Global challenges for seagrass conservation

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For the week of 26 November 2018

Greetings OpenChannels Community Members,

Ambio has published, Global challenges for seagrass conservation. "Seagrasses, flowering marine plants that form underwater meadows, play a significant global role in supporting food security, mitigating climate change and supporting biodiversity. Although progress is being made to conserve seagrass meadows in select areas, most meadows remain under significant pressure resulting in a decline in meadow condition and loss of function. Effective management strategies need to be implemented to reverse seagrass loss and enhance their fundamental role in coastal ocean habitats. Here we propose that seagrass meadows globally face a series of significant common challenges that must be addressed from a multifaceted and interdisciplinary perspective in order to achieve global conservation of seagrass meadows. The six main global challenges to seagrass conservation are (1) a lack of awareness of what seagrasses are and a limited societal recognition of the importance of seagrasses in coastal systems; (2) the status of many seagrass meadows are unknown, and up-to-date information on status and condition is essential; (3) understanding threatening activities at local scales is required to target management actions accordingly; (4) expanding our understanding of interactions between the socio-economic and ecological elements of seagrass systems is essential to balance the needs of people and the planet; (5) seagrass research should be expanded to generate scientific inquiries that support conservation actions; (6) increased understanding of the linkages between seagrass and climate change is required to adapt conservation accordingly. We also explicitly outline a series of proposed policy actions that will enable the scientific and conservation community to rise to these challenges. We urge the seagrass conservation community to engage stakeholders from local resource users to international policy-makers to address the challenges outlined here, in order to secure the future of the world’s seagrass ecosystems and maintain the vital services which they supply."

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Algal Blooms

OA: Cuellar-Martinez, T. et al. Addressing the Problem of Harmful Algal Blooms in Latin America and the Caribbean- A Regional Network for Early Warning and Response. Frontiers in Marine Science 5,(2018).

Blue Carbon & Sequestration

OA: Wernberg, T. & Filbee-Dexter, K. Grazers extend blue carbon transfer by slowing sinking speeds of kelp detritus. Scientific Reports 8, (2018).

Climate Change, Ocean Acidification, and Ocean Warming

OA: Rossi, T., Pistevos, J. C. A., Connell, S. D. & Nagelkerken, I. On the wrong track: ocean acidification attracts larval fish to irrelevant environmental cues. Scientific Reports 8, (2018).

Communication and Education

OA: Kelly, R., Fleming, A. & Pecl, G. T. Social Licence for Marine Conservation Science. Frontiers in Marine Science 5, (2018).

Conservation Targets & Planning

OA: Fraschetti, S. et al. Light and Shade in Marine Conservation Across European and Contiguous Seas. Frontiers in Marine Science 5, (2018).

OA: Unsworth, R. K. F. et al. Global challenges for seagrass conservation. Ambio (2018). doi:10.1007/s13280-018-1115-y


OA: F. Pollock, J. et al. Coral-associated bacteria demonstrate phylosymbiosis and cophylogeny. Nature Communications 9, (2018).

Food for Thought

OA: Kelly, R., Fleming, A. & Pecl, G. T. Social Licence for Marine Conservation Science. Frontiers in Marine Science 5, (2018).

Local or Traditional Knowledge

OA: David-Chavez, D. M. & Gavin, M. C. A global assessment of Indigenous community engagement in climate research. Environmental Research Letters (2018). doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aaf300

Management and Management Effectiveness

OA: Udyawer, V. et al. Future Directions in the Research and Management of Marine Snakes. Frontiers in Marine Science 5, (2018).

Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)

Preprint: Westholm, A. Appropriate scale and level in marine spatial planning – Management perspectives in the Baltic Sea. Marine Policy (In Press). doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2018.09.021

OA: Janßen, H., Göke, C. & Luttmann, A. Knowledge integration in Marine Spatial Planning: A practitioners' view on decision support tools with special focus on Marxan. Ocean & Coastal Management168, 130 - 138 (2019).

Pollution and Marine Debris

OA: Fowles, A. E. et al. Effects of Pollution From Anthropogenic Point Sources on the Recruitment of Sessile Estuarine Reef Biota. Frontiers in Marine Science 5, (2018).

Risk Assessment

OA: Gaichas, S. K. et al. Implementing Ecosystem Approaches to Fishery Management: Risk Assessment in the US Mid-Atlantic. Frontiers in Marine Science 5, (2018).

Seafloor Mining

OA: Tunnicliffe, V., Metaxas, A., Le, J., Ramirez-Llodra, E. & Levin, L. A. Strategic Environmental Goals and Objectives: Setting the basis for environmental regulation of deep seabed mining. Marine Policy(In Press). doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2018.11.010

Tools and Data

OA: Zurowietz, M., Langenkämper, D., Hosking, B., Ruhl, H. A. & Nattkemper, T. W. MAIA—A machine learning assisted image annotation method for environmental monitoring and exploration. PLOS ONE13, e0207498 (2018).

MarXiv Summary

The new global conservation planning database

Creating a new marine management or conservation plan? You can learn what others have done in the past – build on their research and experiences and avoid making the same mistakes – using the new Conservation Planning Database. The database has just been launched with 163 peer-reviewed papers on 155 marine systematic conservation planning exercises worldwide. The database can help planners find relevant conservation plans from all over the world including their local area, help scientists study trends in conservation planning, and help donors and NGOs identify regions where little conservation planning has been done.