In this paper we aim to establish a conceptual and practical framework for investigating sense of place as a category of cultural ecosystem services, drawing upon transdisciplinary research on assessing cultural value and ecosystem change in the Irish Sea. We examine sense of place as a material phenomenon, embedded in and expressive of the relationship between determining ecological conditions of particular locations and the determining social and cultural conditions of human habitation. Our emphasis on sense of place as a material phenomenon contrasts with the prevailing tendency in ecosystem services literature to treat cultural ecosystem services as ‘non-material’, ‘immaterial’, or ‘intangible’, and builds on a call to conceptualize cultural ecosystem services in ‘a more theoretically nuanced approach’ which yields practical means of researching and assessing cultural benefits (Fish et al., 2016a, p. 215). The paper emerges from a transdisciplinary project on ‘The Cultural Value of Coastlines’, which seeks to define a mechanism for integrating materialist research on cultural benefits into the ecosystem services framework. We demonstrate the need for a more significant role for sense of place as a category of cultural ecosystem services, and for research practices which can account for the material and socially-produced nature of sense of place.
Food for Thought
The Ocean Literacy movement is predominantly driven forward by scientists and educators working in subject areas associated with ocean science. While some in the scientific community have heeded the responsibility to communicate with the general public to increase scientific literacy, reaching and engaging with diverse audiences remains a challenge. Many academic institutions, research centers, and individual scientists use social network sites (SNS) like Twitter to not only promote conferences, journal publications, and scientific reports, but to disseminate resources and information that have the potential to increase the scientific literacy of diverse audiences. As more people turn to social media for news and information, SNSs like Twitter have a great potential to increase ocean literacy, so long as disseminators understand the best practices and limitations of SNS communication. This study analyzed the Twitter account of MaREI – Ireland’s Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy – coordinated by University College Cork Ireland, as a case study. We looked specifically at posts related to ocean literacy to determine what types of audiences are being engaged and what factors need to be considered to increase engagement with intended audiences. Two main findings are presented in this paper. First, we present overall user retweet frequency as a function of post characteristics, highlighting features significant in influencing users’ retweet behavior. Second, we separate users into two types – INREACH and OUTREACH – and identify post characteristics that are statistically relevant in increasing the probability of engaging with an OUTREACH user. The results of this study provide novel insight into the ways in which science-based Twitter users can better use the platform as a vector for science communication and outreach.
Due to the current interest of research and business at the international and national levels in marine genetic resources, they are regarded as a new frontier and source for genetic and biochemical information. This article seeks to shed light on selected examples and potential or realised economic value of marine bioprospecting for the industry as well as jurisdictional and legal issues in international law over the rights regarding those resources. It will also explore how some countries are starting to regulate access and utilisation in areas within national jurisdiction and introduce some links to their utilisation in patented inventions and implications to patent law. The notes will not cover MGRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction, as this is a regime in the making under a potential new treaty to protect marine resources under the United Nations General Assembly. The note will end on some conclusions on the fact there is a significant interest and increase in the use of MGRs for bioprospecting purposes, R&D and in terms of patent filing trends.
The aesthetic appreciation of natural places is one of the most fundamental ways in which people relate to their environment. It provides wellbeing, an opportunity for recreation and reflection, a sense of place, and cultural enrichment. It also motivates people to take care of natural places and to conserve them for current and future appreciation. Aesthetically valuable places also support significant economic activity. However, there is little guidance available to assist environmental managers and policy-makers to consider and integrate aesthetic values into decision-making processes. In this study, we present an approach for developing robust and practical indicators of aesthetic value to enable environmental managers to consider, assess and report on aesthetic condition and trend. We demonstrate its utility using the case of the Great Barrier Reef, a region currently undergoing significant social, economic and environmental change and an area formally protected, in part, for its aesthetic values. A qualitative scoping study with 30 key informants identified over 180 potential qualities contributing to reef aesthetics. We tested five for their utility in capturing key aspects of the coral reef aesthetic: (i) coral cover, (ii) coral pattern, (iii) coral topography, (iv) fish abundance, and (v) visibility. We asked 1,417 online Australians to aesthetically rate 50 out of 181 underwater coral reef images that varied in relation to these five attributes. Coral topography, fish abundance, and visibility were significantly correlated with aesthetic ratings, whilst coral cover and coral pattern were not. We also tested for demographic patterns in aesthetic ratings. Our pilot study has demonstrated that readily measurable characteristics of coral reefs can provide useful indicators of aesthetic quality, opening up opportunities for coral reef managers and policymakers to assess and track changes in aesthetics in ways that are relevant to the public. There is considerable scope to further advance capacity for monitoring and managing aesthetic values of coral reefs through additional research that resolves nuances in the meanings associated with aesthetics in coral reef settings.
Interdisciplinary research is vital in addressing complex real-world problems. To understand how the scientific workforce is being engaged in the interdisciplinary research, it is important to track the involvement of different research fields over time and the grants that drive the research endeavour. Unfortunately, there has been very little work in this understanding of interdisciplinary research and grant success. In this paper, we analysed the contribution of different disciplines within multidisciplinary research that secured grants. We tracked these contributions over a 10-year period to understand how different research fields evolved over time and played roles in interdisciplinary grant success. We followed a basic statistical approach and proposed a network-based approach to understand relative participation of different disciplines. We found disparities within different disciplines which showed that only few research fields contributed more in the interdisciplinary research grant success.
Natural resource policies enacted to protect environmental integrity play an important role in promoting sustainability. However, when resources are shared ecologically, economically, or through a common, global interest, policies implemented to protect resource sustainability in one domain can displace, and in some cases magnify, environmental degradation to other domains. Although such displacement has been recognized as a fundamental challenge to environmental and conservation policy within some resource sectors, there has been little cross‐disciplinary and cross‐sectoral integration to address the problem. This suggests that siloed knowledge may be impeding widespread recognition of the ubiquity of displacement and the need for mitigation. Here, we connect research across multiple disciplines to promote a broader discussion and recognition of the processes and pathways that can lead to displaced impacts that countermand or undermine resource policy and outline a number of approaches that can mitigate displacement.
The transition of plants and animals from sea to land required adaptation to a very different physical and chemical environment. In this paper, we focus on the consequences of the differences between the magnitude of the variability of ocean and atmospheric dynamics, with the ocean environment (in particular temperature and currents) being two to three orders of magnitude less variable than that on land. We suggest that greater insights on possible responses of marine vs. terrestrial systems to rapid climate change can be gained by considering that terrestrial vertebrates, invertebrates and plants have evolved from marine organisms that, pre-Cambrian, had early life history developmental stages as planktonic larvae. Marine larvae were/are adapted to the predictable and minimal range of temperature changes and regularities in ocean currents, as most organisms utilize the energy in these currents as an “auxiliary” source for predictable gamete and larvae dispersal. Post-Cambrian, on land, no such simple strategy was available; instead, most terrestrial organisms have evolved reproductive strategies and behaviours to eliminate, or at least minimize, the consequences of much larger atmospheric variability. Adapting our future use of these systems sensibly will require greater understanding of how the two regimes respond to rapid climate change.
In this period of environmental change, understanding how resource users respond to such changes is critical for effective resource management and adaptation planning. Extensive work has focused on natural resource responses to environmental changes, but less has examined the response of resource users to such changes. We used an interdisciplinary approach to analyse changes in resource use among commercial trawl fishing communities in the northwest Atlantic, a region that has shown poleward shifts in harvested fish species. We found substantial community-level changes in fishing patterns since 1996: southern trawl fleets of larger vessels with low catch diversity fished up to 400 km further north, while trawl fleets of smaller vessels with low catch diversity shrank or disappeared from the data set over time. In contrast, trawl fleets (of both large and small vessels) with higher catch diversity neither changed fishing location dramatically or nor disappeared as often from the data set. This analysis suggests that catch diversity and high mobility may buffer fishing communities from effects of environmental change. Particularly in times of rapid and uncertain change, constructing diverse portfolios and allowing for fleet mobility may represent effective adaptation strategies.
Mandates to execute ecosystem-based management exist but are not implemented sufficiently enough to reap the benefits of a growing blue economy.
The ability to perceive and recognise a reflected mirror image as self (mirror self-recognition, MSR) is considered a hallmark of cognition across species. Although MSR has been reported in mammals and birds, it is not known to occur in any other major taxon. Potentially limiting our ability to test for MSR in other taxa is that the established assay, the mark test, requires that animals display contingency testing and self-directed behaviour. These behaviours may be difficult for humans to interpret in taxonomically divergent animals, especially those that lack the dexterity (or limbs) required to touch a mark. Here, we show that a fish, the cleaner wrasse Labroides dimidiatus, shows behaviour that may reasonably be interpreted as passing through all phases of the mark test: (i) social reactions towards the reflection, (ii) repeated idiosyncratic behaviours towards the mirror, and (iii) frequent observation of their reflection. When subsequently provided with a coloured tag in a modified mark test, fish attempt to remove the mark by scraping their body in the presence of a mirror but show no response towards transparent marks or to coloured marks in the absence of a mirror. This remarkable finding presents a challenge to our interpretation of the mark test—do we accept that these behavioural responses, which are taken as evidence of self-recognition in other species during the mark test, lead to the conclusion that fish are self-aware? Or do we rather decide that these behavioural patterns have a basis in a cognitive process other than self-recognition and that fish do not pass the mark test? If the former, what does this mean for our understanding of animal intelligence? If the latter, what does this mean for our application and interpretation of the mark test as a metric for animal cognitive abilities?