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Please see the list below for more upcoming events from OpenChannels by OCTO.

Upcoming Webinars and Events

Shifting MPAs for conservation and fisheries under a changing climate

Event Date: 
Tuesday, March 23 at 1pm US EDT / 10am US PDT / 5pm UTC

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.

Co-sponsors: NOAA National MPA Center and OCTO (MPA News, OpenChannels, EBM Tools Network)

Monitoring marine sanctuary usage with NMS-COUNT

Event Date: 
Thursday, April 8 at 1 pm US EDT / 10am US PDT / 5pm UTC

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.

Co-sponsors: NOAA National MPA Center and OCTO (MPA News, OpenChannels, EBM Tools Network)

The Marine Social Science Network: Promoting understanding of people’s relationship with the sea

Event Date: 
Tuesday, April 20 at noon US EDT / 9am US PDT / 4pm UTC

Presented by: Emma McKinley of Cardiff University

The marine social sciences provide us with a diverse range of lenses to explore and understand people’s relationships with the sea. In addition, the expertise, skills, knowledge, and insight that can be gathered through marine social sciences are critical to effectively supporting sustainable ocean use and governance now and in the future. Launched in September 2018, the Marine Social Sciences Network (MarSocSci) is an international, interdisciplinary network to build community among and facilitate knowledge exchange between diverse stakeholders in the marine and coastal sector. MarSocSci provides a monthly newsletter, webinars, blogs, book clubs, and regional and thematic chapters. The network welcomes anyone with an interest in marine social sciences, including natural and physical scientists who want to know more about marine social sciences and are looking for collaboration opportunities. This webinar will discuss the importance of the marine social sciences, how the marine social sciences are being applied in different contexts, and ways the MarSocSci network supports the practice and application of the marine social sciences.

Co-sponsors: OCTO (EBM Tools Network, The Skimmer, OpenChannels, MPA News,

[If you are unable to access Zoom, you can view a livestream here at the time of the webinar]

Planning for 30x30 in the US: Assessing Protection in US Waters

Event Date: 
Thursday, May 6 at 1pm US EDT / 10am US PDT / 5pm UTC

Presented by: Mimi D’Iorio of NOAA, Kirsten Grorud-Colvert of Oregon State University, Jennifer Sletten of the Anthropocene Institute, Jenna Sullivan-Stack of Oregon State University, and Lauren Wenzel of NOAA

The 30x30 international marine conservation commitment aims to protect at least 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030 through representative and effective networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) that are fully or highly protected. Achieving this target would benefit marine biodiversity and the people who depend on healthy oceans as well as build ocean resilience to mitigate and adapt to a changing climate. Accurate reporting on progress toward 30x30 is vital and requires current and reliable information on protected area boundaries and regulations. This presentation is the first in a series focused on how the goal is being addressed in the United States. Speakers will provide background and context for the 30x30 initiative and highlight complementary efforts underway to catalog and classify MPAs. The MPA Guide provides clarity on what the term “protected” in MPAs really means, and ProtectedSeas’ Marine Managed Area data provides spatial data on regulations, allowing analysis of the cumulative contributions of different management authorities to the same ocean space. These efforts contribute to a more complete picture of the quality and quantity of US MPAs to help move the dial towards effective ocean protection in US waters.

Co-sponsors: NOAA National MPA Center and OCTO (MPA News, OpenChannels, EBM Tools Network)

How to use diverse incentives to promote effective and equitable MPA governance: New case studies and practical guidance

Event Date: 
Wednesday, July 7 at 1pm US EDT/ 10am US PDT / 5pm UTC

Presented by: Peter Jones of University College London

MPA governance is the modification of human behavior (e.g., fishing, tourism, coastal development activities) through an appropriate combination of incentives – including economic, legal, participation, communication, and knowledge incentives. Previous research on MPA governance case studies has developed and explored the hypothesis that the use of diverse incentives is critical to developing MPA governance that is both effective (i.e., they achieve conservation objectives and are not “paper parks) and equitable (i.e., local customs and traditional ways of life are conserved, participation of local people is provided for, the costs and benefits of conservation are fairly shared). This webinar presents 28 new case studies (including a case study of the emerging policy framework for MPAs beyond national jurisdiction) to test this hypothesis and develop practical guidance for MPA managers and policy practitioners on how to combine a diversity of governance incentives to promote effectiveness and equity. Our research found that while many MPAs already employ a diversity of incentives, many of the incentives needed to be strengthened and others needed to be introduced.

Co-sponsors: NOAA National MPA Center and OCTO (MPA News, OpenChannels, EBM Tools Network)