Ocean Warming, More than Acidification, Reduces Shell Strength in a Commercial Shellfish Species during Food Limitation

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New from PLoS ONE comes, Ocean Warming, More than Acidification, Reduces Shell Strength in a Commercial Shellfish Species during Food Limitation. The authors examined the effects of warming and OA on Mytilus edulis and found that after 6 months, warming of their habitat was more of a factor in reducing shell strength that OA. You may download the full-text PDF for free using the link below.

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Table of Contents

Marine Protected Areas

Free: Estimating the Adaptive Capacity of Local Communities at Marine Protected Areas in Latin America: a Practical Approach. Maldonado, J. H., and R. del Pilar Moreno-Sánchez. 2014. 19(1): 16.

Free: Salmon lice infection on wild salmonids in marine protected areas: an evaluation of the Norwegian ‘National Salmon Fjords’. Serra-Llinares RM, Bjørn PA, Finstad B, Nilsen R, Harbitz A, Berg M, Asplin L (2014) Aquacult Environ Interact 5:1-16.

Marine Protected Areas in the Coral Triangle: Progress, Issues, and Options. Alan T. White, Porfirio M. Aliño, Annick Cros, Nurulhuda Ahmad Fatan, Alison L. Green, Shwu Jiau Teoh, Lynette Laroya, Nate Peterson, Stanley Tan, Stacey Tighe, Rubén Venegas-Li, Anne Walton & Wen Wen. Coastal Management, Volume 42, Issue 2, 2014, Special Issue: Establishing a Region-wide System of Marine Protected Areas in the Coral Triangle.

Collaboration and knowledge networks in coastal resources management: How critical stakeholders interact for multiple-use marine protected area implementation. P. Francisco Cárcamo, Rosa Garay-Flühmann, Carlos F. Gaymer. Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 91, April 2014, Pages 5–16.

Establishing a Functional Region-Wide Coral Triangle Marine Protected Area System. Anne Walton, Alan T. White, Stacey Tighe, Porfirio M. Aliño, Lynette Laroya, Agus Dermawan, Ahsanal Kasasiah, Shahima Abdul Hamid, Agnetha Vave-Karamui, Viniu Genia, Lino De Jesus Martins & Alison L. Green. Coastal Management, Volume 42, Issue 2, 2014, Special Issue: Establishing a Region-wide System of Marine Protected Areas in the Coral Triangle.

Spatial Data Quality Control for the Coral Triangle Atlas. Annick Cros, Ruben Venegas-Li, Shwu Jiau Teoh, Nate Peterson, Wen Wen & Nurulhuda Ahmad Fatan. Coastal Management, Volume 42, Issue 2, 2014, Special Issue: Establishing a Region-wide System of Marine Protected Areas in the Coral Triangle.

Designing Marine Reserves for Fisheries Management, Biodiversity Conservation, and Climate Change Adaptation. Alison L. Green, Leanne Fernandes, Glenn Almany, Rene Abesamis, Elizabeth McLeod, Porfirio M. Aliño, Alan T. White, Rod Salm, John Tanzer & Robert L. Pressey. Coastal Management, Volume 42, Issue 2, 2014,Special Issue: Establishing a Region-wide System of Marine Protected Areas in the Coral Triangle.

Developing Marine Protected Area Networks in the Coral Triangle: Good Practices for Expanding the Coral Triangle Marine Protected Area System. Rebecca Weeks, Porfirio M. Aliño, Scott Atkinson, Pacifico Beldia II, Augustine Binson, Wilfredo L. Campos, Rili Djohani, Alison L. Green, Richard Hamilton, Vera Horigue, Robecca Jumin, Kay Kalim, Ahsanal Kasasiah, Jimmy Kereseka, Carissa Klein, Lynette Laroya, Sikula Magupin, Barbara Masike, Candice Mohan, Rui Miguel Da Silva Pinto, Agnetha Vave-Karamui, Cesar Villanoy, Marthen Welly & Alan T. White. Coastal Management, Volume 42, Issue 2, 2014, Special Issue: Establishing a Region-wide System of Marine Protected Areas in the Coral Triangle.

Planning & Management

Defining biological assemblages (biotopes) of conservation interest in the submarine canyons of the South West Approaches (offshore United Kingdom) for use in marine habitat mapping. Jaime S. Davies, Kerry L. Howell, Heather A. Stewart, Janine Guinan, Neil Golding. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, Available online 12 February 2014.

An innovation and agency perspective on the emergence and spread of Marine Spatial Planning. Andrew Merrie, Per Olsson. Marine Policy, Volume 44, February 2014, Pages 366–374.

EU marine strategy framework directive (MSFD) and marine spatial planning (MSP): Which is the more dominant and practicable contributor to maritime policy in the UK? Jonathon Brennan, Clare Fitzsimmons, Tim Gray, Laura Raggatt. Marine Policy, Volume 43, January 2014, Pages 359–366.

Co-location of activities and designations: A means of solving or creating problems in marine spatial planning? N. Christie, K. Smyth, R. Barnes, M. Elliott. Marine Policy, Volume 43, January 2014, Pages 254–261.

Willingness to Pay to Avoid High Encounter Levels at Dive Sites in the Caribbean. Schuhmann, Peter W.; Cazabon-Mannette, Michelle; Gill, David; Casey, James F.; Hailey, Adrian. Tourism in Marine Environments, Volume 9, Numbers 1-2, July 2013 , pp. 81-94(14).

Free: Legacy of the US GLOBEC Program: Current and Potential Contributions to Marine Ecosystem-Based Management. Fogarty, M.J., L.W. Botsford, and F.E. Werner. 2013. Oceanography 26(4):116–127.

Review and evaluation of marine spatial planning in the Shetland Islands. Christina Kelly, Lorraine Gray, Rachel Shucksmith, Jacqueline F. Tweddle. Marine Policy, Volume 46, May 2014, Pages 152–160.

Species Data for Spatial Planning

Among-year and within-population variation in foraging distribution of European shags Phalacrocorax aristotelis over two decades: Implications for marine spatial planning. Maria I. Bogdanova, Sarah Wanless, Michael P. Harris, Jan Lindström, Adam Butler, Mark A. Newell, Katsufumi Sato, Yutaka Watanuki, Matt Parsons, Francis Daunt. Biological Conservation, Volume 170, February 2014, Pages 292–299.

Free: Bird-Borne Video-Cameras Show That Seabird Movement Patterns Relate to Previously Unrevealed Proximate Environment, Not Prey. Tremblay Y, Thiebault A, Mullers R, Pistorius P (2014) PLoS ONE 9(2): e88424. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088424.

Free: Whales from Space: Counting Southern Right Whales by Satellite. Fretwell PT, Staniland IJ, Forcada J (2014) PLoS ONE 9(2): e88655. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088655.

Free: Diving Behavior of the Reef Manta Ray Links Coral Reefs with Adjacent Deep Pelagic Habitats. Braun CD, Skomal GB, Thorrold SR, Berumen ML (2014) PLoS ONE 9(2): e88170. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088170.

Ocean Acidification

Free: Ocean Warming, More than Acidification, Reduces Shell Strength in a Commercial Shellfish Species during Food Limitation. Mackenzie CL, Ormondroyd GA, Curling SF, Ball RJ, Whiteley NM, et al. (2014) PLoS ONE 9(1): e86764. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086764.

Free: Temperature Modulates Coccolithophorid Sensitivity of Growth, Photosynthesis and Calcification to Increasing Seawater pCO2. Sett S, Bach LT, Schulz KG, Koch-Klavsen S, Lebrato M, et al. (2014) PLoS ONE 9(2): e88308. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088308.

Climate Change

Free summary: Assessing the CO2 capture potential of seagrass restoration projects. Duarte, C. M., Sintes, T. & Marba, N. (2013). Journal of Applied Ecology. 50: 1341–1349. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12155.

Forecasting future drowning of coastal waterbird habitats reveals a major conservation concern. Kevin Kuhlmann Clausen, Preben Clausen. Biological Conservation, Volume 171, March 2014, Pages 177–185.

The potential impact of climate change on the infectious diseases of commercially important shellfish populations in the Irish Sea—a review. Rowley, A. F., Cross, M. E., Culloty, S. C., Lynch, S. A., Mackenzie, C. L., Morgan, E., O'Riordan, R. M., Robins, P. E., Smith, A. L., Thrupp, T. J., Vogan, C. L., Wootton, E. C., and Malham, S. K. ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi.10.1093/icesjms/fst234.

Synergies between climate and management for Atlantic cod fisheries at high latitudes. Olav Sigurd Kjesbu, Bjarte Bogstad, Jennifer A. Devine, Harald Gjøsæter, Daniel Howell, Randi B. Ingvaldsen, Richard D. M. Nash, and Jon Egil Skjæraasen. PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1316342111.

Coral Reefs

Linking Food Security with Coral Reefs and Fisheries in the Coral Triangle. Annabelle Cruz-Trinidad, Porfirio M. Aliño, Rollan C. Geronimo & Reniel B. Cabral. Coastal Management, Volume 42, Issue 2, 2014, Special Issue: Establishing a Region-wide System of Marine Protected Areas in the Coral Triangle.

Aquaculture

Modelling of interactions between inshore and offshore aquaculture. J.G. Ferreira, C. Saurel, J.D. Lencart-Silva, J.P. Nunes, F. Vazquez. Aquaculture, Available online 7 February 2014.

General

Free: Wildlife Conservation Society's Madagascar Marine Program, News and Features, Feb 2013 - Jan 2014.


Estimating the Adaptive Capacity of Local Communities at Marine Protected Areas in Latin America: a Practical Approach

The establishment of marine protected areas (MPA) has become the prevailing management strategy to stop the degradation of coastal and marine ecosystems; however, the effectiveness of MPAs is affected not only by ecological factors but also by social ones. Identifying and understanding socioeconomic conditions and the institutional context of fishing communities is essential to achieve success with MPAs. We propose a practical methodology for estimating the adaptive capacity (AC) of local communities to the establishment of MPAs. Adaptive capacity is defined as the ability of households to anticipate and respond to disturbances, natural or human induced, and to minimize, cope with, and recover from the consequences. We propose an index of adaptive capacity (IAC) of fishing communities that can be estimated at a local scale. This composite index comprises three dimensions, i.e., socioeconomic, social-ecological, and socio-political/institutional, which attempt to capture comprehensively the determinants of AC. Each dimension is constructed from three indicators, whose estimation is based on information collected from a household structured survey for which we suggested specific questions. We proposed the use of a Min function to highlight the weakest dimension of the IAC and guide decision makers with respect to elements that should be addressed to improve AC. A discussion about normalization and aggregation issues is also included.


Salmon lice infection on wild salmonids in marine protected areas: an evaluation of the Norwegian ‘National Salmon Fjords’

In Norway, 29 fjords and 52 rivers have been designated for protection in order to prevent the infection of important populations of wild salmonids with salmon lice of farm origin. We evaluated the effect of this protection on the lice infection pressure for wild salmonids based on lice counts performed on wild-caught sea trout and Arctic charr inside one-third of these protected fjords (known as ‘National Salmon Fjords’). Results indicate that these areas may provide a certain extent of protection against lice of farm origin, but their configuration will play a key role in their success. When the size and shape of a protected area are such that fish farms are kept at a minimum distance (calculated here as at least 30 km, but this distance is likely site-dependent), wild fish seem unaffected by the direct lice infection pressure imposed by fish farms. In contrast, the effects of small protected fjords were strongly dependent on the production pattern of the aquaculture industry in the surrounding area, and we found a clear correlation between lice levels on wild salmonids and lice production in nearby salmon farms. To establish more precise management practices, both in National Salmon Fjords and other fjord systems along the Norwegian coast, the development and validation of accurate distribution and abundance models for the dispersion of planktonic lice larvae is needed; this could also be the basis for an area management system based on ‘maximum sustainable lice loads’ or ‘lice quotas.’


Marine Protected Areas in the Coral Triangle: Progress, Issues, and Options

The six Coral Triangle countries—Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste—each have evolving systems of marine protected areas (MPAs) at the national and local levels. More than 1,900 MPAs covering 200,881 km2 (1.6% of the exclusive economic zone for the region) have been established within these countries over the last 40 years under legal mandates that range from village level traditional law to national legal frameworks that mandate the protection of large areas as MPAs. The focus of protection has been primarily on critical marine habitats and ecosystems, with a strong emphasis on maintaining and improving the status of near-shore fisheries, a primary food and economic resource in the region. This article brings together for the first time a consistent set of current data on MPAs for the six countries and reviews progress toward the establishment of MPAs in these countries with regard to (i) coverage of critical habitat (e.g., 17.8% of the coral reef habitat within the region lies within an MPA), (ii) areas under effective management, and (iii) actions needed to improve the implementation of MPAs as a marine conservation and resource management strategy. The contribution of MPAs to the Coral Triangle MPA System as called for in the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security Regional Plan of Action is clarified. Options for scaling up existing MPAs to networks of MPAs that are more ecologically linked and integrated with fisheries management and responsive to changing climate through the Coral Triangle MPA System development are discussed. A key point is the need to improve the effectiveness of existing MPAs, and plan in a manner leading to ecosystem-based management.


Collaboration and knowledge networks in coastal resources management: How critical stakeholders interact for multiple-use marine protected area implementation

Recent studies have shown that social networks and their properties are key in the search for explanations for the success in the governance and management of natural resources. We investigated the structure and properties of inter-organizational social networks involved in the use and management of natural resources in a coastal marine ecosystem in northern Chile proposed as a possible marine protected area. We explored two network configurations: i) relations of collaboration and ii) relations of transfer and exchange of scientific knowledge and information useful to the management of natural resources and the decision-making process involved. Both networks showed little cohesion, with low values of centralization and density indicating a low flow of collaborative and exchange relations among different stakeholders. The knowledge network achieved greater levels of centralization than the collaboration network. National government agencies and fishermen organizations were the most powerful stakeholders in the collaboration network. National government agencies and universities were the most powerful stakeholders in the knowledge network. We found a disconnected network when analyzing the flows of collaboration and knowledge between different administrative operation levels that potentially would hamper the governance of this area. On the other hand, we identified stakeholders that would help to connect the network (bridging stakeholders). Additional analysis of stakeholders using influence-capacity matrix allowed us to identify key stakeholders for planning and implementing the new marine protected area, compare results with the network analysis, and propose network interventions. We propose combining Social Network Analysis with other methods of stakeholder analysis to produce more practical and implementable results. Our results are relevant for future interventions aimed at improving or implementing management and governance of coastal areas.


Establishing a Functional Region-Wide Coral Triangle Marine Protected Area System

The six Coral Triangle countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste, each have evolving systems of marine protected areas (MPAs) at the national and local levels. Now with more than 1,900 MPAs covering 208,152 km2 (1.6% of the extended economic zone for the region), the Coral Triangle Initiative for Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security has endorsed a Regional Plan of Action that contains a target of establishing a “Coral Triangle Marine Protected Area System” as part of its third goal on improving MPA management. This article details the contents of the Coral Triangle Marine Protected Area System Framework and Action Plan and describes its development and potential contribution to the improved management in the region once it is implemented. The MPA System Framework, as endorsed by the six countries, contains guidance for standardizing how MPAs and MPA networks are evaluated for effectiveness, and provides options for scaling-up existing MPAs to networks of MPAs that are more ecologically linked, integrated with fisheries management and responsive to changing climate. The Framework establishes an institutional mechanism by which the regional entity can facilitate the continued development and implementation of a region-wide MPA system that provides incentives for improved quality of management and enhanced marine area coverage at the local scale.


Spatial Data Quality Control for the Coral Triangle Atlas

The Coral Triangle is a global priority for conservation and since the creation of the Coral Triangle Initiative in 2007 it has been a major focus for a multi-lateral conservation partnership uniting the region's six governments. The Coral Triangle (CT) Atlas was developed to provide scientists and managers with the best available data on marine resources in the Coral Triangle. Endorsed as an official supporting tool to the Coral Triangle Initiative, the CT Atlas strives to provide the most accurate information possible to track the success of the conservation efforts of the Initiative. Focusing on marine protected areas and key marine habitats, the CT Atlas tested a process to assess the quality, reliability, and accuracy of different data layers. This article describes the mechanism used to evaluate these layers and to provide accurate data. Results of the preliminary quality control process showed errors in reputable datasets, outdated and missing data, metadata gaps, and a lack of user instructions to interpret layers. It highlighted the need to challenge existing datasets and demonstrated that regional efforts could improve the data available to evaluate the effectiveness of conservation measures. The Coral Triangle Atlas is continuously being updated to be as accurate as possible for reliable analysis.


Designing Marine Reserves for Fisheries Management, Biodiversity Conservation, and Climate Change Adaptation

Overfishing and habitat destruction due to local and global threats are undermining fisheries, biodiversity, and the long-term sustainability of tropical marine ecosystems worldwide, including in the Coral Triangle. Well-designed and effectively managed marine reserve networks can reduce local threats, and contribute to achieving multiple objectives regarding fisheries management, biodiversity conservation and adaptation to changes in climate and ocean chemistry. Previous studies provided advice regarding ecological guidelines for designing marine reserves to achieve one or two of these objectives. While there are many similarities in these guidelines, there are key differences that provide conflicting advice. Thus, there is a need to provide integrated guidelines for practitioners who wish to design marine reserves to achieve all three objectives simultaneously. Scientific advances regarding fish connectivity and recovery rates, and climate and ocean change vulnerability, also necessitate refining advice for marine reserve design. Here we review ecological considerations for marine reserve design, and provide guidelines to achieve all three objectives simultaneously regarding: habitat representation; risk spreading; protecting critical, special and unique areas; reserve size, spacing, location, and duration; protecting climate resilient areas; and minimizing and avoiding threats. In addition to applying ecological guidelines, reserves must be designed to address social and governance considerations, and be integrated within broader fisheries and coastal management regimes.


Developing Marine Protected Area Networks in the Coral Triangle: Good Practices for Expanding the Coral Triangle Marine Protected Area System

The Coral Triangle Marine Protected Area System aspires to become a region-wide, comprehensive, ecologically representative and well-managed system of marine protected areas (MPAs) and MPA networks. The development of this system will proceed primarily through the implementation of ecological, social, and governance MPA networks at the sub-national scale. We describe six case studies that exemplify different approaches taken to develop MPA networks in the Coral Triangle region at different scales: Nusa Penida in Indonesia; Tun Mustapha Park in Malaysia; Kimbe Bay in Papua New Guinea; Verde Island Passage in the Philippines; The Lauru Ridges to Reefs Protected Area Network in Choiseul, Solomon Islands; and Nino Konis Santana Park in Timor Leste. Through synthesis of these case studies, we identify five common themes that contributed to successful outcomes: (1) the need for multi-stakeholder and cross-level management institutions; (2) the value of integrating cutting-edge science with local knowledge and community-based management; (3) the importance of building local capacity; (4) using multiple-use zoning to balance competing objectives; and (5) participation in learning and governance networks. These lessons will be invaluable in guiding future efforts to expand the Coral Triangle Marine Protected Area System, and provide important insights for MPA practitioners elsewhere.


Defining biological assemblages (biotopes) of conservation interest in the submarine canyons of the South West Approaches (offshore United Kingdom) for use in marine habitat mapping

In 2007, the upper part of a submarine canyon system located in water depths between 138 and 1165 m in the South West (SW) Approaches (North East Atlantic Ocean) was surveyed over a 2 week period. High-resolution multibeam echosounder data covering 1106 km2, and 44 ground-truthing video and image transects were acquired to characterise the biological assemblages of the canyons. The SW Approaches is an area of complex terrain, and intensive ground-truthing revealed the canyons to be dominated by soft sediment assemblages. A combination of multivariate analysis of seabed photographs (184–1059 m) and visual assessment of video ground-truthing identified 12 megabenthic assemblages (biotopes) at an appropriate scale to act as mapping units. Of these biotopes, 5 adhered to current definitions of habitats of conservation concern, 4 of which were classed as Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems. Some of the biotopes correspond to descriptions of communities from other megahabitat features (for example the continental shelf and seamounts), although it appears that the canyons host modified versions, possibly due to the inferred high rates of sedimentation in the canyons. Other biotopes described appear to be unique to canyon features, particularly the sea pen biotope consisting of Kophobelemnon stelliferum and cerianthids.


An innovation and agency perspective on the emergence and spread of Marine Spatial Planning

The roles of governance and technological innovation have been widely recognized as important parts of sustainability transitions. However, less attention has been paid to understanding the mechanisms of the emergence and spread of innovative ideas for stewardship of social–ecological systems. This study considers how theories of innovation and agency are able to provide explanatory power regarding the spread and impact of such ideas. This includes how innovations may contribute to resolving the mismatches between the scale of ecological processes and the scale of governance of ecosystems. The emergence and spread of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is used as an illustrative case study. The study shows that individuals embedded in informal networks have played a key role in driving the emergence of MSP across scales and in constantly re-framing the tool in order to overcome obstacles to adoption and implementation. In a number of cases, MSP has been decoupled from the ecosystem despite being framed as a tool for ecosystem-based management. Finally, this study is important to understand the process of emergence of new integrated tools for ecosystem stewardship at the global level.


EU marine strategy framework directive (MSFD) and marine spatial planning (MSP): Which is the more dominant and practicable contributor to maritime policy in the UK?

This paper is a comparative analysis of the contribution to UK marine governance of two recent EU initiatives: the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP). MSFD imposed a duty on Member States to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) in four regional seas, while MSP required Member States to replace their fragmented, sector-based system of maritime decision making with an integrated approach. This paper explains MSFD and MSP, examines their relationship, and compares their practicability, concluding that MSP is both the more dominant and the more practicable instrument, reflecting the UK's preference for sustainable development over conservationism in marine policy. A recent proposal by the European Commission to make MSP and integrated coastal management a Directive reinforces the UK position.


Co-location of activities and designations: A means of solving or creating problems in marine spatial planning?

Worldwide demand for energy is growing and predicted to increase by up to three times by 2050. Renewable energy will play a vital role in meeting this demand whilst maintaining global climate change targets. Around the British Isles, development of wind farms has entered Round three, with large, high capacity wind parks being planned to enhance energy security and achieve 2020 renewable energy targets. Such developments place additional pressure on existing sea space and may result in conflicts with other marine activities and users. Co-location of certain activities, marine protected areas, aquaculture and commercial fishing in particular, has therefore been proposed as an option to ease demands on space. Using the UK guided by EU and regional policy, as a case study, following the criteria-based planning system, co-location is legally feasible. Crucially, co-location options will depend on site specific characteristics and site management plans. The biology, ecology and hydrology of the site as well as consideration of important commercial and economic factors will be determining factors of success. For marine protected areas compatibility with conservation objectives for the site will be fundamental. Where possible, it is suggested that activities suitable for co-location will develop in tandem with renewable energy projects. The importance of developing joint projects in this manner is particularly true for aquaculture projects to ensure tenure security and commercial viability. Adaptive management will be a basis for evolution of the concept and practice of co-location. Pilot projects and continued monitoring will be essential in shaping the future of co-location of activities. As the Marine Management Organisation continues the development of marine plans for the English inshore and offshore waters, a study into potential solutions for resolving sea use conflicts is timely. This paper therefore provides a concise overview of the current regulation affecting co-location of key marine activities within wind farm zones and provides suggestions on how co-location projects can be adopted and taken forward, using the UK as a case study.


Willingness to Pay to Avoid High Encounter Levels at Dive Sites in the Caribbean

This research estimates willingness to pay (WTP) to avoid high numbers of encounters with other divers at dive sites in barbados and Tobago. A survey of scuba divers from 2007 to 2010 examined demographics, experience, satisfaction with conditions (e.g., coral cover, visibility, diversity of fish and marine life, crowding), dive characteristics (e.g., divers encountered), and maximum WTP for the dive. WTP was a function of dive location, diver income, encounters, and amount paid for the dive. On average, divers may be willing to pay up to US$4.51 per additional diver to avoid encounters with others. results can inform management regarding pricing and spatial planning of reef use and can aid in policies for maximizing economic returns from diving while reducing impacts of diving on reefs and diver experiences.


Legacy of the US GLOBEC Program: Current and Potential Contributions to Marine Ecosystem-Based Management

Management of living marine resources is undergoing a profound transition toward a more holistic, ecosystem-based paradigm. The interplay of climate and environmental forcing, ecosystem structure and function, and human influences and requirements shape the dynamics of these systems in complex ways. The US Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) program was designed to unravel the elements of this complexity and to forge the tools needed to explore the scope for predictability of ecosystem change in a rapidly changing ocean. As a basic science program, US GLOBEC established new standards in ecological monitoring, technological development, and coupled bio-physical modeling of marine systems. Its legacy goes beyond these fundamental achievements, however, through the realized and potential importance of the GLOBEC approach and findings in resource management. Development of the US GLOBEC program considerably predated the formal adoption of strategies for ecosystem-based management of coastal and marine systems in the United States under the aegis of the National Ocean Policy. The GLOBEC strategy and its resulting products and tools have nonetheless proven extremely valuable in moving toward the goal of operational marine ecosystem-based management. The GLOBEC selection of target species of direct relevance to management (including economically important species and those with special conservation status) underscored the recognized need to provide results of the highest scientific caliber while also meeting broader societal needs and objectives for sustainable resource management. Here, we trace some of the current applications of GLOBEC science in resource management (including the extension of single species management strategies to incorporate climate forcing and the use of broader ecosystem models) and point to its potential to further shape the evolution of marine ecosystem-based management.


Review and evaluation of marine spatial planning in the Shetland Islands

Marine spatial planning (MSP) is a fast evolving discipline signified by the European Commission׳s proposed directive to create a common framework for MSP and integrated coastal management in EU waters and coastal areas. The Shetland Islands’ Marine Spatial Plan (SMSP) first developed in 2006 is one of the most advanced in the UK. With seven years’ experience of MSP and integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) in Shetland׳s waters, and the pending statutory implementation of the SMSP in 2014, Shetland represents an exemplar case study for the monitoring and evaluation of this discipline in practice. A review was carried out in 2012 to evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of the SMSP to date. This exercise highlighted achievements to date, future challenges and opportunities and helped to guide the development of the forthcoming edition of the SMSP. The sharing of knowledge and practical experiences of MSP and ICZM ensures an adaptive approach in addressing uncertainty over time. It is also imperative to understand that early ‘pioneers’ in this discipline may not get it exactly right on the first attempt but by developing initial precedents and processes, these can be built upon in the future.


Among-year and within-population variation in foraging distribution of European shags Phalacrocorax aristotelis over two decades: Implications for marine spatial planning

Marine spatial planning aims to deliver sustainable use of marine resources by minimizing environmental impacts of human activities and designating Marine Protected Areas. This poses a challenge where species’ distributions show spatio-temporal heterogeneity. However, due to logistic constraints and challenging timescales many studies of distribution are undertaken over few years or on a restricted subset of the population. Long-term studies can help identify the degree of uncertainty in those less comprehensive in space and time. We quantify inter-annual and sub-colony variation in the summer foraging distribution of a population of European shags Phalacrocorax aristotelis, using a tracking data set comprising 320 individuals and 1106 foraging trips in 15 years from 1987 to 2010. Foraging distribution over the study period was concentrated in three areas. Data from one and two years captured an average of 54% and 64% of this distribution, respectively, but it required 8 years’ data to capture over 90% of the distribution. Foraging range increased with population size when breeding success was low, suggesting interplay between extrinsic and intrinsic effects. Furthermore, females had foraging ranges on average 36% greater than males. Finally, sub-colony segregation occurred in foraging areas up to 4 km from the colony and in the most distant locations (>10 km), whilst there was considerable overlap at intermediate distances (6–10 km). Our study highlights important considerations for marine spatial planning in particular, and species conservation in general, notably the proportion of the population distribution identified, the prevailing conditions experienced and the need for balanced sampling across the population.


Bird-Borne Video-Cameras Show That Seabird Movement Patterns Relate to Previously Unrevealed Proximate Environment, Not Prey

The study of ecological and behavioral processes has been revolutionized in the last two decades with the rapid development of biologging-science. Recently, using image-capturing devices, some pilot studies demonstrated the potential of understanding marine vertebrate movement patterns in relation to their proximate, as opposed to remote sensed environmental contexts. Here, using miniaturized video cameras and GPS tracking recorders simultaneously, we show for the first time that information on the immediate visual surroundings of a foraging seabird, the Cape gannet, is fundamental in understanding the origins of its movement patterns. We found that movement patterns were related to specific stimuli which were mostly other predators such as gannets, dolphins or fishing boats. Contrary to a widely accepted idea, our data suggest that foraging seabirds are not directly looking for prey. Instead, they search for indicators of the presence of prey, the latter being targeted at the very last moment and at a very small scale. We demonstrate that movement patterns of foraging seabirds can be heavily driven by processes unobservable with conventional methodology. Except perhaps for large scale processes, local-enhancement seems to be the only ruling mechanism; this has profounds implications for ecosystem-based management of marine areas.


Whales from Space: Counting Southern Right Whales by Satellite

We describe a method of identifying and counting whales using very high resolution satellite imagery through the example of southern right whales breeding in part of the Golfo Nuevo, Península Valdés in Argentina. Southern right whales have been extensively hunted over the last 300 years and although numbers have recovered from near extinction in the early 20th century, current populations are fragmented and are estimated at only a small fraction of pre-hunting total. Recent extreme right whale calf mortality events at Península Valdés, which constitutes the largest single population, have raised fresh concern for the future of the species. The WorldView2 satellite has a maximum 50 cm resolution and a water penetrating coastal band in the far-blue part of the spectrum that allows it to see deeper into the water column. Using an image covering 113 km2, we identified 55 probable whales and 23 other features that are possibly whales, with a further 13 objects that are only detected by the coastal band. Comparison of a number of classification techniques, to automatically detect whale-like objects, showed that a simple thresholding technique of the panchromatic and coastal band delivered the best results. This is the first successful study using satellite imagery to count whales; a pragmatic, transferable method using this rapidly advancing technology that has major implications for future surveys of cetacean populations.


Diving Behavior of the Reef Manta Ray Links Coral Reefs with Adjacent Deep Pelagic Habitats

Recent successful efforts to increase protection for manta rays has highlighted the lack of basic ecological information, including vertical and horizontal movement patterns, available for these species. We deployed pop-up satellite archival transmitting tags on nine reef manta rays, Manta alfredi, to determine diving behaviors and vertical habitat use. Transmitted and archived data were obtained from seven tagged mantas over deployment periods of 102–188 days, including three recovered tags containing 2.6 million depth, temperature, and light level data points collected every 10 or 15 seconds. Mantas frequented the upper 10 m during daylight hours and tended to occupy deeper water throughout the night. Six of the seven individuals performed a cumulative 76 deep dives (>150 m) with one individual reaching 432 m, extending the known depth range of this coastal, reef-oriented species and confirming its role as an ecological link between epipelagic and mesopelagic habitats. Mean vertical velocities calculated from high-resolution dive data (62 dives >150 m) from three individuals suggested that mantas may use gliding behavior during travel and that this behavior may prove more efficient than continuous horizontal swimming. The behaviors in this study indicate manta rays provide a previously unknown link between the epi- and mesopelagic layers of an extremely oligotrophic marine environment and provide evidence of a third marine species that utilizes gliding to maximize movement efficiency.


Ocean Warming, More than Acidification, Reduces Shell Strength in a Commercial Shellfish Species during Food Limitation

Ocean surface pH levels are predicted to fall by 0.3–0.4 pH units by the end of the century and are likely to coincide with an increase in sea surface temperature of 2–4°C. The combined effect of ocean acidification and warming on the functional properties of bivalve shells is largely unknown and of growing concern as the shell provides protection from mechanical and environmental challenges. We examined the effects of near-future pH (ambient pH –0.4 pH units) and warming (ambient temperature +4°C) on the shells of the commercially important bivalve, Mytilus edulis when fed for a limited period (4–6 h day−1). After six months exposure, warming, but not acidification, significantly reduced shell strength determined as reductions in the maximum load endured by the shells. However, acidification resulted in a reduction in shell flex before failure. Reductions in shell strength with warming could not be explained by alterations in morphology, or shell composition but were accompanied by reductions in shell surface area, and by a fall in whole-body condition index. It appears that warming has an indirect effect on shell strength by re-allocating energy from shell formation to support temperature-related increases in maintenance costs, especially as food supply was limited and the mussels were probably relying on internal energy reserves. The maintenance of shell strength despite seawater acidification suggests that biomineralisation processes are unaffected by the associated changes in CaCO3 saturation levels. We conclude that under near-future climate change conditions, ocean warming will pose a greater risk to shell integrity in M. edulis than ocean acidification when food availability is limited.


Temperature Modulates Coccolithophorid Sensitivity of Growth, Photosynthesis and Calcification to Increasing Seawater pCO2

Increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations are expected to impact pelagic ecosystem functioning in the near future by driving ocean warming and acidification. While numerous studies have investigated impacts of rising temperature and seawater acidification on planktonic organisms separately, little is presently known on their combined effects. To test for possible synergistic effects we exposed two coccolithophore species, Emiliania huxleyi and Gephyrocapsa oceanica, to a CO2 gradient ranging from ~0.5–250 µmol kg−1 (i.e. ~20–6000 µatm pCO2) at three different temperatures (i.e. 10, 15, 20°C for E. huxleyi and 15, 20, 25°C for G. oceanica). Both species showed CO2-dependent optimum-curve responses for growth, photosynthesis and calcification rates at all temperatures. Increased temperature generally enhanced growth and production rates and modified sensitivities of metabolic processes to increasing CO2. CO2 optimum concentrations for growth, calcification, and organic carbon fixation rates were only marginally influenced from low to intermediate temperatures. However, there was a clear optimum shift towards higher CO2 concentrations from intermediate to high temperatures in both species. Our results demonstrate that the CO2 concentration where optimum growth, calcification and carbon fixation rates occur is modulated by temperature. Thus, the response of a coccolithophore strain to ocean acidification at a given temperature can be negative, neutral or positive depending on that strain's temperature optimum. This emphasizes that the cellular responses of coccolithophores to ocean acidification can only be judged accurately when interpreted in the proper eco-physiological context of a given strain or species. Addressing the synergistic effects of changing carbonate chemistry and temperature is an essential step when assessing the success of coccolithophores in the future ocean.


Assessing the CO2 capture potential of seagrass restoration projects

  1. Seagrass meadows are important carbon sinks, and they are experiencing a global decline. Restoration of seagrass meadows provides a strategy to mitigate climate change while conserving these important ecosystems.
  2. We examined the long-term carbon sequestration expected for seagrass restoration programmes by developing a model that combined models of patch growth, patch survival in seagrass planting projects and estimates of seagrass CO2 sequestration per unit area for the five seagrass species commonly used in restoration programmes.
  3. The model results indicated that the cumulative C sequestered increased rapidly over time and with planting density to reach an asymptote at a planting density of 100 units ha−1 (or 6 m spacing between units). At this planting density, the modelled cumulative C sequestered ranges from 177 to over 1337 tons CO2 ha−1 after 50 years.
  4. The value corresponding to this carbon sequestration suggests that the costs of seagrass restoration programmes may be fully recovered by the total CO2 captured in societies with a carbon tax in place, providing additional ecosystem services derived from the role of seagrasses in providing ecosystem services, such as enhanced biodiversity.
  5. Synthesis and applications. Seagrass restoration programmes are economically viable strategies to mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration, particularly in subtropical and tropical island states where land-based options have a limited scope.

Forecasting future drowning of coastal waterbird habitats reveals a major conservation concern

Climate change-induced rising sea levels are expected to affect coastal habitats worldwide, and the associated coastal squeeze in protected coastal areas might significantly alter availability of coastal habitats. This study combines coastal bathymetry and elevation models to develop a continuous topographic model covering coastal areas on a large geographical scale, and predicts the areal change in five habitats important to numerous breeding and migrating birds. Our model indicates considerable declines in coastal habitats as a result of coastal squeeze, and reveals major conservation concerns regarding future preservation of essential waterbird habitats. In our study area this will directly influence seven species of herbivorous waterbirds occurring at internationally important numbers, and a total of 41 species of coastal birds protected under the EU Birds Directive, many of which are currently designated as having an unfavourable conservation status. Declines in coastal habitats will also affect invertebrates and fish, and through effects on food webs have an even wider ecological implication. These findings highlight the need of focused coastal management, and illustrate the cost of uncritically protecting human agricultural interests while preventing natural dynamics of the coastal zone. Our analysis indicate that pulling down existing sea walls will reduce the loss by 37–65% dependent on habitat type, but that complete compensation is unlikely in our study area due to local topography. Managed retreat of coastlines might be an efficient solution to counteract the effects of coastal squeeze, but the time and interests associated with implementation of such mitigation measures imply that the time for action is now.


The potential impact of climate change on the infectious diseases of commercially important shellfish populations in the Irish Sea—a review

The Irish Sea and surrounding regions are a rich source of shellfish production as a result of captive fishing and aquaculture. Key species produced include lobsters (Homarus gammarus), edible crabs (Cancer pagurus), langoustines (Nephrops norvegicus), flat oysters (Ostrea edulis), cockles (Cerestoderma edule) and blue mussels (Mytilus edulis). The role played by infectious disease in limiting the sustainability of the production of these species is largely neglected. This review summarizes our knowledge of the key diseases of commercially important crustaceans and bivalve molluscs and attempts to determine their role in limiting the population of animals available for food production both at present and in the future. It shows that the key diseases threatening the sustainability of shellfish production are bitter crab disease in langoustines and edible crabs, and a wide range of diseases caused by micro- and macro-parasites in some bivalve molluscs including oysters and cockles. Oceanographic models are also employed to predict how changes in climate over the next half century may affect these key diseases and their hosts as found in the Irish Sea. It is concluded that the paucity of information on the potential transfer of some disease agents in pelagic larval stages of hosts and vectors is a major hurdle in predicting how some changes in environmental conditions may influence the prevalence and severity of shellfish diseases in coming years.


Synergies between climate and management for Atlantic cod fisheries at high latitudes

The widespread depletion of commercially exploited marine living resources is often seen as a general failure of management and results in criticism of contemporary management procedures. When populations show dramatic and positive changes in population size, this invariably leads to questions about whether favorable climatic conditions or good management (or both) were responsible. The Barents Sea cod (Gadus morhua) stock has recently increased markedly and the spawning stock biomass is now at an unprecedented high. We identify the crucial social and environmental factors that made this unique growth possible. The relationship between vital rates of Barents Sea cod stock productivity (recruitment, growth, and mortality) and environment is investigated, followed by simulations of population size under different management scenarios. We show that the recent sustained reduction in fishing mortality, facilitated by the implementation of a “harvest control rule,” was essential to the increase in population size. Simulations show that a drastic reduction in fishing mortality has resulted in a doubling of the total population biomass compared with that expected under the former management regime. However, management alone was not solely responsible. We document that prevailing climate, operating through several mechanistic links, positively reinforced management actions. Heightened temperature resulted in an increase in the extent of the suitable feeding area for Barents Sea cod, likely offering a release from density-dependent effects (for example, food competition and cannibalism) through prolonged overlap with prey and improved adult stock productivity. Management and climate may thus interact to give a positive outlook for exploited high-latitude marine resources.


Linking Food Security with Coral Reefs and Fisheries in the Coral Triangle

Maintaining ecosystem services of coral reefs, sustainable fishing, and improved food security are the three higher level outcomes of the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF). Food security is an obvious concern of the CTI-CFF because of 130 million people dependent on fish resources for food, income, and livelihoods, and also because it provides 11.3% (19.1 million tons) to global fisheries production from capture fisheries and aquaculture. Yet, anthropogenic stressors, especially overfishing, threaten the ecosystems that support food production. Fish supply deficits and undernourishment are observed in varying degrees across the CTI-CFF countries to be further exacerbated by increasing populations, increasing demand for fish from developed economies, unabated coastal development, and climate change. Short-term and urgent strategies to improve food security focus on arresting continued deterioration of coral reefs and fisheries to improve availability of fish, stabilize ecosystem services, and improve incomes at the local level. Wealth-focused and welfare-based approaches to achieve food security at various governance levels are proposed.


Modelling of interactions between inshore and offshore aquaculture

Offshore aquaculture is the subject of intense debate, focusing on feasibility, sustainability, and the potential for effective expansion in the context of competing uses of the coastal zone, and a world requirement for an additional thirty million tonnes of aquatic products by 2050.

A modelling framework that integrates the SWAT model for the watershed, Delft3D for ocean circulation, and the EcoWin model for long-term (10 year) ecological simulations, was developed for integrated analysis of catchment, inshore waters, and offshore aquaculture, providing an approach that addresses production, environmental effects, and disease interactions. This framework was tested using a case study in SE Portugal, for a system-scale modelling domain with an ocean area of 470 km2 and a coastal watershed area of 627 km2.

This domain contains an inshore area of 184 km2 (Ria Formosa) subject to multiple (often conflicting) uses, including aquaculture of the high value (farmgate price > 10 € kg- 1) clam Tapes decussatus, and one of the first offshore aquaculture parks in the world, located at distance of 3.6 nm from the coast, at a water depth of 30–60 m, with an area of 15 km2. The park contains 60 leases, of which at most 70% are for finfish cage culture, and at least 30% for bivalve longline culture.

A substantial part of the dissolved nutrients required to drive primary production that constitutes the food source for clams originates from the coastal catchment. Although stakeholder perception is that nutrients are mainly linked to point-source discharges from wastewater treatment plants, watershed modelling indicates that 55% of the nitrogen and 70% of the phosphorus loads are from diffuse sources.

The residence time of waters in the inshore area is low (1–2 days), and consequently pelagic primary production takes place offshore, and drives inshore clam production. The longline culture of Mediterranean mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) in the offshore park reduces inshore food availability for clams: simulations suggest that a 3% decrease in clam yields will occur due to offshore mussel cultivation, at a cost of 1.2 million €. This is offset by revenue from offshore culture, but is a source of stakeholder conflict.

Potential disease spread between the offshore and inshore systems was analysed using a particle tracking model, and allowed the development of a risk exposure map. This illustrates the challenges posed by hydrodynamic connectivity with respect to biosecurity of aquaculture and fisheries, both inshore and offshore.

The model framework was also used for optimisation of stocking density, and analysis of combined culture of finfish and shellfish, both in terms of production and environmental effects. In the offshore aquaculture park, the models suggest that integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) of gilthead bream (Sparus aurata) and Mediterranean mussels allows for an increased harvestable biomass of mussels, particularly at higher stocking densities, and offsets some of the negative externalities of finfish culture.

By quantifying issues such as reduced yields for inshore stakeholders due to offshore activity, and illustrating the need for strong governance to offset disease risks, dynamic models make a valuable contribution in assessing the feasibility of offshore aquaculture, and the general principles that should underpin licensing and regulation of this sector.

We stress the need to go beyond the conventional spatial planning toolset in order to ensure an ecosystem approach to aquaculture, and the opportunities that exist for applying a systems framework in an information economy, where the capital costs of software and data have been sharply reduced.


Wildlife Conservation Society's Madagascar Marine Program, News and Features, Feb 2013 - Jan 2014.

Table of Contents:

  • Wildlife Conservation Society Publishes First-Ever Guide to Madagascar’s Marine Wildlife
  • Outstanding Whale and Dolphin diversity in Ankivonjy Marine Protected Area
  • UNESCO Identified Antongil Bay and North West Madagascar as Potential Marine World Heritage Sites
  • Antongil Bay Locally Managed Marine Areas Network is Growing
  • First Seascape-scale Fisheries Co-management Plan in Madagascar
  • CITES Makes Historic Decision to Protect Sharks and Rays
  • NGO Consortium GRET-WCS-FANAMBY Receives Project Innovation Grant from AF
  • Madagascar’s Masoala National Park Interpretive Center Inaugurated
  • Whale Mass Stranding Attributed to Sonar Mapping For First Time
  • Community-based Marine Mammal Conservation in South West Madagascar
  • Coral Reef Bleaching Monitoring in Antongil Bay
  • Reef Monitoring Training for Malagasy Conservation Partners
  • WCS National Staff Invited to International Symposium and Training Events
  • Resource Users' Perceptions of the Benefits of Marine Management Restrictions
  • Human Deforestation Outweighs Climate Change for Coral Reefs
  • Satellite Tagging of Humpback Whales