Depletion, degradation, and recovery potential of estuaries and coastal seas. Science

Biology Department, Dalhousie University, 1355 Oxford Street, Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 4J1.
Science (Impact Factor: 33.61). 07/2006; 312(5781):1806-9. DOI: 10.1126/science.1128035
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Estuarine and coastal transformation is as old as civilization yet has dramatically accelerated over the past 150 to 300 years.
Reconstructed time lines, causes, and consequences of change in 12 once diverse and productive estuaries and coastal seas
worldwide show similar patterns: Human impacts have depleted >90% of formerly important species, destroyed >65% of seagrass
and wetland habitat, degraded water quality, and accelerated species invasions. Twentieth-century conservation efforts achieved
partial recovery of upper trophic levels but have so far failed to restore former ecosystem structure and function. Our results
provide detailed historical baselines and quantitative targets for ecosystem-based management and marine conservation.

Download full-text


Available from: Bruce J. Bourque, Sep 25, 2015
549 Reads
    • "In recent decades coastal ecosystems have faced increasing anthropogenic pressures and the need to implement efficient management measures to reduce (or reverse) widespread declines in marine species, habitats and ecosystems has become widely recognised (Halpern et al., 2008; Lotze et al., 2006; Palumbi et al., 2008; Rice et al., 2012; Ruckelshaus et al., 2008). Globally, human communities and economies depend on marine resources to satisfy their needs on recreational, aesthetic, and economic dimensions, but also, importantly for food security and health. "
    Fisheries Research 12/2015; 172:197-208. DOI:10.1016/j.fishres.2015.07.020 · 1.90 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Furthermore, the general alteration of marine ecosystems and the influence on fish stocks is highlighted by various studies (e.g. Lotze et al., 2006; Worm et al., 2006, 2009). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Fisheries and marine spatial planning (MSP) still have a widely unsettled relationship. This paper reports on the potential benefits of MSP for the management of herring (Clupea harengus L.) stocks in the Greifswalder Bodden, a major spawning ground for western Baltic spring-spawning herring. The various pressures that have potential impacts on spawning conditions are identified based on a systematic literature review. Those anthropogenic activities that affect spawning conditions and could underlie MSP regulations are then analysed on the basis of the pressure maps to assess their importance for recruitment success in comparison to other pressures which are not subject to MSP by-laws, e.g. eutrophication. The results confirm that MSP could potentially improve the management of certain fish stocks and help to close existing gaps in European fisheries policy.
    Fisheries Research 10/2015; 170. DOI:10.1016/j.fishres.2015.05.023 · 1.90 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Native oyster species of the family Ostreidae were once dominant ecosystem engineers worldwide, including the Olympia oyster Ostrea lurida along the northeast Pacific coast (Ruesink et al., 2005), the European flat oyster Ostrea edulis of the northeastern Atlantic (Airoldi and Beck, 2007), the Sydney rock oyster Saccostrea glomerata of the Pacific coasts of Australia and New Zealand (Ogburn et al., 2007), and the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica of the western Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico (Winslow, 1881; Baylor, 1895). Unfortunately, native oyster species have been decimated worldwide due to overfishing, eutrophication, and oyster reef degradation (Winslow, 1881; Rothschild et al., 1994; Jackson et al., 2001; Kirby, 2004; Lotze et al., 2006; Airoldi and Beck, 2007; Beck et al., 2009; Zu Ermgassen et al., 2012), resulting in severe losses of ecosystem services stemming from oyster reefs, such as nutrient cycling, water filtration and habitat structure (Peterson et al., 2003; Coen et al., 2007; Grabowski and Peterson, 2007). In Chesapeake Bay, fishery landings and abundance of the native eastern oyster C. virginica have declined to less than 1% of historical levels (Rothschild et al., 1994; Wilberg et al., 2011), leading to considerable, expensive attempts to restore native oyster populations (Kennedy et al., 2011). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Restoration strategies for native oyster populations rely on multiple sources of information, which often conflict due to time-and space-varying patterns in abundance and distribution. For instance, strategies based on population connectivity and disease resistance can differ, and extant and historical records of abundance and distribution are often at odds, such that the optimal strategy is unclear and valuable restoration sites may be excluded from consideration. This was the case for the Lynnhaven River subestuary of lower Chesapeake Bay, which was deemed unsuitable for Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) restoration based on physical conditions, disease challenge, and extant oyster abundance. Consequently, we (i) evaluated previously unknown historical data from the 1800s, (ii) quantified extant oyster recruitment and abundance, physical conditions, and disease presence on constructed restoration reefs and alternative substrates, and (iii) assessed simulations from biophysical models to identify potential restoration sites in the metapopulation. The collective data distinguished numerous restoration sites (i) in the polyhaline zone (salinity 18.4–22.2) where disease resistance is evolving, (ii) where oysters were abundant in the late 1800s-early 1900s, (iii) of recent high recruitment, abundance and survival, despite consistent and elevated disease challenge, and (iv) interconnected as a metapopulation via larval dispersal. Moreover, a network of constructed restoration reefs met size structure, abundance and biomass standards of restoration success. These findings demonstrate that assumptions about the suitability of sites for oyster restoration based on individual processes can be severely flawed, and that in-depth examination of multiple processes and sources of information are required for oyster reef restoration plans to maximize success. We use these findings and previous information to recommend a strategy for successful restoration of subtidal oyster reefs throughout the range of the Eastern Oyster.
    10/2015; 2. DOI:10.3389/fmars.2015.00065
Show more