The impact of a range of different threats has resulted in the listing of six out of seven sea turtle species on the IUCN Red List of endangered species. Disease risk analysis (DRA) tools are designed to provide objective, repeatable and documented assessment of the disease risks for a population and measures to reduce these risks through management options. To the best of our knowledge, DRAs have not previously been published for sea turtles, although disease is reported to contribute to sea turtle population decline. Here, a comprehensive list of health hazards is provided for all seven species of sea turtles. The possible risk these hazards pose to the health of sea turtles were assessed and “One Health” aspects of interacting with sea turtles were also investigated. The risk assessment was undertaken in collaboration with more than 30 experts in the field including veterinarians, microbiologists, social scientists, epidemiologists and stakeholders, in the form of two international workshops and one local workshop. The general finding of the DRA was the distinct lack of knowledge regarding a link between the presence of pathogens and diseases manifestation in sea turtles. A higher rate of disease in immunocompromised individuals was repeatedly reported and a possible link between immunosuppression and environmental contaminants as a result of anthropogenic influences was suggested. Society based conservation initiatives and as a result the cultural and social aspect of interacting with sea turtles appeared to need more attention and research. A risk management workshop was carried out to acquire the insights of local policy makers about management options for the risks relevant to Queensland and the options were evaluated considering their feasibility and effectiveness. The sea turtle DRA presented here, is a structured guide for future risk assessments to be used in specific scenarios such as translocation and head-starting programs.
Fisheries bycatch has been identified as the greatest threat to marine mammals worldwide. Characterizing the impacts of bycatch on marine mammals is challenging because it is difficult to both observe and quantify, particularly in small-scale fisheries where data on fishing effort and marine mammal abundance and distribution are often limited. The lack of risk frameworks that can integrate and visualize existing data have hindered the ability to describe and quantify bycatch risk. Here, we describe the design of a new geographic information systems tool built specifically for the analysis of bycatch in small-scale fisheries, called Bycatch Risk Assessment (ByRA). Using marine mammals in Malaysia and Vietnam as a test case, we applied ByRA to assess the risks posed to Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) and dugongs (Dugong dugon) by five small-scale fishing gear types (hook and line, nets, longlines, pots and traps, and trawls). ByRA leverages existing data on animal distributions, fisheries effort, and estimates of interaction rates by combining expert knowledge and spatial analyses of existing data to visualize and characterize bycatch risk. By identifying areas of bycatch concern while accounting for uncertainty using graphics, maps and summary tables, we demonstrate the importance of integrating available geospatial data in an accessible format that taps into local knowledge and can be corroborated by and communicated to stakeholders of data-limited fisheries. Our methodological approach aims to meet a critical need of fisheries managers: to identify emergent interaction patterns between fishing gears and marine mammals and support the development of management actions that can lead to sustainable fisheries and mitigate bycatch risk for species of conservation concern.
In studies of habitat-forming species, those that are not spatially dominant are often considered “non-primary” habitat and may be overlooked. This is despite the fact that minority habitat formers can provide critical complexity, food, and other services that underpin ecosystem biodiversity. Octocorals and anemones are found in marine and estuarine habitats across all climate zones. Despite their potentially important ecological roles, to date there have been few studies of their specific threats and stressors or attempts at their restoration. Here we review studies of the ecology of octocorals and anemones with a focus on threats and restoration. We identify many threats including habitat damage, collection and trade, disease, predation, pollution, and the most wide-spread – climate change. While evidence suggests that some octocorals and anemone populations may be more resilient to disturbances than stony corals because they often recruit and grow quickly, resilience is not guaranteed. Instead, resilience or susceptibility within this large group is likely to be site and species specific. We find that the loss of octocorals and anemones has been difficult to quantify as most species have no hard structures that remain following a mortality event. Only through long-term monitoring efforts have researchers been able to document change in these populations. Due to the increasing extent and severity of human impacts in marine ecosystems, restoration of habitat forming species is becoming increasingly necessary after disturbance events. To illustrate the challenges ahead for octocoral and anemone restoration, we present two examples of ongoing restoration efforts assessed against the International Standards for the Practice of Ecological Restoration. Restoration planning and implementation progress are documented for the Mediterranean red coral Corallium rubrum and the temperate Australian cauliflower soft coral, Dendronephthya australis. This review and the detailed case studies demonstrate that while some octocorals and anemones can provide resilient habitat within reef systems, a greater research focus on their ecology, threats, and restoration potential is urgently required.
Over the past two decades, natural calamities like tsunamis and earthquakes occur more frequently, posing a serious threat to the human race. About 80% of these calamities have the “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific Ocean as its epicenter, causing extreme destructions due to the huge amount of energy and moving water bodies striking the adjoining land masses. Tsunamis cause heavy damage to human lives killing almost 430,000 lives since 1850, as it is almost impossible to flee from the mammoth waves. Huge waves collapse concrete buildings causing electrocution, explosion of gas plants, breakage of tanks and industries due to the floating debris that comes along with the killer waves. Following a tsunami, loss of infrastructures and economies is inevitable. This paper highlights the types of tsunamis and their potential effects on built structures and explains the association between tsunami related injuries and household level risk factors, including damages to built environment. Earlier studies have revealed that women, children and elderly citizens are at greater risk, and proximity to sea shores increase their risk of being affected. This finding, together with the risk of living in permanent structures in tsunami threatened areas should be an eye opener for the policy makers.
Coastal flood impact assessments are important tools for risk management and are performed by combining the hazard component with the vulnerability of exposed assets, to quantify consequences (or impacts) in terms of relative or absolute (e.g. financial) damage. The process generates uncertainties that should be taken into account for the correct representation of the consequences of floods. This study presents a coastal flood impact application at the spatial level of the Stavanger municipality (Norway), based on a multi-damage model approach able to represent impacts, and their overall uncertainty. Hazard modelling was performed using the LISFLOOD-FP code, taking into account historical extreme water level events (1988–2017) and relative sea level rise scenarios. Direct impacts were calculated in the form of relative and financial damage for different building categories, using flood damage curves. The results showed that the expected impacts are fewer than 50 flooded receptors and less than €1 million in damage in the current sea level scenario. The impacts could double by the end of the century, considering the most optimistic relative sea level scenario. The results were discussed considering the limitations of the approach for both hazard and impact modelling, that will be improved in future implementations. The outcome of this study may be useful for cost–benefit analyses of mitigation actions and local-scale plans for adaptation.
Owing to production, usage, and disposal of nano-enabled products as well as fragmentation of bulk materials, anthropogenic nanoscale particles (NPs) can enter the natural environment and through different compartments (air, soil, and water) end up into the sea. With the continuous increase in production and associated emissions and discharges, they can reach concentrations able to exceed toxicity thresholds for living species inhabiting marine coastal areas. Behavior and fate of NPs in marine waters are driven by transformation processes occurring as a function of NP intrinsic and extrinsic properties in the receiving seawaters. All those aspects have been overlooked in ecological risk assessment. This review critically reports ecotoxicity studies in which size distribution, surface charges and bio−nano interactions have been considered for a more realistic risk assessment of NPs in marine environment. Two emerging and relevant NPs, the metal-based titanium dioxide (TiO2), and polystyrene (PS), a proxy for nanoplastics, are reviewed, and their impact on marine biota (from planktonic species to invertebrates and fish) is discussed as a function of particle size and surface charges (negative vs. positive), which affect their behavior and interaction with the biological material. Uptake of NPs is related to their nanoscale size; however, in vivo studies clearly demonstrated that transformation (agglomerates/aggregates) occurring in both artificial and natural seawater drive to different exposure routes and biological responses at cellular and organism level. Adsorption of single particles or agglomerates onto the body surface or their internalization in feces can impair motility and affect sinking or floating behavior with consequences on populations and ecological function. Particle complex dynamics in natural seawater is almost unknown, although it determines the effective exposure scenarios. Based on the latest predicted environmental concentrations for TiO2 and PS NPs in the marine environment, current knowledge gaps and future research challenges encompass the comprehensive study of bio−nano interactions. As such, the analysis of NP biomolecular coronas can enable a better assessment of particle uptake and related cellular pathways leading to toxic effects. Moreover, the formation of an environmentally derived corona (i.e., eco-corona) in seawater accounts for NP physical–chemical alterations, rebounding on interaction with living organisms and toxicity.
Various national maritime authorities and international organizations show strong interest to implement risk management processes to decision making for shipping accident prevention in waterway areas. There is a recurring need for approaches, models, and tools for identifying, analysing, and evaluating risks of shipping accidents, and for strategies for preventively managing these in (inter-)organizational settings. This article presents a comprehensive review of academic work in this research area, aiming to identify patterns, trends, and gaps, serving as a guide for future research and development, with a particular focus on the Baltic Sea Region. To understand the links between research in the Baltic Sea area and the global community, a bibliometric analysis is performed, focusing on identifying dominant narratives and social networks in the research community. Articles from the Baltic Sea area are subsequently analysed more in-depth, addressing issues like the nature of the academic work done, the risk management processes involved, and the underlying accident theories. From the results, patterns in the historical evolution of the research domain are detected, and insights about current trends gained, which are used to identify future avenues for research.
The human dimensions of harmful algal blooms (HABs) are becoming increasingly apparent as they grow in frequency and magnitude in some regions of the world under changing ocean conditions. One such region is the U.S. West Coast, where HABs of toxigenic species of Pseudo-nitzschia have been found to coincide with or closely follow periods of warming. In 2015, the region experienced a massive HAB of Pseudo-nitzschia that was associated with the 2014-16 Northeast Pacific marine heatwave. The HAB event delayed the opening of the lucrative commercial Dungeness crab fishery for up to 5 months and closed the popular recreational razor clam fishery, resulting in fishery failures and disaster declarations and causing significant sociocultural and economic impacts to coastal communities. Here, management actions are examined that were taken by federal and state government agencies and responses of coastal residents to this extreme HAB event using a disaster risk management framework consisting of four phases: 1) prediction and early warning, 2) event response, 3) recovery and reconstruction, and 4) mitigation and prevention. Clear differences in management actions at the state level were evident in California, Oregon, and Washington during every phase, producing vastly different perceptions of management by coastal residents. A history of trusted relationships and coordination among agencies and with the fishing industry in Washington State was associated with more transparent and accepted management responses. The examination found that additional education, outreach, and trust-building exercises would provide benefits to communities affected by extreme HAB events. Our findings contribute to an understanding of climate change adaptation in coastal communities dependent on fishery resources.
Ecosystem-based management requires an assessment of the cumulative effects of human pressures and environmental change. The operationalization and integration of cumulative effects assessments (CEA) into decision-making processes often lacks a comprehensive and transparent framework. A risk-based CEA framework that divides a CEA in risk identification, risk analysis and risk evaluation, could structure such complex analyses and facilitate the establishment of direct science-policy links. Here, we examine carefully the operationalization of such a risk-based CEA framework with the help of eleven contrasting case studies located in Europe, French Polynesia, and Canada. We show that the CEA framework used at local, sub-regional, and regional scales allowed for a consistent, coherent, and transparent comparison of complex assessments. From our analysis, we pinpoint four emerging issues that, if accurately addressed, can improve the take up of CEA outcomes by management: 1) framing of the CEA context and defining risk criteria; 2) describing the roles of scientists and decision-makers; 3) reducing and structuring complexity; and 4) communicating uncertainty. Moreover, with a set of customized tools we describe and analyze for each case study the nature and location of uncertainty as well as trade-offs regarding available knowledge and data used for the CEA. Ultimately, these tools aid decision-makers to recognize potential caveats and repercussions of management decisions. One key recommendation is to differentiate CEA processes and their context in relation to governance advice, marine spatial planning or regulatory advice. We conclude that future research needs to evaluate how effective management measures are in reducing the risk of cumulative effects. Changing governance structures takes time and is often difficult, but we postulate that well-framed and structured CEA can function as a strategic tool to integrate ecosystem considerations across multiple sectorial policies.
The aim of the present study was to risk screen 45 jellyfish species (30 hydromedusae, 14 scyphomedusae, one cubomedusa) for their potential invasiveness in the Mediterranean Sea to aid managers in making informed decisions on targeting appropriate species for management. Using the Aquatic Species Invasiveness Screening Kit (AS-ISK), calibrated basic and climate-change threshold assessment scores of 6.5 and 12.5, respectively, were identified for distinguishing reliably between species that pose ‘low-to-medium’ and ‘high’ risk of becoming invasive in the risk assessment area. Using these thresholds, 16 species were classified as high risk, 23 as medium risk and six as low risk under current climate conditions. Whereas, under future climate conditions, 13, 30 and two species, respectively, were classified as high, medium and low risk, respectively. Upside-down jellyfish Cassiopea andromeda, Australian spotted jellyfish Phyllorhiza punctata, sea nettle Chrysaora quinquecirrha and Rhopilema nomadica were the highest-scoring species, with the maximum increase in risk score under predicted climate change conditions being achieved by C. andromeda.