2017-01-04

Marine protected areas are insufficient to conserve global marine plant diversity

Daru BH, le Roux PC. Marine protected areas are insufficient to conserve global marine plant diversity. Global Ecology and Biogeography [Internet]. 2015 ;25(3):324 - 334. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/geb.12412/abstract
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Aim

Marine plants are only incidentally included in conservation efforts for marine biodiversity. Here, for the first time, we apply phylogenetic methods to marine macrophytes (mangroves and seagrass species) to test for gaps in the current conservation network by identifying global diversity hotspots for these plant groups, and assess the degree to which hotspots are represented within the current network of marine protected areas (MPAs).

Location

Global.

Methods

We calculated five metrics of marine plant diversity: phylogenetic diversity, species richness, species endemism, phylogenetic endemism and ‘evolutionary distinctiveness and global endangerment’ (EDGE).

Results

Overall, the diversity of marine plants was poorly represented by current MPAs. Different measures of diversity showed spatial mismatch, demonstrating how strategies that maximize one diversity measure may be inefficient at protecting other facets of marine plant biodiversity. However, complementarity analyses revealed that complete representation can be achieved very efficiently with few additional locations.

Main conclusions

Our study highlights the need for an integrative approach to conserve both the species diversity and phylogenetic diversity of marine plants. While MPAs are a valuable instrument for conserving marine biodiversity, we now face the challenge of increasing coverage to protect other branches of the marine tree of life.

Ecosystem health of the Great Barrier Reef: Time for effective management action based on evidence

Brodie J, Pearson RG. Ecosystem health of the Great Barrier Reef: Time for effective management action based on evidence. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science [Internet]. 2016 ;183:438 - 451. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272771416301469
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is a World Heritage site off the north-eastern coast of Australia. The GBR is worth A$ 15–20 billion/year to the Australian economy and provides approximately 64,000 full time jobs. Many of the species and ecosystems of the GBR are in poor condition and continue to decline. The principal causes of the decline are catchment pollutant runoff associated with agricultural and urban land uses, climate change impacts and the effects of fishing. Many important ecosystems of the GBR region are not included inside the boundaries of the World Heritage Area. The current management regime for catchment pollutant runoff and climate change is clearly inadequate to prevent further decline. We propose a refocus of management on a “Greater GBR” (containing not only the major ecosystems and species of the GBR, but also its catchment) and on a set of management actions to halt the decline of the GBR. Proposed actions include: (1) Strengthen management in the areas of the Greater GBR where ecosystems are in good condition, with Torres Strait, northern Cape York and Hervey Bay being the systems with highest current integrity; (2) Investigate methods of cross-boundary management to achieve simultaneous cost-effective terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystem protection in the Greater GBR; (3) Develop a detailed, comprehensive, costed water quality management plan for the Greater GBR; (4) Use the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to regulate catchment activities that lead to damage to the Greater GBR, in conjunction with the relevant Queensland legislation; (5) Fund catchment and coastal management to the required level to solve pollution issues for the Greater GBR by 2025, before climate change impacts on Greater GBR ecosystems become overwhelming; (6) Continue enforcement of the zoning plan; (7) Australia to show commitment to protecting the Greater GBR through greenhouse gas emissions control, at a scale relevant to protecting the GBR, by 2025.

Towards ecosystem-based fisheries management in Norway – Practical tools for keeping track of relevant issues and prioritising management efforts

Gullestad P, Abotnes AMarie, Bakke G, Skern-Mauritzen M, Nedreaas K, Søvik G. Towards ecosystem-based fisheries management in Norway – Practical tools for keeping track of relevant issues and prioritising management efforts. Marine Policy [Internet]. 2017 ;77:104 - 110. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X16305383
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The present paper presents the practical implementation of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) in Norway. This involves defining management objectives and developing simple and efficient tools to achieve an overview of management needs and prioritise among these, while integrating broader conservation issues and ensuring stakeholder involvement. A new Marine Resources Act entered into force in Norway in 2009. By integrating conservation and sustainable use as basic principles, the law represents a paradigm shift in the management of Norwegian fisheries. The law indicates which concerns should be addressed, but neither how nor how often evaluations should take place. That is for management to decide. A management principle in the Marine Resources Act confers on the Ministry an obligation to evaluate whether continued fishing at the present scale is justifiable, or whether improved management is required to ensure sustainability. A Stock table, and a table of "Catches of data-poor species" constitute a comprehensive system for monitoring the management principle. Along with a Fisheries table, these tables establish a framework for developing an ecosystem-based fisheries management by providing a basis and tools for prioritising the needs of new and/or revised management measures.

Bio-physical connectivity patterns of benthic marine species used in the designation of Scottish nature conservation marine protected areas

Gallego A, Gibb FM, Tullet D, Wright PJ. Bio-physical connectivity patterns of benthic marine species used in the designation of Scottish nature conservation marine protected areas. ICES Journal of Marine Science [Internet]. 2016 :fsw174. Available from: http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/12/27/icesjms.fsw174.abstract
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Connectivity is a key consideration in the development of networks of marine protected areas (MPAs). However, little is known about the early life history of many of the epi-benthic animals that these spatial measures try to conserve. Here, a pragmatic approach to consider connectivity in such organisms is adopted, as part of the Scottish nature conservation MPA designation process. The primary tool for the study was a basic bio-physical model, forced by a circulation climatology. In the general absence of comprehensive ecological information, the model accounted for the main biological characteristics of the benthic organisms under consideration of relevance to connectivity, namely, presence, spawning season and pelagic larval duration (PLD). The results showed that some degree of connectivity between MPAs is possible even for species with short PLD although those organisms are more likely to be vulnerable to local pressures, particularly in the case of less widely distributed species and those inhabiting less dispersive inshore locations. For MPAs further offshore and species with longer PLD, our simulations suggested large-scale advection patterns crossing large-scale environmental management boundaries. Although the study was an appropriate contribution to the MPA designation process, further refinements encompassing better basic ecological information, enhanced oceanographic resolution, more realistic representation of biological processes (e.g. spawning, larval behaviour) in the model, species presence within and outside MPAs and substrate suitability maps would provide future useful confidence boundaries around the general patterns derived from our study.

Are mesophotic coral ecosystems distinct communities and can they serve as refugia for shallow reefs?

Semmler RF, Hoot WC, Reaka ML. Are mesophotic coral ecosystems distinct communities and can they serve as refugia for shallow reefs?. Coral Reefs [Internet]. 2016 . Available from: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00338-016-1530-0
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

We analyzed an extensive dataset of over 9000 benthic and suprabenthic species found throughout the Gulf of Mexico (GoMx) to assess whether mesophotic coral ecosystems represent distinct assemblages and evaluate their potential to serve as refugia for shallow reef communities. We assessed community structure of the overall benthic community from 0 to 300 m via non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) of species presence across depth bands. We used the Jaccard index of similarity to calculate the proportion of shared species between adjacent depth bands, measure species turnover with depth, and assess taxonomic overlap between shallow reefs versus progressively deeper depth bands. NMDS ordinations showed that the traditionally defined mesophotic range (30–150 m) as a whole is not a distinct community. In contrast, taxonomically distinct communities, determined by hierarchical clustering, were found at 0–70, 60–120, 110–200, and 190–300 m. Clustering highlighted an important separation in the benthic community at ~60 m, which was especially important for actinopterygian fishes. Species turnover between adjacent depths decreased with depth for all taxa combined and individual taxa, with peaks at ~60, 90–120, and 190–200 m. Fishes showed lower turnover from shallow to upper mesophotic depths (0–50 m) than all taxa combined, a substantial peak at 60 m, followed by a precipitous and continued decline in turnover thereafter. Taxonomic overlap between shallow (0–20 m) and progressively deeper zones declined steadily with depth in all taxa and individual taxa, suggesting that mid- and lower mesophotic habitats have less (but not inconsequential) potential to serve as refugia (60–150 m, 15–25% overlap with shallow habitats) than upper mesophotic zones (30–60 m, 30–45% overlap with shallow habitats) for all taxa combined. We conclude that the traditional mesophotic zone is home to three ecological communities in the GoMx, one that is confluent with shallow reefs, a distinct mesophotic assemblage spanning 60–120 m, and a third that extends onto the outer continental shelf.

Governance and implementation challenges for mangrove forest Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES): Empirical evidence from the Philippines

Thompson BS, Primavera JH, Friess DA. Governance and implementation challenges for mangrove forest Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES): Empirical evidence from the Philippines. Ecosystem Services [Internet]. 2017 ;23:146 - 155. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212041616301826
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Mangrove forests have been considered as potentially suitable for PES, though few mangrove PES schemes exist worldwide, suggesting they - and the broader social-ecological and governance systems in which they sit - may not be as conducive to PES as first thought. This study assesses economic, social, and governance challenges to implementing PES in mangroves. It draws on empirical evidence from two prospective community-level mangrove carbon PES schemes in the Philippines, where fishing and aquaculture are major livelihoods. We conducted (1) policy reviews and interviews with local communities, government, and NGOs to investigate governability; (2) village income accounting to determine the extra income that participants could receive through PES; and (3) a choice ranking exercise to elicit preferences on how payments could best be spent to enhance participant wellbeing. The latter approach identifies key gender differences, and enables potential PES-induced social-ecological trade-offs to be pre-empted. Blue carbon PES can contribute an additional 2.3–5.8% of current village incomes, while villagers would prefer to spend the monies on more effective fishing equipment, which could perversely jeopardize fishery sustainability. To be most successful, coastal PES schemes in the Philippines need to be managed through a multi-level governance regime involving co-management and local participation.

Conservation of deep-sea ecosystems within offshore oil fields on the Brazilian margin, SW Atlantic

Almada GVaz de Mel, Bernardino AFraga. Conservation of deep-sea ecosystems within offshore oil fields on the Brazilian margin, SW Atlantic. Biological Conservation [Internet]. 2017 ;206:92 - 101. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320716311089
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The exploration of deep-sea mineral resources on continental margins is increasing worldwide. In the SW Atlantic, Campos Basin has been Brazil's main deep-sea area for oil and gas extraction since the 1980′s, with currently over 11,000 km2 of leased blocks below 200 m depth. The historical record of exploration and the lack of a basin-wide management for the offshore industry in the SW Atlantic threaten the biodiversity and ecological function of vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems. This study identified habitats of biological interest on the Campos Basin and proposes relevant areas for conservation (EBSAs) that could be included in the first deep-sea Marine Protected Area (MPA) network in the South Atlantic. A total of 42 benthic habitats were mapped including cold-water coral reefs, submarine canyons, soft sediment slope and a seamount. Those habitats fill conservation criteria to be proposed as EBSAs along Campos Basin and could support a MPA network with a 5.5% overlap (2330 km2) to current leased blocks. If implemented, the MPA network would cover 31% of the Campos Basin and offer 31–100% protection of EBSAs with minimal interference on industry. This study is the first to identify EBSAs in a deep-sea basin of major economic importance in Brazil's EEZ and their conservation would also protect areas at two biogeographic provinces in the South Atlantic. Furthermore, the methods demonstrated here could be widely applied to other offshore oil and gas areas that lack environmental management measures at early stages of bidding rounds or during the process of environmental licensing.

Coastal management in Mexico: Improvements after the marine and coastal policy publication

Fuentes JCarlos Nav, Granados PArenas, Martins FCardoso. Coastal management in Mexico: Improvements after the marine and coastal policy publication. Ocean & Coastal Management [Internet]. 2017 ;137:131 - 143. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964569116304434
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Despite the extent of the coastal line and the important heritage of Mexico, it was not until 2006 that the "National Environmental Policy for the Sustainable Development of Oceans and Coasts of Mexico” (NPOCM) was presented, and a formal revision was approved in 2011. After three years of its approval, it is convenient to identify the coastal problematic advancement and the progress of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) to address them. A combination of three methodologies was used: (i) the “Global Environmental Outlook” methodology to identify driving forces and pressures, and to establish the coastal environmental state and the impacts in coastal populations; (ii) an exploratory survey to experts in coastal management was distributed by e-mail among the members of the "Mexican Network of Coastal-Marine Management" as well as key people and NGOs members; and (iii) the Decalogue methodology to analyze the government responses as the key issues in the State Public Administration. Far from being included and incorporated into the political agenda, the ICZM is still in an early stage of execution. The main problems identified are the lack of political will; poor cooperation between different government institutions; absence of monitoring programs; and the lack of allocation of financial resources in ICZM.

Threatened protection: Sea level rise and coastal protected lands of the eastern United States

Epanchin-Niell R, Kousky C, Thompson A, Walls M. Threatened protection: Sea level rise and coastal protected lands of the eastern United States. Ocean & Coastal Management [Internet]. 2017 ;137:118 - 130. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096456911630429X
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Federal, state, and local governments in the United States, along with land trusts and other nonprofit organizations, have invested significant financial resources in protection of natural lands in coastal areas. As the climate changes, protected lands could provide increased resilience to coastal communities, yet climate change also poses a threat to the continued existence and healthy functioning of these ecosystems. The objectives of this research are to characterize the distribution and types of coastal protected lands in the eastern United States, estimate their exposure to sea level rise, evaluate the potential impact of this exposure on associated ecosystem services, and then discuss appropriate adaptation measures. For this, we construct an inventory of coastal protected lands in shoreline counties of US states along the Atlantic. We summarize their ownership and land cover and evaluate their exposure to a 3-foot (0.91 m) rise in sea level. We find substantial variation in the amount of lands protected in coastal shoreline counties, from a high of 34 percent in Florida to a low of 7 percent in Pennsylvania. Federal ownership is greatest in the South, whereas state ownership dominates in the Mid-Atlantic. Private groups own large shares of protected lands in Maine, New Hampshire, Delaware, and Maryland. Moving south, dominant land covers in protected areas shift from forests to wetlands. We find that one quarter of protected lands in shoreline counties will be affected by 3 feet of sea level rise, with substantial heterogeneity in exposure across states and greater impacts in southern states. Almost 50 percent of federal lands and around 25 percent of state lands will be affected. While substantial proportions of estuarine wetlands and unconsolidated shore (beaches and dunes) are currently protected and provide key coastal ecosystem services, 95 and 91 percent of these protected systems, respectively, will be affected by 3 feet of sea level rise. We discuss the potential consequences and the associated reductions in ecosystem service provisioning from sea level rise in the context of current funding and adaptation planning for conservation. We find that some of the states facing the greatest challenges are those lacking plans and funding. The large heterogeneity in ownership, land covers, and funding across states suggests that adaptation policies for coastal protected lands will need to be tailored to the local context; a one-size-fits-all approach is unlikely to be as effective.

Links between fish community structure and habitat complexity of a rocky reef in the Gulf of California threatened by development: Implications for mitigation measures

Sánchez-Caballero CA, Borges-Souza JM, De La Cruz-Agüero G, Ferse SCA. Links between fish community structure and habitat complexity of a rocky reef in the Gulf of California threatened by development: Implications for mitigation measures. Ocean & Coastal Management [Internet]. 2017 ;137:96 - 106. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964569116304239
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

In reefs, fish distribution and community structure are strongly linked to habitat structure. The objective of this study was to develop a baseline of the attributes of a rocky reef fish community threatened by development and their possible relationship with habitat complexity in order to assess how predicted habitat modification would impact the fish community. In the study area, the construction of a tourist marina is planned as part of a residential area with a total size of 500 ha. The project includes the translocation of corals, infilling of reclamation areas by dredging, and floating docks, which is predicted to affect both benthic rugosity and the types of benthic cover. Using hierarchical clustering based on benthic substrate type and rugosity we defined three levels of habitat complexity (Low, Medium, High). The fish community at different levels of complexity was characterized in terms of species richness, abundance, diversity and dominance, and was classified into seven trophic groups. Transects with high habitat complexity featured the highest cover of dead coral with macroalgae (43.7% ± 2.3, mean ± SE) and live coral (21.0% ± 1.9). There were no significant differences in rugosity among the three levels of habitat complexity (ANOVA, F = 0.145, df = 2, p = 0.87). A total of 19,799 individuals belonging to 76 species were recorded over an area of 12,000 m2. The greatest mean density and species richness occurred at high habitat complexity, with 1229.7 (±202.7) individuals per 500 m2 and 64 species, respectively. Community structure was significantly different in richness and abundance between high and low levels of complexity (p < 0.05). It is expected that the benthic habitat will be modified mainly by dredging associated with the construction of reclamation areas and the translocation of benthic organisms (mostly corals), affecting the habitat variables associated with different levels of habitat complexity in our survey. Reducing habitat complexity as a result of development is predicted to lead to a loss of species richness and ecological functions. A better understanding of the influence of habitat complexity on reef organisms can help to predict the potential impacts of habitat degradation and develop appropriate mitigation measures. Based on the results, a number of measures are suggested to detect and mitigate the expected negative impacts of construction and operation of the marina.

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