A Global Map of Human Impact on Marine Ecosystems

National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, 735 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA.
Science (Impact Factor: 33.61). 03/2008; 319(5865):948-52. DOI: 10.1126/science.1149345
Source: PubMed


The management and conservation of the world's oceans require synthesis of spatial data on the distribution and intensity of human activities and the overlap of their impacts on marine ecosystems. We developed an ecosystem-specific, multiscale spatial model to synthesize 17 global data sets of anthropogenic drivers of ecological change for 20 marine ecosystems. Our analysis indicates that no area is unaffected by human influence and that a large fraction (41%) is strongly affected by multiple drivers. However, large areas of relatively little human impact remain, particularly near the poles. The analytical process and resulting maps provide flexible tools for regional and global efforts to allocate conservation resources; to implement ecosystem-based management; and to inform marine spatial planning, education, and basic research.

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Available from: Kimberly A Selkoe,
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    • "Changes in marine resources and ecosystems have been documented worldwide (Butchart et al., 2010; Lotze et al., 2006) and multiple anthropogenic and climate-related drivers of change have been identified (Halpern et al., 2008). These drivers can alter ecosystem structure and functioning (Christensen et al., 2003; Frank et al., 2005) and can affect the ecosystem services that humans obtain from healthy oceans (Worm et al., 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: IndiSeas (“Indicators for the Seas”) is a collaborative international working group that was established in 2005 to evaluate the status of exploited marine ecosystems using a suite of indicators in a comparative framework. An initial shortlist of seven ecological indicators was selected to quantify the effects of fishing on the broader ecosystem using several criteria (i.e., ecological meaning, sensitivity to fishing, data availability, management objectives and public awareness). The suite comprised: (i) the inverse coefficient of variation of total biomass of surveyed species, (ii) mean fish length in the surveyed community, (iii) mean maximum life span of surveyed fish species, (iv) proportion of predatory fish in the surveyed community, (v) proportion of under and moderately exploited stocks, (vi) total biomass of surveyed species, and (vii) mean trophic level of the landed catch. In line with the Nagoya Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2011–2020), we extended this suite to emphasize the broader biodiversity and conservation risks in exploited marine ecosystems. We selected a subset of indicators from a list of empirically based candidate biodiversity indicators initially established based on ecological significance to complement the original IndiSeas indicators. The additional selected indicators were: (viii) mean intrinsic vulnerability index of the fish landed catch, (ix) proportion of non-declining exploited species in the surveyed community, (x) catch-based marine trophic index, and (xi) mean trophic level of the surveyed community. Despite the lack of data in some ecosystems, we also selected (xii) mean trophic level of the modelled community, and (xiii) proportion of discards in the fishery as extra indicators. These additional indicators were examined, along with the initial set of IndiSeas ecological indicators, to evaluate whether adding new biodiversity indicators provided useful additional information to refine our understanding of the status evaluation of 29 exploited marine ecosystems. We used state and trend analyses, and we performed correlation, redundancy and multivariate tests. Existing developments in ecosystem-based fisheries management have largely focused on exploited species. Our study, using mostly fisheries independent survey-based indicators, highlights that biodiversity and conservation-based indicators are complementary to ecological indicators of fishing pressure. Thus, they should be used to provide additional information to evaluate the overall impact of fishing on exploited marine ecosystems.
    Ecological Indicators 01/2016; 60:947-962. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.08.048 · 3.44 Impact Factor
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    • "However, currently there are no marine areas untouched by human action and CZs are the regions of higher pressure (Halpern et al., 2008). The intensification and diversification of human uses on these spaces have induced changes on marine life, habitats and landscapes (Crossland and Baird, 2005; Cicin-Sain and Belfiore, 2005; Atkins et al., 2011; Martins et al., 2012.). "
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    ABSTRACT: Through history, population growth and anthropic activities have pressed and affected marine environments , causing impacts that were not always studied or reported. In this context, evaluate stake-holders perceptions of a particular region in Coastal Zones (CZs) can be useful for identifying environmental impacts that occurred in the past, especially in the absence of preterit data and effective monitoring. Engaging stakeholders in the discussion of local transformations may also contribute to the development of shared local management strategies regarding the knowledge and opinions of stake-holders about the place they live in. Thus, considering Araç a Bay as a case of study, this research aimed to understand preterit and present transformations on the Bay, through the perception of the people who live and visit the region for a long period of time. Data collected with interviews enabled the identification of events and factors that have induced changes in the region, mainly related to large enterprises and buildings that occurred from the second half of the twentieth century. Major impacts perceived by interviewees were changes in spatial configuration of the Bay, changes in hydrodynamic and sedimen-tary patterns, reduction of coastal vegetation areas and increased pollution. Some of these changes were also pointed by scientific studies or observed in historic aerial photographs, and were no totally predicted by EIA of related enterprise. Considering the importance of communities' perception and its use to better understand historical facts, preterit and present impacts derived from local human interventions, it is concluded that they are an important qualitative database and can be useful for the development of management strategies and for EIA analysis.
    Ocean & Coastal Management 01/2016; 119:135-145. DOI:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2015.10.005 · 1.75 Impact Factor
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    • "Coastal areas are subject to a variety of conflicting interests and activities (Cicin-Sain and Knecht 1998), which reduce water quality and food safety. Sewage outfalls and nutrient enrichment as well as oil spills (Islam and Tanaka 2004; Diaz and Rosemberg 2008) are among the factors responsible for worldwide impacts in the sea (Halpern et al. 2008) and a general reduction in ocean health (Halpern et al. 2012). This situation is expected to worsen in developing countries, where monitoring and control policies are insufficient to mitigate coastal pollution (Wingqvist et al. 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: The clam Tivela mactroides is an important sandy-beach resource along the western Atlantic coast, and is widely harvested by both tourists and residents for recreational, subsistence and/or economic purposes. These clams are intensively exploited in Caraguatatuba Bay on the southeastern Brazilian coast. Similarly to most coastal areas around the world, this bay is subject to a variety of environmental threats derived from human occupation (e.g., sewage) and economic activities (e.g., oil spills). Considering the history of changes in this area and current plans for development, environmental pressures are expected to increase. This prospect raises concerns regarding food safety of members of the public, including clam harvesters, who consume local seafood. In order to provide baseline information to compare with future situations, this study analyzed the contamination of clam meat by microorganisms (fecal coliforms, Salmonella sp., Vibrio cholerae, and Staphylococcus aureus) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). Preliminary evaluations revealed microorganism contamination levels above the maximum limits allowed under Brazilian legislation; with higher levels in the central portion of the bay. Temporal evaluations at three sampling points in this area revealed year-round contamination by all microorganisms, i.e., a continuous risk for clam consumers. Although the effectiveness of thermal processing used by consumers could not be formally tested in this study, it has the potential to reduce the contamination by fecal coliforms, Salmonella sp., and S. aureus to safe levels, as demonstrated in the two samples analyzed. However, although S. aureus can be totally eliminated, its heat-tolerant toxins may still affect consumers. Concentrations of individual compounds (congeners) and total PAHs were recorded, indicating contamination derived from oil spills. The results raise concerns regarding traditional small-scale fisheries, which can be threatened by the intensification of human activities in the coastal region, thus requiring continuous monitoring of the quality of seafoods, in addition to effective communication of the risks to consumers, and efficient measures to reduce both sewage and industrial pollution.
    12/2015; 2(1). DOI:10.1186/s40550-015-0012-4
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