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British Ecological Society;
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are being implemented worldwide, yet there are few cases where managers make specific predictions of the response of previously harvested populations to MPA implementation.
Such predictions are needed to evaluate whether MPAs are working as expected, and if not, why. This evaluation is necessary to perform adaptive management, identifying whether and when adjustments to management might be necessary to achieve MPA goals.
Using monitoring data and population models, we quantified expected responses of targeted species to MPA implementation and compared them to monitoring data.
The model required two factors to explain observed responses in MPAs: (a) pre‐MPA harvest rates, which can vary at local spatial scales, and (b) recruitment variability before and after MPA establishment. Low recruitment years before MPA establishment in our study system drove deviations from expected equilibrium population size distributions and introduced an additional time lag to response detectability.
Synthesis and applications. We combined monitoring data and population models to show how (a) harvest rates prior to Marine Protected Area (MPA) implementation, (b) variability in recruitment, and (c) initial population size structure determine whether a response to MPA establishment is detectable. Pre‐MPA harvest rates across MPAs plays a large role in MPA response detectability, demonstrating the importance of measuring this poorly known parameter. While an intuitive expectation is for response detectability to depend on recruitment variability and stochasticity in population trajectories after MPA establishment, we address the overlooked role of recruitment variability before MPA establishment, which alters the size structure at the time of MPA establishment. These factors provide MPA practitioners with reasons whether or not MPAs may lead to responses of targeted species. Our overall approach provides a framework for a critical step of adaptive management.
Marine Ecology Progress Series;
Despite widespread climate-driven reductions of coral cover on tropical reefs, little attention has been paid to the possibility that changes in the geographic distribution of coral recruitment could facilitate beneficial responses to the changing climate through latitudinal range shifts. To address this possibility, we compiled a global database of normalized densities of coral recruits on settlement tiles (corals m-2) deployed from 1974 to 2012, and used the data therein to test for latitudinal range shifts in the distribution of coral recruits. In total, 92 studies provided 1253 records of coral recruitment, with 77% originating from settlement tiles immersed for 3-24 mo, herein defined as long-immersion tiles (LITs); the limited temporal and geographic coverage of data from short-immersion tiles (SITs; deployed for
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States;
While the physical dimensions of climate change are now routinely assessed through multimodel intercomparisons, projected impacts on the global ocean ecosystem generally rely on individual models with a specific set of assumptions. To address these single-model limitations, we present standardized ensemble projections from six global marine ecosystem models forced with two Earth system models and four emission scenarios with and without fishing. We derive average biomass trends and associated uncertainties across the marine food web. Without fishing, mean global animal biomass decreased by 5% (±4% SD) under low emissions and 17% (±11% SD) under high emissions by 2100, with an average 5% decline for every 1 °C of warming. Projected biomass declines were primarily driven by increasing temperature and decreasing primary production, and were more pronounced at higher trophic levels, a process known as trophic amplification. Fishing did not substantially alter the effects of climate change. Considerable regional variation featured strong biomass increases at high latitudes and decreases at middle to low latitudes, with good model agreement on the direction of change but variable magnitude. Uncertainties due to variations in marine ecosystem and Earth system models were similar. Ensemble projections performed well compared with empirical data, emphasizing the benefits of multimodel inference to project future outcomes. Our results indicate that global ocean animal biomass consistently declines with climate change, and that these impacts are amplified at higher trophic levels. Next steps for model development include dynamic scenarios of fishing, cumulative human impacts, and the effects of management measures on future ocean biomass trends.
Plastic waste has been documented in nearly all types of marine environments and has been found in species spanning all levels of marine food webs. Within these marine environments, deep pelagic waters encompass the largest ecosystems on Earth. We lack a comprehensive understanding of the concentrations, cycling, and fate of plastic waste in sub-surface waters, constraining our ability to implement effective, large-scale policy and conservation strategies. We used remotely operated vehicles and engineered purpose-built samplers to collect and examine the distribution of microplastics in the Monterey Bay pelagic ecosystem at water column depths ranging from 5 to 1000 m. Laser Raman spectroscopy was used to identify microplastic particles collected from throughout the deep pelagic water column, with the highest concentrations present at depths between 200 and 600 m. Examination of two abundant particle feeders in this ecosystem, pelagic red crabs (Pleuroncodes planipes) and giant larvaceans (Bathochordaeus stygius), showed that microplastic particles readily flow from the environment into coupled water column and seafloor food webs. Our findings suggest that one of the largest and currently underappreciated reservoirs of marine microplastics may be contained within the water column and animal communities of the deep sea.
Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics;
This study assesses the risk of fish from illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) sources passing through the world's most important fishing ports and explores the drivers of this risk.
Like previous studies it has attempted to rank ports and States based on landings and vessel visits reported by governments by using Automatic Identification System (AIS) positional data transmitted by fishing and fish carrier vessels to identify the locations of ports and rank them based on the frequency of visits by foreignflagged and domestic-flagged vessels. It advances our thinking in that (i) the analysis includes an estimation of the hold capacity of fishing vessels and is therefore able to rank ports based on the total hold capacity of vessels visiting them and (ii) the profile and the frequency of vessel visits inform an assessment of the relative risks between different ports, and the implications for the implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA). The study also assesses the accuracy and utility of AIS-derived data for determining IUU risk globally for all ports, notably by cross-referencing its findings with those of other studies.
The study develops a broad suite of indicators that quantify and aggregate the AIS-derived port visit information in conjunction with published and publicly available policy and regulatory information drawn from other sources, such as the compliance record with binding port State measures of regional fisheries management organizations, to raise a global port State IUU Risk Index. The comparison of achieved risk scores with national income, levels of corruption, and geography provides insights into factors driving (aggravating) or modulating (mitigating) risks of IUU-caught seafood passing through a Nation's fishing ports, and supports a view that States with weaker governance also face higher odds of visits by vessels likely to have engaged in IUU fishing (i.e. higher external risks).
Based on an in-depth assessment of 14 individual ports globally, appended as a supplement to this paper, the study finds that overall, and with the possible exception of mandatory advance request procedures for entering ports, the implementation of key provisions of the 2009 PSMA remains severely lacking. The two main areas for improvement are the posting of publicly available PSM-related information on national and/or FAO portals, and the formal designation of ports.
This final manuscript in the special issue on "Funding for ocean conservation and sustainable fisheries" is the result of a dialogue aimed at connecting lead authors of the special issue manuscripts with relevant policymakers and practitioners. The dialogue took place over the course of a two-day workshop in December 2018, and this "coda" manuscript seeks to distil thinking around a series of key recurring topics raised throughout the workshop. These topics are collected into three broad categories, or "needs": 1) a need for transparency, 2) a need for coherence, and 3) a need for improved monitoring of project impacts. While the special issue sought to collect new research into the latest trends and developments in the rapidly evolving world of funding for ocean conservation and sustainable fisheries, the insights collected during the workshop have helped to highlight remaining knowledge gaps. Therefore, each of the three "needs" identified within this manuscript is followed by a series of questions that the workshop participants identified as warranting further attention as part of a future research agenda. The crosscutting nature of many of the issues raised as well as the rapid pace of change that characterizes this funding landscape both pointed to a broader need for continued dialogue and study that reaches across the communities of research, policy and practice.
As climate trends accelerate, ecosystems will be pushed rapidly into new states, reducing the potential efficacy of conservation strategies based on historical patterns. In the Gulf of Maine, climate-driven changes have restructured the ecosystem rapidly over the past decade. Changes in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation have altered deepwater dynamics, driving warming rates twice as high as the fastest surface rates. This has had implications for the copepod Calanus finmarchicus, a critical food supply for the endangered North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis). The oceanographic changes have driven a deviation in the seasonal foraging patterns of E. glacialis upon which conservation strategies depend, making the whales more vulnerable to ship strikes and gear entanglements. The effects of rapid climate-driven changes on a species at risk undermine current management approaches.
With compelling evidence that half the world's coral reefs have been lost over the last four decades, there is urgent motivation to understand where reefs are located and their health. Without such basic baseline information, it is challenging to mount a response to the reef crisis on the global scale at which it is occurring. To combat this lack of baseline data, the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation embarked on a 10-yr survey of a broad selection of Earth's remotest reef sites—the Global Reef Expedition. This paper focuses on one output of this expedition, which is meter-resolution seafloor habitat and bathymetry maps developed from DigitalGlobe satellite imagery and calibrated by field observations. Distributed on an equatorial transect across 11 countries, these maps cover 65,000 sq. km of shallow-water reef-dominated habitat. The study represents an order of magnitude greater area than has been mapped previously at high resolution. We present a workflow demonstrating that DigitalGlobe imagery can be processed to useful products for reef conservation at regional to global scale. We further emphasize that the performance of our mapping workflow does not deteriorate with increasing size of the site mapped. Whereas our workflow can produce regional-scale benthic habitat maps for the morphologically diverse reefs of the Pacific and Indian oceans, as well as the more depauperate reefs of the Atlantic, accuracies are substantially higher for the former than the latter. It is our hope that the map products delivered to the community by the Living Oceans Foundation will be utilized for conservation and act to catalyze new initiatives to chart the status of coral reefs globally.
The recent discovery of the Araguaian river dolphin (Inia araguaiaensis) highlights how little we know about the diversity and biology of river dolphins. In this study, we described the acoustic repertoire of this newly discovered species in concert with their behaviour. We analysed frequency contours of 727 signals (sampled at 10 ms temporal resolution). These contours were analyzed using an adaptive resonance theory neural network combined with dynamic time-warping (ARTwarp). Using a critical similarity value of 96%, frequency contours were categorized into 237 sound-types. The most common types were emitted when calves were present suggesting a key role in mother-calf communication. Our findings show that the acoustic repertoire of river dolphins is far from simple. Furthermore, the calls described here are similar in acoustic structure to those produced by social delphinids, such as orcas and pilot whales. Uncovering the context in which these signals are produced may help understand the social structure of this species and contribute to our understanding of the evolution of acoustic communication in whales.
Climate change from human activities mainly results from the energy imbalance in Earth's climate system caused by rising concentrations of heat-trapping gases. About 93% of the energy imbalance accumulates in the ocean as increased ocean heat content (OHC). The ocean record of this imbalance is much less affected by internal variability and is thus better suited for detecting and attributing human influences than more commonly used surface temperature records. Recent observation-based estimates show rapid warming of Earth's oceans over the past few decades. This warming has contributed to increases in rainfall intensity, rising sea levels, the destruction of coral reefs, declining ocean oxygen levels, and declines in ice sheets; glaciers; and ice caps in the polar regions. Recent estimates of observed warming resemble those seen in models, indicating that models reliably project changes in OHC.
Proxy records show that before the onset of modern anthropogenic warming, globally coherent cooling occurred from the Medieval Warm Period to the Little Ice Age. The long memory of the ocean suggests that these historical surface anomalies are associated with ongoing deep-ocean temperature adjustments. Combining an ocean model with modern and paleoceanographic data leads to a prediction that the deep Pacific is still adjusting to the cooling going into the Little Ice Age, whereas temperature trends in the surface ocean and deep Atlantic reflect modern warming. This prediction is corroborated by temperature changes identified between the HMS Challenger expedition of the 1870s and modern hydrography. The implied heat loss in the deep ocean since 1750 CE offsets one-fourth of the global heat gain in the upper ocean.
Indian Land Tenure Foundation;
This ninth issue of the Message Runner discusses on fractionation of ownership title and provides ways for effective land management.