Malcolm Clark

Malcolm Clark
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research | NIWA · Centre for Coasts and Oceans

Doctor of Philosophy

About

234
Publications
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Publications

Publications (234)
Technical Report
Full-text available
The intensity of deep-sea fisheries on the high seas and the impacts on the marine environment call for effective measures to ensure that fishing does not compromise the commitments established for protecting biodiversity in the deep ocean by the United Nations. In order to prevent significant adverse impacts (SAIs) on vulnerable marine ecosystems...
Article
Deep-sea corals are diverse and abundant in New Zealand’s EEZ and the southwest Pacific Ocean. We assessed genetic diversity and gene flow of the deep-sea scleractinian (stony cup coral) Desmophyllum dianthus in five areas (Kermadec Ridge, Louisville Seamount Chain, Chatham Rise, Campbell Plateau, Macquarie Ridge), and applied dispersal kernels est...
Article
Deep-sea polymetallic nodule mining is expected to start within the next decade. There is currently a pressing need to develop best practices to minimise the potential environmental impacts of this new industry. Project-specific environmental management processes, such as environmental impact assessment (EIA), and the associated environmental manag...
Chapter
Adaptive management is widely referenced as a way to manage uncertainty about environmental impacts of an operation. However, it is often perceived as a ‘trial and error’ approach—rather than a structured process that works from a known state and integrates information, learning and management responses to support flexible decision making. Applied...
Chapter
Conducting comprehensive environmental baseline studies is a prerequisite for determining effective environmental management strategies for deep-sea mining. Studies conducted along the Kermadec Volcanic Arc have described biological assemblage structure at multiple spatial scales, connectivity of assemblages at different sites, and functional sensi...
Article
Full-text available
Seamounts are common features of the deep seafloor that are often associated with aggregations of mega-epibenthic fauna, including deep-sea corals and sponges. Globally, many seamounts also host abundant fish stocks, supporting commercial bottom trawl fisheries that impact non-target benthic species through damage and/or removal of these non-target...
Article
Full-text available
An increased reliance on imagery as the source of biodiversity data from the deep sea has stimulated many recent advances in image annotation and data management. The form of image-derived data is determined by the way faunal units are classified and should align with the needs of the ecological study to which it is applied. Some applications may r...
Article
Full-text available
We consider the opportunities and challenges associated with organizing a conference online, using a case study of a medium-sized (approx. 400 participants) international conference held virtually in August 2020. In addition, we present quantifiable evidence of the participants' experience using the results from an online post-conference questionna...
Article
The deep sea is subject to multiple anthropogenic disturbances, to which may soon be added mining of hydrothermally-formed seafloor massive sulfides (SMS). As a first step towards a full Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) for SMS mining, ecological sensitivity to mining activities was assessed based on the functional traits of benthic megafaunal taxa...
Article
The generation of sediment plumes by human activities, such as bottom fishing and potential deep-sea mining, poses threats to deep-sea benthic fauna. Sponges are important components of deep-sea ecosystems and can be particularly sensitive to elevated suspended sediment concentrations. In this study, we exposed the deep-sea New Zealand sponge Ecion...
Chapter
Full-text available
• The abyss lies between 3 and 6 km water depth and covers more of the Earth’s sur- face than all other habitats combined. • The present chapter is the first in the World Ocean Assessment that is dedicated to the abyss, covering biodiversity, regional dif- ferences, biogeography, and changes and impacts as a result of natural stressors and anthropo...
Chapter
Full-text available
Seamounts and pinnacles are common topographic features of the global ocean. • Sampling effort has increased in recent years but only a small percentage of sea- mounts has been sampled in detail. • Limited sampling, combined with high en- vironmental variability among seamounts, constrains biodiversity knowledge. • Fishing, especially bottom trawli...
Article
Full-text available
Methods that predict the distributions of species and habitats by developing statistical relationships between observed occurrences and environmental gradients have become common tools in environmental research, resource management, and conservation. The uptake of model predictions in practical applications remains limited, however, because validat...
Article
Full-text available
The Salas y Gómez and Nazca ridges are two seamount chains of volcanic origin, which include over 110 seamounts that collectively stretch across over 2,900 km in the southeastern Pacific. Ecosystems in this region are isolated by the Atacama Trench, the Humboldt Current System, and an extreme oxygen minimum zone. This isolation has produced a uniqu...
Article
Full-text available
Extractive activities in the ocean are expanding into the vast, poorly studied deep sea, with the consequence that environmental management decisions must be made for data-poor seafloor regions. Habitat classification can support marine spatial planning and inform decision-making processes in such areas. We present a regional, top–down, broad-scale...
Article
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The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development presents an exceptional opportunity to effect positive change in ocean use. We outline what is required of the deep-sea research community to achieve these ambitious objectives.
Article
Full-text available
The ocean plays a crucial role in the functioning of the Earth System and in the provision of vital goods and services. The United Nations (UN) declared 2021–2030 as the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The Roadmap for the Ocean Decade aims to achieve six critical societal outcomes (SOs) by 2030, through the pursuit of four o...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental harm to deep-sea coral reefs on seamounts is widely attributed to bottom trawl fishing. Yet, accurate diagnoses of impacts truly caused by trawling are surprisingly rare. Similarly, comprehensive regional assessments of fishing damage rarely exist, impeding evaluations of, and improvements to, conservation measures. Here we report on...
Article
Full-text available
Despite rapidly growing interest in deep-sea mineral exploitation, environmental research and management have focused on impacts to seafloor environments, paying little attention to pelagic ecosystems. Nonetheless, research indicates that seafloor mining will generate sediment plumes and noise at the seabed and in the water column that may have ext...
Article
Full-text available
Despite bottom trawling being the most widespread, severe disturbance affecting deep-sea environments, it remains uncertain whether recovery is possible once trawling has ceased. Here, we review information regarding the resilience of seamount benthic communities to trawling. We focus on seamounts because benthic communities associated with these f...
Article
Protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems (VME) is a critical goal for marine conservation. Yet, in many deep-sea settings, where quantitative data are typically sparse, it is challenging to correctly identify the location and size of VMEs. Here we assess the sensitivity of a method to identify coral reef VMEs based on bottom cover and abundance o...
Article
Full-text available
Suspended sediments can affect the health of marine benthic suspension feeders, with concomitant effects on community diversity, abundance and ecosystem function. Suspended sediment loads can become elevated through trawling and dredging, and via resuspension of bottom sediments and/or direct input from land during storms. We assessed the functioni...
Conference Paper
Under UNGA resolution 61/105, management of fisheries in areas beyond national jurisdiction requires identification of vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs). Criteria to designate a VME include uniqueness, functional significance, fragility, structural complexity, and certain life history traits. Currently the only quantitative way to assess VME loca...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the ecological processes that shape spatial genetic patterns of population structure is critical for understanding evolutionary dynamics and defining significant evolutionary and management units in the deep sea. Here, the role of environmental factors (topographic, physico-chemical and biological) in shaping the population genetic st...
Chapter
The chapter provides an account of general Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes and applications, and their role in the developing exploitation of deep-sea mineral resources. It includes aspects such as definitions, the position of EIA as part of a larger process, the structure and content of an EIS and the role of risk assessment in the...
Article
Full-text available
The United Nations General Assembly has called for greater protection of the world’s deep-sea species and of features such as Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs). Sponges are important components of VMEs and information about their spatially explicit genetic diversity can inform management decisions concerning the placement of protected areas. We e...
Article
Full-text available
The resilience and recovery dynamics of deep-sea habitats impacted by bottom trawling are poorly known. This paper reports on a fishing impact recovery comparison based on four towed camera surveys over a 15-year period (2001–2015) on a group of small seamounts on the Chatham Rise, east of New Zealand, on which pre-disturbance benthic communities a...
Article
Full-text available
The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is developing regulations to control the future exploitation of deep-sea mineral resources including sulphide deposits near hydrothermal vents, polymetallic nodules on the abyssal seafloor, and cobalt crusts on seamounts. Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea the ISA is required to adopt are taking m...
Article
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an important process for evaluating the effects of development, and to assist decisions to effectively manage potential deep-sea mining (DSM). However, although EIA is a widely used and accepted approach, there has been considerable debate over its effectiveness. In this paper, we summarise some of the key p...
Technical Report
Full-text available
New Zealand adopted a revised National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (NPOA-Sharks 2013) in January 2014. Amongst other objectives, the NPOA-Sharks established a risk-based approach to prioritising management actions. An initial qualitative (level 1) risk assessment (RA) workshop in November 2014 assessed the risk to a...
Book
New Zealand adopted a revised National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (NPOA-Sharks 2013) in January 2014. Amongst other objectives, the NPOA-Sharks established a risk-based approach to prioritising management actions. An initial qualitative (level 1) risk assessment (RA) workshop in November 2014 assessed the risk to a...
Article
Full-text available
Approaches to measuring marine biological parameters remain almost as diverse as the researchers who measure them. However, understanding the patterns of diversity in ocean life over different temporal and geographic scales requires consistent data and information on the potential environmental drivers. As a group of marine scientists from differen...
Chapter
Full-text available
Benthic sleds (also called sledges) and bottom trawls both use nets to collect organisms while they are towed across the seafloor. There is no one type of sled or trawl suitable for all habitats and depths, and selection of the most suitable type depends on scientific objectives, previous knowledge, targeted fauna, environment, depth, and vessel ca...
Book
Full-text available
Australia has one of the world’s largest marine estates that includes many vulnerable habitats and a high biodiversity, with many endemic species crossing a wide latitudinal range. The marine estate is used by a variety of industries including fishing, oil & gas, and shipping, in addition to traditional, cultural, scientific and recreational uses....
Article
Patterns of habitat use by animals and knowledge of the environmental factors affecting these spatial patterns are important for understanding the structure and dynamics of ecological communities. Both aspects are poorly known for deep-sea habitats. The present study investigates echinoid distributions within cold water coral (CWC) habitats on cont...
Article
Full-text available
Hadal trenches are isolated habitats that cover the greatest ocean depths (6,500-11,000m) and are believed to host high levels of endemism across multiple taxa. A group of apparent hadal endemics is within the snailfishes (Liparidae), found in at least five geographically separated trenches. Little is known about their biology, let alone the reason...
Article
Deep-sea community attributes vary at a range of spatial scales. However, identifying the scale at which environmental factors affect variability in deep-sea communities remains difficult, as few studies have been designed in such a way as to allow meaningful comparisons across more than two spatial scales. In the present study, we investigated nem...
Article
Full-text available
Vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) are ecosystems at risk from the effects of fishing or other kinds of disturbance, as determined by the vulnerability of their components (e.g., habitats, communities, or species). Habitat suitability modeling is being used increasingly to predict distribution patterns of VME indicator taxa in the deep sea, where...
Article
Full-text available
The New Zealand region contains untapped natural mineral, oil, and gas resources while also supporting globally unique and diverse faunal communities that need to be managed sustainably. In this paper key information from the international literature is reviewed that can underpin an Environmental Mining Management System which includes elements of...
Article
Full-text available
Deep-sea stony corals, which can be fragile, long-lived, late to mature and habitat-forming, are defined as vulnerable marine ecosystem indicator taxa. Under United Nations resolutions these corals require protection from human disturbance such as fishing. To better understand the vulnerability of stony corals (Goniocorella dumosa, Madrepora oculat...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Interest in offshore hydrocarbon and minerals exploration is growing rapidly as investors identify the potential economic returns from New Zealand’s rich marine resources. The challenge for management agencies is how to facilitate development of these natural resources while ensuring environmental sustainability is not compromised. In 2012 the Mini...
Article
Full-text available
We have developed a global biogeographic classification of the mesopelagic zone to reflect the regional scales over which the ocean interior varies in terms of biodiversity and function. An integrated approach was necessary, as global gaps in information and variable sampling methods preclude strictly statistical approaches. A panel combining exper...
Article
Full-text available
Commercial-scale mining for polymetallic nodules could have a major impact on the deep-sea environment, but the effects of these mining activities on deep-sea ecosystems are very poorly known. The first commercial test mining for polymetallic nodules was carried out in 1970. Since then a number of small-scale commercial test mining or scientific di...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Biodiversity of the Kermadec Islands and offshore waters of the Kermadec Ridge: report of a coastal, marine mammal and deep-sea survey (TAN1612) New Zealand Aquatic Environment and Biodiversity Report No. 179 Clark, M.R.; Trnski, T.; Constantine, R.; Aguirre, J.D.; Barker, J.; Betty, E.; Bowden, D.A.; Connell, A.; Duffy, C.; George, S.; Hannam, S.;...
Article
Seascapes contain a mosaic of ecosystem types, including ‘small natural features’ that support a diverse fauna and flora, and provide ecosystem services disproportionate to their size. These include tropical coral reefs, seagrass meadows, rhodolith beds, kelp and mangrove forests as well as deep-sea coral reefs, sponge gardens and hydrothermal vent...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Commercial catch per unit effort (CPUE) data are the principal information source available for stock assessment of orange roughy in high seas fisheries beyond the New Zealand EEZ. We developed and applied spatial CPUE analyses and a cohort-aggregated Bayesian state-space biomass dynamics model (BDM) to evaluate the status of six orange roughy stoc...
Article
Full-text available
Research on benthic communities in the deep sea has focused largely on habitats in isolation, with few studies considering multiple habitats simultaneously in a comparable manner. The present study aimed to determine the structural differences in benthic communities of continental slope, seamount, canyon, vent, and seep habitats, and assess their r...
Article
Baited landers were deployed at 83 stations at four locations in the west Pacific Ocean from bathyal to hadal depths: The Kermadec Trench, the New Hebrides Trench, the adjoining South Fiji Basin and the Mariana Trench. Forty-seven putative fish species were observed. Distinct fish faunal groups were identified based on maximum numbers and percentag...