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Marine Resources provides a potpouri of documents and links to information on marine species, deep sea mining, coral reefs, fisheries, seamounts, wetlands and more. It is not exhaustive and other marine related resources can be found under Partnerships and Planning.
The ecology of many coral reefs has changed markedly over recent decades in response to various combinations of local and global stressors. These ecological changes have important implications for the abundance of taxa that regulate the production and erosion of skeletal carbonates, and thus for many of the geo‐ecological functions that coral reefs provide, including reef framework production and sediment generation, the maintenance of reef habitat complexity and reef growth potential. These functional attributes underpin many of the ecosystem goods and services that reefs provide to society. In the absence of pervasive stressors, recovery of degraded coral communities has been observed, resulting in high net‐positive budgets being regained.
Climate Change, Coral Loss, and the Curious Case of the Parrotfish Paradigm: Why Don’t Marine Protected Areas Improve Reef Resilience?
Scientists have advocated for local interventions, such as creating marine protected areas and implementing fishery restrictions, as ways to mitigate local stressors to limit the effects of climate change on reef-building corals. However, in a literature review, we find little empirical support for the notion of managed resilience. We outline some reasons for why marine protected areas and the protection of herbivorous fish (especially parrotfish) have had little effect on coral resilience. One key explanation is that the impacts of local stressors (e.g., pollution and fishing) are often swamped by the much greater effect of ocean warming on corals.
The aim of the present report is to provide a comparative assessment of commonly used pelagic sampling methods. We do this by undertaking a qualitative, yet comprehensive, review of the published literature to identify their potential advantages, limitations, and their relevance to monitoring efforts. A ‘silver-bullet’ approach to pelagic monitoring likely does not exist, nor is necessarily feasible. Instead, this comparative assessment provides a blueprint for guiding sampling activities in the context of pelagic monitoring efforts. Such information is essential to promoting transparency, repeatability, and standardisation across studies and institutions, so that method selection aligns with study objectives, with a clear understanding of benefits and limitations.
Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Coral reefs underpin a range of ecosystem goods and services that contribute to the well‐being of millions of people. However, tropical coral reefs in the Anthropocene are likely to be functionally different from reefs in the past. In this perspective piece, we ask, what does the Anthropocene mean for the provision of ecosystem services from coral reefs? This synthesis of the coral reef ecosystem services literature suggests the field is poorly prepared to understand the changing service provision anticipated in the Anthropocene. A new research agenda is needed that better connects reef functional ecology to ecosystem service provision.
Based on our analysis, our overall conclusion is that there remains a long way to go in reaching national and international targets to protect at least 10% of the ocean estate in North American countries. Overall, less than 1% of continental* North America’s ocean estate is protected and only 0.04% is in fully protected areas that scientists say offer the best hope to protect ocean ecosystems for the long term.
Our rapidly warming climate is threatening coral reefs as thermal anomalies trigger mass coral bleaching events. Deep (or “mesophotic”) coral reefs are hypothesised to act as major ecological refuges from mass bleaching, but empirical assessments are limited. We evaluated the potential of mesophotic reefs within the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and adjacent Coral Sea to act as thermal refuges by characterising long-term temperature conditions and assessing impacts during the 2016 mass bleaching event. We found that summer upwelling initially provided thermal relief at upper mesophotic depths (40 m), but then subsided resulting in anomalously warm temperatures even at depth.
Developing a framework for the efficient design and management of large scale marine protected areas
This study identifies the importance of: acquiring robust baseline data, being fully protected (no-take), using ecosystembased management, community inclusion, and of adopting an ecologically connected network approach. These features are needed for large marine reserves to maximize achieving both ecological and socioeconomic goals, with particular attention to engagement of local communities. This study opens the possibility of refining and adapting the criteria developed through the PIMR case study as starting point for other Large- Scale MPAs, as their global expansion could benefit from comparative analysis. It also acknowledges the importance of having comparative design and management guides, contributing towards globally recognized standards for large-scale MPAs.
Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) Special places in the world’s oceans (Western South Pacific)
Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) and Commercial ActivitiesDeep Sea Mining contract areas in ABNJ Purse seiner pollution observer incidents across region Regional fishing vessel density Purse seiner pollution observer incidents and purse seiner vessel density
Marine fisheries throughout the world are in serious decline due to overharvesting (National Research Council, 2001), and management for sustainable fisheries requires effective tactics for limiting exploitation rates. Limitations based on annual stock assessments and total allowable catches calculated from these assessments can be dangerous, and marine protected areas (MPAs) are one tool to limit exploitation rates directly even when total stock size is highly uncertain (Walters, 2000).
Field Note - Discovery of a recovering climax Acropora community in Kanton Lagoon in the remote Phoenix Islands Protected Area
The Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) is in a naturally ironpoor region in the equatorial central Pacific. The main introduction of iron to this environment is from maritime debris, especially shipwrecks and anchor gear, and is linked to proliferation of turf algae and benthic bacterial communities, and the formation of degraded ‘black reefs’...
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
Global Biodiversity Outlook 4: A mid-term assessment of progress towards the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020
Difficulties in scaling up theoretical and experimental results have raised controversy over the consequences of biodiversity loss for the functioning of natural ecosystems. Using a global survey of reef fish assemblages, we show that in contrast to previous theoretical and experimental studies, ecosystem functioning (as measured by standing biomass) scales in a nonsaturating manner with biodiversity (as measured by species and functional richness) in this ecosystem. Our field study also shows a significant and negative interaction between human population density and biodiversity on ecosystem functioning (i.e., for the same human density there were larger reductions in standing biomass at more diverse reefs).
Our global analysis of nearly 1,800 tropical reefs reveals how the intensity of human impacts in the surrounding seascape, measured as a function of human population size and accessibility to reefs (“gravity”), diminishes the effectiveness of marine reserves at sustaining reef fish biomass and the presence of top predators, even where compliance with reserve rules is high. Critically, fish biomass in high-compliance marine reserves located where human impacts were intensive tended to be less than a quarter that of reserves where human impacts were low. Similarly, the probability of encountering top predators on reefs with high human impacts was close to zero, even in high-compliance marine reserves.
How is Your MPA Doing? A Guidebook of Natural and Social Indicators for Evaluating Marine Protected Area Management Effectiveness
Pomeroy, R.S., Parks, J.E., Watson, L. M. 2004. How is Your MPA Doing? A Guidebook of Natural and Social Indicators for Evaluating Marine Protected Area Management Effectiveness. IUCN Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK
This comprehensive guidebook was developed to assist MPA managers in assessing the performance of their MPA. It contains step-by-step instructions on how to carry out effective monitoring including on selecting indicators, planning and conducting the evaluation and communicating the results for adaptive management.
In 2017, following growing public concerns about saltwater crocodile attacks on people, the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM), the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) and WorldFish conducted a nationwide survey to collect detailed information on the extent and characteristics of human-crocodile conflicts. This report summarizes the main findings of the survey. The following sections provide information on the ecology of the species and its cultural significance in Solomon Islands, details on the survey methods, and the main results. In the conclusion, several practical recommendations have been listed for the national government.
Identifying and mitigating potential impacts of seabed mining on whale, dolphins and other marine megafauna
Communities dependent on natural resources for food and livelihoods are extremely vulnerable to climate change and its impacts. Tropical cyclones are a frequent occurrence in the Pacific and can have devastating impacts on coastal communities, particularly in remote or isolated areas. However, most post-cyclone studies focus on damages and losses to infrastructure and services, and do not quantify the impact on fishers or community fisheries. We conducted a study to assess the social and economic effects of Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston on mud crab fishers in Bua Province, Fiji. The study methodology was one-on-one surveys with mud crab fishers, mostly women, in 16 villages who had previously participated in a 2015 value chain analysis survey.
Integrating Three-Dimensional Benthic Habitat Characterization Techniques into Ecological Monitoring of Coral Reefs
Long-term ecological monitoring of reef fish populations often requires the simultaneous collection of data on benthic habitats in order to account for the effects of these variables on fish assemblage structure. Here, we described an approach to benthic surveys that uses photogrammetric techniques to facilitate the extraction of quantitative metrics for characterization of benthic habitats from the resulting three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of coral reefs.
Large-scale, multidirectional larval connectivity among coral reef fish populations in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Larval dispersal is the key process by which populations of most marine fishes and invertebrates are connected and replenished. Advances in larval tagging and genetics have enhanced our capacity to track larval dispersal, assess scales of population connectivity, and quantify larval exchange among no-take marine reserves and fished areas. Recent studies have found that reserves can be a significant source of recruits for populations up to 40 km away, but the scale and direction of larval connectivity across larger seascapes remain unknown.
Low energy expenditure and resting behaviour of humpback whale mother-calf pairs highlights conservation importance of sheltered breeding areas
Understanding the behaviour of humpback whale mother-calf pairs and the acoustic environment on their breeding grounds is fundamental to assessing the biological and ecological requirements needed to ensure a successful migration and survival of calves. Therefore, on a breeding/resting ground, Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia, we used animal-borne DTAGs to quantify the fne-scale behaviour and energetic expenditure of humpback whale mothers and calves, while sound recorders measured the acoustic environment.
Making Protected Areas Relevant: A guide to integrating protected areas into wider landscapes, seascapes and sectoral plans and strategies
In this article, I explore the knowledge and values that allowed the people of Oceania to develop sustainable use of their marine resources, followed by the demise of these systems after western colonization and the breakdown of traditional societies. The current renaissance of customary stewardship has resulted in not only more effective management, but also a cultural reawakening in many of these island nations. The integration of customary and contemporary management regimes holds great promise for reducing reliance on foreign goods and services, while also improving social cohesion.
With marine biodiversity declining globally at accelerating rates, maximising the effectiveness of conservation has become a key goal for local, national and international regulators. Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been widely advocated for conserving and managing marine biodiversity yet, despite extensive research, their benefits for conserving non-target species and wider ecosystem functions remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that MPAs can increase the resilience of coral reef communities to natural disturbances, including coral bleaching, coral diseases, Acanthaster planci outbreaks and storms.
A major new report, Reviving Melanesia’s Ocean Economy: The Case for Action, launched today, has revealed that the ocean is a much larger part of Melanesia’s economy and future prosperity than previously understood.
Melanesia is a large sub-region in the Pacific that extends from the western end of the Pacific Ocean to the Arafura Sea, and eastward to Fiji. The region includes Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.
Underwater Acoustic Thresholds for Onset of Permanent and Temporary Threshold Shifts
Observations of a rapid decline in invasive macroalgal cover linked to green turtle grazing in a Hawaiian marine reserve*
The persistent, non-native invasive alga Gracilaria salicornia has dominated the protected waters surrounding Moku o Loʻe, Kāneʻohe Bay since its introduction in 1978; however, a sudden decline in abundance (75%) occurred within a 30-day survey period. The consisent environmental conditions during the survey period, dominance of G. salicornia despite the presence of abundant herbivorous fish populations, and multiple observations of physical grazing by the green turtle, Chelonia mydas, on G. salicornia support our conclusion that C. mydas was the primary driver of the rapid decline of a persistent invasive macroalgae within a Hawaiian marine reserve.
The ocean has been experiencing substantial changes in marine physics, chemistry and biology including ocean acidification, rising seawater temperature, ocean deoxygenation and sea level rise. These four, often interacting factors, are expected to increase over the coming decades depending on the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It is imperative that international decision-makers and stakeholders understand the enormous role the ocean plays in sustaining life on Earth, and the consequences of a high CO2 world for the ocean and society.
The Pacific Islands Marine Portal project is a collaborative project between the Pacific Islands Marine Resources Information System (PIMRIS) and the UNESCO IOC IODE Project Office (Oostende, Belgium) to improve access to Pacific marine information for the Pacific Islands community.
Different perspectives to best manage the Pacific Ocean in the interests of all who live there.
Hilborn, R. (2016). Marine biodiversity needs more than protection. Nature, 535(7611), 224-226. http://www.nature.com/news/policy-marine-biodiversity-needs-more-than-protection-1.20229
Charles et al. (2016). Fishing livelihoods as key to marine protected areas: insights from the World Parks Congress. Aquatic Conservation. 26, S2. 165-184 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aqc.2648/full
During the planning phase the efficacy of different strategies to manage marine resources should ultimately be assessed by their potential impact, or ability to make a difference to ecological and social outcomes. While community-based and systematic approaches to establishing marine protected areas have their strengths and weaknesses, comparisons of their effectiveness often fail to explicitly address potential impact. Here, we predict conservation impact to compare recently implemented community-based marine reserves in Tonga to a systematic configuration specifically aimed at maximizing impact. Boosted regression tree outputs indicated that fishing pressure accounted for ∼24% of variation in target species biomass.
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