Protection Enhances Community and Habitat Stability: Evidence from a Mediterranean Marine Protected Area

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Newly published from PLOS ONE comes, Protection Enhances Community and Habitat Stability: Evidence from a Mediterranean Marine Protected Area. The authors studied an MPA for nine years, and found evidence seagrasses in the area were more resilient than those in neighboring non-protected areas. You may download the full-text PDF for free using the link below.

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Table of Contents

Journal Articles

Forage Fish Interactions: a symposium on "Creating the tools for ecosystem-based management of marine resources. Peck, M. A., Neuenfeldt, S., Essington, T. E., Trenkel, V. M., Takasuka, A., Gislason, H., Dickey-Collas, M., Andersen, K. H., Ravn-Jonsen, L., Vestergaard, N., Kvamsdal, S., Gårdmark, A., Link, J., and Rice, J. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 71: .

Comparison of fluctuations in fish communities and trophic structures of ecosystems from three currents around Japan: synchronies and differences. Tian, Y., Uchikawa, K., Ueda, Y., and Cheng, J. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 71: .

Combining quantitative and qualitative models to identify functional groups for monitoring changes in the Bay of Biscay continental shelf exploited foodweb. Lassalle, G., Nelva Pasqual, J-S., Boët, P., Rochet, M-J., Trenkel, V. M., and Niquil, N. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 71: .

Forage fish, their fisheries, and their predators: who drives whom? Engelhard, G. H., Peck, M. A., Rindorf, A., Smout, S. C., van Deurs, M., Raab, K., Andersen, K. H., Garthe, S., Lauerburg, R. A. M., Scott, F., Brunel, T., Aarts, G., van Kooten, T., and Dickey-Collas, M. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 71: .

Modelling the likely impacts of climate-driven changes in cod-capelin overlap in the Barents Sea. Howell, D., and Filin, A. A. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 71: .

The importance of invertebrates when considering the impacts of anthropogenic noise. Erica L. Morley, Gareth Jones and Andrew N. Radford. Proc. R. Soc. B; 7 February 2014; vol. 281, no. 1776 20132683.

Biotic and abiotic factors influencing forage fish and pelagic nekton community in the Columbia River plume (USA) throughout the upwelling season 1999–2009. Litz, M. N. C., Emmett, R. L., Bentley, P. J., Claiborne, A. M., and Barceló, C. Biotic and abiotic factors influencing forage fish and pelagic nekton community in the Columbia River plume (USA) throughout the upwelling season 1999–2009. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 71: .

Free summary: Benefits of Investing in Ecosystem Restoration. RUDOLF S. DE GROOT, JAMES BLIGNAUT, SANDER VAN DER PLOEG, JAMES ARONSON, THOMAS ELMQVIST, JOSHUA FARLEY. Conservation Biology; Volume 27, Issue 6, pages 1286–1293, December 2013.

Free summary: Assessing fishery footprints and the trade-offs between landings value, habitat sensitivity, and fishing impacts to inform marine spatial planning and an ecosystem approach. Jennings, S., Lee, J., and Hiddink, J. G. 2012. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 69: 1053–1063.

Spatio-temporal movement patterns of Diplodus vulgaris (Actinopterygii, Sparidae) in a temperate marine reserve (Lampedusa, Mediterranean Sea). Gabriele La Mesa, Ivan Consalvo, Aldo Annunziatellis, Simonepietro Canese. Hydrobiologia; December 2013, Volume 720, Issue 1, pp 129-144.

Free: Protection Enhances Community and Habitat Stability: Evidence from a Mediterranean Marine Protected Area. PLoS ONE 8(12): e81838. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081838.

Free: Encourage Sustainability by Giving Credit for Marine Protected Areas in Seafood Certification. Lester SE, Costello C, Rassweiler A, Gaines SD, Deacon R (2013) PLoS Biol 11(12): e1001730. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001730.

Free: Coral Growth and Bioerosion of Porites lutea in Response to Large Amplitude Internal Waves. Schmidt GM, Richter C (2013) Coral Growth and Bioerosion of Porites lutea in Response to Large Amplitude Internal Waves. PLoS ONE 8(12): e73236. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073236.

Free: Coral Reef Habitat Response to Climate Change Scenarios. Freeman LA, Kleypas JA, Miller AJ (2013) PLoS ONE 8(12): e82404. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082404.

An innovative ocean planning tool for the Atlantic outer continental shelf: The EcoSpatial Information Database. Beth Zimmer, Leslie Manzello, Keld Madsen, James Sinclair, Rebecca E. Green. Marine Policy, Volume 45, March 2014, Pages 60–68.

Environmental and ecological impacts of water supplement schemes in a heavily polluted estuary. Qiong Su, Huapeng Qin, Guangtao Fu. Science of The Total Environment, Volume 472, 15 February 2014, Pages 704–711.

Global sensitivity analysis of an end-to-end marine ecosystem model of the North Sea: Factors affecting the biomass of fish and benthos. David J. Morris, Douglas C. Speirs, Angus I. Cameron, Michael R. Heath. Ecological Modelling, Volume 273, 10 February 2014, Pages 251–263.

Metrics to monitor the status of fishing communities: An Alaska state of the state retrospective 1980–2010. Suresh Andrew Sethi, William Riggs, Gunnar Knapp. Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 88, February 2014, Pages 21–30.

Free: Conservation and management of ornamental coral reef wildlife: Successes, shortcomings, and future directions. Laura E. Dee, Stephanie S. Horii, Daniel J. Thornhill. Biological Conservation, Volume 169, January 2014, Pages 225–237.

Free: Mapping wave set-up near a complex geometric urban coastline. Soomere, T., Pindsoo, K., Bishop, S. R., Käärd, A., and Valdmann, A.: Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 3049-3061, doi:10.5194/nhess-13-3049-2013, 2013.

Reports

Free: Delta Waters: Research to Support Integrated Water and Environmental Management in the Lower Mississippi River. Committee on Strategic Research for Integrated Water Resources Management; Water Science and Technology Board; Division on Earth and Life Studies; National Research Council. 2013. ISBN: 978-0-309-29216-0

Other

Conference paper: Tourism, marine protected areas and resilience: A consideration of the island of Bali, Indonesia. Pedju, Mirza and Orams, Mark. In: Fountain, Joanna (Editor); Moore, Kevin (Editor). CAUTHE 2013: Tourism and Global Change: On the Edge of Something Big. Christchurch, N.Z.: Lincoln University, 2013: 590-603.


Forage Fish Interactions: a symposium on "Creating the tools for ecosystem-based management of marine resources

Forage fish (FF) have a unique position within marine foodwebs and the development of sustainable harvest strategies for FF will be a critical step in advancing and implementing the broader, ecosystem-based management of marine systems. In all, 70 scientists from 16 nations gathered for a symposium on 12–14 November 2012 that was designed to address three key questions regarding the effective management of FF and their ecosystems: (i) how do environmental factors and predator–prey interactions drive the productivity and distribution of FF stocks across ecosystems worldwide, (ii) what are the economic and ecological costs and benefits of different FF management strategies, and (iii) do commonalities exist across ecosystems in terms of the effective management of FF exploitation?


Comparison of fluctuations in fish communities and trophic structures of ecosystems from three currents around Japan: synchronies and differences

Features of three marine ecosystems affected by the Tsushima (TWC), Kuroshio (KC), and Oyashio (OC) currents were analysed based on fishery, oceanographic, and climate datasets during 1955–2010. Principal component (PC) analysis for catches of 25 indicator species showed evident decadal variation patterns with a step change in the first principal component (PC1) in the late 1980s, indicating synchronies in the dominant variation mode across the ecosystems. Step changes were also detected in the mid-1970s in PC2 and PC3 in OC, and around 1970 in PCs in KC and TWC. These indicate that the most marked change across the ecosystems occurred in the late 1980s, corresponding to the late 1980s climate regime shift, but OC also responded strongly to the mid-1970s regime shift, indicating different responses to regime shifts. The generalized additive model showed the PCs associated largely with water temperature in each region as well as climate indices, indicating the importance of regional oceanographic conditions. Ecosystem indicators such as the mean trophic level showed similarities between TWC and KC but differences with OC, indicating that trophic structures in TWC and KC were largely dependent on the mid-trophic (small pelagic species) level, while on demersal species in OC.


Combining quantitative and qualitative models to identify functional groups for monitoring changes in the Bay of Biscay continental shelf exploited foodweb

To develop and implement ecosystem-based management, it is critical to monitor foodweb components or functional groups which are robust to uncertainty in ecosystem structure and functioning yet sensitive to changes. To select such functional groups for the Bay of Biscay continental shelf, both quantitative and qualitative foodweb models were developed. First, functional groups for which predictions of directions of change following an increase in primary productivity, prey or predators, or in fishing activities were identical across alternative qualitative model structures were identified. Second, the robustness to model type was assessed by comparing qualitative predictions with quantitative Ecopath model results. The demersal fish community was identified as a sensitive and robust indicator for monitoring foodweb ecological status in the Bay of Biscay. The present study also suggested the potential antagonistic effects of alternative management measures on small pelagic fish and highlighted the need for the joint management of all pressures.


Forage fish, their fisheries, and their predators: who drives whom?

The North Sea has a diverse forage fish assemblage, including herring, targeted for human consumption; sandeel, sprat, and Norway pout, exploited by industrial fisheries; and some sardine and anchovy, supporting small-scale fisheries. All show large abundance fluctuations, impacting on fisheries and predators. We review field, laboratory, and modelling studies to investigate the drivers of this complex system of forage fish. Climate clearly influences forage fish productivity; however, any single-species considerations of the influence of climate might fail if strong interactions between forage fish exist, as in the North Sea. Sandeel appears to be the most important prey forage fish. Seabirds are most dependent on forage fish, due to specialized diet and distributional constraints (breeding colonies). Other than fisheries, key predators of forage fish are a few piscivorous fish species including saithe, whiting, mackerel, and horse-mackerel, exploited in turn by fisheries; seabirds and seals have a more modest impact. Size-based foodweb modelling suggests that reducing fishing mortality may not necessarily lead to larger stocks of piscivorous fish, especially if their early life stages compete with forage fish for zooplankton resources. In complex systems, changes in the impact of fisheries on forage fish may have potentially complex (and perhaps unanticipated) consequences on other commercially and/or ecologically important species.


Modelling the likely impacts of climate-driven changes in cod-capelin overlap in the Barents Sea

Recent observations have indicated that the cod distribution within the Barents Sea is expanding towards the northeast. The area into which the cod are expanding has historically been an area with large stocks of polar cod and capelin. It can be expected that the continued expansion of cod into this region would lead to greater availability of these forage fish for cod predation and have a direct impact on the forage fish stock. The distributional shift may also reduce the level of cod cannibalism. Such changes have implications for the management of both cod and capelin fisheries. In this paper, we use two different models (Gadget and STOCOBAR) to examine the effects of the changing overlap on cod and capelin. The results from the two models are compared to reduce uncertainty due to model formulation and exploit the different strengths of the two approaches. Although there are many uncertainties around the ongoing changes, the results indicate that the increased spatial overlap could contribute to modest rises by up to 20% in the average cod stock biomass, but with an increase in the impact of cannibalism, and hence an increased variability in the cod stock size.


The importance of invertebrates when considering the impacts of anthropogenic noise

Anthropogenic noise is now recognized as a major global pollutant. Rapidly burgeoning research has identified impacts on individual behaviour and physiology through to community disruption. To date, however, there has been an almost exclusive focus on vertebrates. Not only does their central role in food webs and in fulfilling ecosystem services make imperative our understanding of how invertebrates are impacted by all aspects of environmental change, but also many of their inherent characteristics provide opportunities to overcome common issues with the current anthropogenic noise literature. Here, we begin by explaining why invertebrates are likely to be affected by anthropogenic noise, briefly reviewing their capacity for hearing and providing evidence that they are capable of evolutionary adaptation and behavioural plasticity in response to natural noise sources. We then discuss the importance of quantifying accurately and fully both auditory ability and noise content, emphasizing considerations of direct relevance to how invertebrates detect sounds. We showcase how studying invertebrates can help with the behavioural bias in the literature, the difficulties in drawing strong, ecologically valid conclusions and the need for studies on fitness impacts. Finally, we suggest avenues of future research using invertebrates that would advance our understanding of the impact of anthropogenic noise.


Biotic and abiotic factors influencing forage fish and pelagic nekton community in the Columbia River plume (USA) throughout the upwelling season 1999–2009

Large river plumes modify coastal environments and can impact production across multiple trophic levels. From 1999 to 2009, the assemblages of forage fish, predator fish, and other pelagic nekton were monitored in coastal waters associated with the Columbia River plume. Surveys were conducted at night to target vertically migrating species, and community structure evaluated to better understand ecological interactions. Distinct inshore and offshore communities were identified during spring and summer that were correlated with ocean temperature, salinity, plume volume, and upwelling intensity. Resident euryhaline forage fish species, such as smelts, anchovy, herring, market squid, juvenile salmon, and spiny dogfish, showed a high affinity for inshore habitat and the lower salinity plume during spring. Highly migratory species, such as sardine, piscivorous hake, sharks, and mackerels, were associated with warmer, saltier waters offshore, during strong upwelling periods in summer. Overall, our study of pelagic nekton revealed that temporal dynamics in abundance and community composition were associated with seasonal abiotic phenomenon, but not interannual, large-scale oceanographic processes. Forage fish assemblages differed seasonally and spatially from the assemblages of major piscivorous predators. This finding suggests a potential role of the plume as refuge for forage fish from predation by piscivorous fish in the northern California Current.


Benefits of Investing in Ecosystem Restoration

Measures aimed at conservation or restoration of ecosystems are often seen as net-cost projects by governments and businesses because they are based on incomplete and often faulty cost-benefit analyses. After screening over 200 studies, we examined the costs (94 studies) and benefits (225 studies) of ecosystem restoration projects that had sufficient reliable data in 9 different biomes ranging from coral reefs to tropical forests. Costs included capital investment and maintenance of the restoration project, and benefits were based on the monetary value of the total bundle of ecosystem services provided by the restored ecosystem. Assuming restoration is always imperfect and benefits attain only 75% of the maximum value of the reference systems over 20 years, we calculated the net present value at the social discount rates of 2% and 8%. We also conducted 2 threshold cum sensitivity analyses. Benefit-cost ratios ranged from about 0.05:1 (coral reefs and coastal systems, worst-case scenario) to as much as 35:1 (grasslands, best-case scenario). Our results provide only partial estimates of benefits at one point in time and reflect the lower limit of the welfare benefits of ecosystem restoration because both scarcity of and demand for ecosystem services is increasing and new benefits of natural ecosystems and biological diversity are being discovered. Nonetheless, when accounting for even the incomplete range of known benefits through the use of static estimates that fail to capture rising values, the majority of the restoration projects we analyzed provided net benefits and should be considered not only as profitable but also as high-yielding investments.


Assessing fishery footprints and the trade-offs between landings value, habitat sensitivity, and fishing impacts to inform marine spatial planning and an ecosystem approach

European and national policy commitments require further integration of fisheries and environmental management. We measured fishery footprints and assessed trade-offs between landings value, habitat sensitivity, and beam trawling impacts in UK territorial waters in the southern and central North Sea where marine spatial planning is underway and a network of Marine Protected Areas has been proposed. For fleets (UK and non-UK) and years (2006–2010) considered, total trawled area included extensive ‘margins’ that always accounted for a smaller proportion of total fishing effort and value (proportions investigated were ≤10, 20, or 30%) than their proportional contribution to total habitat sensitivity and trawling impact. Interannual and fleet-related differences in the distribution and intensity of trawling activity, driven by location choice and fisheries regulations, had more influence on overall trawling impacts than the exclusion of beam trawlers from a proposed network of Marine Protected Areas. If reducing habitat impacts is adopted as an objective of fisheries or environmental management, then the direct management of fishing footprints, e.g. by defining fishing grounds that exclude existing margins, can disproportionately reduce trawling impacts per unit effort or value.


Spatio-temporal movement patterns of Diplodus vulgaris (Actinopterygii, Sparidae) in a temperate marine reserve (Lampedusa, Mediterranean Sea)

The movements of a commercially important species, Diplodus vulgaris, were assessed in a marine-protected area to test whether their spatial and temporal activity patterns differ during and outside of their spawning season. Twelve adults were caught along the north-eastern coast of a small Mediterranean island, tagged with acoustic transmitters and released within or just outside the integral reserve. Fish detected, during both the seasons showed strong fidelity for the study area before and during the spawning season and their home range did not differ between seasons. Home ranges reached an asymptote between 12 and 174 days after release. Home range estimated by kernel utilization distributions ranged from 9,876 to 89,914 m2, with core areas of 946 to 7,274 m2. Temporal patterns frequently showed a dominant diel rhythm with most of detections occurring at daytime, independently of season. The variability in the movement patterns of D. vulgaris was lower between seasons (i.e., during and outside the spawning season) than at smaller temporal scale (i.e., between day and night) and was largely affected by inter-individual differences. Some conclusions arising from this and previous findings are useful to orient future studies on coastal fish movement and have direct implications for MPAs design.


Protection Enhances Community and Habitat Stability: Evidence from a Mediterranean Marine Protected Area

Rare evidences support that Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) enhance the stability of marine habitats and assemblages. Based on nine years of observation (2001–2009) inside and outside a well managed MPA, we assessed the potential of conservation and management actions to modify patterns of spatial and/or temporal variability of Posidonia oceanica meadows, the lower midlittoral and the shallow infralittoral rock assemblages. Significant differences in both temporal variations and spatial patterns were observed between protected and unprotected locations. A lower temporal variability in the protected vs. unprotected assemblages was found in the shallow infralittoral, demonstrating that, at least at local scale, protection can enhance community stability. Macrobenthos with long-lived and relatively slow-growing invertebrates and structurally complex algal forms were homogeneously distributed in space and went through little fluctuations in time. In contrast, a mosaic of disturbed patches featured unprotected locations, with small-scale shifts from macroalgal stands to barrens, and harsh temporal variations between the two states. Opposite patterns of spatial and temporal variability were found for the midlittoral assemblages. Despite an overall clear pattern of seagrass regression through time, protected meadows showed a significantly higher shoot density than unprotected ones, suggesting a higher resistance to local human activities. Our results support the assumption that the exclusion/management of human activities within MPAs enhance the stability of the structural components of protected marine systems, reverting or arresting threat-induced trajectories of change.


Encourage Sustainability by Giving Credit for Marine Protected Areas in Seafood Certification

Widespread concern over global fish stocks has prompted an increase in research and initiatives aimed at rebuilding ailing fisheries and incentivizing sustainable fishing practices. This promising focus on solutions coincides with a burgeoning consumer and retailer demand for environmentally friendly products (Figure 1). Sustainability certification, labeling, and consumer guides (e.g., Marine Stewardship Council, Fair Trade, Seafood Watch, etc.) are signals that help eco-minded consumers identify products that meet their standards. Accurate signals offer an immense opportunity to incentivize sustainability, increasing demand and profits for sustainable producers. Yet, while the growing number of seafood certification programs and consumer seafood guides fuel and inform demand, the pace of change is slow. One key barrier to progress is the significant lag between the implementation of reforms and the recovery of fish stocks. Without preemptive credits within certification protocols for conservation actions that can be expected to benefit the stock over time, the incentives for reforms may be limited.


Coral Growth and Bioerosion of Porites lutea in Response to Large Amplitude Internal Waves

The Similan Islands (Thailand) in the Andaman Sea are exposed to large amplitude internal waves (LAIW), as evidenced by i.a. abrupt fluctuations in temperature of up to 10°C at supertidal frequencies. Although LAIW have been shown to affect coral composition and framework development in shallow waters, the role of LAIW on coral growth is so far unknown. We carried out a long-term transplant experiment with live nubbins and skeleton slabs of the dominating coral Porites lutea to assess the net growth and bioerosion in LAIW-exposed and LAIW-protected waters. Depth-related, seasonal and interannual differences in LAIW-intensities on the exposed western sides of the islands allowed us to separate the effect of LAIW from other possible factors (e.g. monsoon) affecting the corals. Coral growth and bioerosion were inversely related to LAIW intensity, and positively related to coral framework development. Accretion rates of calcareous fouling organisms on the slabs were negligible compared to bioerosion, reflecting the lack of a true carbonate framework on the exposed W faces of the Similan Islands. Our findings show that LAIW may play an important, yet so far overlooked, role in controlling coral growth in tropical waters.


Coral Reef Habitat Response to Climate Change Scenarios

Coral reef ecosystems are threatened by both climate change and direct anthropogenic stress. Climate change will alter the physico-chemical environment that reefs currently occupy, leaving only limited regions that are conducive to reef habitation. Identifying these regions early may aid conservation efforts and inform decisions to transplant particular coral species or groups. Here a species distribution model (Maxent) is used to describe habitat suitable for coral reef growth. Two climate change scenarios (RCP4.5, RCP8.5) from the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Community Earth System Model were used with Maxent to determine environmental suitability for corals (order Scleractinia). Environmental input variables best at representing the limits of suitable reef growth regions were isolated using a principal component analysis. Climate-driven changes in suitable habitat depend strongly on the unique region of reefs used to train Maxent. Increased global habitat loss was predicted in both climate projections through the 21st century. A maximum habitat loss of 43% by 2100 was predicted in RCP4.5 and 82% in RCP8.5. When the model is trained solely with environmental data from the Caribbean/Atlantic, 83% of global habitat was lost by 2100 for RCP4.5 and 88% was lost for RCP8.5. Similarly, global runs trained only with Pacific Ocean reefs estimated that 60% of suitable habitat would be lost by 2100 in RCP4.5 and 90% in RCP8.5. When Maxent was trained solely with Indian Ocean reefs, suitable habitat worldwide increased by 38% in RCP4.5 by 2100 and 28% in RCP8.5 by 2050. Global habitat loss by 2100 was just 10% for RCP8.5. This projection suggests that shallow tropical sites in the Indian Ocean basin experience conditions today that are most similar to future projections of worldwide conditions. Indian Ocean reefs may thus be ideal candidate regions from which to select the best strands of coral for potential re-seeding efforts.


An innovative ocean planning tool for the Atlantic outer continental shelf: The EcoSpatial Information Database

Robust scientific information is essential to proper leasing decisions in offshore waters of the United States. This information develops the necessary understanding of the environment required to protect ecosystems during sustainable energy development offshore. Collection of existing scientific information can be a laborious and time-consuming process. In an effort to collate and evaluate scientific information in a more effective and timely manner, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) created a system that would improve the speed with which environmental research is performed while maintaining scientific defensibility of the resulting decisions. The EcoSpatial Information Database (ESID, pronounced “ee-sid”), available at http://esid.boem.gov, makes relevant scientific literature and ecological data for the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) of the U.S. Atlantic Coast readily accessible via advanced location and content data searches. A unique search protocol was developed to identify and scientifically screen thousands of scientific articles and environmental reports to identify scientific datasets in the disciplines of marine geology, water quality, pelagic ecology, and benthic ecology. A prioritization process culled the results to a total of 3108 resources spanning the years of 1884 to 2010. These resources were then geospatially referenced and incorporated into the ESID. A web-based Geographic Information System (GIS), hosted in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), was developed to provide broad access to the data and supporting documents. The cloud-based ESID Web Application allows users to search by content and location, view citations and abstracts, export bibliographic entries and view and download documents. The system is designed to support virtually unlimited geographic and subject matter expansion and will streamline BOEM's efforts to produce the required National Environmental Policy Act documents in a more efficient manner.


Environmental and ecological impacts of water supplement schemes in a heavily polluted estuary

Water supplement has been used to improve water quality in a heavily polluted river with small base flow. However, its adverse impacts particularly on nearby sensitive ecosystems have not been fully investigated in previous studies. In this paper, using the Shenzhen River estuary in China as a case study, the impacts of two potential water supplement schemes (reclaimed water scheme and seawater scheme) on water quality improvement and salinity alteration of the estuary are studied. The influences of salinity alteration on the dominant mangrove species (Aegiceras corniculatum, Kandelia candel, and Avicennia marina) are further evaluated by comparing the alteration with the historical salinity data and the optimum salinity range for mangrove growth. The results obtained indicate that the targets of water quality improvement can be achieved by implementing the water supplement schemes with roughly the same flow rates. The salinity under the reclaimed water scheme lies in the range of historical salinity variation, and its average value is close to the optimum salinity for mangrove growth. Under the seawater scheme, however, the salinity in the estuary exceeds the range of historical salinity variation and approaches to the upper bound of the survival salinity of the mangrove species which have a relatively low salt tolerance (e.g. A. corniculatum). Therefore, the seawater scheme has negative ecological consequences, while the reclaimed water scheme has less ecological impact and is recommended in this study.


Global sensitivity analysis of an end-to-end marine ecosystem model of the North Sea: Factors affecting the biomass of fish and benthos

Comprehensive analysis of parameter and driver sensitivity is key to establishing the credibility of models representing complex systems. This is especially so for models of natural systems where experimental manipulation of the real-world to provide controlled validation data is not possible. End-to-end ecosystem models (nutrients to birds and mammals) of marine ecosystems fall into this category with applications for evaluating the effects of climate change and fishing on nutrient fluxes and the abundances of flora and fauna. Here we present results of both ‘one-at-a-time’ (OAT) and variance based global sensitivity analyses (GSA) of the fish and fishery aspects of StrathE2E, an end-to-end ecosystem model of the North Sea. The sensitivity of the model was examined with respect to internal biological parameters, and external drivers related to climate and human activity. The OAT Morris method was first used to screen for factors most influential on model outputs. The Sobol GSA method was then used to calculate quantitative sensitivity indices. The results indicated that the fish and shellfish components of the model (demersal and pelagic fish, filter/deposit and scavenge/carnivore feeding benthos) were influenced by different sets of factors. Harvesting rates were highly influential on demersal and pelagic fish biomasses. Suspension/deposit feeding benthos were directly sensitive to changes in temperature, while the temperature acted indirectly on pelagic fish through the connectivity between model components of the food web. Biomass conversion efficiency was the most important factor for scavenge/carnivorous feeding benthos. The results indicate the primacy of fishing as the most important process affecting total fish biomass, together with varying responses to environmental factors which may be relevant in the context of climate change. The non-linear responses and parameter interactions identified by the analysis also highlight the necessity to use global rather than local methods for the sensitivity analysis of ecosystem models.


Metrics to monitor the status of fishing communities: An Alaska state of the state retrospective 1980–2010

We outline a suite of 11 quantitative metrics which provide information on the economic and demographic status of fishing communities, presenting data from 324 Alaskan communities over 1980–2010. These metrics provide an initial data set for descriptive analyses of fishing community status and for exploratory analyses to identify hypotheses for subsequent in-depth study of the socioecological dynamics of Alaskan fishing communities. Metrics were derived by collating information from publicly available databases and include information on fishing portfolios, fishing revenues, fishermen demographics, and fleet characteristics. As demonstration of the community metrics, we examine metric trends in detail for three communities (Kodiak, Sitka, and Togiak), and provide state-wide temporal and spatial assessments to characterize historical dynamics of Alaska's fishing communities. Statewide assessments show synchrony in the dynamics of some metrics, such as increasing population, declining permit ownership, and improving per-fishermen gross revenues, but show considerable variation amongst communities for other metrics, such as the diversification of communities' fishing portfolios and investments into fleets. Spatial distributions of metrics suggest the western and northern parts of Alaska have experienced greater declines in metrics associated with commercial fisheries importance and performance relative to the southern and eastern regions.


Conservation and management of ornamental coral reef wildlife: Successes, shortcomings, and future directions

Trade in ornamental coral reef wildlife supports a multi-million dollar industry but in some places threatens vulnerable coral reef species and ecosystems due to unsustainable practices and lack of effective regulation. To supply this trade, fishers sometimes deplete fish populations and rely on practices, such as cyanide fishing, that harm coral reef organisms and habitats. The number of countries involved, dispersed fishing localities, and the diversity of species in trade present considerable impediments to conservation and management. For instance, traditional fisheries management techniques such as stock assessments and total catch limits may not be feasible for ornamental fisheries, which are characterized by limited data on population dynamics, stock status, and collection effort, as well as instances of illegal, underreported, and unregulated fishing. A number of strategies to monitor, regulate, and manage the trade have been implemented with varying efficacy. In order to learn from previous attempts and identify promising approaches, we reviewed selected management practices and regulations from diverse settings, with attention to the effectiveness of each approach. Strategies reviewed include international agreements, marine protected areas, rotational closures, banned-species lists, quotas, cyanide detection, gear restrictions, size limits, licensing and limited entry into the fishery, and regulations on imports. Moratoriums on certain species, no-take reserves, tiered quota systems, and import and export restrictions, among others, provided examples of management successes. Further conservation and management improvements could be achieved through a wider application of successful strategies identified here and utilization of data-limited methods from food fisheries.


Mapping wave set-up near a complex geometric urban coastline

Wave induced set-up is a process that leads to increased water levels in coastal regions. When coupled with storm conditions, wave set-up – or, for brevity, set-up – can significantly increase the risk of flooding or structural damage and therefore is of particular importance when considering coastal management or issues related to the planning of nearshore infrastructures. Here, we investigate the effects of set-up in the coastal region of the Gulf of Finland in the Baltic Sea, close to Tallinn, Estonia, although the results will have wider relevance for many other areas. Due to a lack of continuous wave data we employ modelling to provide input data using a calculation scheme based on a high-resolution (470 m) spectral wave model WAM to replicate spatial patterns of wave properties based on high-quality, instrument-measured wind data from the neighbourhood of the study site. The results indicate that for the specific geometry of coastline under consideration, there is a variation in set-up which is strongly affected by wind direction. The maximum set-up values are up to 70–80 cm in selected locations. This is more than 50% of the all-time maximum water level and thus may serve as a substantial source of marine hazard for several low-lying regions around the city. Wind directions during storms have changed in recent years and, with climate variability potentially increasing, these results will encourage further tests which may be used in a policy setting regarding defences or other structures in and around coastlines. In particular, with urban development now taking place in many coastal regions (including the one within this study) these results have implications for local planners. They may also be incorporated into new storm warning systems.


Delta Waters: Research to Support Integrated Water and Environmental Management in the Lower Mississippi River

The Water Institute of the Gulf is a not-for-profit, independent research institute dedicated to advancing the understanding of coastal, deltaic, river and water resource systems, both within the Gulf Coast and around the world. Their mission supports the practical application of innovative science and engineering, providing solutions that benefit society. Those who make policy for coastal and deltaic systems, as well as managers of natural resources, need high-quality science and engineering to guide their decisions. The Water Institute of the Gulf began operations in 2012 to address exactly this sort of challenge.

Delta Waters offers advice to The Water Institute of the Gulf that it might use as part of its strategic planning process. This report focuses on strategic research to support integrated water resources management in the lower Mississippi River delta and includes international comparative assessments. The recommendations of Delta Waters promote a human and environmental systems approach to scientific research that supports integrated water and environmental resources management in the lower Mississippi River and delta, and offers ideas regarding comparative assessments with other, relevant deltaic regions around the world. This report provides input for research into common deltaic problems and challenges, identifies strategic research for The Water Institute of the Gulf, and suggests ways that the organization can utilize knowledge gained from the lower Mississippi River and delta system in developing a research program to support water management decisions in other large river/delta complexes.


Tourism, marine protected areas and resilience: A consideration of the island of Bali, Indonesia

Marine protected areas (MPAs) and tourism have high potential for symbiotic partnerships. In developing countries with rich marine biodiversity, such as Indonesia, incorporating tourism into marine protected area management strategies is seen as desirable, particularly from an economic development and financial management perspective. While maximizing MPA economic benefits is important, the sustainability of an MPA, as a resilient social - ecological system is fundamental to its success. A resilient social - ecological system is more able to absorb and adapt to disturbance while maintaining its basic natural functioning. The presence and growth of tourism adds complexity to the various social and ecological components and/or actors within an MPA and provides additional challenges for governance. The governance of MPAs is influenced by the perception of stakeholders who play important roles in influencing the management priorities of a particular MPA. In developing countries, subsistence fishers are regarded as the most 'affecting and affected' stakeholder who can significantly influence marine conservation efforts and its outcome.