Marija Sciberras

Marija Sciberras
Heriot-Watt University · Lyell Centre

PhD

About

39
Publications
15,141
Reads
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1,378
Citations
Citations since 2016
24 Research Items
1167 Citations
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2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250
Introduction
Marija Sciberras is an Assistant Professor at the Lyell Centre, Heriot Watt University working in fisheries sustainability and conservation. Previous research addressed impacts of bottom fishing on benthic communities and sediment biogeochemistry, the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas for fisheries management and conservation and the role of seagrass for fisheries.
Additional affiliations
April 2020 - April 2020
Heriot-Watt University
Position
  • Research Associate
Description
  • Research Fellow in fisheries sustainability and conservation
January 2018 - January 2020
Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA)
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • Marie Curie Fellow: project PIONEER examines differences in the ecological status of seagrass beds (Posidonia oceanica) in the Balearic Islands on ecosystem services for both marine biota and humans
October 2017 - present
Bangor University
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • Introductory course in systematic review and meta-analysis for postgraduates.
Education
January 2009 - November 2012
Bangor University
Field of study
  • Marine Protected Areas, Systematic review, Meta-analysis, Benthic ecology

Publications

Publications (39)
Technical Report
Full-text available
The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires Member States to achieve good environmental status (GES) across their marine waters. The EU have requested ICES to advise on methods for assessing adverse effects on seabed habitats, through selection of relevant indicators for the assessment of benthic habitats and seafloor integrity and asso...
Article
Marine benthic habitats in continental shelf regions are increasingly impacted by hypoxia caused by the combination of eutrophication and climate warming. Many regions that have the potential for hypoxic conditions are being fished by mobile bottom-contacting fishing gears. The combined effects of trawling and hypoxia may be synergistic and disprop...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Scientific report presenting description of gear innovation and projects findings.
Technical Report
Full-text available
The Working Group on Fisheries Benthic Impact and Trade-offs (WGFBIT) develops methods and performs assessments to evaluate benthic impact from fisheries at regional scale, while con- sidering fisheries and seabed impact trade-offs. In this report, new fishery benthic impact assessments are carried out for several sub-regions in the Mediterranean (...
Article
Full-text available
Bottom trawling is widespread globally and impacts seabed habitats. However, risks from trawling remain unquantified at large scales in most regions. We address these issues by synthesizing evidence on the impacts of different trawl-gear types, seabed recovery rates, and spatial distributions of trawling intensity in a quantitative indicator of bio...
Article
Full-text available
Background and objectives The environmental effects of static gear fishing include habitat-level effects such as permanent changes to the physical environment and the structure of the benthic and epibenthic communities. Ecosystems subjected to prolonged exposure to pressure from static gear may undergo permanent changes and may never regain their p...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: This scoping review (ScR) aims to identify and map the evidence base on the contribution of area-based fisheries management measures (ABFMs) to fisheries sustainability and marine conservation. Emphasis will be given to the research that has been conducted in terms of the methodologies applied and the key findings acknowledged. Introduc...
Article
Bottom trawl fishing is a controversial activity. It yields about a quarter of the world's wild seafood, but also has impacts on the marine environment. Recent advances have quantified and improved understanding of large‐scale impacts of trawling on the seabed. However, such information needs to be coupled with distributions of benthic invertebrate...
Article
Full-text available
Bottom‐trawl fisheries are the most‐widespread source of anthropogenic physical disturbance to seabed habitats. Development of fisheries‐, conservation‐ and ecosystem‐based management strategies requires the selection of indicators of the impact of bottom trawling on the state of benthic biota. Many indicators have been proposed, but no rigorous te...
Article
Echiura (commonly called spoon worms) are derived annelids that have an unsegmented sausage-shaped body with a highly extensible anterior end (i.e. a proboscis). Echiura currently contains two superfamilies: Echiurioidea (with Echiuridae, Urechidae and Thalassematidae) and Bonellioidea (with Bonelliidae, and Ikedidae). Ikedidae contains only Ikeda,...
Preprint
Full-text available
Bottom trawling accounts for almost one quarter of global fish landings but may also have significant and unwanted impacts on seabed habitats and biota. Management measures and voluntary industry actions can reduce these impacts, helping to meet sustainability objectives for fisheries, conservation and environmental management. These include change...
Article
Full-text available
1.Bottom trawling is the most widespread human activity directly affecting seabed habitats. Assessment and effective management of the effects of bottom trawling at the scale of fisheries requires an understanding of differences in sensitivity of biota to trawling. Responses to disturbance are expected to depend on the intrinsic rate of increase of...
Article
Full-text available
Bottom-contact fishing gears are globally the most widespread anthropogenic sources of direct disturbance to the seabed and associated biota. Managing these fishing disturbances requires quantification of gear impacts on biota and the rate of recovery following disturbance. We undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis of 122 experiments on th...
Article
Full-text available
Benthic communities play a major role in organic matter remineralisation and the mediation of many aspects of shelf sea biogeochemistry. Few studies have considered how changes in community structure associated with different levels of physical disturbance affect sediment macronutrients and carbon following the cessation of disturbance. Here, we in...
Article
Full-text available
Microbes and benthic macro-invertebrates interact in sediments to play a major role in the biogeochemical cycling of organic matter, but the extent to which their contributions are modified following natural and anthropogenic changes has received little attention. Here, we investigate how nitrogen transformations, ascertained from changes in archae...
Article
Full-text available
Bottom trawling can change food availability for benthivorous demersal species by (i) changing benthic prey composition through physical seabed impacts and (ii) by removing overall benthic consumer biomass increasing the net availability of benthic prey for remaining individuals. Thus trawling may both negatively and positively influence the quanti...
Article
Full-text available
Bottom trawling is the most widespread human activity affecting seabed habitats. Here, we collate all available data for experimental and comparative studies of trawling impacts on whole communities of seabed macroinvertebrates on sedimentary habitats and develop widely applicable methods to estimate depletion and recovery rates of biota after traw...
Article
There is an implicit requirement under contemporary policy drivers to understand the characteristics of benthic communities under anthropogenically-unimpacted scenarios. We used a trait-based approach on a large dataset from across the European shelf to determine how functional characteristics of unimpacted benthic assemblages vary between differen...
Article
Full-text available
Given the proliferation of primary research articles, the importance of reliable environmental evidence reviews for informing policy and management decisions is increasing. Although conducting reviews is an efficient method of synthesising the fragmented primary evidence base, reviews that are of poor methodological reliability have the potential t...
Article
1.Bottom-trawl fisheries are wide-spread and cause mortality of benthic invertebrates, which in turn may lead to a decrease in the availability of prey for target fish species. Exploitation also reduces the abundance of the fish species themselves. Modelling studies have shown that bottom trawling could lead to both increases and decreases in fish...
Article
Full-text available
Bottom-trawl fisheries are wide-spread and have large effects on benthic ecosystems.We investigate the effect of scallop dredging on sand and otter trawling on mud by measuring changes in the infaunal community and the biogeochemical processes which they mediate. We hypothesize that changes in biogeochemistry due to fishing will be larger in mud wh...
Article
The establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs), particularly of no-take areas, is often viewed as a conflict between conservation and fishing. Partially protected areas (PPAs) that restrict some extractive uses are often regarded as a balance between biodiversity conservation and socio-economic viability. Few attempts have been made to generali...
Article
Full-text available
Fishing with bottom towed gear is widely considered an invasive form of fishing in terms of its impacts upon seabed habitats and fauna. Fishery closures or marine protected areas provide baseline conditions against which to assess the response to the removal of fishing disturbance and thus shed light on their use as fisheries management tools. We c...
Article
Full-text available
Background Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) encompass a range of protection levels, from fully protected no-take areas to restriction of only particular activities, gear types, user groups, target species or extraction periods. We synthesized the results of empirical studies that compared partially protected areas (PPA) to (i) no-take marine reserves...
Article
Full-text available
Forty stations within a 20 km2 Maltese maerl bed were sampled by grab to gather data on sediment granulometry and the percentage mass, sphericity, and morphotype of rhodoliths. Two stations were monitored between July 1996 and April 1998 to study temporal variation in species diversity and abundance of the epi- and endo-benthos. Maerl was commonest...
Data
The depth (m) and geographic position of the stations where live calcareous algae were present are given. The percentage mass of the live calcareous algae fraction (LCAF) at each station is also given, except for stations G4 and H3 where only a very small amount of live calcareous algae and no non-living sediment were collected
Data
Classified species list of the species collected using grab sampling during the seasonal sampling at Sites 1 and 2 between July 1996 and April 1998
Article
Full-text available
Spatial and bathymetric distribution, population density, habitat preferences, fecundity, breeding season and interspecific interactions of the alien grapsoid crab Percnon gibbesi (H. Milne-Edwards, 1853) from the Maltese Islands (Malta and Gozo) are compared among localities in the Mediterranean where established populations have been reported sin...
Article
Full-text available
Spatial and bathymetric distribution, population density, habitat preferences, fecundity, breeding season and interspecific interactions of the alien grapsoid crab Percnon gibbesi (H. Milne-Edwards, 1853) from the Maltese Islands (Malta and Gozo) are compared among localities in the Mediterranean where established populations have been reported sin...
Article
Full-text available
An updated list of alien marine species recorded from the Maltese Islands and surrounding waters, compiled from scientific and ‘grey’ literature and from authenticated unpublished reports to the authors, is presented. The listed species are classified in one of four categories as regards establishment status: established, casual, invasive and quest...
Article
Full-text available
A preliminary account on habitat preferences, bathymetric distribution, population density, and aspects of the reproductive biology of the alien grapsid Percnon gibbesi in the Maltese Islands is given. This alien was first recorded from Malta in 2001 and has since established breeding populations in suitable habitats throughout the Maltese islands...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Fisheries reserves (FRs) are spatially bounded areas where the harvesting of fisheries resources is restricted, according to gear types (restricted fishing areas), or forbidden (no-take zones) and are designed to protect populations of commercially important stocks from overexploitation. However, such reserves may also protect vulnerable and ecolog...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Effective management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) requires good quality data. Socio-economic data may not be readily available and needs to be collected, most often through questionnaire surveys. This was the case for the 25NM Fisheries Management Zone round the Maltese Islands where such data were required as part of the EMPAFISH project. The...

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Projects

Projects (5)
Archived project
Heriot-Watt University and partners are working towards an economically viable gear innovation that reduces bycatch and environmental impacts associated with the Newhaven scallop dredge that is commonly used by the UK scallop fishery to catch king scallops (Pecten maximus). The aim of the proposed modifications is to reduce the environmental footprint of the chain bag on the sea bed, to facilitate the riddling action of the bag and to reduce wear and friction. During the project, evidence of the environmental and economic benefits of the LISIG gear will be collected during scientific field trials and commercial practice with fishermen in terms of catch efficiency and selectivity, reduced environmental impacts (fauna mortality, CO2 emissions), reduced costs and improved profit margins. This evidence base will be essential to promote uptake of the proposed innovation by both industry and UK policy makers. The innovation supports the UK’s move towards sustainable fisheries and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and responds to the industry’s ever increasing need for sustainably-sourced seafood. Although the project will run for 18 months, our results dissemination strategy and engagement with the industry and policy makers will ensure that LISIG will continue beyond the Seafood Innovation Fund timeline to achieve real life benefits to the UK blue economy.
Project
MSPACE is a highly integrated, multidisciplinary project conceptualised to drive forward the capability of the four UK nations in designing and implementing climate-smart marine spatial plans (MSP). This is a global ambition, as well one specific to the UK. Building on a number of recent UK- and internationally funded initiatives, MSPACE is underpinned by a vast catalogue of state-of-the-art marine climate change modelling projections for the environment, species and habitats, uniquely available to the consortium through existing expertise and partnerships, along with world leading modelling spatial meta-analysis methods. In MSPACE we will use these methods already tested in real life MSP development, and build on key partnerships with the UK policy and industry communities. By month 18 MSPACE will deliver a report on the vulnerabilities and opportunities that climate change presents to the near-term spatial management of the fisheries, aquaculture and marine conservation sectors across the UK Exclusive Economic Zone. This report will be delivered in liaison with the Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) utilizing the latest MCCIP models for rapid delivery of evidence to support policy. Four carefully considered, contrasting real-life MSPs across the four nations of the UK will be used as case-studies throughout, enabling the application of the MSPACE tools to the complex and diverse national planning landscape. A detailed assessment of the needs and values of the planning stakeholder pools across the UK nations is also delivered early in MSPACE, and guides how climate change modelling analyses will be communicated through the project’s planned stakeholder engagement activities, including economic scenario exploration and analyses. These products will feed into the main and final output of MSPACE: sets of case-study specific recommendations for the design of climate smart, economically viable and socially acceptable strategies that support sustainable co-uses of the marine environment, marine conservation, natural capital preservation and resource exploitation. Co-development of the recommendations, using surveys, multiple-criteria decision analyses and other methods ensures they are relevant and responsive to the current and future priorities and needs of the regions covered by each plan, its stakeholders and governance structures. Lessons learnt from each case study will therefore be directly applicable to other MSPs in the same nation due to their specific tailoring. Significant potential for application of the overall lessons learned in MSPACE to the broader UK planning landscape, including MSPs for overseas territories, is ensured through the diversity of UK planning contexts explored in the project, and the consortium’s strong links to key marine industries and marine planning communities. MSPACE counts as key partners Plymouth Marine Laboratory, University of Essex, University of Bradford, Heriot-Watt University, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Marine Scotland, The Marine Biological Association, Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership, Marine Management Organisation, Natural Resources Wales, The Seaweed Alliance, National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations, Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association, Ørsted and Aquamaps. Principal Investigator: Dr Ana Queiros (anqu@pml.ac.uk)