheries that were not co-located. Co-location also altered the optimal location of renewable energy zones with planning solutions. Our findings have broad implications for ocean zoning and marine spatial planning. In particular, they highlight the need to include industry subsectors when assessing trade-offs and they stress the importance of considering co-location opportunities from the outset. Our research reinforces the need for multi-industry ocean-zoning and demonstrates how it can be undertaken within the framework of strategic conservation planning.
Numerous assessments have quantified, mapped, and valued the services provided by ecosystems that are important for human wellbeing. However, much of the literature does not clarify how the information gathered in such assessments could be used to inform decisions that will impact ecosystem services. We propose that the process of making management decisions for ecosystem services comprises five core steps: identification of the problem and its social–ecological context; specification of objectives and associated performance measures; defining alternative management actions and evaluating the consequences of these actions; assessment of trade-offs and prioritization of alternative management actions; and making management decisions. We synthesize the degree to which the peer-reviewed ecosystem services literature has captured these steps. For the ecosystem service paradigm to gain traction in science and policy arenas, future ecosystem service assessments should have clearly articulated objectives, seek to evaluate the consequences of alternative management actions, and facilitate closer engagement between scientists and stakeholders.
Currently, risk assessments related to rising sea levels and the adoption of defensive or adaptive measures to counter these sea level increases are underway for densely populated deltas where economic losses might be important, especially in the developed world. However, many underpopulated deltas harbouring high biological and cultural diversity are also at risk but will most likely continue to be ignored as conservation targets. In this study, we explore the potential effects of erosion, inundation and salinisation on one of the world's comparatively underpopulated megadeltas, the Orinoco Delta. With a 1 m sea level rise expected to occur by 2100, several models predict a moderate erosion of the delta's shorelines, migration or loss of mangroves, general inundation of the delta with an accompanying submersion of wetlands, and an increase in the distance to which sea water intrudes into streams, resulting in harm to the freshwater biota and resources. The Warao people are the indigenous inhabitants of the Orinoco Delta and currently are subject to various socioeconomic stressors. Changes due to sea level rise will occur extremely rapidly and cause abrupt shifts in the Warao's traditional environments and resources, resulting in migrations and abandonment of their ancestral territories. However, evidence indicates that deltaic aggradation/accretion processes at the Orinoco delta due to allochthonous sediment input and vegetation growth could be elevating the surface of the land, keeping pace with the local sea level rise. Other underpopulated and large deltas of the world also may risk immeasurable biodiversity and cultural losses and should not be forgotten as important conservation targets.
Previous research indicated that high predictive performance in species distribution modelling can be obtained by combining both biotic and abiotic habitat variables. However, models developed for fish often only address physical habitat characteristics, thus omitting potentially important biotic factors. Therefore, we assessed the impact of biotic variables on fish habitat preferences in four selected stretches of the upper Cabriel River (E Spain). The occurrence of Squalius pyrenaicus and Luciobarbus guiraonis was related to environmental variables describing biotic interactions (inferred by relationships among fish abundances) and channel hydro-morphological characteristics. Random Forests (RF) models were trained and then validated using independent datasets. To build RF models, the conditional variable importance was used together with the model improvement ratio technique. The procedure showed effectiveness in identifying a parsimonious set of not correlated variables, which minimize noise and improve model performance in both training and validation phases. Water depth, channel width, fine substrate and water-surface gradient were selected as most important habitat variables for both fish. Results showed clear habitat overlapping between fish species and suggest that competition is not a strong factor in the study area.
Cultural ecosystem services (CES) are an important benefit that habitats provide, particularly in the fragments of natural ecosystems that remain in urban areas. To manage CES we need to understand what people use habitats for, and where different activities take place. It is challenging to assess CES provision, as surveys and interviews are time consuming and can be expensive. Social media data, particularly geo-tagged photographs, are spatially explicit and contain visual information that can be used to infer cultural use. Indicators of CES derived from social media make use of existing data so may contribute useful information for rapid, cost-effective assessments of CES. In this study we develop an indicator of CES usage that is derived from photographs from an image-sharing website, at two different scales. First, we compare four small (<150 ha) urban mangrove sites in Singapore, using photograph content to classify sites according to predominant cultural use. Second, the spatial distribution of different CES was modelled within one site using MaxEnt. A resampling simulation was conducted to identify the sensitivity of the photograph classification to the number of photographs classified. Photographs of social recreation, organisms and landscapes occurred most commonly. The proportional occurrence of photograph types differed between sites depending on their characteristics. Within one site, the probability of occurrence of social recreation photographs was highest around built focal points, while photographs of organisms were more likely in the mangrove and terrestrial habitats. Classifying more than 50–70 photographs (which would take approximately 30 minutes) gave only small increases in categorisation accuracy. This tool for CES assessment rapidly provided information that would be useful for managing Singapore's mangroves. The approach could be widely applied to assess CES provision across a range of habitats and settings, helping CES to become more commonly considered in ecosystem service evaluations.
Numerous coastal and estuarine management programs around the world are developing strategies for climate change and priorities for climate change adaptation. A multi-state work group collaborated with scientists, researchers, resource managers and non-governmental organizations to develop a monitoring program that would provide warning of climate change impacts to the Long Island Sound estuarine and coastal ecosystems. The goal of this program was to facilitate timely management decisions and adaptation responses to climate change impacts. A novel approach is described for strategic planning that combines available regional-scale predictions and climate drivers (top down) with local monitoring information (bottom up) to identify candidate sentinels of climate change. Using this approach, 37 candidate sentinels of climate change were identified as well as a suite of core abiotic parameters that are drivers of environmental change. A process for prioritizing sentinels was developed and identified six of high priority for inclusion in pilot-scale monitoring programs. A monitoring strategy and an online sentinel data clearinghouse were developed. The work and processes presented here are meant to serve as a guide to other coastal and estuarine management programs seeking to establish a targeted monitoring program for climate change and to provide a set of “lessons learned.”
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is responsible for the stewardship of the nation's living marine resources and their habitat. As part of this charge, NMFS conducts stock assessments of the abundance and composition of fish stocks in several bodies of water. At present, stock assessments rely heavily on human data-gathering and analysis. Automatic means of fish stock assessments are appealing because they offer the potential to improve efficiency and reduce human workload and perhaps develop higher-fidelity measurements. The use of images and video, when accompanies by appropriate statistical analyses of the inferred data, is of increasing importance for estimating the abundance of species and their age distributions.
Robust Methods for the Analysis of Images and Videos for Fisheries Stock Assessment is the summary of a workshop convened by the National Research Council Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics to discuss analysis techniques for images and videos for fisheries stock assessment. Experts from diverse communities shared perspective about the most efficient path toward improved automation of visual information and discussed both near-term and long-term goals that can be achieved through research and development efforts. This report is a record of the presentations and discussions of this event.
Fishery management is increasingly moving toward management that accounts for environmental and social dimensions. Such an approach requires the integration of natural and social science information into planning and decision-making processes. The actual integration of social science information, however, remains limited in many policy and decision-making processes within fisheries. Our study provides insights into factors that influence the intention to use social science information among fishery managers and the actual integration of such information into fishery management. Based on interviews with fishery managers in the Great Lakes, we find that the lack of social science expertise in fishery management agencies leads to multiple negative beliefs and attitudes, and subsequently a low intention to use social science information in decision-making processes. At the same time, the paper finds that more expertise in decision-making tools and basing social science on equal footing with natural sciences within fishery management institutions appears critical to advance the actual integration of social science information in fishery management.
This paper argues for a broad evolutionary political economy understanding of local and regional path creation. We adopt a multi-actor and multi-scalar perspective, focusing on the roles of the state and regional policy interventions in mediating the creation of growth paths. The framework interprets attempts in North East England and Scotland to support path creation in the offshore wind sector through evolutionary inspired contextual policies. We demonstrate that the realisation of the these policies remains crucially conditioned by the dynamic and complex interplay between the national political economy of energy market regulation, industrial policy and inter-regional asymmetries in the governance of economic development.
Among the various shark species that are captured as bycatch in commercial fishing operations, the group of pelagic sharks is still one of the least studied and known. Within those, the crocodile shark, Pseudocarcharias kamoharai, a small-sized lamnid shark, is occasionally caught by longline vessels in certain regions of the tropical oceans worldwide. However, the population dynamics of this species, as well as the impact of fishing mortality on its stocks, are still unknown, with the crocodile shark currently one of the least studied of all pelagic sharks. Given this, the present study aimed to assess the population structure of P. kamoharai in several regions of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans using genetic molecular markers. The nucleotide composition of the mitochondrial DNA control region of 255 individuals was analyzed, and 31 haplotypes were found, with an estimated diversity Hd = 0.627, and a nucleotide diversity π = 0.00167. An analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) revealed a fixation index ΦST = -0.01118, representing an absence of population structure among the sampled regions of the Atlantic Ocean, and between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. These results show a high degree of gene flow between the studied areas, with a single genetic stock and reduced population variability. In panmictic populations, conservation efforts can be concentrated in more restricted areas, being these representative of the total biodiversity of the species. When necessary, this strategy could be applied to the genetic maintenance of P. kamoharai.
Despite the significance of marine habitat-forming organisms, little is known about their large-scale distribution and abundance in deeper waters, where they are difficult to access. Such information is necessary to develop sound conservation and management strategies. Kelps are main habitat-formers in temperate reefs worldwide; however, these habitats are highly sensitive to environmental change. The kelp Ecklonia radiate is the major habitat-forming organism on subtidal reefs in temperate Australia. Here, we provide large-scale ecological data encompassing the latitudinal distribution along the continent of these kelp forests, which is a necessary first step towards quantitative inferences about the effects of climatic change and other stressors on these valuable habitats. We used the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) facility of Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) to survey 157,000 m2 of seabed, of which ca 13,000 m2 were used to quantify kelp covers at multiple spatial scales (10–100 m to 100–1,000 km) and depths (15–60 m) across several regions ca 2–6° latitude apart along the East and West coast of Australia. We investigated the large-scale geographic variation in distribution and abundance of deep-water kelp (>15 m depth) and their relationships with physical variables. Kelp cover generally increased with latitude despite great variability at smaller spatial scales. Maximum depth of kelp occurrence was 40–50 m. Kelp latitudinal distribution along the continent was most strongly related to water temperature and substratum availability. This extensive survey data, coupled with ongoing AUV missions, will allow for the detection of long-term shifts in the distribution and abundance of habitat-forming kelp and the organisms they support on a continental scale, and provide information necessary for successful implementation and management of conservation reserves.
Complex networks are everywhere, such as the power grid network, the airline network, the protein-protein interaction network, and the road network. The networks are ‘robust yet fragile’, which means that the networks are robust against random failures but fragile under malicious attacks. The cascading failures, system-wide disasters and intentional attacks on these networks are deserving of in-depth study. Researchers have proposed many solutions to improve the robustness of these networks. However whilst many solutions preserve the degree distribution of the networks, little attention is paid to the community structure of these networks. We argue that the community structure of a network is a defining characteristic of a network which identifies its functionality and thus should be preserved. In this paper, we discuss the relationship between robustness and the community structure. Then we propose a 3-step strategy to improve the robustness of a network, while retaining its community structure, and also its degree distribution. With extensive experimentation on representative real-world networks, we demonstrate that our method is effective and can greatly improve the robustness of networks, while preserving community structure and degree distribution. Finally, we give a description of a robust network, which is useful not only for improving robustness, but also for designing robust networks and integrating networks.
Knowledge of the spatial distribution and habitat associations of species in relation to the environment is essential for their management and conservation. Habitat suitability models are useful in quantifying species-environment relationships and predicting species distribution patterns. Little is known, however, about the stability and performance of habitat suitability models when projected into new areas (spatial transferability) and how this can inform resource management. The aims of this study were to model habitat suitability of Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) in five fished areas of the Northeast Atlantic (Aran ground, Irish Sea, Celtic Sea, Scotland Inshore and Fladen ground), and to test for spatial transferability of habitat models among multiple regions. Nephrops burrow density was modelled using generalised additive models (GAMs) with predictors selected from four environmental variables (depth, slope, sediment and rugosity). Models were evaluated and tested for spatial transferability among areas. The optimum models (lowest AICc) for different areas always included depth and sediment as predictors. Burrow densities were generally greater at depth and in finer sediments, but relationships for individual areas were sometimes more complex. Aside from an inclusion of depth and sediment, the optimum models differed between fished areas. When it came to tests of spatial transferability, however, most of the models were able to predict Nephrops density in other areas. Furthermore, transferability was not dependent on use of the optimum models since competing models were also able to achieve a similar level of transferability to new areas. A degree of decoupling between model ‘fitting’ performance and spatial transferability supports the use of simpler models when extrapolating habitat suitability maps to different areas. Differences in the form and performance of models from different areas may supply further information on the processes shaping species’ distributions. Spatial transferability of habitat models can be used to support fishery management when the information is scarce but caution needs to be applied when making inference and a multi-area transferability analysis is preferable to bilateral comparisons between areas.
The degree to which selectivity in fisheries is malleable to changes in incentive structures is critical for policy design. We examine data for a multispecies trawl fishery before and after a transition from management under common-pool quotas to a fishery cooperative and note a substantial shift in postcooperative catch from bycatch and toward valuable target species. We examine the margins used to affect catch composition, finding that large- and fine-scale spatial decision making and avoidance of night-fishing were critical. We argue that the poor incentives for selectivity in many systems may obscure significant flexibility in multispecies production technologies.
This study investigated the effects of a newly established, fully protected marine reserve on benthic habitats and two commercially valuable species of scallop in Lamlash Bay, Isle of Arran, United Kingdom. Annual dive surveys from 2010 to 2013 showed the abundance of juvenile scallops to be significantly greater within the marine reserve than outside. Generalised linear models revealed this trend to be significantly related to the greater presence of macroalgae and hydroids growing within the boundaries of the reserve. These results suggest that structurally complex habitats growing within the reserve have substantially increased spat settlement and/or survival. The density of adult king scallops declined threefold with increasing distance from the boundaries of the reserve, indicating possible evidence of spillover or reduced fishing effort directly outside and around the marine reserve. However, there was no difference in the mean density of adult scallops between the reserve and outside. Finally, the mean age, size, and reproductive and exploitable biomass of king scallops were all significantly greater within the reserve. In contrast to king scallops, the population dynamics of queen scallops (Aequipecten opercularis) fluctuated randomly over the survey period and showed little difference between the reserve and outside. Overall, this study is consistent with the hypothesis that marine reserves can encourage the recovery of seafloor habitats, which, in turn, can benefit populations of commercially exploited species, emphasising the importance of marine reserves in the ecosystem-based management of fisheries.