In the last two decades, coral reefs have become popular among recreational divers, especially inside marine protected areas. However, the impact caused by divers on benthic organisms may be contributing to the degradation of coral reefs. We analyzed the behavior of 142 scuba divers in the Abrolhos National Marine Park, Brazil. We tested the effect of diver profile, reef type, use of additional equipment, timing, and group size on diver behavior and their contacts with benthic organisms. Eighty-eight percent of divers contacted benthic organism at least once, with an average of eight touches and one damage per dive. No significant differences in contacts were verified among gender, group size, or experience level. Artificial reef received a higher rate of contact than pinnacle and fringe reefs. Specialist photographers and sidemount users had the highest rates, while non-users of additional equipment and mini camera users had the lowest contact rates. The majority of contacts were incidental and the highest rates occurred in the beginning of a dive. Our findings highlight the need of management actions, such as the provision of pre-dive briefing including ecological aspects of corals and beginning dives over sand bottoms or places with low coral abundance. Gathering data on diver behavior provides managers with information that can be used for tourism management.
Mark-recapture tagging and acoustic telemetry were used to study the movements of Diplodus sargus within the Pessegueiro Island no-take Marine Protected Area (MPA), (Portugal) and assess its size adequacy for this species' protection against fishing activities. Therefore, 894 Diplodus sargus were captured and marked with conventional plastic t-bar tags. At the same time, 19 D. sargus were tagged with acoustic transmitters and monitored by 20 automatic acoustic receivers inside the no-take MPA for 60 days. Recapture rate of conventionally tagged specimens was 3.47%, most occurring during subsequent marking campaigns. One individual however was recaptured by recreational fishermen near Faro (ca. 250 km from the tagging location) 6 months after release. Furthermore, three specimens were recaptured in October 2013 near releasing site, one year after being tagged. Regarding acoustic telemetry, 18 specimens were detected by the receivers during most of the study period. To analyse no-take MPA use, the study site was divided into five areas reflecting habitat characteristics, three of which were frequently used by the tagged fish: Exterior, Interior Protected and Interior Exposed areas. Information on no-take protected area use was also analysed according to diel and tidal patterns. Preferred passageways and permanence areas were identified and high site fidelity was confirmed. The interaction between tide and time of day influenced space use patterns, with higher and more variable movements during daytime and neap tides. This no-take MPA proved to be an important refuge and feeding area for this species, encompassing most of the home ranges of tagged specimens. Therefore, it is likely that this no-take MPA is of adequate size to protect D. sargus against fishing activities, thus contributing to its sustainable management in the region.
This paper explores the role that Internet and online technologies played in research dissemination and knowledge mobilization in a recent climate change research project, MC3. In addition, the team looked at the potential of online expert-practitioner research collaborations for these purposes. Electronic communication was seen as a key element for creating distributed networks essential to the project and for building new practitioner/research knowledge collaboratives. The paper discusses how online communication strategies and technologies were used for wide dissemination of its research outcomes. MC3's research dissemination and knowledge mobilization strategies are analyzed, using engagement as the primary measure, to gain insights on the effectiveness and challenges of using Internet-based tools for communicating climate change innovations and actions.
Ocean acidification, climate change, and other environmental stressors threaten coral reef ecosystems and the people who depend upon them. New science reveals that these multiple stressors interact and may affect a multitude of physiological and ecological processes in complex ways. The interaction of multiple stressors and ecological complexity may mean that the negative effects on coral reef ecosystems will happen sooner and be more severe than previously thought. Yet, most research on the effects of global change on coral reefs focus on one or few stressors, pathways or outcomes (e.g., bleaching). Based on a critical review of the literature, we call for a regionally targeted strategy of mesocosm-level research that addresses this complexity and provides more realistic projections about coral reef impacts in the face of global environmental change. We believe similar approaches are needed for other ecosystems that face global environmental change.
This manual provides detailed guidance for using the Social Assessment for Protected Areas (SAPA) methodology.
SAPA is a relatively simple and low cost methodology for assessing the positive and negative impacts of a protected area (PA) and related conservation and development activities on the wellbeing of communities living within and around the PA. It is a multi-stakeholder assessment that aims to help increase and more equitably share positive social impacts, and reduce negative social impacts. It can be used with PAs of any kind, including those managed and governed by government agencies, communities and the private sector.
The methodology uses a combination of i) community workshops to identify significant social impacts, ii) a short household survey to explore these impacts and related governance issues in more depth, and iii) a stakeholder workshop to validate the survey results, explore other key issues and generate suggestions for action.
Body size and age at maturity are indicative of the vulnerability of a species to extinction. However, they are both difficult to estimate for large animals that cannot be restrained for measurement. For very large species such as whale sharks, body size is commonly estimated visually, potentially resulting in the addition of errors and bias. Here, we investigate the errors and bias associated with total lengths of whale sharks estimated visually by comparing them with measurements collected using a stereo-video camera system at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. Using linear mixed-effects models, we found that visual lengths were biased towards underestimation with increasing size of the shark. When using the stereo-video camera, the number of larger individuals that were possibly mature (or close to maturity) that were detected increased by approximately 10%. Mean lengths calculated by each method were, however, comparable (5.002 ± 1.194 and 6.128 ± 1.609 m, s.d.), confirming that the population at Ningaloo is mostly composed of immature sharks based on published lengths at maturity. We then collated data sets of total lengths sampled from aggregations of whale sharks worldwide between 1995 and 2013. Except for locations in the East Pacific where large females have been reported, these aggregations also largely consisted of juveniles (mean lengths less than 7 m). Sightings of the largest individuals were limited and occurred mostly prior to 2006. This result highlights the urgent need to locate and quantify the numbers of mature male and female whale sharks in order to ascertain the conservation status and ensure persistence of the species.
Five annual capture-mark-recapture surveys on Jasus edwardsii were used to evaluate the effect of sample size and fishing effort on the precision of estimated survival probability. Datasets of different numbers of individual lobsters (ranging from 200 to 1,000 lobsters) were created by random subsampling from each annual survey. This process of random subsampling was also used to create 12 datasets of different levels of effort based on three levels of the number of traps (15, 30 and 50 traps per day) and four levels of the number of sampling-days (2, 4, 6 and 7 days). The most parsimonious Cormack-Jolly-Seber (CJS) model for estimating survival probability shifted from a constant model towards sex-dependent models with increasing sample size and effort. A sample of 500 lobsters or 50 traps used on four consecutive sampling-days was required for obtaining precise survival estimations for males and females, separately. Reduced sampling effort of 30 traps over four sampling days was sufficient if a survival estimate for both sexes combined was sufficient for management of the fishery.
Sperm whales are present in the Canary Islands year-round, suggesting that the archipelago is an important area for this species in the North Atlantic. However, the area experiences one of the highest reported rates of sperm whale ship-strike in the world. Here we investigate if the number of sperm whales found in the archipelago can sustain the current rate of ship-strike mortality. The results of this study may also have implications for offshore areas where concentrations of sperm whales may coincide with high densities of ship traffic, but where ship-strikes may be undocumented. The absolute abundance of sperm whales in an area of 52933 km2, covering the territorial waters of the Canary Islands, was estimated from 2668 km of acoustic line-transect survey using Distance sampling analysis. Data on sperm whale diving and acoustic behaviour, obtained from bio-logging, were used to calculate g(0) = 0.92, this is less than one because of occasional extended periods when whales do not echolocate. This resulted in an absolute abundance estimate of 224 sperm whales (95% log-normal CI 120–418) within the survey area. The recruitment capability of this number of whales, some 2.5 whales per year, is likely to be exceeded by the current ship-strike mortality rate. Furthermore, we found areas of higher whale density within the archipelago, many coincident with those previously described, suggesting that these are important habitats for females and immature animals inhabiting the archipelago. Some of these areas are crossed by active shipping lanes increasing the risk of ship-strikes. Given the philopatry in female sperm whales, replacement of impacted whales might be limited. Therefore, the application of mitigation measures to reduce the ship-strike mortality rate seems essential for the conservation of sperm whales in the Canary Islands.
Human-caused climate change is contributing to global sea level rise and consequently aggravating coastal floods. This analysis removes the assessed human-caused component in global sea level from hourly water level records since 1950 at 27 U.S. tide gauges, creating alternative histories simulating the absence of anthropogenic climate change. Out of 8,726 days when unaltered water level observations exceeded National Weather Service local “nuisance” flood thresholds for minor impacts, 5,809 days (3,517-7,332 days, >90% confidence interval) did not exceed thresholds in the alternative histories. In other words, human-caused global sea level rise effectively tipped the balance, pushing high water events over the threshold, for about two-thirds of the observed flood days. The fraction has increased from less than half in the 1950s, to more than three-quarters within the last decade (2005-2014), as global sea level has continued to rise.
Also within the last decade, at sites along Florida’s Atlantic coast and the Keys, as well as in San Diego (La Jolla), Seattle, and Honolulu, more than 90% of observed flood days would not have occurred if the central estimate for anthropogenic sea level signal were removed. The same applies to more than half the flood days at each of the 25 out of 27 study gauges averaging more than one total nuisance flood day per year since 2005. Overall, gauges averaged 12.2 flood days per year over this period.
In the central estimate, the human-caused increase in global sea level also accounts for more 80% of the increase in nuisance flood days between the period 1955-1984 and the period 1985-2014 – periods across which flood frequency tripled for study gauges collectively. Anthropogenic climate change is not just a problem for the future: through sea level rise, it is driving most coastal flooding in the United States today. There are human fingerprints on thousands of recent floods.
This analysis makes the simplifying assumption that the climate-driven human contribution to sea level across the U.S. is uniform and equal to the global mean contribution, putting aside smaller static-equilibrium and dynamic effects that vary in space and time.
A data management plan is a formal document outlining how research data will be managed, stored, documented and secured throughout a research project as well as planning for what will happen to the data after completion of the project.
The data management plan is intended to provide descriptive details of the data, the processes, the decisions, as well as identifying roles and responsibilities. This also includes a long-term data sharing and preservation plan to ensure data are publicly accessible beyond the life of the project. A data management plan is often a requirement of funding agencies.
The IODE encourages all researchers to prepare a data management plan for research projects that will collect marine data and to ensure the data generated by research projects be permanently archived in the IODE network of National Oceanographic Data Centres (NODCs).