Oxygen restricted conditions were widespread in European shelf seas after the end-Triassic mass extinction event and they are reported to have hindered the recovery of marine benthos. Here we reconstruct the redox history of the Early Jurassic Blue Lias Formation of southwest Britain using pyrite framboid size analysis and compare this with the recovery of bivalves based on field and museum collections. Results suggest widespread dysoxia punctuated by periods of anoxia in the region, with the latter developing frequently in deeper water settings. Despite these harsh conditions, initial benthic recovery occurred rapidly in the British Jurassic, especially in shallowest settings, and shows no relationship with the intensity of dysoxia. A stable diversity was reached by the first recognised ammonite zone after the end-Triassic mass extinction. This contrasts with the deeper-water, more oxygen-poor sections where the diversity increase was still continuing in the earliest Sinemurian Stage, considerably longer than previously reported. Similar recovery rates are seen amongst other groups (brachiopods and ammonites). Oxygen-poor conditions have been suggested to delay recovery after the Permo-Triassic mass extinction, but this is not the case after the end-Triassic crisis. We suggest that this was because the European dysoxia was only a regional phenomenon and there were plenty of well-ventilated regions available to allow an untrammelled bounce back.
Food for Thought
Long-lived species share life history traits such as slow growth, late maturity, and low fecundity, which lead to slow recovery rates and increase a population’s vulnerability to disturbance. The Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) has recently been recognized as the world’s longest-lived vertebrate, but many questions regarding its biology, physiology, and ecology remain unanswered. Here we review how current and future research will fill knowledge gaps about the Greenland shark and provide an overall framework to guide research and management priorities for this species. Key advances include the potential for specialized aging techniques and demographic studies to shed light on the distribution and age-class structure of Greenland shark populations. Advances in population genetics and genomics will reveal key factors contributing to the Greenland shark’s extreme longevity, range and population size, and susceptibility to environmental change. New tagging technologies and improvements in experimental and analytical design will allow detailed monitoring of movement behaviors and interactions among Greenland sharks and other marine species, while shedding light on habitat use and susceptibility to fisheries interactions. Interdisciplinary approaches, such as the combined use of stable isotope analysis and high-tech data-logging devices (i.e., accelerometers and acoustic hydrophones) have the potential to improve knowledge of feeding strategies, predatory capabilities, and the trophic role of Greenland sharks. Measures of physiology, including estimation of metabolic rate, as well as heart rate and function, will advance our understanding of the causes and consequences of long lifespans. Determining the extent and effects of current threats (as well as potential mitigation measures) will assist the development of policies, recommendations, and actions relevant for the management of this potentially vulnerable species. Through an interdisciplinary lens, we propose innovative approaches to direct the future study of Greenland sharks and promote the consideration of longevity as an important factor in research on aquatic and terrestrial predators.
New Zealand (NZ) is an island nation with stewardship of an ocean twenty times larger than its land area. While the challenges facing NZ’s ocean are similar to other maritime countries, no coherent national plan exists that meets the needs of scientists, stakeholders or kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of NZ’s ocean in a changing climate. The NZ marine science community used the OceanObs’19 white paper to establish a framework and implementation plan for a collaborative NZ ocean observing system (NZ-OOS). Co-production of ocean knowledge with Māori will be embedded in this national strategy for growing a sustainable, blue economy for NZ. The strengths of an observing system for a relatively small nation come from direct connections between the science impetus through to users and stakeholders of an NZ-OOS. The community will leverage off existing ocean observations to optimize effort and resources in a system that has historically made limited investment in ocean observing. The goal of the community paper will be achieved by bringing together oceanographers, data scientists and marine stakeholders to develop an NZ-OOS that provides best knowledge and tools to the sectors of society that use or are influenced by the ocean.
Protected areas (PAs) are fundamental for biodiversity conservation, yet their impacts on nearby residents are contested. We synthesized environmental and socioeconomic conditions of >87,000 children in >60,000 households situated either near or far from >600 PAs within 34 developing countries. We used quasi-experimental hierarchical regression to isolate the impact of living near a PA on several aspects of human well-being. Households near PAs with tourism also had higher wealth levels (by 17%) and a lower likelihood of poverty (by 16%) than similar households living far from PAs. Children under 5 years old living near multiple-use PAs with tourism also had higher height-for-age scores (by 10%) and were less likely to be stunted (by 13%) than similar children living far from PAs. For the largest and most comprehensive socioeconomic-environmental dataset yet assembled, we found no evidence of negative PA impacts and consistent statistical evidence to suggest PAs can positively affect human well-being.
As 2020 approaches, countries are accelerating their commitments to protect 10% of the ocean by establishing and expanding marine protected areas (MPAs) and other area-based protections. Since it began in 2014, the Our Ocean Conference (OOC) has become a high-profile platform to announce ocean commitments. To evaluate the impact of these promises, this analysis asked: (1) What are the MPA commitments? (2) Who is making them? (3) Have these announcements been followed by action? and (4) Have they contributed significantly to ocean protection? A systematic review of the 143 MPA announcements made at the four OOCs between 2014 and 2017 (and the 202 individual actions they encompassed) concluded that the numbers and sectors of announcers, as well as the types of actions, increased over time. Fifty-two countries and 52 other organizations made OOC commitments, 46% of which have been completed and 56% of which are still incomplete. Thirteen countries and 17 organizations have completed all of their actions. All organizations and 48 out of 52 countries have made some progress on their actions, but no evidence of progress could be found for actions from four countries. OOC announcements have promised to protect 3.4% of the ocean (12,279,931 km2). To date, 43% of that promised area has been implemented, with another 57% yet to be implemented. Based on these findings, a number of actions are recommended to improve the clarity and traceability of OOC announcements, facilitate the monitoring of outcomes, and deliver on the promise of accountability emphasized at the OOCs.
Oceans constitute over 70% of the earth's surface, and the marine environment and ecosystems are central to many global challenges. Not only are the oceans an important source of food and other resources, but they also play a important roles in the earth's climate and provide crucial ecosystem services. To monitor the environment and ensure sustainable exploitation of marine resources, extensive data collection and analysis efforts form the backbone of management programmes on global, regional, or national levels. Technological advances in sensor technology, autonomous platforms, and information and communications technology now allow marine scientists to collect data in larger volumes than ever before. But our capacity for data analysis has not progressed comparably, and the growing discrepancy is becoming a major bottleneck for effective use of the available data, as well as an obstacle to scaling up data collection further. Recent years have seen rapid advances in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning, and in particular, so-called deep learning systems are now able to solve complex tasks that previously required human expertise. This technology is directly applicable to many important data analysis problems and it will provide tools that are needed to solve many complex challenges in marine science and resource management. Here we give a brief review of recent developments in deep learning, and highlight the many opportunities and challenges for effective adoption of this technology across the marine sciences.
Improved understanding of human-nature interactions is crucial to conservation science and practice, but collecting relevant data remains challenging. Recently, social media have become an increasingly important source of information on human-nature interactions. However, the use of advanced methods for analysing social media is still limited, and social media data are not used to their full potential. In this article, we present available sources of social media data and approaches to mining and analysing these data for conservation science. Specifically, we (i) describe what kind of relevant information can be retrieved from social media platforms, (ii) provide a detailed overview of advanced methods for spatio-temporal, content and network analyses, (iii) exemplify the potential of these approaches for real-world conservation challenges, and (iv) discuss the limitations of social media data analysis in conservation science. Combined with other data sources and carefully considering the biases and ethical issues, social media data can provide a complementary and cost-efficient information source for addressing the grand challenges of biodiversity conservation in the Anthropocene epoch.
The application of historical perspectives and the documentation of long-term change in and views about the ocean is increasingly sought to frame and contextualize current issues facing marine science and policy. One of the important methods for informing such an historical perspective is through the use of oral histories, long used by social scientists for insight into local knowledge, lived history, and their meaning to participants. In this article, we seek to demonstrate the relevance of oral histories for understanding the changing institutional setting and research focus of marine science in the United States, and the unique platform it offers for introspective reflection on where marine sciences are today, where they have been, and where they might like to go. We discuss the influence of institutional changes on research topics, the impact of regional differences on the sciences, the increasing emphasis on mathematics and modelling, and new directions incorporating ecosystems, human communities, and public involvement. Finally, we conclude with consideration of the value of oral histories and other qualitative methods for elucidating experiences of and perspectives on the past.
Comprehensive and objective evaluation of all observing assets, tools, and services within an ocean observing system is essential to maximize effectiveness and efficiency; yet, it often eludes programs due to the complexity of such robust evaluation. In order to address this need, the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) transformed an evaluation matrix developed for the energy sector to one suitable for ocean observing. The resulting innovation is a decision analysis methodology that factors in multiple attributes (market, risk, and performance factors) and allows for selective weighting of attributes based on system maturity, external forcing, and consumer demand. This evaluation process is coupled with an annual review of priorities with respect to stakeholder needs and the program’s 5-year strategic framework in order to assess the system’s components. The results provide information needed to assess the effectiveness, efficiency, and impact of each component within the system, and informs a decision-making process that determines additional investment, refinement, sustainment, or retirement of individual observing assets, services, or component groups. Regularly evaluating, and taking action to improve, modify, or terminate weak system components allows for the continuous improvement of PacIOOS services by ensuring resources are directed to the priorities of the stakeholder community. The methodology described herein is presented as an innovative opportunity for others looking for a systematic approach to evaluate their observing systems to inform program-level decision-making as they develop, refine, and distribute data and information products.
Sustained ocean observations benefit many users and societal goals but could benefit many more. Such information is critical for using ocean resources responsibly and sustainably as the ocean becomes increasingly important to society. The contributions of many nations cooperating to develop the Global Ocean Observing System has resulted in a strong base of global and regional ocean observing networks. However, enhancement of the existing observation system has been constrained by flat funding and limited cooperation among present and potential users. At the same time, a variety of actors are seeking new deployments in remote and newly ice-free regions and new observing capabilities, including biological and biogeochemical sensors. Can these new needs be met? In this paper, a vision for how to sustain ocean observing in the future is presented. A key evolution will be to grow the pool of users, engaging end users across society. Users with shared values need to be brought together with commitment to sustainable use of the ocean in the broadest sense. Present planning for sustained observations builds on the development of the Global Ocean Observing System which has primarily targeted increased scientific understanding of ocean processes and of the ocean's role in climate. We must build on that foundation to develop an Ocean Partnership for Sustained Observing that will incorporate the growing needs of a broad constituency of users beyond climate and make the case for new resources. To be most effective this new Partnership should incorporate the principles of a collective impact organization, enabling closer engagement with the private sector, philanthropies, governments, NGOs, and other groups. Steps toward achieving this new Partnership are outlined in this paper, with the intent of establishing it early in the UN Decade of Ocean Science.