The impact of anthropogenic ocean acidification (OA) on marine ecosystems is a vital concern facing marine scientists and managers of ocean resources. Euthecosomatous pteropods (holoplanktonic gastropods) represent an excellent sentinel for indicating exposure to anthropogenic OA because of the sensitivity of their aragonite shells to the OA conditions less favorable for calcification. However, an integration of observations, experiments and modelling efforts is needed to make accurate predictions of how these organisms will respond to future changes to their environment. Our understanding of the underlying organismal biology and life history is far from complete and must be improved if we are to comprehend fully the responses of these organisms to the multitude of stressors in their environment beyond OA. This review considers the present state of research and understanding of euthecosomatous pteropod biology and ecology of these organisms and considers promising new laboratory methods, advances in instrumentation (such as molecular, trace elements, stable isotopes, palaeobiology alongside autonomous sampling platforms, CT scanning and high-quality video recording) and novel field-based approaches (i.e. studies of upwelling and CO2 vent regions) that may allow us to improve our predictive capacity of their vulnerability and/or resilience. In addition to playing a critical ecological and biogeochemical role, pteropods can offer a significant value as an early-indicator of anthropogenic OA. This role as a sentinel species should be developed further to consolidate their potential use within marine environmental management policy making.
The purpose of this paper is to investigate students’ understandings of ocean sustainability and the pedagogical influence of higher education on those conceptions.
The conceptions of ocean sustainability of 54 university students of various academic disciplines enrolled in the 2014/2015 semester course “Sustainable Oceans” were assessed through use of auto-photography. Data were collected at the beginning and end of the course. Inter-rater reliability was measured by percentage of identical coding outcomes by two coders.
Auto-photography is effective in assessing notions of sustainability. Social and economic dimensions were captured less frequently than environmental aspects in the students’ photographs. Overall, students demonstrated vague perceptual awareness about who should take responsibility concerning lifeworld-related issues. Also, their perceptions were affected by their choice of academic discipline. Engaging students in inter-/transdisciplinary learning, integrating the arts, science and community, helped develop a more balanced, action-motivated conception of sustainability. Post-test patterns of change in students’ vision and action were observed.
Implementing sustainability education in a university’s coordinating bodies is effective in constructing a campus-based learning network, and participation in local community empowerment promotes a substantial and multidimensional concept of sustainability, and teaching material that includes content from the fine arts, literature or music stimulates students’ awareness of, and sensitivity to, lifeworld issues.
This paper provides an innovative, auto-photography-based methodology, including an operational procedure, coding book and method of analysis, for assessing students’ conceptions of sustainability. It also develops an interdisciplinary course that serves a “threshold” intervention role in ocean sustainability education.
Seafood is the world's most internationally traded food commodity. Approximately three out of every seven people globally rely on seafood as a primary source of animal protein (1). Revelations about slavery and labor rights abuses in fisheries have sparked outrage and shifted the conversation (2, 3), placing social issues at the forefront of a sector that has spent decades working to improve environmental sustainability. In response, businesses are seeking to reduce unethical practices and reputational risks in their supply chains. Governments are formulating policy responses, and nonprofit and philanthropic organizations are deploying resources and expertise to address critical social issues. Yet the scientific community has not kept pace with concerns for social issues in the sector. As the United Nations Ocean Conference convenes in New York (5 to 9 June), we propose a framework for social responsibility and identify key steps the scientific community must take to inform policy and practice for this global challenge.
This paper examines the issue of climate change pedagogy and social action in tourism, with particular interest in globally-significant destinations under threat from climate change. Little is understood of the role and responsibility of visitors as key stakeholders in climate change-related action or the potential of such sites to foster environmental learning, as well as social and political action on climate change. Drawing on insights from Aldo Leopold and John Dewey, it is argued here that destinations that are valued intrinsically for their ecological and cultural importance are (or ought to be) sites of enjoyment and pedagogy, facilitating experiential learning, care, responsibility and civic action towards their conservation. An exploratory case study of visitors to the Great Barrier Reef offers corroborative insights for such a “reef ethic” as described in this paper, related to visitor experience, learning and action in this World Heritage Area. The results of this paper support the need for a stronger pedagogic role to be adopted by tourism experience providers and site managers to facilitate climate change literacy and responsible action (hence facilitating global environmental citizenship). Their responsibility and that of reef visitors is discussed further.
Increasing interest in offshore development has motivated intensified efforts to map the seafloor for marine spatial planning. However, surficial geologic maps do not accurately represent habitats for various species groups of concern. This study used a bottom-up approach to integrate macrofaunal densities and benthic conditions on the Pacific Northwest shelf to identify macrofaunal assemblages and associated habitat features. Benthic cores and water-column profiles were collected from 137 stations from 50 to 110 m depth. Analyses grouping stations based on both similar species abundances and benthic conditions resulted in six broad habitats. Within the sampled depth and latitudinal range, sediment characteristics were the primary structuring variable. A major break in assemblages was detected between sediment that had less than 1% silt/clay and those containing more than 1% silt/clay. Assemblages differed primarily in the bivalve species present and secondarily in polychaete species. Within the greater than and less than 1% silt/clay habitats, further discretization of assemblages was based mostly on differing abundances of characteristic bivalves and polychaetes associated with differing median grain sizes, which did not correspond to traditional definitions of fine or medium sand. These data show that a bottom-up methodology is necessary to discern habitats for macrofauna and that site-specific physical sampling is necessary to predict macrofaunal assemblage composition. However, if detailed sediment characteristics are known, macrofaunal assemblages may be predicted without time-intensive biological sampling and processing. These results also indicate that seemingly small sedimentary changes due to offshore installations may have measureable effects on the relative abundances and even the species composition of macrofauna.
Over the coming century humanity may need to find reservoirs to store several trillions of tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from fossil fuel combustion, which would otherwise cause dangerous climate change if it were left in the atmosphere. Carbon storage in the ocean as bicarbonate ions (by increasing ocean alkalinity) has received very little attention. Yet, recent work suggests sufficient capacity to sequester copious quantities of CO2. It may be possible to sequester hundreds of billions to trillions of tonnes of C without surpassing post-industrial average carbonate saturation states in the surface ocean. When globally distributed, the impact of elevated alkalinity is potentially small, and may help ameliorate the effects of ocean acidification. However, the local impact around addition sites may be more acute but is specific to the mineral and technology.
The alkalinity of the ocean increases naturally because of rock weathering in which > 1.5 moles of carbon are removed from the atmosphere for every mole of magnesium or calcium dissolved from silicate minerals (e.g., wollastonite, olivine, anorthite), and 0.5 moles for carbonate minerals (e.g., calcite, dolomite). These processes are responsible for naturally sequestering 0.5 billion of CO2 tons per year. Alkalinity is reduced in the ocean through carbonate mineral precipitation, which is almost exclusively formed from biological activity. Most of the previous work on the biological response to changes in carbonate chemistry have focused on acidifying conditions. More research is required to understand carbonate precipitation at elevated alkalinity to constrain the longevity of carbon storage.
A range of technologies have been proposed to increase ocean alkalinity (accelerated weathering of limestone, enhanced weathering, electrochemical promoted weathering, ocean liming), the cost of which may be comparable to alternative carbon sequestration proposals (e.g., $20 - 100 tCO2-1). There are still many unanswered technical, environmental, social, and ethical questions, but the scale of the carbon sequestration challenge warrants research to address these.
Ocean warming and acidification have the potential to impact the quality of seafood with flow on effects for future food security and ecosystem stability. Here, we used a 35-day experiment to evaluate how ocean warming and acidification may impact the nutritional qualities and physiological health of Dicathais orbita, a predatory muricid whelk common on the east coast of Australia, and discuss the broader ecological implications. Using an orthogonal experimental design with four treatments (current conditions [~ 23 °C and ~ 380 ppm of pCO2], ocean warming treatment [~ 25 and ~ 380 ppm of pCO2], ocean acidification treatment [CO2 ~ 23 °C and ~ 750 ppm of pCO2], and ocean warming and acidification treatment [CO2, ~ 25 °C and ~ 750 ppm of pCO2]), we showed that changes in moisture and protein content were driven by significant interactions between ocean warming and acidification. Elevated ocean temperature significantly decreased protein in the whelk flesh and resulted in concurrent increases in moisture. Lipid, glycogen, potassium, sulfur, and phosphorus content also decreased under elevated temperature conditions, whereas sodium, boron and copper increased. Furthermore, elevated pCO2significantly decreased lipid, protein and lead content. Whelks from control conditions had levels of lead in excess of that considered safe for human consumption, although lead uptake appears to be lowered under future ocean conditions and will be site specific. In conclusion, while D. orbita has received research attention as a potential food product with nutritious value, ocean climate change may compromise its nutritional qualities and reduce sustainable harvests in the future. Furthermore, ocean climate change may have deleterious impacts on the longevity and reproductive potential of this important rocky shore predator.
To the Editor —
The emerging deep-sea mining industry is seen by some to be an engine for economic development in the maritime sector1. The International Seabed Authority — the body that regulates mining activities on the seabed beyond national jurisdiction — must also protect the marine environment from harmful effects that arise…
Healthy oceans are essential to human survival and prosperity, yet oceans are severely impacted worldwide by anthropogenic threats including overfishing, climate change, industrialization, pollution, and habitat destruction. Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been implemented around the world and are effective conservation tools that can mitigate some of these threats and build resilience when designed and managed well. However, despite a rich scientific literature on MPA effectiveness, science is not the main driver behind the design and implementation of many MPAs, leading to variable MPA effectiveness and bias in global MPA representativity. As a result, the marine conservation community focuses on promoting the creation of more MPAs as well as more effective ones, however no structure to improve or accelerate effective MPA implementation currently exists. To safeguard marine ecosystems on a global scale and better monitor progress toward ecosystem protection, robust science-based criteria are needed for evaluating MPAs and synthesizing the extensive and interdisciplinary science on MPA effectiveness. This paper presents a strategic initiative led by Marine Conservation Institute called the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES). GLORES aims to set standards to improve the quality of MPAs and catalyze strong protection for at least 30% of the ocean by 2030. Such substantial increase in marine protection is needed to maintain the resilience of marine ecosystems and restore their benefits to people. GLORES provides a comprehensive strategy that employs the rich body of MPA science to scale up existing marine conservation efforts.
This work reports on how benefits are distributed among the owners of fishing grounds in the spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) fishery of Punta Allen, Mexico. This MSC certified (2012) small-scale fishery, has been co-managed as a Territorial Use Rights Fishery (TURF) since 1969. Members of the local fishing cooperative, have exclusive access to individual fishing grounds. The fishery is based on the use of artificial shelters. These bottom devices provide refuges for lobsters, reduce predation mortality, and facilitate harvesting by free diving and the use of hand nets. Data from the fishing cooperative logbooks were used to calculate fishing incomes indicators per fisher (revenues, quasi-profits of the variable costs, profits, and resource rent) achieved in seven lobster fishing seasons (2007–2014). Distributions statistics (shape parameters and log transformations), and inequality metrics (Lorenz curve and Gini index G) were applied to the income indicators. The analysis was complemented with a fishers’ perceptions survey about the effectiveness of joint Government and cooperative regulations. The Gindex of the fishing revenues distributions showed low values (0.387 ± 0.017) and a stable trend in the seven lobster seasons analyzed. The calculated G values of the fishing income indicators increased from 0.387 to 0.490. There were no statistically significant differences in the resource rent earned by the age groups of campo owners. This finding could indicate intergenerational equity among current resource users. The results showed that in the lobster fishery of Punta Allen, the fishing incomes are spread more equally than most fisheries where distributional performance has been assessed.
As part of the global marine fisheries catch reconstruction project conducted by the Sea Around Usover the last decade, estimates were derived for discards in all major fisheries in the world. The reconstruction process derives conservative but non-zero time-series estimates for every fisheries component known to exist, and relies on a wide variety of data and information sources and on conservative assumptions to ensure comprehensive and complete time-series coverage. Globally, estimated discards increased from under 5 million t/year (t = 1,000 kg) in the early 1950s to a peak of 18.8 million t in 1989, and gradually declined thereafter to levels of the late 1950s of less than 10 million t/year. Thus, estimated discards represented between 10% and 20% of total reconstructed catches (reported landings + unreported landings + unreported discards) per year up to the year 2000, after which estimated discards accounted for slightly less than 10% of total annual catches. Most discards were generated by industrial (i.e. large-scale) fisheries. Discarding occurred predominantly in northern Atlantic waters in the earlier decades (1950s–1980s), after which discarding off the West Coast of Africa dominated. More recently, fleets operating in Northwest Pacific and Western Central Pacific waters generated the most discards. In most areas, discards consist essentially of marketable taxa, suggesting a combination of poor fishing practices and poor management procedures is largely responsible for the waste discarding represents. This is important in an era of increasing food security and human nutritional health concerns, especially in developing countries.
The end of the Pliocene marked the beginning of a period of great climatic variability and sea-level oscillations. Here, based on a new analysis of the fossil record, we identify a previously unrecognized extinction event among marine megafauna (mammals, seabirds, turtles and sharks) during this time, with extinction rates three times higher than in the rest of the Cenozoic, and with 36% of Pliocene genera failing to survive into the Pleistocene. To gauge the potential consequences of this event for ecosystem functioning, we evaluate its impacts on functional diversity, focusing on the 86% of the megafauna genera that are associated with coastal habitats. Seven (14%) coastal functional entities (unique trait combinations) disappeared, along with 17% of functional richness (volume of the functional space). The origination of new genera during the Pleistocene created new functional entities and contributed to a functional shift of 21%, but minimally compensated for the functional space lost. Reconstructions show that from the late Pliocene onwards, the global area of the neritic zone significantly diminished and exhibited amplified fluctuations. We hypothesize that the abrupt loss of productive coastal habitats, potentially acting alongside oceanographic alterations, was a key extinction driver. The importance of area loss is supported by model analyses showing that animals with high energy requirements (homeotherms) were more susceptible to extinction. The extinction event we uncover here demonstrates that marine megafauna were more vulnerable to global environmental changes in the recent geological past than previously thought.
While marine protected areas (MPAs) can simultaneously contribute to biodiversity conservation and fisheries management, the global network is biased towards particular ecosystem types, as it was largely established in an ad hoc fashion. The optimization of trade-offs between biodiversity benefits and socio-economic values increases implementation success and minimizes enforcement costs in the long run, but is often neglected in marine spatial planning (MSP). Although the acquisition of spatially explicit socioeconomic data is often perceived as a costly/secondary step in MSP, it is critical to account for lost opportunities by people whose activities will be restricted, especially fishers. Here we present an easily-reproducible habitat-based approach to estimate the spatial distribution of opportunity cost to fishers in data poor regions, assuming that the most accessible areas have higher values and their designation as no-take zones represents increased loss of fishing opportunities. Our method requires only habitat and bathymetric maps, a list of target species, the location of ports, and the relative importance for each port and/or vessel/gear type. The potential distribution of fishing resources is estimated from bathymetric ranges and benthic habitat distribution, while the relative importance of the different resources is estimated for each port, considering total catches (kg), revenues and/or stakeholder perception. Finally, the model can combine different cost layers to produce a comprehensive cost layer, and also allows for the evaluation of tradeoffs. The development of FishCake was based on data from a contentious conservation-planning arena (Abrolhos Bank, Brazil) in which attempts to expand MPA coverage failed due to fishers’ resistance. The opportunity cost approach that we introduce herein allows for the incorporation of economic interests of different stakeholders and evaluation of tradeoffs among different stakeholder groups. The novel approach can be directly used to support conservation planning, in Abrolhos and elsewhere, and is expected to facilitate community consultation.
Conflict surrounding commercial fisheries is a common phenomenon when diverse stakeholders are involved. Harvesting reef fish for the global ornamental fish trade has provoked conflict since the late 1970s in the State of Hawaii. Two decades later the state of Hawaii established a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) on the west coast of the island of Hawaii (“West Hawaii”) to protect and enhance the fish resources and alleviate conflict between stakeholders, principally between commercial dive tour operators and aquarium fishers. The perceptions held by these stakeholders on West Hawaii and Maui were evaluated to understand how MPAs influenced conflict dimensions, as the former location had a well-established MPA network designed to alleviate conflict, while the latter did not. This was accomplished by analyzing the following questions: (1) perceptions about the effectiveness of MPAs to alleviate conflict and enhance reef fish; (2) perceived group encounters and threats to coral reefs; (3) willingness to encourage fishing; and (4) value orientations toward the aquarium fish trade. The results indicate the MPAs in West Hawaii were moderately effective for alleviating conflict, encounters between stakeholders occurred on both islands, dive operators strongly opposed commercial fishing and perceived aquarium fishing as a serious threat to the coral reef ecosystem, and polarized value orientations toward the aquarium fish trade confirms pervasive social values conflict. The conflict between these groups was also asymmetrical. MPAs are inadequate for resolving long term conflict between groups who hold highly dissimilar value orientations toward the use of marine resources. Future marine spatial planning and MPA setting processes should include stakeholder value and conflict assessments to avoid and manage tensions between competing user groups.
Border disputes between neighbouring States are a regular occurrence and have the potential to undermine relations at national, regional, local and even individual level. In this instance the conflict over Piran Bay in the Northern Adriatic Sea has led to conflict between the neighbouring States of Croatia and Slovenia. The lack of resolution of this conflict resulted in Croatia being delayed in its accession into the European Union (EU). The border dispute remains unresolved and will go to international arbitration in 2013. Yet it is unlikely that arbitration will provide a solution agreeable to all stakeholders. It is likely that residual feelings of injustice will remain, especially at local level. Analysis of the political context of the dispute and recognition of the biological importance of the region has led to opportunity to combine politics and biological conservation to establish an International Marine Peace Park (IMPP) as a potential mitigation measure to help resolve the conflict. This initiative aims to develop regional ownership over a shared marine space linking the local communities of Slovenia and Croatia that co-habit the adjacent Istrian peninsula. The area of the proposed Piran–Savudrija IMPP hosts numerous habitat types and species which are representative of the region and are of international and national conservation importance. The policies and opportunities associated with EU accession provide the potential political, economic and environmental frameworks to develop a regional agency or a bi-national steering committee for the management of the area. This could allow local communities to develop equitable management and restore good relations while preserving an important regionally representative marine area.
In the CMSP decision-making process, as outlined in the NOP, decision-making authority is provided to the regional planning bodies, which are composed of federal, tribal, and state officials. The NOP recognizes that the coastal and marine spatial plans will need to respond to the needs of all who rely on the marine environment for economic and environmental services, and that effective consultation with the full range of these groups is essential to build the relationships needed to achieve national and regional goals for ocean management. Therefore, stakeholder involvement in the development of regional plans is an important responsibility assigned to the regional planning bodies.
The purpose of this document is to provide an overarching set of suggested principles for effectively engaging all stakeholders in a CMSP process. In developing this informational resource document, the Udall Foundation’s U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution (U.S. Institute) reviewed current and past CMSP stakeholder processes in the United States and internationally, analyzed academic literature on stakeholder engagement best practices, and reviewed surveys and white papers about desirable stakeholder involvement mechanisms from various interest groups, including government, tribal, environmental and ocean user groups. The principles described in this document are drawn from this research and from the U.S. Institute’s experience in developing similar guidelines for a range of complex federal and regional stakeholder involvement efforts.
Coastal resource management requires the resolution of local resource use conflicts. The research on coastal conflict resolution is still scarce despite the progress made in fisheries and marine related conflict studies. Utilizing qualitative methodology this paper makes comparative analyses of strengths and deficits of coastal conflict resolution practices in three conflicts from the Swedish west coast and five conflicts from the United Kingdom, Italy and Belgium, all studied in the context of the European research project SECOA (Solutions to Environmental Contrasts in Coastal Areas). The analyses focus on power relations among the stakeholders and their practices of knowledge use, including knowledge integration and joint learning. The results show deficits of research and practical neglect of these aspects in coastal management. In the discussion the question of how approaches to conflict resolution can be improved and integrated into long-term strategies of sustainable resource management in coastal areas is addressed. It is concluded that complex conflicts over natural resource use require context specific combinations of formal and informal resolution methods. The interconnected components of transformation of power relations, knowledge integration and joint learning are seen as key components of conflict resolution.
This study describes the intergovernmental organizations and legal agreements that pertain to conservation and sustainable use in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) in the Western Indian Ocean and the South East Pacific and considers the progress that has been made towards a collaborative and integrated approach to ocean governance in ABNJ.
The analysis was done as part of the ABNJ Deep Seas Project, a collaborative GEF funded project with UN Environment and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. For more information see http://www.commonoceans.org/
The objective of this study is to provide a comprehensive mapping and description of the current regulatory landscape of the ocean areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) and to identify potential gaps and weaknesses in the system and its management. The starting point of this exercise is the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), supplemented by a review of other key conventions and institutions that have mandates in relation to activities in ABNJ. The study also provides an overview of global commitments to conservation and sustainable use of the ocean and marine ecosystems to identify opportunities to enhance their implementation through targeted action in ABNJ.
By increasing the understanding of the legal challenges related to ABNJ, the study seeks to support states and global institutions such as the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to identify and implement activities that can achieve an overall net benefit to the global environment from investments in ABNJ. 1 The study seeks to support the GEF partnership, other organisations and states in identifying key opportunities for future conservation and sustainable utilization of ABNJ in the current GEF 6 and upcoming GEF 7 programs.
Environmental conflicts are multi-dimensional. Individual components of environmental and resource-related conflicts are closely interlinked with other structural societal elements, including economic, social, political and cultural developments. Coastal areas are significant for people’s subsistence, as well as industrial development, cultural heritage, and waterways; therefore, they require integrated research approaches and the implementation of comprehensive strategies of resource management, dispute resolution and conflict prevention. This qualitative exploratory study contributes to the development of the field of environmental conflict resolution (ECR) by examining the perceptions and experiences of 52 key stakeholders from the coastal areas of the Great Lakes region of Canada and the United States (US) with regards to environmental and resource conflicts and conflict resolution approaches. The study invited coastal stakeholders such as environmental policymakers, researchers, academics, educators and NGO members to share their perceptions, images, experiences and knowledge about environmental and resource conflicts and conflict resolution practices in the coastal areas of the Great Lakes. The framework of this holistic study integrates public policy, alternative dispute resolution, conflict analysis, project evaluation, dialogue and public participation, education and other creative interventions into an inclusive strategy of integrated environmental and resource management of coastal areas. Analysis of the study participants’ responses revealed several key findings. First, the multi-dimensional character of environmental and resource conflicts and the wide range of coastal stakeholders involved necessitate creating spaces for dialogue and communication among coastal stakeholders, which may facilitate relationship building and encourage collaborative problem solving and constructive conflict resolution. Second, establishing links between science and policymaking within environmental and resource management, as well as introducing conflict resolution education for coastal stakeholders, may significantly enhance the capacity of coastal stakeholders in ECR. Third, coastal stakeholders in the Great Lakes have an extensive and wide-ranging existing local knowledge, experience and expertise in resolving environmental and resource conflicts. Fourth, a conflict resolution system’s design developed in this study may serve as an integrated framework for the analysis and resolution of environmental and resource conflicts. This ECR system design involves such important components as conducting conflict and stakeholder analysis; identifying the root causes of conflict; bringing conflict participants together to discuss resolution options; and building in continuous evaluation of environmental conflict resolution processes.