Within the framework of ecosystem-based management, restoration appears as a sensible option to counteract the global decline of coral reefs. Several techniques involving sexual and asexual coral propagules have been used for the restoration of reefs. Culturing of fragments has proved fruitful since it takes advantage of the capability of corals to asexually reproduce, providing a number of novel colonies that can be replanted. This method however, when using fragments detached from a colony, might be stressful for the wild donor. Astroides calycularis is an endemic and endangered Mediterranean scleractinian coral forming massive colonies mostly at shallow depth. It is subject to anthropogenic impact, particularly from damage due to accidental contacts by SCUBA divers, and it is expected to suffer from sea storms of increasing power under the projected climate change scenarios. Corals of opportunity (i.e. dislodged colonies found alive on the seabed) may be a useful resource for the restoration of A. calycularis reefs, given that the fragment-based transplant technique is effective for this species as it is for other massive corals. A one-year transplant experiment was carried out along an exposed rocky shore in NW Sicily (Mediterranean Sea) to test the feasibility of using fragments of corals of opportunity for restoration purposes. The transplants revealed high survival rates and higher number of new polyps than in control colonies. The original size of transplanted fragments did not influence their capability to bud new polyps and was not related to their survival rate. The applied technique provides the opportunity to restore rocky reefs, even the very shallow ones, through direct transplant of coral fragments, thus making reef restoration a feasible option in ecosystem-based management plans for this species.
o successfully manage marine fisheries using an ecosystem-based approach, long-term predictions of fish stock development considering changing environmental conditions are necessary. Such predictions can be provided by end-to-end ecosystem models, which couple existing physical and biogeochemical ocean models with newly developed spatially-explicit fish stock models. Typically, individual-based models (IBMs) and models based on advection-diffusion-reaction (ADR) equations are employed for the fish stock models. In this paper, we present a novel fish stock model called SPRAT for end-to-end ecosystem modeling based on population balance equations (PBEs) that combines the advantages of IBMs and ADR models while avoiding their main drawbacks. SPRAT accomplishes this by describing the modeled ecosystem processes from the perspective of individuals while still being based on partial differential equations.
We apply the SPRAT model to explore a well-documented regime shift observed on the eastern Scotian Shelf in the 1990s from a cod-dominated to a herring-dominated ecosystem. Model simulations are able to reconcile the observed multitrophic dynamics with documented changes in both fishing pressure and water temperature, followed by a predator–prey reversal that may have impeded recovery of depleted cod stocks.
We conclude that our model can be used to generate new hypotheses and test ideas about spatially interacting fish populations, and their joint responses to both environmental and fisheries forcing.
The Community Based Marine Ecotourism (CBME) is one of the strategies of the Emancipatory Environmental Education. This paper evaluates the feasibility of a new CBME product (marine underwater trail) in a protected area in northeastern Brazil, through a seven phase process. The Environmental Protection Area of Tinharé and Boipeba presented excellent conditions for implantation of the product; Tassimirim beach was selected as the location due to its diverse marine reefs geobiodiversity, allowing the creation of a 320 m long trail; 89% of the participants who tested the product evaluated it as “excellent”; 76% of participants would accept to pay US$ 17.00 to US$ 33.00 for the product; more than 79% of the local residents and entrepreneurs found the initiative excellent. The product was applied for 10 days and generated US$ 433.00. We concluded that the CBME product showed efficacy and economic/environmental sustainability. It was well accepted by local entrepreneurs, ecotourists and community, but it still needs to be further issued and accepted by tour guides so that they can disclose the activity and be favored.
Risk assessments quantify the probability of undesirable events along with their consequences. They are used to prioritize management interventions and assess tradeoffs, serving as an essential component of ecosystem-based management (EBM). A central objective of most risk assessments for conservation and management is to characterize uncertainty and impacts associated with one or more pressures of interest. Risk assessments have been used in marine resource management to help evaluate the risk of environmental, ecological, and anthropogenic pressures on species or habitats including for data-poor fisheries management (e.g., toxicity, probability of extinction, habitat alteration impacts). Traditionally, marine risk assessments focused on singular pressure-response relationships, but recent advancements have included use of risk assessments in an EBM context, providing a method for evaluating the cumulative impacts of multiple pressures on multiple ecosystem components. Here, we describe a conceptual framework for ecosystem risk assessment (ERA), highlighting its role in operationalizing EBM, with specific attention to ocean management considerations. This framework builds on the ecotoxicological and conservation literature on risk assessment and includes recent advances that focus on risks posed by fishing to marine ecosystems. We review how examples of ERAs from the United States fit into this framework, explore the variety of analytical approaches that have been used to conduct ERAs, and assess the challenges and data gaps that remain. This review discusses future prospects for ERAs as EBM decision-support tools, their expanded role in integrated ecosystem assessments, and the development of next-generation risk assessments for coupled natural–human systems.
A new year. A fresh start. Sound familiar? Yet this year seems anything but routine. Just when, thanks in part to US leadership, the world finally began to make tangible progress in addressing climate change, the US elected a President who labeled climate change a hoax and whose Cabinet nominees leave little doubt that climate denial will continue.
The Miches Municipality lies in the second poorest province in the Dominican Republic, and its inhabitants rely heavily on nearby coral reefs for food and livelihoods. With the sudden influx of tourism from the completion of a new highway, now is a crucial time to ensure that future tourist development in this region is locally driven and environmentally responsible. As coral reefs are a foundation of Miches' identity, economy, and natural wealth, they play an integral role in the realization of this goal. This study employed global reef monitoring protocols to conduct the first-ever quantitative health assessment of Miches' reefs in order to guide future management practices. Surveys of multi-taxa indicator species were conducted alongside assessments of coral bleaching, disease prevalence, and evidence of anthropogenic impacts. Key findings include extremely low abundances of fishery-targeted species, high prevalence of diseased coral, anchor damage at nearly every site, and high abundances of indicator species for nutrient-based pollution such as fertilizers and raw sewage. Deeper, offshore reefs exhibited better health than shallow, inshore reefs, though they were still more degraded than comparable reefs in Dominican marine protected areas. Overall, Miches reefs are highly threatened by four main factors: overfishing, land-based pollution, human-related structural damage, and coral bleaching. To improve the well-being of the region's coral reefs and the communities that depend on them, an adaptive management plan is recommended that encompasses strong fisheries regulations, basic yet consistent monitoring efforts, and the integration of land-based and marine management practices.
Territorial Use Rights in Fisheries (TURFs) are gaining renewed attention as a potential tool for sustainable fisheries management in small-scale fisheries. This growing popularity comes despite the fact that there are still unresolved questions about the most effective TURF designs. One of the key questions is the role of TURF size in their efficacy both from ecological and social standpoints. This study explores the expected effects of existing TURF sizes on yields for TURF systems in Chile, México and Japan. The expected effect of larval dispersal and adult movement on yields was simulated for TURFs in each system. The results show that the analyzed TURF systems fall into three main categories: (a) TURFs that are of adequate size to eliminate the expected negative effects of both adult and larval movement, (b) TURFs that are large enough to eliminate the expected negative effects of adult movement, but not the effects of larval dispersal, and c) TURFs that are too small to eliminate the expected impacts on yield of both adult and larval movement. These analyses suggest that either existing models of TURF performance are incomplete or that there is significant scope for improved performance with altered TURF designs. Considering these alternatives, empirical evidence from the TURFs deemed too small suggests that complementary management tools can enhance TURF performance when natural or social constraints prevent the construction of TURFs of optimal size.
Worldwide, the growth of marine tourism is creating opportunities for financing marine protected areas (MPAs), but what these financial arrangements look like and how they can be governed at larger scales, and in equitable and transparent ways, is unclear. This paper examines the governance arrangement of two region-wide successive entrance fee systems established since 1997 in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, to finance a network of MPAs delineated under the auspices of two big international non-governmental organizations (NGO), namely Raja Ampat Entrance Fee and Raja Ampat Ecosystem Service Stewardship Fee. These two successive entrance fee systems can be viewed as payment for environmental services (PES) arrangements. The PES-like entrance fee arrangements improved in terms of participation, transparency and equity. In the second scheme, local communities in Raja Ampat were involved in the design of the disbursement of the community fund, and the criteria for disbursement became more clear and transparent. However, in both schemes there is no clear connection between the distribution of the funds and activities that improve environmental services provision (conditionality). In addition, the latter scheme is still facing equity challenges as some communities with customary rights over marine tourism hotspots are asking for additional user-fees from tourists and tourism operators.
Pteropods, planktonic marine snails with a cosmopolitan distribution, are highly sensitive to changing ocean chemistry. Graphical abstract shows pteropod responses to be related to aragonite saturation state, with progressing decrease in Ωar causing deteriorating biological conditions. Under high saturation state (Ωar > 1.1; zone 0), pteropods are healthy with no presence of stress or shell dissolution. With decreasing Ωar(zone 1), pteropod stress is demonstrated through increased dissolution and reduced calcification. At Ωar < 0.8 (zones 2 and 3), severe dissolution and absence of calcification prevail; the impairment is followed by significant damages. Pteropods responses to OA are closely correlated to shell dissolution that is characterized by clearly delineated thresholds. Yet the practical utility of these species as indicators of the status of marine ecosystem integrity has been overlooked. Here, we set out the scientific and policy rationales for the use of pteropods as a biological indicator appropriate for low-cost assessment of the effect of anthropogenic ocean acidification (OA) on marine ecosystems. While no single species or group of species can adequately capture all aspects of ecosystem change, pteropods are sensitive, specific, quantifiable indicators of OA’s effects on marine biota. In an indicator screening methodology, shell dissolution scored highly compared to other indicators of marine ecological integrity. As the socio-economic challenges of changing ocean chemistry continue to grow in coming decades, the availability of such straightforward and sensitive metrics of impact will become indispensable. Pteropods can be a valuable addition to suites of indicators intended to support OA water quality assessment, ecosystem-based management, policy development, and regulatory applications.
This report provides an update and further assessment of the sources, fate and effects of microplastics in the marine environment, carried out by Working Group 40 (WG40) of GESAMP (The Joint Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Protection). It follows publication of the first assessment report in this series in April 2015 (GESAMP 2015). The issue of marine plastic litter was raised during the inaugural meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in June 2014. Delegates from 160 countries adopted Resolution 1/6 on ‘Marine plastic debris and microplastics’ (Annex I). The resolution welcomed the work being undertaken by GESAMP on microplastics and requested the Executive Director of UNEP to carry out a study on marine plastics and microplastics. This was to be based on a combination of existing and new studies, including WG40. This provided the motivation for GESAMP to revise the original terms of reference to reflect both the request from UNEP to contribute to the UNEA study, and the key recommendations from the WG40 2015 report.