Mark Douglas Spalding

Mark Douglas Spalding
University of Cambridge | Cam · Department of Zoology

MA, PhD

About

171
Publications
191,826
Reads
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29,247
Citations
Citations since 2016
44 Research Items
17599 Citations
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Introduction
Mark is a Senior Marine Scientist, Global Marine Team, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), based out of the University of Siena, Italy. He concurrently holding an Honorary Research Fellowship with the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge with some lecturing roles. Mark also has a part-time position as Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). His work centres on the assessment of global biodiversity, and on the enumeration of ecosystem services, particularly around mangrove forests and coral reefs. This includes work on nature-dependent tourism, coastal protection, fisheries, marine protected areas and mangrove restoration.
Additional affiliations
November 2015 - present
University of Cambridge
Position
  • Fellow
Description
  • I have partial engagement as a visitor with minor lecturing roles and an active research programme with post-doc and occasional extra researchers and projects
February 2014 - present
British Indian Ocean Territory Administration
Position
  • Consultant

Publications

Publications (171)
Article
The important role of coral reefs in protecting people, economies and infrastructure is widely acknowledged. Coral reefs are highly effective at reducing wave energy and thereby diminishing the impact of both flooding and erosion in coastal areas. Understanding these benefits, and their spatial distribution, can play a critical role in driving effo...
Article
Full-text available
Estimating the distribution, extent and change of coastal ecosystems is essential for monitoring global change. However, spatial models developed to estimate the distribution of land cover types require accurate and up-to-date reference data to support model development, model training and data validations. Owing to the labor-intensive tasks requir...
Article
Full-text available
Mangroves are a globally important ecosystem that provides a wide range of ecosystem system services, such as carbon capture and storage, coastal protection and fisheries enhancement. Mangroves have significantly reduced in global extent over the last 50 years, primarily as a result of deforestation caused by the expansion of agriculture and aquacu...
Article
Tidal wetlands are expected to respond dynamically to global environmental change, but the extent to which wetland losses have been offset by gains remains poorly understood. We developed a global analysis of satellite data to simultaneously monitor change in three highly interconnected intertidal ecosystem types—tidal flats, tidal marshes, and man...
Article
Full-text available
Mangroves are often cleared for aquaculture, agriculture, and coastal development despite the range of benefits for people and nature that they provide. In response to these losses, there are multiple global, and regional efforts aimed at accelerating mangrove forest restoration, resulting in many restoration projects being implemented and managed...
Preprint
Sustaining the organisms, ecosystems, and processes that underpin human well-being is necessary to achieve sustainable development. Here we identify critical natural assets, natural and semi-natural ecosystems that provide 90% of the total current magnitude of 14 types of nature’s contributions to people (NCP). Critical natural assets for maintaini...
Preprint
Full-text available
Sustaining the organisms, ecosystems, and processes that underpin human well-being is necessary to achieve sustainable development. Here we analyze 14 of nature’s contributions to people (NCP) for food, water, and climate security. Using spatial optimization, we identify critical natural assets, the most important ecosystems for providing NCP, comp...
Article
We present the results of our 13th annual horizon scan of issues likely to impact on biodiversity conservation. Issues are either novel within the biological conservation sector or could cause a substantial step-change in impact, either globally or regionally. Our global panel of 26 scientists and practitioners identified 15 issues that we believe...
Book
Full-text available
A global review of mangrove forests - extent, condition, protection, ecosystem services, restoration, global mapping, policy, economics, community engagement
Preprint
Full-text available
Sustaining the organisms, ecosystems, and processes that underpin human well-being is necessary to achieve sustainable development. Here we analyze 12 of nature’s contributions to people (NCP) for food, water, and climate security. Using spatial optimization, we identify critical natural assets, the most important ecosystems for providing NCP, comp...
Article
Full-text available
Given the recent trend towards establishing very large marine protected areas (MPAs) and the high potential of these to contribute to global conservation targets, we review outcomes of the last decade of marine conservation research in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), one of the largest MPAs in the world. The BIOT MPA consists of the atol...
Article
Full-text available
For centuries, mangrove forests and adjacent ecosystems have been cast in a negative light due to their (often perceived) ecosystem disservices. We give contemporary examples of how such viewpoints about mangroves continue to be communicated today, with potentially adverse consequences for mangrove conservation and public support. Since public perc...
Article
We present the results from our 12th annual horizon scan of issues likely to impact biological conservation in the future. From a list of 97 topics, our global panel of 25 scientists and practitioners identified the top 15 issues that we believe society may urgently need to address. These issues are either novel in the biological conservation secto...
Article
Full-text available
Mangroves are critical nursery habitats for fish and invertebrates, providing livelihoods for many coastal communities. Despite their importance, there is currently no estimate of the number of fishers engaged in mangrove associated fisheries, nor of the fishing intensity associated with mangroves at a global scale. We address these gaps by develop...
Article
Full-text available
Mangrove forests provide many ecosystem services but are among the world's most threatened ecosystems. Mangroves vary substantially according to their geomorphic and sedimentary setting; while several conceptual frameworks describe these settings, their spatial distribution has not been quantified. Here, we present a new global mangrove biophysical...
Article
Full-text available
Mangrove forests are found on sheltered coastlines in tropical, subtropical, and some warm temperate regions. These forests support unique biodiversity and provide a range of benefits to coastal communities, but as a result of large-scale conversion for aquaculture, agriculture, and urbanization, mangroves are considered increasingly threatened eco...
Article
In this horizon scan, we highlight 15 emerging issues of potential relevance to global conservation in 2020. Seven relate to potentially extensive changes in vegetation or ecological systems. These changes are either relatively new, for example, conversion of kelp forests to simpler macroalgal systems, or may occur in the future, for example, as a...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Ocean Acidification action plan priorities for the Western Indian Ocean region. Laffoley, D., Baxter, J.M., Hassoun, A.E.R., Spalding, M., Osborn, D., Oliver, J., & Andrew, T.G. 2020. Towards a western Indian Ocean regional ocean acidification action plan. Workshop report. Switzerland, IUCN. 29pp.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Rapid losses of mangroves over the past 50 years have had negative consequences on the environment, climate, and humanity, through diminished benefits such as carbon storage, coastal protection and fish production. Restoration of mangrove forests is possible, and has already been undertaken in many settings, but such efforts have been piecemeal, an...
Article
Full-text available
The use of mangroves as a travel and tourism destination has not received much attention, but provides a high-value, low impact use of these important ecosystems. This work quantifies and maps the distribution of mangrove visitation at global scales using keyword searches on user-generated content of the popular travel website, TripAdvisor. It furt...
Article
Our first horizon scan, conducted in 2009, aimed to identify novel but poorly known issues with potentially significant effects on global conservation of biological diversity. Following completion of the tenth annual scan, we reviewed the 15 topics identified a decade ago and assessed their development in the scientific literature and news media. F...
Article
We present the results of our tenth annual horizon scan. We identified 15 emerging priority topics that may have major positive or negative effects on the future conservation of global biodiversity, but currently have low awareness within the conservation community. We hope to increase research and policy attention on these areas, improving the cap...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Rapid losses of mangroves over the past 50 years have had negative consequences on the environment, the climate, and humanity, through diminished benefits such as carbon storage, coastal protection and fish production. Restoration of mangrove forests is possible, and has already been undertaken in many settings, but such efforts have been piecemeal...
Article
Aim Use a fishery‐independent metric to model and map regional‐scale fishing impact, and demonstrate how this metric assists with modelling current and potential fish biomass to support coral‐reef management. We also examine the relative importance of anthropogenic and natural factors on fishes at biogeographical scales. Location Reefs of five jur...
Chapter
Widespread coral bleaching events are becoming more frequent and have occurred across all coral reef ecosystems throughout the tropical oceans. As the oceans continue to warm in the next few decades, the severity and frequency of coral bleaching is likely to continue to increase. Monitoring approaches to document the impacts of coral bleaching rang...
Article
Full-text available
Coral reef ecosystems are seriously threatened by changing conditions in the ocean. Although many factors are implicated, climate change has emerged as a dominant and rapidly growing threat. Developing a long‐term strategic plan for the conservation of coral reefs is urgently needed yet is complicated by significant uncertainty associated with clim...
Article
Full-text available
With the growing recognition that effective action on climate change will require a combination of emissions reductions and carbon sequestration, protecting, enhancing and restoring natural carbon sinks have become political priorities. Mangrove forests are considered some of the most carbon-dense ecosystems in the world with most of the carbon sto...
Article
This is our ninth annual horizon scan to identify emerging issues that we believe could affect global biological diversity, natural capital and ecosystem services, and conservation efforts. Our diverse and international team, with expertise in horizon scanning, science communication, as well as conservation science, practice, and policy, reviewed 1...
Article
Full-text available
This is our ninth annual horizon scan to identify emerging issues that we believe could affect global biological diversity, natural capital and ecosystem services, and conservation efforts. Our diverse and international team, with expertise in horizon scanning, science communication, as well as conservation science, practice, and policy, reviewed 1...
Book
Full-text available
Although focused on aiding managers, these Guidelines are for anyone involved in supporting Large scale MPAs (LSMPAs) or the communities that hold an interest in them. It is hoped these Guidelines will also assist new LSMPAs from the earliest design phase, and enhance the management of existing LSMPAs from planning and implementation through ongoin...
Article
Full-text available
Global coral reef related tourism is one of the most significant examples of nature-based tourism from a single ecosystem. Coral reefs attract foreign and domestic visitors and generate revenues, including foreign exchange earnings, in over 100 countries and territories. Understanding the full value of coral reefs to tourism, and the spatial distri...
Article
Full-text available
Background Saltmarshes are extremely valuable but often overlooked ecosystems, contributing to livelihoods locally and globally through the associated ecosystem services they provide, including fish production, carbon storage and coastal protection. Despite their importance, knowledge of the current spatial distribution (occurrence and extent) of s...
Article
Full-text available
We present the results of our eighth annual horizon scan of emerging issues likely to affect global biological diversity, the environment, and conservation efforts in the future. The potential effects of these novel issues might not yet be fully recognized or understood by the global conservation community, and the issues can be regarded as both op...
Article
Full-text available
We present the results of our eighth annual horizon scan of emerging issues likely to affect global biological diversity, the environment, and conservation efforts in the future. The potential effects of these novel issues might not yet be fully recognized or understood by the global conservation community, and the issues can be regarded as both op...
Article
1. Progress on spatial conservation efforts in marine environments is often summarized with the simplistic metric of extent. However, targets require a more nuanced view, where ecological effectiveness, biodiversity, representation, connectivity and ecosystem services must all be recognized. Furthermore, these targets must be achieved through equit...
Technical Report
Full-text available
http://www.conservationgateway.org/ConservationPractices/Marine/Area-basedManagement/mow/mow-library/Documents/OysterHabitatRestoration_ManagersGuide.pdf
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter we consider progress towards that new target and the trends, changes, opportunities and needs we see for developing marine conservation efforts, especially through protected areas, over the next five years.
Chapter
Risks from coastal hazards to people and property are expected to increase with near-future sea level rise, changes in storminess, and increasing coastal populations. Evidence from empirical and modeling studies suggests that mangrove forest vegetation can reduce storm surge peak waters levels where mangroves are present over sufficiently large are...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents the results of our seventh annual horizon scan, in which we aimed to identify issues that could have substantial effects on global biological diversity in the future, but are not currently widely well known or understood within the conservation community. Fifteen issues were identified by a team that included researchers, practi...
Article
Full-text available
Coral reefs are highly dynamic ecosystems that are regularly exposed to natural perturbations. Human activities have increased the range, intensity, and frequency of disturbance to reefs. Threats such as overfishing and pollution are being compounded by climate change, notably warming and ocean acidification. Elevated temperatures are driving incre...
Article
Full-text available
Mangroves are critically important habitats for fisheries, bothfor their resident fish, crustacean, and mollusk populations and as nurserygrounds for the target species of offshore fisheries. However, the spatial variationin the benefits provided by mangroves to fisheries is poorly understood.Based on expert knowledge of mangrove ecology and fisher...
Article
Full-text available
In response to growing demand for ecosystem-level risk assessment in biodiversity conservation, and rapid proliferation of locally tailored protocols, the IUCN recently endorsed new Red List criteria as a global standard for ecosystem risk assessment. Four qualities were sought in the design of the IUCN criteria: generality; precision; realism; and...
Article
Full-text available
The newly developed IUCN Red List of Ecosystems is part of a growing toolbox for assessing risks to biodiversity, which addresses ecosystems and their functioning. The Red List of Ecosystems standard allows systematic assessment of all freshwater, marine, terrestrial and subterranean ecosystem types in terms of their global risk of collapse. In add...
Article
Full-text available
Governments have committed to conserving ≥17% of terrestrial and ≥10% of marine environments globally, especially “areas of particular importance for biodiversity” through “ecologically representative” Protected Area (PA) systems or other “area-based conservation measures,” while individual countries have committed to conserve 3–50% of their land a...
Article
This paper presents the results of our sixth annual horizon scan, which aims to identify phenomena that may have substantial effects on the global environment, but are not widely known or well understood. A group of professional horizon scanners, researchers, practitioners, and a journalist identified 15 topics via an iterative, Delphi-like process...
Article
Full-text available
The present study draws attention to the current state of knowledge of bivalve reef, an important but historically overlooked habitat type. Recent interest has led to the explicit recognition of this habitat type under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar Convention), an international treaty that has widespread governm...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Mangroves are widely understood to be important habitats for fisheries, supporting resident fish, crustacean, and mollusk populations as well as acting as nursery grounds for species that are targeted by offshore fisheries. There is, however, a lack of quantitative data on fisheries that operate in and around mangroves. We carried out a systematic...
Chapter
Restoration is undertaken not only to reverse habitat losses but also to recover the many valuable ecosystem services associated with coastal habitats. While ecosystem services are increasingly being used to define restoration objectives for a number of marine and terrestrial habitats, historical estimates of ecosystem service delivery are rare, in...
Article
Full-text available
The major task of policy makers and practitioners when confronted with a resource management problem is to decide on the potential solution(s) to adopt from a range of available options. However, this process is unlikely to be successful and cost effective without access to an independently verified and comprehensive available list of options. Ther...
Article
Full-text available
Coastal ecosystems, particularly intertidal wetlands and reefs (coral and shellfish), can play a critical role in reducing the vulnerability of coastal communities to rising seas and coastal hazards, through their multiple roles in wave attenuation, sediment capture, vertical accretion, erosion reduction and the mitigation of storm surge and debris...