Coastal areas are important residential, commercial and industrial areas; but coastal hazards can pose significant threats to these areas. Shoreline/coastal protection elements, both built structures such as breakwaters, seawalls and revetments, as well as natural features such as beaches, reefs and wetlands, are regular features of a coastal community and are important for community safety and development. These protection structures provide a range of resilience to coastal communities. During and after disasters, they help to minimize damages and support recovery; during non-disaster times, the values from shoreline elements shift from the narrow focus on protection. Most coastal communities have limited land and resources and few can dedicate scarce resources solely for protection. Values from shore protection can and should expand to include environmental, economic and social/cultural values. This paper discusses the key aspects of shoreline protection that influence effective community resilience and protection from disasters. This paper also presents ways that the economic, environmental and social/cultural values of shore protection can be evaluated and quantified. It presents the Coastal Community Hazard Protection Resilience (CCHPR) Index for evaluating the resilience capacity to coastal communities from various protection schemes and demonstrates the use of this Index for an urban beach in San Francisco, CA, USA.
Diversion (i.e. extraction) of water from rivers and estuaries can potentially affect native wildlife populations if operation is not carefully managed. For example, open, unmodified water diversions can act as a source of injury or mortality to resident or migratory fishes from entrainment and impingement, and can cause habitat degradation and fragmentation. Fish-protection devices, such as exclusion screens, louvres or sensory deterrents, can physically or behaviourally deter fish from approaching or being entrained into water diversions. However, empirical assessment of their efficacy is often lacking or is investigated only for particular economically or culturally important fishes, such as salmonids. The Southern population of anadromous green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) is listed as threatened in California, and there is a high density of water diversions located within their native range (the Sacramento–San Joaquin watershed). Coupled with their unique physiology and behaviour compared with many other fishes native to California, the green sturgeon is susceptible to entrainment into diversions and is an ideal species with which to study the efficacy of mitigation techniques. Therefore, we investigated juvenile green sturgeon (188–202 days post-hatch) in the presence of several fish-protection devices to assess behaviour and entrainment risk. Using a large experimental flume (∼500 kl), we found that compared with an open diversion pipe (control), the addition of a trash-rack box, louvre box, or perforated cylinder on the pipe inlet all significantly reduced the proportion of fish that were entrained through the pipe (P = 0.03, P = 0.028, and P = 0.028, respectively). Likewise, these devices decreased entrainment risk during a single movement past the pipe by between 60 and 96%. These fish-protection devices should decrease the risk of fish entrainment during water-diversion activities.
In this essay, I review nearly six decades of a career in marine science and fisheries considering scientific contributions, successes, failures, and changes in my field of practice. My body of work has been in plankton research to support fisheries assessments, and in ecosystems programme development and implementation. I describe my early studies on Pacific plankton oceanography in relation to fisheries assessment, and subsequent studies of plankton oceanography fisheries in relation to coastal ocean fisheries and management. Early in my career, realizing that applications of my published results and those of other fisheries ecologists were generally not included in fish stock assessments, I participated in a national planning group that introduced a system for marine resources monitoring, assessment, and prediction (MARMAP) that included primary productivity, ichthyoplankton, zooplankton, and oceanographic assessments as important components for large-scale fisheries ecology assessment. I joined with European colleagues in ICES to advance fisheries ecology studies in fish stock assessments in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1983, I conceived with Professor Lewis Alexander of the University of Rhode Island a system for assessing and managing marine resources within the spatial domain of ecologically delineated large marine ecosystems (LMEs). On behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and in partnership with developing countries, international financial organizations, UN agencies, and NGOs, I am currently contributing scientific and technical advice to a global network of assessment and management projects in 22 LMEs with 110 developing countries and $3.1 billion in financial support. The participating countries are applying a modular framework of natural science and social science indicators for assessing the changing states of LMEs. I conclude the essay with a retrospective viewpoint on my career and changes over half a century of practicing the application of marine science in relation to sustaining the goods and services of the ocean Commons.
A Best Professional Judgment (BPJ) exercise was performed to determine the level of agreement among experts in evaluating the ecological states of western North American rocky intertidal communities. Species-abundance and environmental data from 12 central and 11 southern California sites were provided to 14 experts who independently ranked communities from best to worst and assigned each to one of five categories based on the degree of deviation from an expected natural biological state. Experts achieved Spearman correlations of 0.49 (central California) and 0.30 (southern California) in their rankings and averaged 75.4% and 70.0% Euclidean Similarity (ES) in their community evaluations. These ES values compare favorably with agreement levels found for similar exercises with soft bottom macroinvertebrate assemblages. The experts emphasized macrophytes with functional characteristics related to morphology and sessile macroinvertebrates in their assessments. Several challenges were noted in interpreting rocky intertidal data sets, the most prominent of which are high spatial and temporal variation and site-to-site differences in natural disturbance regimes, features that lead to multiple, expected community states. Experts required detailed, physical habitat descriptions to develop community composition expectations that differed for different shore types, and expressed concern about evaluating rocky intertidal communities based on only a single sampling event. Distinguishing natural from anthropogenic disturbance without information on the sources and magnitudes of anthropogenic perturbation was also found to be challenging because the biological responses to these stressors are often similar. This study underscores the need for long-term data sets that describe the dynamics of populations and communities and rigorous testing of expert judgments to firmly establish broadly applicable and consistent links between community states and anthropogenic stressors on rocky shores.
The Supporting Marine Spatial Planning with Local Socio-Economic Data (MSP-LED) project developed a method for local scale data collection and engagement, and tested it through a series of workshops to support regional planning. The project developed case studies mapping tourism and recreation in Argyll, and worked in partnership with the Moray Firth Partnership to map user conflict between small scale fisheries and the energy sector. This demonstrated how participatory mapping can improve both data capture and stakeholder engagement in marine planning.
This study centered on developing use of a digital touch table – a touch-enabled screen that is similar to a large (42’’ screen) tablet device – to support stakeholder collaboration, data gathering, and spatial information handling. The touch table was programmed to capture and use Geographic Information System (GIS) software to exploit/develop touch screen technology in facilitating the gathering and visualizing of local data with marine stakeholders. The technology is used as a means to drive real-time engagement and is literally ‘hands on’; users manipulate, plot, and identify areas on constructed maps.
Global climate change and ocean acidification pose a serious threat to marine life. Marine invertebrates are particularly susceptible to ocean acidification, especially highly calcareous taxa such as molluscs, echinoderms and corals. The largest of all bivalve molluscs, giant clams, are already threatened by a variety of local pressures, including overharvesting, and are in decline worldwide. Several giant clam species are listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and now climate change and ocean acidification pose an additional threat to their conservation. Unlike most other molluscs, giant clams are ‘solar-powered’ animals containing photosynthetic algal symbionts suggesting that light could influence the effects of ocean acidification on these vulnerable animals. In this study, juvenile fluted giant clams Tridacna squamosa were exposed to three levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) (control ~400, mid ~650 and high ~950 μatm) and light (photosynthetically active radiation 35, 65 and 304 μmol photons m-2 s-1). Elevated CO2 projected for the end of this century (~650 and ~950 μatm) reduced giant clam survival and growth at mid-light levels. However, effects of CO2 on survival were absent at high-light, with 100% survival across all CO2 levels. Effects of CO2 on growth of surviving clams were lessened, but not removed, at high-light levels. Shell growth and total animal mass gain were still reduced at high-CO2. This study demonstrates the potential for light to alleviate effects of ocean acidification on survival and growth in a threatened calcareous marine invertebrate. Managing water quality (e.g. turbidity and sedimentation) in coastal areas to maintain water clarity may help ameliorate some negative effects of ocean acidification on giant clams and potentially other solar-powered calcifiers, such as hard corals.
Coastal degradation and habitat disruption are severely compromising sessile marine species. The fan shell Pinna nobilis is an endemic, vulnerable species and the largest bivalve in the Mediterranean basin. In spite of species legal protection, fan shell populations are declining. Models analyzed the contributions of environmental (mean depth, wave height, maximum wave height, period of waves with high energy and mean direction of wave source) versus human-derived stressors (anchoring, protection status, sewage effluents, fishing activity and diving) as explanatory variables depicting Pinna nobilis populations at a mesoscale level. Human stressors were explaining most of the variability in density spatial distribution of fan shell, significantly disturbing benthic communities. Habitat protection affected P. nobilis structure and physical aggression by anchoring reveals a high impact on densities. Environmental variables instead played a secondary role, indicating that global change processes are not so relevant in coastal benthic communities as human-derived impacts.
By quantifying some of the economic value of, and degree to which the local economy depends upon, areas of high biodiversity deserving of greater protection, we provide much needed data for marine planning. Assuming that properly managed MPAs do protect biodiversity and help to sustain the charismatic species that attract tourists and recreationalists, designing marine protection with recreation and tourism values in mind makes good sense. Most types of MPAs allow non-extractive economic activities to occur within their bounds. It follows that well-planned and managed MPAs can support and enhance both the local economy and the environment. Our study provides food for thought when it comes to the possibility of a symbiotic relationship between a marine ecotourism industry and an expanded network of MPAs for British Columbia. In 2005, ocean recreation was highlighted as one of three most promising marine sectors for future growth. If we want sustain- able growth in this sector, we need to better protect the natural capital upon which it depends. In other words, protecting coastal ecsystems makes good economic sense.
Nearly 3 billion people rely on fish as a major source of protein. Overall, fisheries and aquaculture assure the livelihoods of 10–12 per cent of the world’s population. 60 per cent of the world’s population lives within 100Km of the coast. Marine vertebrate populations declined 49 per cent between 1970 and 2012. Populations of fish species utilized by humans have fallen by half, with some of the most important species experiencing even Greater declines. Around one in four species of sharks, rays and skates is Now threatened with extinction, due primarily to overfishing. Tropical reefs have lost more than half their reef-building corals over the last 30 years. Worldwide, Nearly 20 per cent of mangrove cover was lost between 1980 and 2005. 29 per cent of marine fisheries are overfished. If current rates of temperature rise continue, the ocean will become too warm for coral reefs by 2050. Seabed mining licences cover 1.2 million square kilometres of ocean floor. More than 5 trillion plastic pieces weighing over 250,000 tonnes are in the sea. Oxygen-depleted dead zones are growing as a result of nutrient run-off. The ocean generates economic benefits worth at least us$2.5 trillion per year. Just 3.4 per cent of the ocean is protected, and only part of this is effectively managed. Increasing marine protected area coverage to 30 per cent could generate up to US$920 billion between 2015 and 2050.
Oceans currently face a variety of threats, requiring ecosystem-based approaches to management such as networks of marine protected areas (MPAs). We evaluated changes in fish biomass on temperate rocky reefs over the decade following implementation of a network of MPAs in the northern Channel Islands, California. We found that the biomass of targeted (i.e. fished) species has increased consistently inside all MPAs in the network, with an effect of geography on the strength of the response. More interesting, biomass of targeted fish species also increased outside MPAs, although only 27% as rapidly as in the protected areas, indicating that redistribution of fishing effort has not severely affected unprotected populations. Whether the increase outside of MPAs is due to changes in fishing pressure, fisheries management actions, adult spillover, favorable environmental conditions, or a combination of all four remains unknown. We evaluated methods of controlling for biogeographic or environmental variation across networks of protected areas and found similar performance of models incorporating empirical sea surface temperature versus a simple geographic blocking term based on assemblage structure. The patterns observed are promising indicators of the success of this network, but more work is needed to understand how ecological and physical contexts affect MPA performance.