There is an increasing need for a comprehensive institutional understanding pertaining to ecosystem services (ESs) in coastal and marine fields. This paper develops a systematic framework to inform coastal and marine governance about the integration of ES concepts. First, as a theoretical basis, we analyze the generic rules that are part of the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework. Second, by an extensive literature review, we formulate a set of ES-specific rules and develop an evaluative framework for coastal and marine governance. Third, we examine this evaluative framework in a specific action situation, namely coastal strategic planning concerning Qingdao, China. Results from the literature review and the case study reveal that when designing ES-specific rules for coastal and marine governance, there are several socio-spatial and economic aspects that should be taken into account: (1) conceive of stakeholders as ES users, (2) capture the effect of ecological scaling, (3) understand ES interactions and clarify indirect impacts and causalities, (4) account for ES values, and (5) draw on economic choices for use rights to deal with ES issues.
Coral reef monitoring programmes exist in all regions of the world, recording reef attributes such as coral cover, fish biomass and macroalgal cover. Given the cost of such monitoring programs, and the degraded state of many of the world’s reefs, understanding how reef monitoring data can be used to shape management decisions for coral reefs is a high priority. However, there is no general guide to understanding the ecological implications of the data in a format that can trigger a management response. We attempt to provide such a guide for interpreting the temporal trends in 41 coral reef monitoring attributes, recorded by seven of the largest reef monitoring programmes. We show that only a small subset of these attributes is required to identify the stressors that have impacted a reef (i.e. provide a diagnosis), as well as to estimate the likely recovery potential (prognosis). Two of the most useful indicators, turf algal canopy height and coral colony growth rate are not commonly measured, and we strongly recommend their inclusion in reef monitoring. The diagnosis and prognosis system that we have developed may help guide management actions and provides a foundation for further development as biological and ecological insights continue to grow.
To evaluate the effects of diffuse contamination, biological measurements were applied in a scrap cargo harbour, a marina and an industrial area. Metal accumulation and biomarkers (survival in air, digestive gland and gonad histopathology, lysosomal membrane stability, intralysosomal metal accumulation, transcription of vitellogenin and MT20, peroxisome proliferation and micronuclei formation) were measured in transplanted mussels, together with metrics of benthic invertebrates. Benthic species were classified into ecological groups and univariate indexes were calculated. The marina showed high richness (16) and percentage of opportunistic species (55.1%) and low metal accumulation. Mussels in the scrap cargo harbour showed high metal accumulation, up-regulation of MT20 transcription, reduced health status (LP < 6 min) and increased micronuclei frequencies (up to 11.3‰). At the industrial area, low species richness (4) and badly organised assemblages were detected and chemical analyses indicated significant amounts of bioavailable metals. Overall, selected biological measurements showed potential for the assessment of diffuse contamination.
Oceans offer a vast amount of renewable energy. Tidal and wave energy devices are currently the most advanced conduits of ocean energy. To date, only a few life cycle assessments for ocean energy have been carried out for ocean energy. This study analyses ocean energy devices, including all technologies currently being proposed, in order to gain a better understanding of their environmental impacts and explore how they can contribute to a more sustainable energy supply.
The study followed the methodology of life cycle assessment including all life cycle steps from cradle to grave. The various types of device were assessed, on the basis of a functional unit of 1 kWh of electricity delivered to the grid. The impact categories investigated were based on the ILCD recommendations. The life cycle models were set up using detailed technical information on the components and structure of around 180 ocean energy devices from an in-house database.
Results and discussion
The design of ocean energy devices still varies considerably, and their weight ranges from 190 to 1270 t, depending on device type. Environmental impacts are closely linked to material inputs and are caused mainly by mooring and foundations and structural components, while impacts from assembly, installation and use are insignificant for all device types. Total greenhouse gas emissions of ocean energy devices range from about 15 to 105 g CO2-eq. kWh−1. Average global warming potential for all device types is 53 ± 29 g CO2-eq. kWh−1. The results of this study are comparable with those of other studies and confirm that the environmental impacts of ocean energy devices are comparable with those of other renewable technologies and can contribute to a more sustainable energy supply.
Ocean energy devices are still at an early stage of development compared with other renewable energy technologies. Their environmental impacts can be further reduced by technology improvements already being pursued by developers (e.g. increased efficiency and reliability). Future life cycle assessment studies should assess whole ocean energy arrays or ocean energy farms.
Active- and passive-acoustic methods are widely used tools for observing, monitoring, and understanding marine ecosystems. From 25 to 28 May 2015, 214 scientists from 31 nations gathered for an ICES symposium on Marine Ecosystem Acoustics (SoME Acoustics) to discuss three major themes related to acoustic observations of marine ecosystems: (i) recent developments in acoustic and platform technologies; (ii) acoustic characterisation of aquatic organisms, ecosystem structure, and ecosystem processes; and (iii) contribution of acoustics to integrated ecosystem assessments and management. The development of, and access to new instruments, such as broad bandwidth systems, enables insightful ecological studies and innovative management approaches. Unresolved ecological questions and the increasing move towards ecosystem based management pose further challenges to scientists and instrument developers. Considering the SoME Acoustics presentations in the context of three previous ICES symposia on fisheries acoustics, topics increasingly emphasize ecosystem studies and management. The continued expansion of work and progress in marine ecosystem acoustics is due to the cross-disciplinary work of fisheries acousticians, engineers, ecologists, modellers, and others. An analysis of the symposium co-authorship network reveals a highly connected acoustic science community collaborating around the globe.
The use of targets to provide measurable objectives and benchmarks for management, conservation, and restoration of ecosystems is commonplace. In the marine and coastal realms, targets have been successful in setting sustainable limits to fisheries harvests, thresholds for pollutants, and recommended amounts of representative habitat included in marine protected area (MPA) networks. Quantifiable targets can dissuade governments from making dubious claims about investments in ocean protection that sound impressive but cannot be verified. Examples are presented where protection targets have been used successfully for marine management, and instances where measurable and meaningful benchmarks serve to allow tracking of true progress.
However, the setting of targets can also be a double-edged sword. In some cases, targets have proven useful, but in many instances, interventions made to fulfil targets not only give a false illusion of progress or even success, they present opportunity costs that impede further conservation.
Some of these issues were raised in the 2003 article ‘Dangerous Targets?: Unresolved issues and ideological clashes around marine protected areas’ that appeared in Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. Since its publication, the article's warnings about how targets can sometimes be dangerous and counter-productive have led to intense debate among scientists and policy-makers alike, and the paper has been cited in more than 500 publications. Yet today, more than a dozen years after the first ‘Dangerous Targets' publication, new targets are driving more MPA designations and conservation strategies than ever before, and the ‘dangerous’ aspects of target setting have been largely ignored.
This paper discusses old ‘dangers' in the context of new developments in marine conservation, including the lingering problem of having simplistic metrics drive marine policies, and the unintended result that can often occur when outputs (percentage of area under MPA designation) do not align with true outcomes of effective management and conservation. Newly emerging ‘dangers’ in letting areal targets (percentage of area under MPA designation) drive MPA designations are also discussed, including how the rush to fulfil obligations to protect a certain proportion of area is taking place in planning, separate from broader level, and potentially more holistic, marine spatial planning (MSP).
The paper suggests five recommendations that would allow policy-makers to use targets more effectively, including: (1) increase transparency in planning, especially around specific goals and objectives of MPA establishment; (2) use time-based areal targets when representativity is a goal of the protected area strategy; (3) use MPAs when spatial protections are the best solution to the management challenge; (4) design MPAs with intrinsic performance goals, and use performance-based metrics in subsequent evaluation of MPAs; and (5) embed MPA planning into broader policy frameworks, including MSP. These five recommendations are oriented toward multilateral institutions, governments, and non-governmental organizations, suggesting concrete ways to utilize target-setting to their best advantage, in order to fight the downward spiral of degradation affecting marine and coastal environments worldwide.
With the number of marine protected areas (MPAs) growing rapidly and progress being made towards protecting 10% of the ocean, as called for by the Convention on Biological Diversity, there is equally a need to increase efforts and provide incentives for effective management of these sites.
The IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas (GLPCA), a voluntary global standard that protected areas and their agencies may decide to commit to working towards, has been set up to contribute to this.
Protected areas can achieve Green List status by demonstrating a certain performance level and by meeting outcomes measured against a set of defined criteria. An assured verification process is followed before sites are recognized. The GLPCA will thus encourage and identify those protected areas (both terrestrial and marine) that are effectively managed, have equitable governance and achieve significant conservation impacts.
The GLPCA pilot phase announced the first 25 protected areas to meet the criteria at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney in November 2014. These included four MPAs: Iroise Natural Marine Park, Cerbère-Banyuls Natural Nature Reserve, and Guadeloupe National Park in France, and Gorgona National Park in Colombia. Italy and China also participated in the pilot phase and each has an MPA that is continuing to work towards GLPCA status.
The experiences of these sites are described, as well as three other programmes (two regional and one global) that are being developed to promote improved management of MPAs. This information will be useful for other MPAs considering participation in the GLPCA initiative.
This report presents long-term seasonal distribution maps of selected seabird, pinniped and cetacean species off the Pacific coast of Washington. The maps were created to support state-led marine spatial planning and responsible stewardship of natural resources by the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. They are intended to distinguish persistent areas of high relative density from areas of low relative density, and are useful for identifying ecologically important areas, recognizing and mitigating impacts from human uses and coastal hazards, and improving our understanding of marine environments. Predicted relative density distribution maps were constructed using associative models linking at-sea species observations with environmental covariates. Associative models relied on species observations compiled from federal, state, and non-governmental monitoring programs with data between 1995 and 2014. Environmental variables, such as depth, sea surface temperature, and indices of primary productivity, were processed from long-term archival satellite, oceanographic, and hydrographic databases. The compilation of at-sea species observations represents the first attempt to combine eleven selected survey programs, and is a substantial combination of nearshore and offshore survey effort. As far as we are aware, the compilation prepared for this report is the largest synthesis of recent seabird, pinniped, and cetacean observations in the study area, in terms of both number of observations and number of programs combined. A boosted generalized additive modeling framework was applied to associate seabird and environmental covariate data sets and develop contiguous, accurate predictions of relative density. To improve model performance, the modeling framework allowed for flexible relationships and multi-way interactions between environmental variables while accounting for sampling heterogeneity between and within datasets. Model performance was assessed using cross validation and a range of model fit and bias diagnostics. All models showed good performance based on model performance diagnostics, and expert reviewers agreed all maps were valuable representations of species distributions. Reviewers included ecologists, coastal resource managers, and modelers from multiple agencies and organizations. These maps represent an important step towards improving our understanding of the long-term spatial distributions of selected seabirds, pinnipeds, and cetaceans, identifying persistent hotspots of relative densities, and more effectively planning offshore human activities. The seabird, pinniped, and cetacean predictions are already being used by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to identify ecologically important areas off the Pacific Coast of Washington, and they intend to utilize this information in planning for offshore renewable energy development
Oceanic fronts are key habitats for a diverse range of marine predators, yet how they influence fine-scale foraging behaviour is poorly understood. Here, we investigated the dive behaviour of northern gannets Morus bassanus in relation to shelf-sea fronts. We GPS (global positioning system) tracked 53 breeding birds and examined the relationship between 1901 foraging dives (from time-depth recorders) and thermal fronts (identified via Earth Observation composite front mapping) in the Celtic Sea, Northeast Atlantic. We (i) used a habitat-use availability analysis to determine whether gannets preferentially dived at fronts, and (ii) compared dive characteristics in relation to fronts to investigate the functional significance of these oceanographic features. We found that relationships between gannet dive probabilities and fronts varied by frontal metric and sex. While both sexes were more likely to dive in the presence of seasonally persistent fronts, links to more ephemeral features were less clear. Here, males were positively correlated with distance to front and cross-front gradient strength, with the reverse for females. Both sexes performed two dive strategies: shallow V-shaped plunge dives with little or no active swim phase (92% of dives) and deeper U-shaped dives with an active pursuit phase of at least 3 s (8% of dives). When foraging around fronts, gannets were half as likely to engage in U-shaped dives compared with V-shaped dives, independent of sex. Moreover, V-shaped dive durations were significantly shortened around fronts. These behavioural responses support the assertion that fronts are important foraging habitats for marine predators, and suggest a possible mechanistic link between the two in terms of dive behaviour. This research also emphasizes the importance of cross-disciplinary research when attempting to understand marine ecosystems.
Different marine habitats are characterised by different soundscapes. How or which differences may be representative of the habitat characteristics and/or community structure remains however to be explored. A growing project in passive acoustics is to find a way to use soundscapes to have information on the habitat and on its changes. In this study we have successfully tested the potential of two acoustic indices, i.e. the average sound pressure level and the acoustic complexity index based on the frequency spectrum. Inside and outside marine protected areas of Moorea Island (French Polynesia), sound pressure level was positively correlated with the characteristics of the substratum and acoustic complexity was positively correlated with fish diversity. It clearly shows soundscape can be used to evaluate the acoustic features of marine protected areas, which presented a significantly higher ambient sound pressure level and were more acoustically complex than non-protected areas. This study further emphasizes the importance of acoustics as a tool in the monitoring of marine environments and in the elaboration and management of future conservation plans.