Species conservation, river rehabilitation, stock enhancement, environmental impact assessment and related planning tools require indicators to identify significant impacts but also mitigation success. Since river systems are shaped by disturbances from floods and droughts, typical riverine fish species should have evolved life history traits providing resilience against such disturbances. This study compiled and analyzed resilience traits of European lampreys and fish species to derive a novel sensitivity classification of species to mortality. We assembled life history traits like maximum length, migration type, mortality, fecundity, age at maturity, and generation time of 168 species and created a novel method to weigh and integrate all traits to generate a final sensitivity score from one (low sensitivity) to three (high sensitivity) for each species. Large-bodied, diadromous, rheophilic and lithophilic species such as sturgeons, sea trout, and Atlantic salmon usually appeared to have high sensitivity to additional adult fish mortality, whereas small-bodied, limnophilic and phytophilic species with fast generation cycles were of low sensitivity. The final scoring and classification of 168 European lampreys and fish species according to their sensitivity can be easily regionalized by selecting the most sensitive candidates according to the local species pool. This sensitivity classification has major implications for advancing impact assessment, allowing better targeting of species for conservation measures, benchmarking progress during rehabilitation and enhancing the objective evaluation of the success of restoration projects.
Globally increasing sea surface temperatures threaten coral reefs, both directly and through interactions with local stressors. More resilient reefs have a higher likelihood of returning to a coral-dominated state following a disturbance, such as a mass bleaching event. To advance practical approaches to reef resilience assessments and aid resilience-based management of coral reefs, we conducted a resilience assessment for Puerto Rico’s coral reefs, modified from methods used in other U.S. jurisdictions. We calculated relative resilience scores for 103 sites from an existing commonwealth-wide survey using eight resilience indicators—such as coral diversity, macroalgae percent cover, and herbivorous fish biomass—and assessed which indicators most drove resilience. We found that sites of very different relative resilience were generally highly spatially intermixed, underscoring the importance and necessity of decision making and management at fine scales. In combination with information on levels of two localized stressors (fishing pressure and pollution exposure), we used the resilience indicators to assess which of seven potential management actions could be used at each site to maintain or improve resilience. Fishery management was the management action that applied to the most sites. Furthermore, we combined sites’ resilience scores with projected ocean warming to assign sites to vulnerability categories. Island-wide or community-level managers can use the actions and vulnerability information as a starting point for resilience-based management of their reefs. This assessment differs from many previous ones because we tested how much information could be yielded by a “desktop” assessment using freely-available, existing data rather than from a customized, resilience-focused field survey. The available data still permitted analyses comparable to previous assessments, demonstrating that desktop resilience assessments can substitute for assessments with field components under some circumstances.
How real-world marine food webs absorb change, recover and adapt (that is, ecological resilience) to climate change remains problematic. Here we apply a novel approach to show how the complex changes in resilience of food webs can be understood with a small core set of self-organizing configurations that represent different simultaneously nested and multiple-species interactions. We identified a recent emergent pattern of an improving but possibly short-lived resilience of a highly observed Arctic marine food web (2004–2016), considered a harbinger of future Arctic change. The changes can be explained by continuing subsidiary inputs of Atlantic species that repair (self-organize) interactions within some configurations. Despite significant environmental perturbation, we found that the core ecological processes are maintained. We conclude that Arctic marine food webs can absorb and begin to adapt to ongoing climate change.
Coastal development in small islands needs adapting to climate and ecosystem changes in the Anthropocene era. Understanding variability of coastal vulnerability along the entire coastline informs coastal planning and management at an island-wide scale as some coastal stretches are more appropriate for big-scale development, while others require additional coastal protection and/or ecosystem conservation. To date, few researches focused on developing macro-scale coastal vulnerability index at an island or archipelagic-scale. This paper fills a knowledge gap by developing an integrated coastal vulnerability index (ICVI) for nine small islands in the Azores archipelago. Considering that degree of vulnerability varies according to human-environment traits of each coastal stretch, this paper characterises integrated coastal vulnerability according to three broad attributes, i.e. exposure to external stressors, biophysical features and socioeconomic characteristics. Using field work, semi-quantitative analysis and GIS, ICVI is a simple and relatively quick approach that provides a broad overview of coastal vulnerability in small island context. A set of six accessible and representative parameters was employed as indicators for this vulnerability assessment, i.e. type of cliff; type of beach; coastal defences; exposure to swell/storm waves; outcrop flooded and land-use. The entire coastline of each island was divided into segments according to their geomorphic compartments and subsequently assigned with a relative ICVI value. Each segment was ranked into five classes ranging from very low to very high based on its relative degree of vulnerability. While majority of the coasts are of moderate relative vulnerability in the Azores, vulnerability varies broadly along the coast between low, moderate and high. The ICVI approach serves as a useful decision support tool to facilitate effective planning and management for the Azores small islands and the methodology has the flexibility of being scaled deep by adding more indicators where necessary and available or scaled out to other small islands.
The main objectives of this study are to determine the potential for relative resilience, identify the drivers of potential resilience and priority locations for resilience-based coral reef management in Wakatobi. Data collection locations are spread across four major Wakatobi islands: Wangi Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko at 5 m depth respectively. Coral reefs resilience assessment in Wakatobi consists of several stages: selecting indicators, collecting and compiling data, analyzing data, and identifying management targets. The highest potential for relative resilience in Wakatobi are station 15 with a value of 1.00 and the lowest is station 8 with a value of 0.69. Relative resilience in high category is 2 stations, med-high 7 stations, med-low 2 stations, and low 4 stations. Relative resilience in high category is able to be distinguished by the high values of bleaching resistant, herbivore biomass, coral cover, and supported by a high diversity of coral. The mid-high category is grouped by the contribution of indicator values coming from coral recruitment and coral diversity, as well as followed by two other indicators such as coral cover and alga cover. Last, the mid-low category and low category tend to be pushed by the low values of coral disease and followed by some other indicators like algae cover. Resilience approach to identify prioritizing stations for management actions is conservation (2 station), fishery management and enforcement (5 station), bleaching monitoring and supporting recovery (3 station), coral reef restoration (2 tation), tourism structuring (10 station), and Land-based sources of pollution reduction (5 station).
Rising atmospheric CO2 is causing a progressive decrease of seawater pH, termed ocean acidification. Predicting its impact on marine invertebrate reproduction is essential to anticipate the consequences of future climate change on species fitness and survival. Ocean acidification may affect reproductive success either in terms of gamete or progeny quality threating species survival. Despite an increasing number of studies focusing on the effects of ocean acidification on the early life history of marine organisms, very few have investigated the effects on invertebrate gamete quality. In this study, we set up two experimental approaches simulating the ocean conditions predicted for the end of this century, in situ transplant experiments at a naturally acidified volcanic vent area along the Ischia island coast and microcosm experiments, to evaluate the short-term effects of the predicted near-future levels of ocean acidification on sperm quality of the ascidian Ciona robusta after parental exposure. In the first days of exposure to acidified conditions, we detected alteration of sperm motility, morphology and physiology, followed by a rapid recovery of physiological conditions that provide a new evidence of resilience of ascidian spermatozoa in response to ocean acidification. Overall, the short-term tolerance to adverse conditions opens a new scenario on the marine species capacity to continue to reproduce and persist in changing oceans.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) has been put forward as a way to more comprehensively manage marine environments by balancing human demands and protecting areas that support ecosystem function. Given the recent motivations for countries to adopt large-scale marine spatial planning approaches, ensuring these plans are grounded in social-ecological resilience theories is essential for long-term success. Drawing upon recent academic attention from a range of disciplinary areas, this review explores current practices and applied examples of published case studies from around the world that have integrated social and ecological spatial information using GIS techniques. This review intended to use these case studies to guide directions of future MSP research that considers social-ecological resilience theories. Five overall themes were uncovered. First, extractive uses, such as fisheries, were often given priority in MSP processes, which even though important, may undermine the social resilience of coastal communities by not supporting the diversity of non-extractive economies. Second, the quality of ecological spatial data used in the studies varied greatly, often with little consideration of how ongoing human demands may influence long-term ecological resilience. Thrid, many GIS techniques were used to integrate social and ecological data including: descriptive maps, site prioritisation techniques, and predictive modelling. Lastly, only a small number of studies considered cross-ecosystem influences and only two incorporated potential climate change impacts on social institutions and marine ecosystems. Overall, there is a need for progressing GIS predictive modelling techniques to assess and link the responses of social and ecological systems to MSP solutions in order to support long-term social-ecological resilience.
Ecological resilience, broadly defined as the magnitude of the disturbance a system needs to shift to an alternative stable state, is becoming a critical trait in the Anthropocene era. However, we are far from having baseline resilience data to guide decision makers toward more resilient ecological systems. In the last decade, the resilience assessment framework has taken a sum of products approach to obtain a resilience indicator based on the relevance and the intensity of multiple factors. While factor intensity relies on quantitative data, estimates of factor relevance rely on ordinal data with a lesser understanding of their relative importance to resilience, which may have consequences in the value of the resilience indicator. Here, we computed three resilience indicators to test for the quantitative impact that changes in factor relevance might cause to the resilience indicator. We defined the Inclusive Resilience Indicator of a Site (IRIS) as a relevance-free indicator based exclusively on factor intensity. We also computed the Relative Resilience Potential (RRP) and an RRP with random relevance values (RRPrrv) as indicators based on both intensity and relevance. To calculate these three indicators in rocky reefs of the Alboran Sea, we quantified 17 biological, environmental, and human-related factors known to influence resilience. We used correlation analyses, Linear Mixed Models, and Generalized Additive Models to compare the three resilience indicators and to examine their spatial patterns. We found highly significant positive correlations between the RRP, RRPrrv, and IRISindicators (r > 0.9, p < 0.001 for all comparisons). All three indicators had equivalent resilience values (p = 0.440), provided non-significant differences in their predictions (p = 0.097), and exposed the same resilience gradients in the Alboran Sea (p < 0.001 for all indicators). IRISaccounted for 94% and 99% of the variance associated with RRP and RRPrrv, respectively, suggesting that the intensity-based IRIS can estimate resilience without the uncertainties associated with factor relevance. The new IRIS indicator proposed in our study may facilitate the acquisition of baseline data needed to further advance in the ecological and management implications of marine resilience.
The structures, functions, and services provided by coral reef ecosystems are deteriorating worldwide. However, not all coral reefs are affected the same way, with some showing signs of resistance and/or recovery from disturbances. Understanding the drivers and feedbacks that contribute to shifts in community structure is valuable to support resilience-based management. In this study, key community variables that influence the resilience of coral reef ecosystems were examined in 64 sites of the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) monitored in both 2006 and 2016, as part of the Healthy Reef Initiative (HRI), using the Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA) monitoring protocol. Based on benthic cover thresholds, sites were classified into three different states: coral state (CS) with >10% live coral and <5% fleshy macroalgae; stressed coral state (SCS) with >10% live coral and >5% fleshy macroalgae and; depauperate coral state (DCS) <10% live coral. The associations between site states and the density of different fish functional groups were analyzed to determine their effects on coral reef resilience. The results highlight that territorial herbivores (algal-gardening damselfish) may play a key role in maintaining feedbacks toward macroalgae-stressed states. This supports the recommendation of reinforcing Marine Replenishment Zones (MRZ) in order to promote healthy populations of resident predator fish (like groupers and snappers), which could potentially regulate algal-gardening damselfish populations and diminish negative cascade effects on coral reefs. Collaborative and resilience-based management will continue to be promoted by the HRI partners, supporting the establishment of additional MRZs along with ongoing efforts to directly protect herbivorous fish (surgeonfish and parrotfish) and to improve water quality, through better wastewater treatment, watershed management, and coastal development plans, with the purpose of continuing to build coral reef resilience in the MAR.
In post-disaster recovery phases, many communities reduce their vulnerabilities to future disasters by implementing community-based approaches. However, since these processes impact resource allocation, access to natural resources, and benefit distributions, these efforts have changed the environment and altered social relations. Therefore, this research explores how disaster empowers or disempowers stakeholders by investigating the interdependence of social relations in post-disaster natural resource management. After the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the island of Koh Klang demonstrated resilience in restoring its ecosystem. We have used this as a case study featuring a community-based project. Interviews and participant observations were conducted in the field in 2014 to collect firsthand information from local residents, NGOs, and the public sector. Text and discourse analyses were conducted based on interview data, government documents, and field notes. The findings show that after a disaster, natural resources and embedded social norms form the basis for a resilient community. Using community- and ecosystem-based methods fosters a community's environmental and social resilience and prepares it to respond to future disasters. However, such methods can also transform local politics, especially when residents' inequitable vulnerabilities and access to power are coupled with jurisdictional and land tenure issues. This research recommends that disaster recovery and mitigation policies are scaled to local levels.