A Guide to Evaluating Marine Spatial Plans

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For the week of 27 October 2014

Greetings OpenChannels Community Members,

Marine spatial planning expert, Charles "Bud" Ehler, along with Green Fire Productions and OpenChannels.org in partnership with UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) have released the new Guide to Evaluating Marine Spatial Plans. The guide also features an online portion complete with video interviews of marine spatial planning experts from across the globe. We hope this guide serves you well. You may download the guide using the link below, or read more about it in our press release.

Happy reading!
-Nick Wehner, OpenChannels Project Manager


Table of Contents

Aquaculture and Seafood

Stoll, J. S. & Johnson, T. R. Under the banner of sustainability: The politics and prose of an emerging US federal seafood certification. Marine Policy 51, 415 - 422 (2015).

Climate Change and Human Impacts

Sierra-Correa, P. & Kintz, J. Ecosystem-based adaptation for improving coastal planning for sea-level rise: A systematic review for mangrove coasts. Marine Policy 51, 385 - 393 (2015).

Free: Ward, P. J. et al. Strong influence of El Niño Southern Oscillation on flood risk around the world. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2014).

Free: Simpson, S. D. , Purser, J. & Radford, A. N. Anthropogenic noise compromises antipredator behaviour in European eels. Global Change Biology (In Press).

Free: Chollett, I., Enríquez, S. & Mumby, P. J. Redefining Thermal Regimes to Design Reserves for Coral Reefs in the Face of Climate Change. PLoS ONE 9, e110634 (2014).

Free: Hernández-Delgado, E. A. et al. Community-Based Coral Reef Rehabilitation in a Changing Climate: Lessons Learned from Hurricanes, Extreme Rainfall, and Changing Land Use Impacts. Open Journal of Ecology 4, 918 - 944 (2014).

Community Engagement

Free: Small, M. J., Güvenç, Ü. & DeKay, M. L. When Can Scientific Studies Promote Consensus Among Conflicting Stakeholders? Risk Analysis (In Press).

Corals

Free: Chollett, I. , Enríquez, S. & Mumby, P. J. Redefining Thermal Regimes to Design Reserves for Coral Reefs in the Face of Climate Change. PLoS ONE 9, e110634 (2014).

Free: Hernández-Delgado, E. A. et al. Community-Based Coral Reef Rehabilitation in a Changing Climate: Lessons Learned from Hurricanes, Extreme Rainfall, and Changing Land Use Impacts. Open Journal of Ecology 4, 918 - 944 (2014).

Cultural resources

Free: Jobstvogt, N., Watson, V. & Kenter, J. O. Looking below the surface: The cultural ecosystem service values of UK marine protected areas (MPAs). Ecosystem Services 10, 97 - 110 (2014).

Ecosystem-based management (EBM)

Free: Hansen, W. D. Generalizable principles for ecosystem stewardship-based management of social-ecological systems: lessons learned from Alaska. Ecology and Society 19, (2014).

Sierra-Correa, P. & Kintz, J. Ecosystem-based adaptation for improving coastal planning for sea-level rise: A systematic review for mangrove coasts. Marine Policy 51, 385 - 393 (2015).

Fisheries management

Vincent, A. C. J. & Harris, J. M. Boundless no more. Science 346, 420 - 421 (2014).

Parlee, C. E. & Wiber, M. G. Institutional innovation in fisheries governance: adaptive co-management in situations of legal pluralism. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 11, 48 - 54 (2014).

Food for Thought

Free: Hildebrand, L. P. & Schröder-Hinrichs, J. U. Maritime and marine: synonyms, solitudes or schizophrenia? WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs 13, 173 - 176 (2014).

Management

Marmin, S. , Dauvin, J. - C. & Lesueur, P. Collaborative approach for the management of harbour-dredged sediment in the Bay of Seine (France). Ocean & Coastal Management 102, 328 - 339 (2014).

Management effectiveness

Ban, N. C. , McDougall, C. , Beck, M. , Salomon, A. K. & Cripps, K. Applying empirical estimates of marine protected area effectiveness to assess conservation plans in British Columbia, Canada. Biological Conservation 180, 134 - 148 (2014).

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

Free: Borrini-Feyerabend, G. et al. A primer on governance for protected and conserved areas. Stream on Enhancing Diversity and Quality of Governance, 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress (IUCN, 2014).

Free: Jobstvogt, N. , Watson, V. & Kenter, J. O. Looking below the surface: The cultural ecosystem service values of UK marine protected areas (MPAs). Ecosystem Services 10, 97 - 110 (2014).

Ban, N. C. , McDougall, C. , Beck, M. , Salomon, A. K. & Cripps, K. Applying empirical estimates of marine protected area effectiveness to assess conservation plans in British Columbia, Canada. Biological Conservation 180, 134 - 148 (2014).

Caveen, A. , Polunin, N. , Gray, T. & Stead, S. Marguerite. The Controversy over Marine Protected Areas. Science meets Policy 162 (Springer International Publishing, 2015).

Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)

Free: Ehler, C. A Guide to Evaluating Marine Spatial Plans. 98 (UNESCO, 2014).

Free: McCann, J. , Smythe, T. , Fugate, G. , Mulvaney, K. & Turek, D. Identifying Marine Spatial Planning Gaps, Opportunities, and Partners: An Assessment. Supporting Knowledge Transfer and Strengthening the MSP Network 60 (Coastal Resources Center and Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program, 2014).

Models and Simulations

Free: Beas-Luna, R. et al. An Online Database for Informing Ecological Network Models: http://kelpforest.ucsc.edu. PLoS ONE 9, (2014).

Natural Sciences

J. Koslow, A. & Couture, J. Pacific Ocean observation programs: Gaps in ecological time series. Marine Policy 51, 408 - 414 (2015).

Ocean acidification

Free: Dixson, D. L., Jennings, A. R. , Atema, J. & Munday, P. L. Odor tracking in sharks is reduced under future ocean acidification conditions. Global Change Biology (In Press).

Free: Braeckman, U. et al. Empirical Evidence Reveals Seasonally Dependent Reduction in Nitrification in Coastal Sediments Subjected to Near Future Ocean Acidification. PLoS ONE 9, e108153 (2014).

Offshore Energy

Pérez-Collazo, C. , Greaves, D. & Iglesias, G. A review of combined wave and offshore wind energy. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 42, 141 - 153 (2015).

Spatial patterns of species

Scott, R. , Biastoch, A. , Roder, C. , Stiebens, V. A. & Eizaguirre, C. Nano-tags for neonates and ocean-mediated swimming behaviours linked to rapid dispersal of hatchling sea turtles. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 281, (2014).


Growing interest in sustainable seafood has led to the proliferation of third-party certifications and eco-labels. This paper examines the ongoing debate that has surrounded a potential government-operated certification program for federally managed fisheries in the United States. Drawing on an analysis of transcripts from the Marine Fishery Advisory Committee meetings between 2007 and 2014, the paper considers the ways the proposed program was justified and how the multi-year discussion led to recommendations that encourage the National Marine Fisheries Service to create a framework for a certification program based on the principles defined in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. It is through this discussion that it becomes apparent that sustainability claims extend beyond the scientific domain, making them fruitful grounds for understanding the emergence of policy and how power and legitimacy are negotiated and maintained through the process.


Ecosystem-based adaptation for improving coastal planning for sea-level rise: A systematic review for mangrove coasts

This paper systematically reviews and synthesizes peer-reviewed, English-language scientific publications (n=212) to identify relevant research about how Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (EBA) is integrated with coastal planning. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) methodology is applied in this study. Attention was given to studies concerning human-environment interactions as opposed to physical or biological climate change issues alone because the coastal planning and EBA approach addresses the management of human actions in nature. The literature references include the issue of climate change (77%); however, limited evidence of EBA in coastal areas are reported (18%), and it is evident that the issues have become relevant in the scientific literature published in recent years. Broad texts demonstrate that SLR is one of the major long-term impacts (68%), and all of these papers recognize the most affected ecosystems in the tropics would be mangroves. EBA is an emerging option that can offset anticipated ecosystem losses and improve coastal planning to cope with SLR because it provides benefits beyond climate change stressors. There is a need to synthesize a road map for incorporation of mangrove regulations into local planning instruments and for building capacity for their implementation. Application of PRISMA in marine science will enhance future reviews, facilitate the systematic search and adequately document any theme, and also be useful in determining research gaps or information needs.


Strong influence of El Niño Southern Oscillation on flood risk around the world

El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the most dominant interannual signal of climate variability and has a strong influence on climate over large parts of the world. In turn, it strongly influences many natural hazards (such as hurricanes and droughts) and their resulting socioeconomic impacts, including economic damage and loss of life. However, although ENSO is known to influence hydrology in many regions of the world, little is known about its influence on the socioeconomic impacts of floods (i.e., flood risk). To address this, we developed a modeling framework to assess ENSO’s influence on flood risk at the global scale, expressed in terms of affected population and gross domestic product and economic damages. We show that ENSO exerts strong and widespread influences on both flood hazard and risk. Reliable anomalies of flood risk exist during El Niño or La Niña years, or both, in basins spanning almost half (44%) of Earth’s land surface. Our results show that climate variability, especially from ENSO, should be incorporated into disaster-risk analyses and policies. Because ENSO has some predictive skill with lead times of several seasons, the findings suggest the possibility to develop probabilistic flood-risk projections, which could be used for improved disaster planning. The findings are also relevant in the context of climate change. If the frequency and/or magnitude of ENSO events were to change in the future, this finding could imply changes in flood-risk variations across almost half of the world’s terrestrial regions.


Anthropogenic noise compromises antipredator behaviour in European eels

Increases in noise-generating human activities since the Industrial Revolution have changed the acoustic landscape of many terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Anthropogenic noise is now recognized as a major pollutant of international concern, and recent studies have demonstrated impacts on, for instance, hearing thresholds, communication, movement and foraging in a range of species. However, consequences for survival and reproductive success are difficult to ascertain. Using a series of laboratory-based experiments and an open-water test with the same methodology, we show that acoustic disturbance can compromise antipredator behaviour – which directly affects survival likelihood – and explore potential underlying mechanisms. Juvenile European eels (Anguilla anguilla) exposed to additional noise (playback of recordings of ships passing through harbours), rather than control conditions (playback of recordings from the same harbours without ships), performed less well in two simulated predation paradigms. Eels were 50% less likely and 25% slower to startle to an ‘ambush predator’ and were caught more than twice as quickly by a ‘pursuit predator’. Furthermore, eels experiencing additional noise had diminished spatial performance and elevated ventilation and metabolic rates (indicators of stress) compared with control individuals. Our results suggest that acoustic disturbance could have important physiological and behavioural impacts on animals, compromising life-or-death responses.


Redefining Thermal Regimes to Design Reserves for Coral Reefs in the Face of Climate Change

Reef managers cannot fight global warming through mitigation at local scale, but they can use information on thermal patterns to plan for reserve networks that maximize the probability of persistence of their reef system. Here we assess previous methods for the design of reserves for climate change and present a new approach to prioritize areas for conservation that leverages the most desirable properties of previous approaches. The new method moves the science of reserve design for climate change a step forwards by: (1) recognizing the role of seasonal acclimation in increasing the limits of environmental tolerance of corals and ameliorating the bleaching response; (2) using the best proxy for acclimatization currently available; (3) including information from several bleaching events, which frequency is likely to increase in the future; (4) assessing relevant variability at country scales, where most management plans are carried out. We demonstrate the method in Honduras, where a reassessment of the marine spatial plan is in progress.


Community-Based Coral Reef Rehabilitation in a Changing Climate: Lessons Learned from Hurricanes, Extreme Rainfall, and Changing Land Use Impacts

Coral reefs have largely declined across multiple spatial scales due to a combination of local-scale anthropogenic impacts, and due to regional-global climate change. This has resulted in a significant loss of entire coral functional groups, including western Atlantic Staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) biotopes, and in a net decline of coral reef ecosystem resilience, ecological functions, services and benefits. Low-tech coral farming has become one of the most important tools to help restore depleted coral reefs across the Wider Caribbean Region. We tested a community-based, low-tech coral farming approach in Culebra Island, Puerto Rico, aimed at adapting to climate change-related impacts through a two-year project to propagate A. cervicornis under two contrasting fishing management conditions, in coastal areas experimenting significant land use changes. Extreme rainfall events and recurrent tropical storms and hurricanes had major site-and method-specific impacts on project outcome, particularly in areas adjacent to deforested lands and subjected to recurrent impacts from land-based source pollution (LBSP) and runoff. Overall, coral survival rate in “A frame” units improved from 73% during 2011-2012 to 81% during 2012-2013. Coral survival rate improved to 97% in horizontal line nurseries (HLN) incorporated during 2012-2013. Percent tissue cover ranged from 86% to 91% in “A frames”, but reached 98% in HLN. Mean coral skeletal extension was 27 cm/y in “A frames” and 40 cm/y in HLN. These growth rates were up to 545% to 857% faster than previous reports from coral farms from other parts of the Caribbean, and up to 438% faster than wild colonies. Branch production and branchiness index (no. harvestable branches > 6 cm) increased by several orders of magnitude in comparison to the original colonies at the beginning of the project. Coral mortality was associated to hurricane physical impacts and sediment-laden runoff impacts associated to extreme rainfall and deforestation of adjacent lands. This raises a challenging question regarding the impact of chronic high sea surface temperature (SST), in combination with recurrent high nutrient pulses, in fostering increased coral growth at the expense of coral physiological conditions which may compromise corals resistance to disturbance. Achieving successful local management of reefs and adjacent lands is vital to maintain the sustained net production in coral farms and of reef structure, and the provision of the important ecosystem services that they provide. These measures are vital for buying time for reefs while global action on climate change is implemented. Adaptive community-based strategies are critical to strengthen institutional management efforts. But government agencies need to transparently build local trust, empower local stakeholders, and foster co-management to be fully successful. Failing to achieve that could make community-based coral reef rehabilitation more challenging, and could potentially drive rapidly declining, transient coral reefs into the slippery slope to slime.


When Can Scientific Studies Promote Consensus Among Conflicting Stakeholders?

While scientific studies may help conflicting stakeholders come to agreement on a best management option or policy, often they do not. We review the factors affecting trust in the efficacy and objectivity of scientific studies in an analytical-deliberative process where conflict is present, and show how they may be incorporated in an extension to the traditional Bayesian decision model. The extended framework considers stakeholders who differ in their prior beliefs regarding the probability of possible outcomes (in particular, whether a proposed technology is hazardous), differ in their valuations of these outcomes, and differ in their assessment of the ability of a proposed study to resolve the uncertainty in the outcomes and their hazards—as measured by their perceived false positive and false negative rates for the study. The Bayesian model predicts stakeholder-specific preposterior probabilities of consensus, as well as pathways for increasing these probabilities, providing important insights into the value of scientific information in an analytic-deliberative decision process where agreement is sought. It also helps to identify the interactions among perceived risk and benefit allocations, scientific beliefs, and trust in proposed scientific studies when determining whether a consensus can be achieved. The article provides examples to illustrate the method, including an adaptation of a recent decision analysis for managing the health risks of electromagnetic fields from high voltage transmission lines.


Looking below the surface: The cultural ecosystem service values of UK marine protected areas (MPAs)

Recreational users appreciate the UK marine environment for its cultural ecosystem services (CES) and their use and non-use values. UK Governments are currently establishing a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) informed by ecological data and socio-economic evidence. Evidence on CES values is needed, but only limited data have been available. We present a case study from the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) follow-on phase that elicited divers’ and anglers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for potential MPAs. The case study is an innovative combination of a travel-cost based choice experiment and an attribute-based contingent valuation method. Our study design allowed us to understand the marine users’ preferences from both a user and a stewardship perspective. Following the UK NEA’s place-based CES framework, we characterised marine CES as environmental spaces that might be protected, with features including the underwater seascape, and iconic and non-iconic species. Our survey highlighted the importance of CES to divers and anglers. A wide variety of marine spaces influenced user-WTP, while stewardship-WTP was most influenced by management restrictions, species protection, and attitudes towards marine conservation. An understanding of key stakeholders’ CES values can inform a more holistic and sustainable approach to marine management, especially for decisions involving trade-offs between marine protection and opportunity costs of the blue economy.


Generalizable principles for ecosystem stewardship-based management of social-ecological systems: lessons learned from Alaska

Human pressure could compromise the provision of ecosystem services if we do not implement strategies such as ecosystem stewardship to foster sustainable trajectories. Barriers to managing systems based on ecosystem stewardship principles are pervasive, including institutional constraints and uncertain system dynamics. However, solutions to help managers overcome these barriers are less common. How can we better integrate ecosystem stewardship into natural resource management practices? I draw on examples from the literature and two broadly applicable case studies from Alaska to suggest some generalizable principles that can help managers redirect how people use and view ecosystems. These include (1) accounting for both people and ecosystems in management actions; (2) considering historical and current system dynamics, but managing flexibly for the future; (3) identifying interactions between organizational, temporal, and spatial scales; (4) embracing multiple causes in addition to multiple objectives; and (5) acknowledging that there are no panaceas and that success will be incremental. I also identify next steps to rigorously evaluate the broad utility of these principles and quickly move principles from theory to application. The findings of this study suggest that natural resource managers are poised to overcome the barriers to implementing ecosystem stewardship and to develop innovative adaptations to social-ecological problems.


Boundless no more

Historically, many scientists considered marine fishes too fecund and wide-ranging to go extinct. Indeed, this view sometimes persists, not least at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), where the few decisions to control export of marine fishes—including the recent restrictions on sharks and rays—have been hard won (1). Increasingly, however, there is recognition that the metrics for overfishing and conservation threat largely agree (2) and that remedial action is urgently needed. Given today's unprecedented threats to marine species, it is critical that rapid action be taken to conserve ocean wildlife.


Institutional innovation in fisheries governance: adaptive co-management in situations of legal pluralism

In fisheries management, social and institutional sustainability factors have proven difficult to incorporate into planning and are often traded off in support of ecological and economic factors. Thus, there has been little support for institutional innovation such as adaptive co-management. The literature on legal pluralism indicates one constraint on innovative institutions. In response, Bavinck and Gupta suggest ‘institutional bricolage’ to bridge underlying value differences. However, value conflicts may prevent institutions from moving towards ‘mutual support’.


Maritime and marine: synonyms, solitudes or schizophrenia?

Maritime and marine. Are they this, are they that, or are they something in between? Does it matter what we call them, or important what we mean?

Two words we use so loosely, in meaning and intent; marine implies protection, while maritime pays in rent. We find their use exchangeable, with understanding being bent.

Maritime, marine, it’s not as simple as it seems. Are these terms just synonyms, or is there more there yet to glean? Shall we accept our shared ambivalence, or discover what we mean?

We come from different backgrounds, in training and degree; one thinks in two dimensions, the other thinks in three. Marine regards the ocean, its rhythm and its rhyme, while maritime conducts its business, to be there just in time.

We see the sea in maritime, its profits being prime, while marine sees wealth in nature, its existence for all time. One views the sea as partner, in the world economy; one knows the natural wonder that gives us gifts for free.

We share the cause to protect our seas and certainly not abuse, we act on insults readily, not tolerate or excuse. The worlds that work together, nature and humankind, receive the gifts presented and protect them for all time.

Who is maritime, who is marine? Can we find a common language, in this anthropocene?


Collaborative approach for the management of harbour-dredged sediment in the Bay of Seine (France)

Dredged material dumping is one of the most important human activities to be considered in coastal zone management. Searching for a new site for depositing the sediment dredged from the entrance of the navigation channel of Rouen harbour in the Seine estuary is complicated because of the combined natural heritage and anthropogenic constraints. This paper presents the intricate background and the collaborative efforts of the Seine estuary tripartite authority (National Government-Rouen Harbour-Scientific Committee) to initiate an ecosystem approach for managing waste. The selection of a future potential dumping area stems from a consideration of economic and logistic factors, both marine and environmental, as well as various natural and anthropogenic constraints in the complex ecosystem of the Seine estuary. It appears that a site with fine-to-medium clean sand situated offshore from the mouth of the Seine estuary would be a good candidate from the biological and economic points of view. Additional procedures on two experimental sites will be necessary before the French government can give a final decision to authorize the Rouen harbour to exploit this new deposit location.


Applying empirical estimates of marine protected area effectiveness to assess conservation plans in British Columbia, Canada

While efforts to meet international commitments to counter biodiversity declines by establishing networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) continue, assessments of MPAs rarely take into account measures of effectiveness of different categories of protection, or other design principles (size, spacing, governance considerations). We carried out a meta-analysis of ecological effectiveness of IUCN Categories I–II (no-take), IV and VI (MPAs) compared to unprotected areas. We then applied our ecological effectiveness estimates – the added benefit of marine protection over and above conventional fisheries management – to a gap analysis of existing MPAs, and MPAs proposed by four indigenous groups on the Central Coast of British Columbia, Canada. Additionally, we assessed representation, size, spacing, and governance considerations against MPA design criteria outlined in the literature. We found significant differences in response ratios for IUCN Categories IV and VI MPAs compared to no-take reserves and areas open to fishing, although variability in responses was high. By rescaling the predicted ecological effectiveness ratios (including confidence estimates), we found that, compared to no-take reserves (biodiversity conservation effectiveness 100%) and open fishing areas (0% additional biodiversity contribution over and above conventional fisheries management), IUCN Category IV had a predicted effectiveness score of 60%, ranging between 34% and 89% (95% lower and upper confidence intervals, respectively), and IUCN Category VI had a predicted effectiveness score of 24% (ranging between −12% and 72% for the 95% lower and upper confidence intervals, respectively). We found that the existing MPAs did poorly when compared against most MPA design criteria, whereas the proposed MPA network achieved many of the best practices identified in the literature, and could achieve all if some additional sites were added. By using the Central Coast of British Columbia as a case study, we demonstrated a method for applying empirically-based ecological effectiveness estimates to an assessment of MPA design principles for an existing and proposed network of MPAs.


A primer on governance for protected and conserved areas

This is a short guide to governance for protected/conserved areas that briefly summarizes the points in the full-length report, Governance of Protected Areas.


The Controversy over Marine Protected Areas

This book is a critical analysis of the concept of marine protected areas (MPAs) particularly as a tool for marine resource management. It explains the reasons for the extraordinary rise of MPAs to the top of the political agenda for marine policy, and evaluates the scientific credentials for the unprecedented popularity of this management option. The book reveals the role played by two policy networks – epistemic community and advocacy coalition – in promoting the notion of MPA, showing how advocacy for marine reserves by some scientists based on limited evidence of fisheries benefits has led to a blurring of the boundary between science and politics. Second, the study investigates whether the scientific consensus on MPAs has resulted in a publication bias, whereby pro-MPA articles are given preferential treatment by peer-reviewed academic journals, though it found only limited evidence of such a bias. Third, the project conducts a systematic review of the literature to determine the ecological effects of MPAs, and reaches the conclusion that there is little proof of a positive impact on finfish populations in temperate waters. Fourth, the study uses discourse analysis to trace the effects of a public campaigning policy network on marine conservation zones (MCZs) in England, which demonstrated that there was considerable confusion over the objectives that MCZs were being designated to achieve. The book’s conclusion is that the MPA issue shows the power of ideas in marine governance, but offers a caution that scientists who cross the line between science and politics risk exaggerating the benefits of MPAs by glossing over uncertainties in the data, which may antagonise the fishing industry, delay resolution of the MPA issue, and weaken public faith in marine science if and when the benefits of MCZs are subsequently seen to be limited.


A Guide to Evaluating Marine Spatial Plans

This guide on performance monitoring and evaluation (evaluation) is intended for practitioners responsible for planning and managing marine areas. Practitioners are the managers and stakeholders who are responsible for designing, planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating marine management plans. While its focus is on the performance monitoring and evaluation of MSP, planners and managers should know how to incorporate monitoring and evaluation considerations into the MSP process from its very beginning, and not wait until a plan is completed before thinking about how to measure “success”. Effective performance monitoring and evaluation is only possible when management objectives and expected outcomes are written in a way that is measurable, either quantitatively or qualitatively.

This guide builds on the general approach and structure of the previous UNESCO’s IOC guide, Marine Spatial Planning: a step-by-step approach toward ecosystem-based management (Ehler & Douvere 2009) available at: www.unesco-ioc-marinesp.be. Similar in organization to the first MSP guide, this one presents a logical sequence of eight steps to monitoring and evaluating the performance of management plans (and their related management actions) that are important outputs of any MSP process.

View the online Interactive Compendium to the guide here on OpenChannels at http://openchannels.org/msp-eval-guide.


Identifying Marine Spatial Planning Gaps, Opportunities, and Partners: An Assessment

The University of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Center (CRC) has launched a new initiative, “Supporting Knowledge Transfer and Strengthening the Marine Spatial Planning Network.” This Program will provide support and skills to the marine spatial planning (MSP) community both in the United States and abroad to help practitioners demonstrate the success and positive impacts of MSP initiatives, improve MSP implementation, and support the integration of MSP techniques and skills into the existing practice of coastal management. CRC has completed an assessment whose purpose is to:

  1. 1) Identify opportunities to expand and strengthen the global network of MSP practitioners by identifying support and skills that are needed but not currently being offered to MSP practitioners; and

  2. 2) Begin to recognize opportunities to coordinate with organizations currently providing MSP support in order to increase efficiency and opportunity.

The assessment focused on identifying information, tools and techniques practitioners need to implement MSP, and mechanisms for delivering these materials; organizations which could assist in building MSP capacity; and constituencies who need these materials in order to facilitate MSP implementation. These questions were addressed through a comprehensive review of MSP initiatives; in-depth analysis of a small subset of representative MSP cases in the U.S. and Canada; and consultation with a diverse sample of MSP experts.


An Online Database for Informing Ecological Network Models: http://kelpforest.ucsc.edu

Ecological network models and analyses are recognized as valuable tools for understanding the dynamics and resiliency of ecosystems, and for informing ecosystem-based approaches to management. However, few databases exist that can provide the life history, demographic and species interaction information necessary to parameterize ecological network models. Faced with the difficulty of synthesizing the information required to construct models for kelp forest ecosystems along the West Coast of North America, we developed an online database (http://kelpforest.ucsc.edu/) to facilitate the collation and dissemination of such information. Many of the database's attributes are novel yet the structure is applicable and adaptable to other ecosystem modeling efforts. Information for each taxonomic unit includes stage-specific life history, demography, and body-size allometries. Species interactions include trophic, competitive, facilitative, and parasitic forms. Each data entry is temporally and spatially explicit. The online data entry interface allows researchers anywhere to contribute and access information. Quality control is facilitated by attributing each entry to unique contributor identities and source citations. The database has proven useful as an archive of species and ecosystem-specific information in the development of several ecological network models, for informing management actions, and for education purposes (e.g., undergraduate and graduate training). To facilitate adaptation of the database by other researches for other ecosystems, the code and technical details on how to customize this database and apply it to other ecosystems are freely available and located at the following link (https://github.com/kelpforest-cameo/data​baseui).


Pacific Ocean observation programs: Gaps in ecological time series

How well do existing ocean observation programs monitor the oceans through space and time? A meta-analysis of ocean observation programs in the Pacific Ocean was carried out to determine where and how key parameters defining the physics, chemistry, and biology of the oceans were measured. The analysis indicates that although the chemistry and physics of the Pacific Ocean are reasonably well monitored, ecological monitoring remains largely ad hoc, patchy, unsystematic, and inconsistent. The California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI), for example, is the only Pacific Ocean program in which the zooplankton and micronekton are resolved to species with consistent time series of greater than 20 years duration. Several studies now indicate massive changes to nearshore, mesopelagic and other fish communities of the southern California Current but available time series do not allow these potential changes to be examined more widely. Firm commitment from the global community to sustained, representative, quantitative marine observations at the species level is required to adequately assess the ecological status of the oceans.


Odor tracking in sharks is reduced under future ocean acidification conditions

Recent studies show that ocean acidification impairs sensory functions and alters the behavior of teleost fishes. If sharks and other elasmobranchs are similarly affected, this could have significant consequences for marine ecosystems globally. Here, we show that projected future CO2 levels impair odor tracking behavior of the smooth dogfish (Mustelus canis). Adult M. canis were held for 5 days in a current-day control (405 ± 26 μatm) and mid (741 ± 22 μatm) or high CO2 (1064 ± 17 μatm) treatments consistent with the projections for the year 2100 on a ‘business as usual’ scenario. Both control and mid CO2-treated individuals maintained normal odor tracking behavior, whereas high CO2-treated sharks significantly avoided the odor cues indicative of food. Control sharks spent >60% of their time in the water stream containing the food stimulus, but this value fell below 15% in high CO2-treated sharks. In addition, sharks treated under mid and high CO2 conditions reduced attack behavior compared to the control individuals. Our findings show that shark feeding could be affected by changes in seawater chemistry projected for the end of this century. Understanding the effects of ocean acidification on critical behaviors, such as prey tracking in large predators, can help determine the potential impacts of future ocean acidification on ecosystem function.


Empirical Evidence Reveals Seasonally Dependent Reduction in Nitrification in Coastal Sediments Subjected to Near Future Ocean Acidification

Research so far has provided little evidence that benthic biogeochemical cycling is affected by ocean acidification under realistic climate change scenarios. We measured nutrient exchange and sediment community oxygen consumption (SCOC) rates to estimate nitrification in natural coastal permeable and fine sandy sediments under pre-phytoplankton bloom and bloom conditions. Ocean acidification, as mimicked in the laboratory by a realistic pH decrease of 0.3, significantly reduced SCOC on average by 60% and benthic nitrification rates on average by 94% in both sediment types in February (pre-bloom period), but not in April (bloom period). No changes in macrofauna functional community (density, structural and functional diversity) were observed between ambient and acidified conditions, suggesting that changes in benthic biogeochemical cycling were predominantly mediated by changes in the activity of the microbial community during the short-term incubations (14 days), rather than by changes in engineering effects of bioturbating and bio-irrigating macrofauna. As benthic nitrification makes up the gross of ocean nitrification, a slowdown of this nitrogen cycling pathway in both permeable and fine sediments in winter, could therefore have global impacts on coupled nitrification-denitrification and hence eventually on pelagic nutrient availability.


A review of combined wave and offshore wind energy

Dispersal during juvenile life stages drives the life-history evolution and dynamics of many marine vertebrate populations. However, the movements of juvenile organisms, too small to track using conventional satellite telemetry devices, remain enigmatic. For sea turtles, this led to the paradigm of the ‘lost years' since hatchlings disperse widely with ocean currents. Recently, advances in the miniaturization of tracking technology have permitted the application of nano-tags to track cryptic organisms. Here, the novel use of acoustic nano-tags on neonate loggerhead turtle hatchlings enabled us to witness first-hand their dispersal and behaviour during their first day at sea. We tracked hatchlings distances of up to 15 km and documented their rapid transport (up to 60 m min−1) with surface current flows passing their natal areas. Tracking was complemented with laboratory observations to monitor swimming behaviours over longer periods which highlighted (i) a positive correlation between swimming activity levels and body size and (ii) population-specific swimming behaviours (e.g. nocturnal inactivity) suggesting local oceanic conditions drive the evolution of innate swimming behaviours. Knowledge of the swimming behaviours of small organisms is crucial to improve the accuracy of ocean model simulations used to predict the fate of these organisms and determine resultant population-level implications into adulthood.


Nano-tags for neonates and ocean-mediated swimming behaviours linked to rapid dispersal of hatchling sea turtles

Dispersal during juvenile life stages drives the life-history evolution and dynamics of many marine vertebrate populations. However, the movements of juvenile organisms, too small to track using conventional satellite telemetry devices, remain enigmatic. For sea turtles, this led to the paradigm of the ‘lost years' since hatchlings disperse widely with ocean currents. Recently, advances in the miniaturization of tracking technology have permitted the application of nano-tags to track cryptic organisms. Here, the novel use of acoustic nano-tags on neonate loggerhead turtle hatchlings enabled us to witness first-hand their dispersal and behaviour during their first day at sea. We tracked hatchlings distances of up to 15 km and documented their rapid transport (up to 60 m min−1) with surface current flows passing their natal areas. Tracking was complemented with laboratory observations to monitor swimming behaviours over longer periods which highlighted (i) a positive correlation between swimming activity levels and body size and (ii) population-specific swimming behaviours (e.g. nocturnal inactivity) suggesting local oceanic conditions drive the evolution of innate swimming behaviours. Knowledge of the swimming behaviours of small organisms is crucial to improve the accuracy of ocean model simulations used to predict the fate of these organisms and determine resultant population-level implications into adulthood.