In coral reef restoration, coral gardening involves rearing coral fragments in underwater nurseries prior to transplantation. These nurseries become fish-aggregating devices and attract biofouling. We hypothesised that: (1) the presence of corals at a nursery is critical to recruit fish assemblages and (2) the recruited fish assemblages control biofouling, reducing person-hours invested in nursery cleaning. Three midwater coral nurseries were deployed at 8 m depth for 27 months within the marine protected area of Cousin Island Special Reserve, Seychelles, Indian Ocean. Each nursery consisted of a 6 m×6 m PVC pipe frame, layered with a recycled 5.5-cm-mesh tuna net. Human cleaning effort was calculated based on daily dive logs. Nursery-associated fish assemblages and behaviour were video-recorded prior to harvesting corals after a 20-month growth period and seven months post-coral harvesting. The density (ind. m–2) of blue-yellow damselfish Pomacentrus caeruleus was 12–16 times higher when corals were present than when corals were absent at the nurseries. Fish assemblages recruited into the nurseries included three trophic levels, from herbivores to omnivores, in six families: Ephippidae, Pomacentridae, Labridae (Scarinae), Gobiidae, Siganidae and Monacanthidae. Higher abundance of large fish (total number of individuals) resulted in 2.75 times less person-hours spent in nursery cleaning. These results have important implications for cost-effective coral reef restoration.
While there are as yet no wind energy facilities in New England coastal waters, a number of wind turbine projects are now operating on land adjacent to the coast. In the Gulf of Maine region (from Maine to Massachusetts), at least two such projects, one in Falmouth, Massachusetts, and another on the island of Vinalhaven, Maine, began operation with public backing only to face subsequent opposition from some who were initially project supporters. I investigate the reasons for this dynamic using content analysis of documents related to wind energy facility development in three case study communities. For comparison and contrast with the Vinalhaven and Falmouth case studies, I examine materials from Hull, Massachusetts, where wind turbine construction and operation has received steady public support and acceptance. My research addresses the central question: What does case study analysis of the siting and initial operation of three wind energy projects in the Gulf of Maine region reveal that can inform future governance of wind energy in Massachusetts state coastal waters? I consider the question with specific attention to governance of wind energy in Massachusetts, then explore ways in which the research results may be broadly transferable in the U.S. coastal context. I determine that the change in local response noted in Vinalhaven and Falmouth may have arisen from a failure of consistent inclusion of stakeholders throughout the entire scoping-to-siting process, especially around the reporting of environmental impact studies. I find that, consistent with the principles of ecosystem-based and adaptive management, design of governance systems may require on-going cycles of review and adjustment before the implementation of such systems as intended is achieved in practice. I conclude that evolving collaborative processes must underlie science and policy in our approach to complex environmental and wind energy projects; indeed, collaborative process is fundamental to the successful governance of such projects, including any that may involve development of wind energy in the Massachusetts coastal zone or beyond. Three supplemental files of coded data accompany this dissertation.
Marine protected areas worldwide limit harvest to protect sensitive fisheries, but rarely do they address water quality goals that may have equally demonstrable impacts. California has over 500 coastal shoreline miles of marine protected areas designated as Areas of Special Biological Significance (ASBS), but receives untreated wet weather runoff discharges from over 1600 storm drain outfalls. The goal of this study was to assess the extent and magnitude of water quality impacts in ASBS following storm events. A stratified probabilistic design was used for sampling receiving water shorelines near (discharge) and far (non-discharge) from storm drain outfalls. In general, reasonably good water quality exists in California's ASBS following storm events. Many of the target analytes measured did not exceed water quality standards. The post-storm concentrations of most constituents in discharge and non-discharge strata of ASBS were similar. The three potentially problematic parameters identified were total PAH, chromium, and copper.
The general purpose of this document is to provide practical guidance to coastal management practitioners, biodiversity conservationists, especially those at the local level, and those interested in coastal and ocean governance in the application of the ICM approach to achieve the Aichi Targets. A complementary objective is to provide insights on national upscaling of ICM practices.
This guidance document is divided into seven sections. The Executive Summary provides an overview of this document. Section 1 briefly discusses the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the background for the preparation of this guidance document. Section 2 gives an introduction to the concept and methodology of ICM. Section 3 explores the possible contributions of ICM in achieving the vision and mission of the Strategic Plan. Section 4 presents a set of practical guidelines for addressing the Aichi Targets through ICM implementation and its scaling-up. Section 5 attempts to show how the Aichi Targets could be mainstreamed into local, national and regional implementation of coastal and marine management programmes. Section 6 provides a description of implementation challenges. Lastly, Section 7 summarizes the key conclusions.
According to the Common Fisheries Policy, all commercial fish stocks in the Mediterranean and Black Sea should be managed at MSY by 2015–2020. However, currently 95% of assessed stocks are overexploited and 73% of demersal species are not assessed. To explore the risk of overexploitation to un-assessed stocks, vulnerability scores were constructed using Productivity Susceptibility Analysis (PSA) for 151 Mediterranean demersal fish species. Out of 151 species, 58 displayed low vulnerability, 20 medium vulnerability, 25 high vulnerability and 48 were considered of major concern. More than half of stocks showed a risk of being overfished (termed “vulnerability”), greater than that of the stocks currently assessed in the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the cartilagineous fish fell into the high and major concern areas. The quality of data used for the PSA was scored and these scores could be used to improve future collection of data. Vulnerability scores are well correlated with IUCN red list classification. To rank the priority of commercial stocks still to be assessed, vulnerability scores were scaled with landings and mean price per stock. Eight of the top fifteen ranking stocks are currently not assessed. When the vulnerability of cartilaginous fish was tested against rate of decline estimated from trawl survey time-series, no strong correlation was found. The exploitation ratio (F/Fmsy) of assessed stocks was regressed, using generalized mixed models, against PSA scores and area and a significant relationship was found. Using this result, assessed stocks were used as a training set to predict the exploitation of un-assessed stocks. F/Fmsy was predicted for 151 species in 14 management areas (GSAs). The results over all areas is that 39 species-area combinations are exploited sustainably, all occurring in area 20 (Greece), while the remaining 2075 are exploited unsustainably with respect to Fmsy (F/Fmsy > 1). This prediction model, albeit after further refinement with more data and testing, could be used to predict exploitation ratio when no information on stock status is available. We predict that ≈98% of the unassessed demersal fish species are potentially overexploited in the evaluated areas. This makes it clear that strong management action will be required to achieve the targets of the Common Fisheries Policy in the next 1–5 years.
The continued decline of coral reefs worldwide due to natural and anthropogenic drivers necessitates the development of effective restoration schemes. Two of the approaches frequently used nowadays are (1) the direct transplantation of coral fragments/colonies to degraded reefs; and (2) the “coral gardening” approach, which supports coral transplantation only following an intermediate nursery phase, where corals are farmed until reaching suitable sizes. Both approaches are evaluated for the quality of transplanted coral material, employing two field experiments on fragments from Echinopora lamellosa and Merulina scabricula, non-branching, slow growing coral species (Scleractinia) commonly residing in the reef of Bolinao, Pangasinan, northwestern Philippines. Each experiment included an abridged (shortened) nursery phase of 1 year. The first experiment assessed the performance of two newly collected groups of coral fragments, one reared in situ within a coral nursery and the second directly transplanted to coral-denuded bommies. The second experiment evaluated the post-transplantation performance of nursery-reared colonies against similar-sized freshly collected coral fragments, both transplanted onto denuded bommies. Growth rate (buoyant weight and size increments), survivorship and attachment were compared within each experiment. While in the first experiment, clear patterns for enhanced growth, survivorship and attachment rates were recorded in the nursery farmed fragments as compared to directly transplanted nubbins, no such differences were found between the two coral groups in the second experiment, indicating that short-term nursery farming of slow growing corals does not improve their post-transplantation performance. However, since growth and survivorship during the nursery phase are enhanced, an abridged nursery farming stage may serve as an ecological engineering tool for the production of augmented numbers of coral material for transplantation. Follow-up studies such as testing the fragment size along with nursery time for various coral species of different growth patterns are indispensable for the improvement of the “coral gardening” protocols.
The ability of a sub-surface treatment filtration system to remove nutrients, thirty-nine organic contaminants, metals, and antibiotic resistant gene (ARG)-bearing organisms, and to attenuate acute toxicity of wastewater lagoon effluents, was assessed. Significant removal was observed for nutrients between the conventional primary and secondary sewage lagoons, with further average attenuation of 59% and 50% of ammonia and total phosphorus (TP), respectively, within the filter. Effluent concentrations of ammonia ranged from 0.4 to 2.6 mg/L and concentrations of TP from 1 to 4.1 mg/L, with decreasing acute toxicity from primary to secondary lagoons, and no toxicity observed in the filtration system based on Microtox® assays. Most organic micropollutants were also efficiently removed between the primary and secondary lagoons (e.g., up to 98% for atenolol). However, in general, little attenuation occurred within the filter for estrogenic compounds (e.g., 17α-ethinylestradiol); β-blockers (e.g., metoprolol); antidepressants (e.g., fluoxetine-Prozac); antibacterial agents (e.g., triclosan), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., diclofenac); lipid regulators (e.g., clofibric acid); and macrolide (e.g., clarithromycin) and sulfonamide (e.g., sulfamethazine) antibiotics; or metals (Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, and Zn). This lack of removal was likely due to a minimal hydraulic residence time within the filter (∼6 h) under current operating conditions. The lagoon treatment system effectively removed ∼99% of sulfonamide resistant bacteria, but the filter both reduced tetracycline-resistant bacteria (∼58%) in wastewater and harbored them in the biofilms, as relative abundances of sul and tet genes were greatest there. The filter also harbored nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria, respectively, contributing to N removal. These results suggest that the constructed sub-surface treatment filtration system can provide a low-cost, low-maintenance, and effective means to reduce nutrient loading and improve microbial community structure and function.
Concrete based coastal and marine infrastructure (CMI) such as ports, piers, industrial facilities and coastal defense elements dominate coastal zones world-wide. Coastal hardening replaces natural habitats with urban/industrial waterfronts that cannot provide ecosystem services similar to those offered by undisturbed coastlines. As a result, CMI are often considered as sacrificed zones with no environmental value. Studies show that marine flora and fauna on CMI, is typically less diverse than natural assemblages, and is commonly dominated by nuisance and invasive species. Here we summarize the results of a 24 month monitoring study of a breakwater section (Haifa, Israel) composed of armor unites cast from a proprietary concrete mix with an ecological design (ECOncrete® Antifers – EA). The study compared benthic community structure (fish, invertebrates and algae), species richness, live cover, diversity and the ratio of invasive to local species, on EA to that of an adjacent breakwater section made of standard Antifers (SA) composed of Portland based concrete. The abundance, richness and diversity of invertebrates and fish were higher on and around the EA compared to SA, while the ratio of invasive to local species was considerably lower. Moreover, engineering species such as oysters, serpulid worms, bryozoans and coralline algae were more dominant on the EA than on the SA. These ecosystem engineers increase the complexity of the structure, by means of biogenic buildup, which increase the availability of food and shelter in the area, while potentially contributing to the structures stability and longevity via bioprotection. The study indicates the ability of design substrate alterations to facilitate competition for space between local and invasive species on CMI, and demonstrates the feasibility of applying environmentally sensitive technologies for enhancing the biological and ecological performance of structures like breakwaters, piers, and seawalls. Ecological enhancement of concrete based CMI increases the ecosystem services provided by the structure, without hampering its structural performance, and thus should be integrated into future coastal development projects, preferably and most efficiently from early planning stages.
An important task of natural resource management is deciding amongst alternative policy options, including how interventions will affect the dynamics of resource exploitation. Yet predicting the behaviour of natural resource users in complex, changeable systems presents a significant challenge for managers. Scenario planning, which involves thinking creatively about how a socio-ecological system might develop under a set of possible futures, was used to explore uncertainties in the future of the Indian Ocean tuna purse seine fishery. This exercise stimulated thinking on how key social, economic and environmental conditions that influence fleet behaviour may change in the future, and how these changes might affect the dynamics of fishing effort. Three storylines were explored: an increase in marine protection, growing consumer preference for sustainable seafood, and depletion of tuna stocks. Comparing across several possible future scenarios, a number of critical aspects of fleet behaviour were identified that should be important considerations for fishery managers, but which are currently poorly understood. These included a switch in fishing practices, reallocation of effort in space, investment in new vessels and exit from the fishery. Recommendations for future management interventions in the Indian Ocean were offered, along with suggestions for research needed to reduce management uncertainty.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are an important tool for the maintenance of marine ecosystem functionality and health and ensuring the onward flow of beneficial ecosystem services that support human well-being. Social and economic factors influence whether and how stakeholders exploit resources or cooperate to conserve them. Environmental managers are now turning from designating MPAs to monitoring their effectiveness. Combining spatial analysis with quantitative and qualitative survey methods this research shows that an MPA (Lyme Bay, SW England) has had varying effects on the delivery of the beneficial ecosystem service of leisure and recreation. In the survey years 2008–2011 dive businesses have increased their frequency of activity inside and outside the MPA and report an increase in turnover; though they perceive little or no effect of the MPA on business. Charter boat operators have seen an overall decline in the frequency of activity outside the MPA and an increase inside the MPA. They perceive that the MPA has increasingly had a positive effect on their business. Sea angling activity has declined at sites outside the MPA and increased at sites within the MPA, suggesting a redistribution of spatial activity. Diving activity has increased both inside and outside the MPA. Divers report that the MPA has influenced where they choose to dive. This corresponds to a potential increase in value of the MPA resource (represented as the proportional expenditure and associated turnover by these groups) of £2.2 million. This research demonstrates that the use of the resource has changed following designation and that MPAs can attract a greater proportion of the leisure and recreation expenditure and associated turnover to sites within the MPA boundary. Moving forward it is important to assess effects both inside and outside MPAs. Integrating high quality social science at MPA sites to track effectiveness can help to adapt and refine management strategies to reflect the needs of the stakeholders and support effective conservation.