Webinar Archives

This webinar originally aired on: 08 April 2021

Presented by: Robert Burns and Ross Andrew of West Virginia University

Visitor use drives change in both ecological and economic conditions in marine areas. The National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Counting Process (NMS-COUNT) was developed and conceptualized to address the needs of NMS managers for visitor counting and assessment. NMSs sites function as underwater parks in the US, and are federally protected for their diverse and exceptional biological and cultural resources. In open water areas, many NMS sites are accessible through almost infinite locations, so a rigorous set of methods to count those visitors, assess their activities, and evaluate their expenditures related to NMS site visitation is needed. The NMS-COUNT process considers the local context of sites and builds off the strength of each site using local expert panels to identify the most feasible visitor monitoring solutions. Pilot studies at Gray’s Reef NMS and Florida Keys NMS have produced thousands of visitor observations through wide arrays of sampling techniques. Traditional observation and counting methods are supplemented with specific survey questions and non-traditional techniques for visitor counting (e.g., acoustic signals, social media data, satellite imagery classification, vessel ID tracking data). The methods best suited to a specific site are pulled from the myriad of potential tools, producing a customized counting process that is tailored to the unique attributes of a specific protected area. The NMS-COUNT process can be customized to different marine contexts and holds great potential for learning about visitors in marine settings that are challenging to sample.

This webinar originally aired on: 23 March 2021

Presented by: Talya ten Brink of NOAA, Tu Nguyen of Ocean Nexus Center, Anne Mook of Nazarbayev University, Sarah Roberts of Duke University, and Juliano Palacios-Abrantes of University of British Columbia

Marine species are shifting their distribution towards colder waters because of climate change, potentially compromising the benefits and management objectives of currently established Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Therefore, it remains unclear what the long-term effectiveness of MPAs for conservation, fisheries, and reliant communities is under a changing climate. The team developed six MPA designs of equal size in an Ecopath with Ecosim model: four static MPAs (Square, Narrow Vertical, Narrow Horizontal, and Network) which stayed in place and two dynamic MPA designs (Square Shifting and Network Shifting) which moved 20 km poleward every 20 years to take into account the shifting nature of marine species affected by climate change. The model differentiated between the Static Horizontal and Static Vertical MPAs because of the expectation that vertically oriented MPAs will be more likely to benefit marine species as they shift poleward due to climate change. The Square Shifting MPA outperformed the Square Static MPA on all aggregate measures and outperformed all MPA orientations in terms of revenue. However, the results suggest that there is no one optimal solution in the face of climate change, and different MPA designs could potentially bring about regional benefits in terms of increased amount of fish and catch. The webinar will discuss our findings, including revenue, biomass, fisheries, and species-specific results.

This webinar originally aired on: 16 March 2021

Presented by: Frith Dunkley and Jean-Luc Solandt of the Marine Conservation Society

The United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union on January 1, 2021. With this change, the UK is no longer subject to European Union (EU) and European Commission measures governing how fishing in MPAs should be managed. As part of the EU, protection of UK seabeds was woefully inadequate, with bottom trawling occurring in over 95% of UK MPAs. The Marine Conservation Society recently used Global Fishing Watch data to assess the level of mobile bottom-contact fishing effort in offshore waters of the UK by different EU member states and then combined this with recent data on the amount of carbon stored in shelf sediments. We estimate the cost of mitigating the carbon release from seabed trawling in UK offshore MPAs to be roughly USD$1.37 billion by 2040. This represents over 20 megatons of carbon mitigation in other areas of the economy. In this webinar, we will present this research, potential policy solutions, and the radical change in political context that is occurring with the UK leaving the EU. We will also discuss the opportunity to control fishing in light of the UK hosting the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in November 2021.

This webinar originally aired on: 03 March 2021

Presented by: Mimi D'Iorio of the NOAA National Marine Protected Areas Center and Charles Wahle of the NOAA National Marine Protected Areas Center (retired)

Demand for ocean space is increasing, yet decision makers often lack tools to understand the complete requirements any given use may have for ocean space, and thus its potential to conflict with other coexisting uses. This webinar will present NOAA’s new Guide to Building and Applying Space Use Profiles for Ocean Management, which helps ocean planners, managers, and stakeholders fully visualize the holistic, three-dimensional footprint of diverse ocean uses and use that insight to more effectively manage ocean spaces. The Guide illustrates how each ocean use, including its distinct functional components, occupies specific horizontal and vertical ocean zones from the shoreline to the open ocean and from the airspace above the sea surface down to the seabed. The Guide can help inform zoning in marine protected areas and marine spatial plans and the siting of individual uses.

This webinar originally aired on: 25 February 2021

Presented by: Helen Fox of Coral Reef Alliance, Lisa McManus of University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and Lukas DeFilippo of University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center

While coral reefs face mounting threats, many coral populations are already well adapted to conditions unfavorable to the average coral (e.g., high temperatures, low pH, poor water quality). With the goal of better understanding the drivers of persistence and adaptive capacity and the role of management and MPAs, we developed a general eco-evolutionary framework to explore the influence of network structure and spatial management on a metapopulation’s adaptive response to temperature increase. This framework was applied to coral populations in the Caribbean, Southwest Pacific, and Coral Triangle to determine the characteristics of individual reefs that lead to persistence or decline under climate scenarios and test the efficacy of spatial management strategies (MPAs) in these three regions. We also used eco-evolutionary simulations to explore scenarios of coral propagation, transplantation, and assisted evolution and identified potential benefits and risks of these interventions. We find that corals’ vulnerability to climate change depends strongly on assumptions of their standing genetic variation, which determines the potential for an evolutionary response. One implication of this work is that MPA networks can promote persistence by protecting coral populations adapted to diverse environments so that corals with evolutionarily favored traits reproduce and spread throughout reef networks.

This webinar originally aired on: 09 February 2021

Presented by: Carla Elliff, Mariana M. de Andrade, Natalia M. Grilli, and Vitória Scrich of the Oceanographic Institute of the University of São Paulo, Brazil

Marine litter monitoring programs are essential to determining and promoting feasible and effective actions to combat marine litter. However, consistent long-term monitoring programs are scarce worldwide. To address this gap, a statewide plan to monitor and assess marine litter was developed for São Paulo, Brazil. Combining science and public policies in a participatory construct, the plan introduces a set of suggested indicators that can be applied by a wide group of stakeholders and in a variety of locations and contexts.

This webinar originally aired on: 28 January 2021

Moderator/panelists: Jon Fisher of The Pew Charitable Trusts (moderator), Yoshitaka Ota of the University of Washington (panelist), Christian Pohl of ETH Zurich (panelist), Mark Reed of Newcastle University (panelist), and Lynn Scarlett of The Nature Conservancy (panelist)

Many environmental scientists find that their research has less impact in the real world than they hoped for or expected. As a result, there is increasing interest in looking at where we fall short, and how we can improve. This panel discussion will feature insights and recommendations from researchers, transdisciplinary collaborators, and decision-makers with deep expertise in applying research to policy. Panelists will share their experiences, highlight useful resources for scientists, and discuss different approaches to improving research impact. Attendees will be able to ask questions and vote for which questions are the most interesting to pose to the panel.

This webinar originally aired on: 14 January 2021

Presented by: Anna Ruth Robuck of the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography and NOAA Marine Protected Areas Center

Marine debris encompasses a wide range of materials of diverse origin, including derelict vessels, fishing gear, plastic debris, and microplastics. Different types of marine debris have been documented to impact every level of biological organization, and many uncertainties about impact remain. The complex and often harmful nature of the problem translates to management and conservation challenges within protected areas, and a “one size fits all” approach to marine debris generally fails to incorporate local needs and nuance. This webinar synthesizes recommendations for protected area managers seeking to reduce marine debris. The recommendations are based upon review of research, case studies, and experience from government, academia, and non-profits. This webinar will also provide some suggested actions and current examples from protected areas addressing marine debris in the US and beyond.

This webinar originally aired on: 08 December 2020

Presented by: John Bohorquez of Stony Brook University

Lack of financial resources and staff capacity may limit the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in meeting their conservation objectives. We are developing a replicable framework to assess the sustainability of MPA financial strategies and identify potential solutions to identified risks, including improving the efficiency and allocation of available resources, expanding or improving in-place financial mechanisms, and developing alternative financial mechanisms. The framework development and assessment is supported by real-world case studies from Colombia, the Caribbean Netherlands, Belize, and Mexico.

This webinar originally aired on: 01 December 2020

Presented by: Annie Brett, University of Florida Levin School of Law

Ocean management is often undermined by a lack of data on human activity and on the waters themselves. Pirate fishers plunder the high seas with impunity, knowing they cannot be traced. Crew members on legitimate fishing boats are tortured and even murdered, out of sight. Stocks are overfished because most quotas are set only annually, using last year’s data. New technology platforms are beginning to change this. Data from satellites, autonomous underwater vehicles, and other platforms are coming together with emerging data streams from social media, smartphones, and low-cost distributed sensors to create a ‘data tsunami’. More data were collected on the oceans in 2018 alone than in the entire twentieth century. Ocean data management has not kept pace with this precipitous growth, however, and limits our ability to use this new ocean data to address ocean threats. In this webinar, we will present ways we need to revolutionize the collection, sharing, and accessibility of ocean data to address climate change, overfishing, and pollution.

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