Biodiversity

Deep reef fishes in the world’s epicenter of marine biodiversity

Pinheiro HT, Shepherd B, Castillo C, Abesamis RA, Copus JM, Pyle RL, Greene BD, Coleman RR, Whitton RK, Thillainath E, et al. Deep reef fishes in the world’s epicenter of marine biodiversity. Coral Reefs [Internet]. 2019 . Available from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00338-019-01825-5
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $39.95
Type: Journal Article

The Philippines is often highlighted as the global epicenter of marine biodiversity, yet surveys of reef-associated fishes in this region rarely extend beyond shallow habitats. Here, we improve the understanding of fish species diversity and distribution patterns in the Philippines by analyzing data from mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs; 30–150 m depth) obtained via mixed-gas rebreather diving and baited remote underwater video surveys. A total of 277 fish species from 50 families was documented, which includes thirteen newly discovered and undescribed species. There were 27 new records for the Philippines and 110 depth range extensions, indicating that many reef fishes have a broader geographic distribution and greater depth limits than previously reported. High taxonomic beta-diversity, mainly associated with family and genus turnover with depth, and significant effects of traits such as species body size, mobility and geographic range with maximum recorded depth, were observed. These results suggest that MCEs are characterized by unique assemblages with distinct ecological and biogeographic traits. A high proportion (60.5%) of the fish species are targeted by fishing, suggesting that Philippine MCEs are as vulnerable to overfishing as shallow reefs. Our findings support calls to expand conservation efforts beyond shallow reefs and draw attention to the need to explicitly include deep reefs in marine protected areas to help preserve the unique biodiversity of MCEs in the Philippines.

Are biodiversity offsetting targets of ecological equivalence feasible for biogenic reef habitats?

Stone R, Callaway R, Bull JC. Are biodiversity offsetting targets of ecological equivalence feasible for biogenic reef habitats?. Ocean & Coastal Management [Internet]. 2019 ;177:97 - 111. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964569118304629
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $35.95
Type: Journal Article

Structurally complex habitat is declining across temperate marine environments. This trend has been attributed to changes in land use and increasing coastal development, which are activities likely to continue with governments supporting ongoing economic growth within the marine realm. This can compromise biodiversity, and biodiversity offsetting is increasingly being heralded as a means to reduce the conflict between development and conservation. Offset schemes are often evaluated against targets of ‘ecological equivalence’ or ‘like-for-like’ but these terms can be difficult to define and quantify. Although targets of equivalence have been generally shown to be feasible in terrestrial environments, the complex and dynamic nature of the marine and coastal realms present difficulties when aiming for strict equivalence targets as measures of success. Here, we investigated four intertidal biogenic reef habitats formed by the tube worm Sabellaria alveolata within, and in proximity to, Swansea Bay (Wales, UK). The aim was to identify measurable biodiversity components for S. alveolata reef habitat, and to investigate the natural spatio-temporal variation in these components, to determine whether a target of equivalence was feasible. We also looked to identify the most important drivers of species assemblages within the reefs. Results showed that biodiversity both S. alveolata formation and tube aperture condition showed a significant interaction between site and season, with community composition varying significantly by site only. Site was found to explain the highest variation in community composition, followed by substrate type, and geographical position. These results highlight how widely coastal habitats can vary, in both space and time, and therefore calls into question a strict target of ecological equivalence when planning biodiversity offsets in coastal environments.

Institutions and adaptive capacity for marine biodiversity conservation

Tuda AOmondi, Machumu MErnest. Institutions and adaptive capacity for marine biodiversity conservation. Environmental Science & Policy [Internet]. In Press . Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901118305835
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $35.95
Type: Journal Article

Marine protected areas (MPAs) remain central to the conservation of marine biodiversity, but enhancing their resilience under climate change require that organizations managing them are able to adapt. Social factors like institutions can affect organizational capacities to adapt to climate change. Yet our knowledge about how different institutional designs for protected areas affect management adaptive capacity is limited. We address this gap by comparing how two models of MPA governance - centralized and collaborative (co-management) - influence the adaptive capacities of public organizations managing MPAs in East Africa. Social network analysis is used to examine external relations of MPA organizations which are interpreted through the lens of social capital theory to explain the acquisition of information and knowledge that support adaptive capacity. We find differences in the ways focal MPA organizations in the centralized and co-managed MPA systems are connected to their external partners. In the centralized system, the focal MPA organization operates in a less connected network rich in opportunities to bridge disconnected groups that can be a source of novel and diverse information. Conversely, the focal MPA organization in the co-managed system operates in a dense network of interconnected organizations that are likely to have similar information, therefore providing redundant information benefits. The composition of partners around focal MPA organizations which determines information quality is not affected by MPA governance context. We conclude that institutional context affects the relational dimensions of adaptive capacity, by giving greater or fewer opportunities for the development of either bridging or bonding social capital.

Effects of habitat area and spatial configuration on biodiversity in an experimental intertidal community

Loke LHL, Chisholm RA, Todd PA. Effects of habitat area and spatial configuration on biodiversity in an experimental intertidal community. Ecology [Internet]. 2019 :e02757. Available from: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ecy.2757
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $42.00
Type: Journal Article

Isolating the effects of fragmentation per se (i.e., spatial configuration of habitat patches) on species richness is an ongoing challenge as habitat configuration often co‐varies with the amount of habitat. Consequently, there is a lack of experimental evidence for configurational effects on species richness in the whole landscape. Here, we developed a novel experimental system for testing the independent and interactive effects of habitat area and configuration on tropical intertidal species richness. Our results confirmed the expectation that average species richness would increase monotonically with habitat area. More intriguingly, we found mixed evidence for a non‐monotonic relationship between species richness and fragmentation per se, with the highest richness at intermediate fragmentation configuration, i.e., when habitat tiles were placed in a “several‐small” configuration. The effect of habitat configuration was not due to passive sampling (since area was controlled for), variation in total individual abundance, or niche specialization of species to different landscape configurations. We postulate that a combination of processes, including local negative density dependence and dispersal limitation, could give rise to the observed pattern. We emphasize the importance of considering configurational effects on biodiversity at broader spatial scales and for more experimental research to delve into the mechanisms driving the patterns seen here.

Threats to marine biodiversity in European protected areas

Mazaris AD, Kallimanis A, Gissi E, Pipitone C, Danovaro R, Claudet J, Rilov G, Badalamenti F, Stelzenmüller V, Thiault L, et al. Threats to marine biodiversity in European protected areas. Science of The Total Environment [Internet]. In Press . Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969719318753
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $41.95
Type: Journal Article

Marine protected areas (MPAs) represent the main tool for halting the loss of marine biodiversity. However, there is increasing evidence concerning their limited capacity to reduce or eliminate some threats even within their own boundaries. Here, we analysed a Europe-wide dataset comprising 31,579 threats recorded in 1692 sites of the European Union's Natura 2000 conservation network. Focusing specifically on threats related to marine species and habitats, we found that fishing and outdoor activities were the most widespread threats reported within MPA boundaries, although some spatial heterogeneity in the distribution of threats was apparent. Our results clearly demonstrate the need to reconsider current management plans, standardise monitoring approaches and reporting, refine present threat assessments and improve knowledge of their spatial patterns within and outside MPAs in order to improve conservation capacity and outcomes.

Marine biodiversity research in the Ryukyu Islands, Japan: current status and trends

Reimer JDavis, Biondi P, Lau YWah, Masucci GDiego, Nguyen XHoa, Santos MEA, Wee HBoo. Marine biodiversity research in the Ryukyu Islands, Japan: current status and trends. PeerJ [Internet]. 2019 ;7:e6532. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6464027/?tool=pmcentrez&report=abstract
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Marine biodiversity and derived ecosystem services are critical to the healthy functioning of marine ecosystems, and to human economic and societal well-being. Thus, an understanding of marine biodiversity in different ecosystems is necessary for their conservation and management. Coral reefs in particular are noted for their high levels of biodiversity, and among the world’s coral reefs, the subtropical Ryukyu Islands (RYS; also known as the Nansei Islands) in Japan have been shown to harbor very high levels of marine biodiversity. This study provides an overview of the state of marine biodiversity research in the RYS. First, we examined the amount of English language scientific literature in the Web of Science (WoS; 1995–2017) on six selected representative taxa spanning protists to vertebrates across six geographic sub-regions in the RYS. Our results show clear taxonomic and sub-region bias, with research on Pisces, Cnidaria, and Crustacea to be much more common than on Dinoflagellata, Echinodermata, and Mollusca. Such research was more commonly conducted in sub-regions with larger human populations (Okinawa, Yaeyama). Additional analyses with the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) records show that within sub-regions, records are concentrated in areas directly around marine research stations and institutes (if present), further showing geographical bias within sub-regions. While not surprising, the results indicate a need to address ‘understudied’ taxa in ‘understudied sub-regions’ (Tokara, Miyako, Yakutane, Amami Oshima), particularly sub-regions away from marine research stations. Second, we compared the numbers of English language scientific papers on eight ecological topics for the RYS with numbers from selected major coral reef regions of the world; the Caribbean (CAR), Great Barrier Reef (GBR), and the Red Sea (RES). As expected, the numbers for all topics in the RYS were well below numbers from all other regions, yet within this disparity, research in the RYS on ‘marine protected areas’ and ‘herbivory’ was an order of magnitude lower than numbers in other regions. Additionally, while manuscript numbers on the RYS have increased from 1995 to 2016, the rate of increase (4.0 times) was seen to be lower than those in the CAR, RES, and GBR (4.6–8.4 times). Coral reefs in the RYS feature high levels of both endemism and anthropogenic threats, and subsequently they contain a concentration of some of the world’s most critically endangered marine species. To protect these threatened species and coral reef ecosystems, more data are needed to fill the research gaps identified in this study.

Establishing causal links between aquatic biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: Status and research needs

Daam MA, Teixeira H, Lillebø AI, Nogueira AJA. Establishing causal links between aquatic biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: Status and research needs. Science of The Total Environment [Internet]. 2019 ;656:1145 - 1156. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969718347685
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Understanding how changes in biodiversity affects ecosystem functioning is imperative in allowing Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM), especially when addressing global change and environmental degradation. Research into the link between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) has indeed increased considerably over the past decades. BEF research has focussed on terrestrial ecosystems and aquatic ecosystems have received considerably less attention. Due to differences in phylogenetic diversity, ecological processes and reported BEF relationships, however, it may at least be questionable whether BEF relationships are exchangeable between these ecosystems (i.e. terrestrial and aquatic). The aim of the present paper was therefore to pinpoint key areas and bottlenecks in establishing BEF relationships for aquatic ecosystems (freshwater, transitional, and marine). To this end, the available literature with special emphasis on the last 10 years was assessed to evaluate: i) reported mechanisms and shapes of aquatic BEF relationships; ii) to what extent BEF relations are interchangeable or ecosystem-specific; and iii) contemporary gaps and needs in aquatic BEF research. Based on our analysis, it may be concluded that despite considerable progress in BEF research over the past decades, several bottlenecks still need to be tackled, namely incorporating the multitude of functions supported by ecosystems, functional distinctiveness of rare species, multitrophic interactions and spatial-temporal scales, before BEF relationships can be used in ecosystem-based management.

Global assessment of marine biodiversity potentially threatened by offshore hydrocarbon activities

Venegas-Li R, Levin N, Morales-Barquero L, Kaschner K, Garilao C, Kark S. Global assessment of marine biodiversity potentially threatened by offshore hydrocarbon activities. Global Change Biology [Internet]. 2019 . Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gcb.14616
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $42.00
Type: Journal Article

Increasing global energy demands have led to the ongoing intensification of hydrocarbon extraction from marine areas. Hydrocarbon extractive activities pose threats to native marine biodiversity, such as noise, light, and chemical pollution, physical changes to the sea floor, invasive species, and greenhouse gas emissions. Here, we assessed at a global scale the spatial overlap between offshore hydrocarbon activities and marine biodiversity (>25,000 species, nine major ecosystems, and marine protected areas), and quantify the changes over time. We discovered that two‐thirds of global offshore hydrocarbon activities occur in areas within the top 10% for species richness, range rarity, and proportional range rarity values globally. Thus, while hydrocarbon activities are undertaken in less than one percent of the ocean's area, they overlap with approximately 85% of all assessed species. Of conservation concern, 4% of species with the largest proportion of their range overlapping hydrocarbon activities are range restricted, potentially increasing their vulnerability to localized threats such as oil spills. While hydrocarbon activities have extended to greater depths since the mid‐1990s, we found that the largest overlap is with coastal ecosystems, particularly estuaries, saltmarshes, and mangroves. Furthermore, in most countries where offshore hydrocarbon exploration licensing blocks have been delineated, they do not overlap with marine protected areas (MPAs). Although this is positive in principle, many countries have far more licensing block areas than protected areas, and in some instances, MPA coverage is minimal. These findings suggest the need for marine spatial prioritisation to help limit future spatial overlap between marine conservation priorities and hydrocarbon activities. Such prioritisation can be informed by the spatial and quantitative baseline information provided here. In increasingly shared seascapes, prioritising management actions that set both conservation and development targets could help minimize further declines of biodiversity and environmental changes at a global scale.

From Science to Evidence – How Biodiversity Indicators Can Be Used for Effective Marine Conservation Policy and Management

McQuatters-Gollop A, Mitchell I, Vina-Herbon C, Bedford J, Addison PFE, Lynam CP, Geetha PN, Vermeulan EAnn, Smit K, Bayley DTI, et al. From Science to Evidence – How Biodiversity Indicators Can Be Used for Effective Marine Conservation Policy and Management. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2019 ;6. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2019.00109/full
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Indicators are effective tools for summarizing and communicating key aspects of ecosystem state and have a long record of use in marine pollution and fisheries management. The application of biodiversity indicators to assess the status of species, habitats, and functional diversity in marine conservation and policy, however, is still developing and multiple indicator roles and features are emerging. For example, some operational biodiversity indicators trigger management action when a threshold is reached, while others play an interpretive, or surveillance, role in informing management. Links between biodiversity indicators and the pressures affecting them are frequently unclear as links can be obscured by environmental change, data limitations, food web dynamics, or the cumulative effects of multiple pressures. In practice, the application of biodiversity indicators to meet marine conservation policy and management demands is developing rapidly in the management realm, with a lag before academic publication detailing indicator development. Making best use of biodiversity indicators depends on sharing and synthesizing cutting-edge knowledge and experience. Using lessons learned from the application of biodiversity indicators in policy and management from around the globe, we define the concept of ‘biodiversity indicators,’ explore barriers to their use and potential solutions, and outline strategies for their effective communication to decision-makers.

From Science to Evidence – How Biodiversity Indicators Can Be Used for Effective Marine Conservation Policy and Management

McQuatters-Gollop A, Mitchell I, Vina-Herbon C, Bedford J, Addison PFE, Lynam CP, Geetha PN, Vermeulan EAnn, Smit K, Bayley DTI, et al. From Science to Evidence – How Biodiversity Indicators Can Be Used for Effective Marine Conservation Policy and Management. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2019 ;6. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2019.00109/full
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Indicators are effective tools for summarizing and communicating key aspects of ecosystem state and have a long record of use in marine pollution and fisheries management. The application of biodiversity indicators to assess the status of species, habitats, and functional diversity in marine conservation and policy, however, is still developing and multiple indicator roles and features are emerging. For example, some operational biodiversity indicators trigger management action when a threshold is reached, while others play an interpretive, or surveillance, role in informing management. Links between biodiversity indicators and the pressures affecting them are frequently unclear as links can be obscured by environmental change, data limitations, food web dynamics, or the cumulative effects of multiple pressures. In practice, the application of biodiversity indicators to meet marine conservation policy and management demands is developing rapidly in the management realm, with a lag before academic publication detailing indicator development. Making best use of biodiversity indicators depends on sharing and synthesizing cutting-edge knowledge and experience. Using lessons learned from the application of biodiversity indicators in policy and management from around the globe, we define the concept of ‘biodiversity indicators,’ explore barriers to their use and potential solutions, and outline strategies for their effective communication to decision-makers.

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