Conservation Targets & Planning

Strategies in scheduling marine protected area establishment in a network system

Kininmonth S, Weeks R, Abesamis RA, Bernardo LPatrick C, Beger M, Treml EA, Williamson D, Pressey RL. Strategies in scheduling marine protected area establishment in a network system. Ecological Applications [Internet]. 2018 . Available from: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/eap.1820
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $38.00
Type: Journal Article

Instantaneous implementation of systematic conservation plans at regional scales is rare. More typically, planned actions are applied incrementally over periods of years or decades. During protracted implementation, the character of the connected ecological system will change as a function of external anthropogenic pressures, local metapopulation processes, and environmental fluctuations. For heavily exploited systems, habitat quality will deteriorate as the plan is implemented, potentially influencing the schedule of protected area implementation necessary to achieve conservation objectives. Understanding the best strategy to adopt for applying management within a connected environment is desirable, especially given limited conservation resources. Here, we model the sequential application of no‐take marine protected areas (MPAs) in the central Philippines within a metapopulation framework, using a range of network‐based decision rules. The model was based on selecting 33 sites for protection from 101 possible sites over a 35‐yr period. The graph‐theoretic network criteria to select sites for protection included PageRank, maximum degree, closeness centrality, betweenness centrality, minimum degree, random, and historical events. We also included a dynamic strategy called colonization–extinction rate that was updated every year based on the changing capacity of each site to produce and absorb larvae. Each rule was evaluated in the context of achieving the maximum metapopulation mean lifetime at the conclusion of the implementation phase. MPAs were designated through the alteration of the extinction risk parameter. The highest ranked criteria were PageRank while the actual implementation from historical records ranked lowest. Our results indicate that protecting the sites ranked highest with regard to larval supply is likely to yield the highest benefit for fish abundance and fish metapopulation persistence. Model results highlighted the benefits of including network processes in conservation planning.

Light and Shade in Marine Conservation Across European and Contiguous Seas

Fraschetti S, Pipitone C, Mazaris AD, Rilov G, Badalamenti F, Bevilacqua S, Claudet J, Carić H, Dahl K, D’Anna G, et al. Light and Shade in Marine Conservation Across European and Contiguous Seas. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2018 ;5. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fmars.2018.00420/full
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

As a response to increasing human pressures on marine ecosystems, the legislation aimed at improving the conservation and management of marine coastal areas in European and Contiguous Seas (ECS) underwent crucial advances. ECS, however, still remain largely affected by increasing threats leading to biodiversity loss. Here, by using emblematic case studies and expert knowledge, we review current conservation tools, comparing their application in different areas to assess their effectiveness, potential for synergies, and contradictions. Despite regional differences in their application, the existing legislative frameworks have the potential to regulate human activities and to protect marine biodiversity. However, four challenges remain to be addressed to fully achieve environmental policy goals: (1) Lack of shared vision representing a limitation in transboundary collaboration. Although all EU countries are committed to fulfil EU Directives and other binding international legislative acts, a remarkable heterogeneity exists among countries in the compliance with the common legislation on conservation and in their degree of implementation. (2) Lack of systematic procedures for the selection of protected marine sites. Regional and national approaches in designating Natura 2000 sites and nationally designated marine protected areas (MPAs) reflect varying conservation targets and importance of conservation issues in political agendas. (3) Lack of coherent ecological networks. Natura 2000 sites and other MPAs are still far from reaching the status of effective networks in all considered case studies. (4) Hotspot of conflicts with private economic interests prevailing over conservation aims. Recommendations are given to overcome the fragmented approach still characterizing the conservation and management of coastal marine environments. Holistic, integrated, ecosystem-based, cross-cutting approaches can avoid conflicts among institutions so as to provide effective and timely solutions to current and future challenges concerning the conservation and management of marine ecosystems and associated goods and services.

Assessing the Conservation Potential of Fish and Corals in Aquariums Globally

da Silva R, Kelly PPearce, Zimmerman B, Knott M, Foden W, Conde DA. Assessing the Conservation Potential of Fish and Corals in Aquariums Globally. Journal for Nature Conservation [Internet]. In Press . Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1617138118302723?dgcid=raven_sd_search_email
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Aquatic ecosystems are indispensable for life on earth and yet despite their essential function and services roles, marine and freshwater biomes are facing unprecedented threats from both traditional and emerging anthropogenic stressors. The resultant species and ecosystem-level threat severity requires an urgent response from the conservation community. With their care facilities, veterinary and conservation breeding expertise, reintroduction and restoration and public communication reach, stand-alone aquariums and zoos holding aquatic taxa have great collective potential to help address the current biodiversity crisis, which is now greatest in freshwater than land habitats. However, uncertainty regarding the number of species kept in such facilities hinders assessment of their conservation value. Here we analyzed standardized and shared data of zoological institution members of Species360, for fish and Anthozoa species (i.e. Actinopterygii, Elasmobranchii, Holocephali, Myxini, Sarcopterygii and Anthozoa). To assess the conservation potential of populations held in these institutions, we cross-referenced the Species360 records with the following conservation schemes: the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), the IUCN Red List, Climate Change Vulnerability, Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) and The Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE). We found that aquariums hold four of the six fish species listed by the IUCN Red List as ‘Extinct in the Wild’, 31% of Anthozoa species listed by Foden et al. (2013) as Vulnerable to Climate Change, 19 out of the 111 Anthozoa EDGE species, and none of the species prioritized by the AZE. However, it’s very likely that significant additional species of high conservation value are held in aquariums that do not manage their records in standardized, sharable platforms such as Species360. Our study highlights both the great value of aquarium and zoo collections for addressing the aquatic biodiversity crisis, as well as the importance that they maintain comprehensive, standardised, globally-shared taxonomic data.

New method to identify and map flagship fleets for promoting conservation and ecotourism

Santarém F, Pereira P, Saarinen J, Brito JCarlos. New method to identify and map flagship fleets for promoting conservation and ecotourism. Biological Conservation [Internet]. 2019 ;229:113 - 124. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320718310176
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Evaluating flagship species and their potential for biological preservation and ecotourism development is a key issue for many audiences within the conservation and social fields. Despite several methods available to identify flagships, their application is often constrained in remote, poorly studied regions. Developments are needed in statistical and spatially-explicit approaches to assess species' traits influencing flagship appealing, to identify flagship fleets, and to map the location of flagship hotspots. Here, we developed a new method to identify flagship species in regions with knowledge gaps, using a two-stage statistical approach (ordination and clustering algorithms) to assess variable's contribution to appealing and to group species sharing similar characteristics into flagship fleets. We then mapped areas concentrating the highest richness of flagships. Unique morphologies and behaviours, conservation status, endemicity, body size and weight, and feeding habits were the traits contributing the most to the flagship appealing. Nine flagship fleets were identified, from which two were the most suitable for conservation marketing and ecotourism promotion campaigns in Sahara-Sahel: Fleet A comprising 36 large-bodied species (18 mammals, 18 reptiles) and Fleet B including 70 small-bodied species (10 birds, six mammals, 54 reptiles). A total of 19 and 16 hotspots were identified for large-bodied and small-bodied flagships, respectively. The methodology was suitable to identify flagship species for conservation marketing and for developing ecotourism operations in the Sahara-Sahel, to independently assess which species' traits are relevant for flagship appealing, and to organise fleets for multispecies-based marketing campaigns. The framework is scalable and replicable worldwide.

Global challenges for seagrass conservation

Unsworth RKF, McKenzie LJ, Collier CJ, Cullen-Unsworth LC, Duarte CM, Eklöf JS, Jarvis JC, Jones BL, Nordlund LM. Global challenges for seagrass conservation. Ambio [Internet]. 2018 . Available from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13280-018-1115-y
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Seagrasses, flowering marine plants that form underwater meadows, play a significant global role in supporting food security, mitigating climate change and supporting biodiversity. Although progress is being made to conserve seagrass meadows in select areas, most meadows remain under significant pressure resulting in a decline in meadow condition and loss of function. Effective management strategies need to be implemented to reverse seagrass loss and enhance their fundamental role in coastal ocean habitats. Here we propose that seagrass meadows globally face a series of significant common challenges that must be addressed from a multifaceted and interdisciplinary perspective in order to achieve global conservation of seagrass meadows. The six main global challenges to seagrass conservation are (1) a lack of awareness of what seagrasses are and a limited societal recognition of the importance of seagrasses in coastal systems; (2) the status of many seagrass meadows are unknown, and up-to-date information on status and condition is essential; (3) understanding threatening activities at local scales is required to target management actions accordingly; (4) expanding our understanding of interactions between the socio-economic and ecological elements of seagrass systems is essential to balance the needs of people and the planet; (5) seagrass research should be expanded to generate scientific inquiries that support conservation actions; (6) increased understanding of the linkages between seagrass and climate change is required to adapt conservation accordingly. We also explicitly outline a series of proposed policy actions that will enable the scientific and conservation community to rise to these challenges. We urge the seagrass conservation community to engage stakeholders from local resource users to international policy-makers to address the challenges outlined here, in order to secure the future of the world’s seagrass ecosystems and maintain the vital services which they supply.

Light and Shade in Marine Conservation Across European and Contiguous Seas

Fraschetti S, Pipitone C, Mazaris AD, Rilov G, Badalamenti F, Bevilacqua S, Claudet J, Carić H, Dahl K, D’Anna G, et al. Light and Shade in Marine Conservation Across European and Contiguous Seas. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2018 ;5. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2018.00420/full
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

As a response to increasing human pressures on marine ecosystems, the legislation aimed at improving the conservation and management of marine coastal areas in European and Contiguous Seas (ECS) underwent crucial advances. ECS, however, still remain largely affected by increasing threats leading to biodiversity loss. Here, by using emblematic case studies and expert knowledge, we review current conservation tools, comparing their application in different areas to assess their effectiveness, potential for synergies, and contradictions. Despite regional differences in their application, the existing legislative frameworks have the potential to regulate human activities and to protect marine biodiversity. However, four challenges remain to be addressed to fully achieve environmental policy goals: (1) Lack of shared vision representing a limitation in transboundary collaboration. Although all EU countries are committed to fulfil EU Directives and other binding international legislative acts, a remarkable heterogeneity exists among countries in the compliance with the common legislation on conservation and in their degree of implementation. (2) Lack of systematic procedures for the selection of protected marine sites. Regional and national approaches in designating Natura 2000 sites and nationally designated marine protected areas (MPAs) reflect varying conservation targets and importance of conservation issues in political agendas. (3) Lack of coherent ecological networks. Natura 2000 sites and other MPAs are still far from reaching the status of effective networks in all considered case studies. (4) Hotspot of conflicts with private economic interests prevailing over conservation aims. Recommendations are given to overcome the fragmented approach still characterizing the conservation and management of coastal marine environments. Holistic, integrated, ecosystem-based, cross-cutting approaches can avoid conflicts among institutions so as to provide effective and timely solutions to current and future challenges concerning the conservation and management of marine ecosystems and associated goods and services.

Visitors’ willingness to pay marine conservation fees in Barbados

Schuhmann PW, Skeete R, Waite R, Lorde T, Bangwayo-Skeete P, Oxenford HA, Gill D, Moore W, Spencer F. Visitors’ willingness to pay marine conservation fees in Barbados. Tourism Management [Internet]. 2019 ;71:315 - 326. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261517718302462
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $19.95
Type: Journal Article

Human development and dense populations along coastal zones impact the health of coastal and marine ecosystems, which is detrimental to the economic sustainability of tourism. Visitors to Barbados are primarily attracted to the country's coastal and marine resources, making the protection of the marine environment paramount. In developing countries with limited resources for environmental management, who pays the cost of conservation, and the amount, has been the subject of much debate. We apply parametric and non-parametric estimations to investigate the factors driving the willingness of tourists to pay a fee for coastal and marine conservation. The mean willingness to pay ranged from US$36 to US$52 per visit to Barbados. Based on general consensus, we suggest that such a fee if implemented should be paid into a dedicated conservation fund. Furthermore, consideration should be given to charging only non-Caribbean tourists given that regional visitors displayed discontent in paying such fees.

Modelling Dolphin Distribution to Inform Future Spatial Conservation Decisions in a Marine Protected Area

Passadore C, Möller LM, Diaz-Aguirre F, Parra GJ. Modelling Dolphin Distribution to Inform Future Spatial Conservation Decisions in a Marine Protected Area. Scientific Reports [Internet]. 2018 ;8(1). Available from: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-34095-2
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

As marine predators experience increasing anthropogenic pressures, there is an urgent need to understand their distribution and their drivers to inform spatial conservation planning. We used an ensemble modelling approach to investigate the spatio-temporal distribution of southern Australian bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops cf. australis) in relation to a variety of ecogeographical and anthropogenic variables in Coffin Bay, Thorny Passage Marine Park, South Australia. Further, we evaluated the overlap between current spatial management measures and important dolphin habitat. Dolphins showed no distinct seasonal shifts in distribution patterns. Models of the entire study area indicate that zones of high probability of dolphin occurrence were located mainly within the inner area of Coffin Bay. In the inner area, zones with high probability of dolphin occurrence were associated with shallow waters (2–4 m and 7–10 m) and located within 1,000 m from land and 2,500 m from oyster farms. The multi-modal response curve of depth in the models likely shows how the different dolphin communities in Coffin Bay occupy different embayments characterized by distinct depth patterns. The majority of areas of high (>0.6) probability of dolphin occurrence are outside sanctuary zones where multiple human activities are allowed. The inner area of Coffin Bay is an important area of year-round habitat suitability for dolphins. Our results can inform future spatial conservation decisions and improve protection of important dolphin habitat.

Spatial scales of marine conservation management for breeding seabirds

Oppel S, Bolton M, Carneiro APB, Dias MP, Green JA, Masello JF, Phillips RA, Owen E, Quillfeldt P, Beard A, et al. Spatial scales of marine conservation management for breeding seabirds. Marine Policy [Internet]. 2018 ;98:37 - 46. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X18302422
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $35.95
Type: Journal Article

Knowing the spatial scales at which effective management can be implemented is fundamental for conservation planning. This is especially important for mobile species, which can be exposed to threats across large areas, but the space use requirements of different species can vary to an extent that might render some management approaches inefficient. Here the space use patterns of seabirds were examined to provide guidance on whether conservation management approaches should be tailored for taxonomic groups with different movement characteristics. Seabird tracking data were synthesised from 5419 adult breeding individuals of 52 species in ten families that were collected in the Atlantic Ocean basin between 1998 and 2017. Two key aspects of spatial distribution were quantified, namely how far seabirds ranged from their colony, and to what extent individuals from the same colony used the same areas at sea. There was evidence for substantial differences in patterns of space-use among the ten studied seabird families, indicating that several alternative conservation management approaches are needed. Several species exhibited large foraging ranges and little aggregation at sea, indicating that area-based conservation solutions would have to be extremely large to adequately protect such species. The results highlight that short-ranging and aggregating species such as cormorants, auks, some penguins, and gulls would benefit from conservation approaches at relatively small spatial scales during their breeding season. However, improved regulation of fisheries, bycatch, pollution and other threats over large spatial scales will be needed for wide-ranging and dispersed species such as albatrosses, petrels, storm petrels and frigatebirds.frigatebirds.

Research Priorities to Support Effective Manta and Devil Ray Conservation

Stewart JD, Jaine FRA, Armstrong AJ, Armstrong AO, Bennett MB, Burgess KB, Couturier LIE, Croll DA, Cronin MR, Deakos MH, et al. Research Priorities to Support Effective Manta and Devil Ray Conservation. Frontiers in Marine Science [Internet]. 2018 ;5. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2018.00314/full
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Manta and devil rays are filter-feeding elasmobranchs that are found circumglobally in tropical and subtropical waters. Although relatively understudied for most of the Twentieth century, public awareness and scientific research on these species has increased dramatically in recent years. Much of this attention has been in response to targeted fisheries, international trade in mobulid products, and a growing concern over the fate of exploited populations. Despite progress in mobulid research, major knowledge gaps still exist, hindering the development of effective management and conservation strategies. We assembled 30 leaders and emerging experts in the fields of mobulid biology, ecology, and conservation to identify pressing knowledge gaps that must be filled to facilitate improved science-based management of these vulnerable species. We highlight focal research topics in the subject areas of taxonomy and diversity, life history, reproduction and nursery areas, population trends, bycatch and fisheries, spatial dynamics and movements, foraging and diving, pollution and contaminants, and sub-lethal impacts. Mobulid rays remain a poorly studied group, and therefore our list of important knowledge gaps is extensive. However, we hope that this identification of high priority knowledge gaps will stimulate and focus future mobulid research.

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