Skills and Expertise
Research Items (9)
While marine environments are three-dimensional (3D) in nature, current approaches and tools for planning and prioritising actions in the ocean are predominantly two dimensional. Here, we develop a novel 3D marine spatial conservation prioritisation approach, which explicitly accounts for the inherent vertical heterogeneity of the ocean. This enables both vertical and horizontal spatial prioritisation to be performed simultaneously. To our knowledge, this is the first endeavour to develop prioritisation of conservation actions in 3D. We applied the 3D spatial conservation prioritisation approach to the Mediterranean Sea as a case study. We first subdivided the Mediterranean Sea into 3D planning units by assigning them a z coordinate (representing depth). We further partitioned these 3D planning units vertically into three depth layers; this allowed us to quantify biodiversity (1,011 species and 19 geomorphic features) and the cost of conservation actions at different depths. We adapted the prioritisation software Marxan to identify 3D networks of sites where biodiversity conservation targets are achieved for the minimum cost. Using the 3D approach presented here, we identified networks of sites where conservation targets for all biodiversity features were achieved. Importantly, these networks included areas of the ocean where only particular depth layers along the water column were identified as priorities for conservation. The 3D approach also proved to be more cost-efficient than the traditional 2D approach. Spatial priorities within the networks of sites selected were considerably different when comparing the 2D and 3D approaches. Prioritising in 3D allows conservation and marine spatial planners to target specific threats to specific conservation features, at specific depths in the ocean. This provides a platform to further integrate systematic conservation planning into the wider ongoing and future marine spatial planning and ocean zoning processes.
The on-going loss of biodiversity calls for assessing the performance of conservation strategies. In the case of marine protected areas (MPAs), a common indicator of success is the amount of biodiversity protected within them. However, there are many cases where the information for the official MPA boundary is not available, making it difficult to precisely measure the indicator. A solution to this problem is to create circular buffers around the centre location of MPAs for which boundaries are missing, equivalent in area to that reported officially for the MPA. The Coral Triangle Atlas provides the opportunity to quantify more precisely the validity of using buffers as proxies for MPA boundaries both at national and regional scales in the Coral Triangle. We used 612 existing MPA boundaries, converted them into point data at their centroids and then created circular buffers of area equal to that of the MPAs’ original polygons. Errors in estimated area of protected coral reefs were used to measure the bias created by the centroid buffers. We obtained an underestimation of protected coral reef area, both at the scale of the Coral Triangle region and at a national scale when using centroid buffers, with a larger underestimation as more MPA boundary proxies were used. We found that the size of MPA does not have a significant effect on the percentage of bias when MPAs are smaller than 100 km2 at a national level, and smaller than 1000 km2 at a regional level. With less than 15% of the total MPAs in the CT region larger than 100 km2, these results suggest that using buffers at a national scale for small MPAs may be a good solution to missing boundaries and cheaper than trying to collect exact information if working at a national or multinational scale. However, for countries with large MPAs such as Indonesia, using this proxy system will tend to create a larger error. At a regional scale, such as the Coral Triangle region, an estimation of total protected coral reef using buffers as MPA boundaries proxies will produce a small underestimation, thus, producing conservative results of protected coral reef area. This study shows the importance of assessing the bias introduced by using proxies for MPA boundaries when measuring indicators of conservation target achievement for coastal and marine areas.
The southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica has been identified as an important place for the reproduction of four species of marine turtles. This presence, coupled with threats to the survival of the species, has encouraged the establishment of conservation initiatives and the study of these animals in the region, especially in nesting areas. Nonetheless, information on their presence in the water (where they spend most of their life) is scarce. For this reason, this study analyses data from a three years of a marine turtle monitoring program by Fundación Keto in the area between the Marino Ballena National Park and the Caño Island Biological Reserve, and presents the temporal and spatial distribution of the observed individuals. During this period, a total of 447 turtle (sightings per sampling effort=0.36 individuals-hr-1), of three different species were observed: Lepidochelys olivacea, Chelonia Mydas, and Eretmochelys imbricata. Sightings have been recorded during all months of the year, with L. olivacea as the species most commonly observed, especially outside of protected areas; this species presented a clear mating period in the months of July and August. E. imbricata was the species observed closer to the shore, and at a shallower site, possibly indicating an important foraging area for juvenile individuals. This is the first study to address the consistent and permanent presence of three species of marine turtles in the waters off the coast of Cantón de Osa in the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Rev. Biol. Trop. 63 (Suppl. 1): 1-8. El Pacífico Sur de Costa Rica ha sido identificado como un sitio importante para la reproducción de cuatro especies de tortugas marinas. Las amenazas que éstas sufren han originado iniciativas de conservación y estudio en la zona, especialmente en playas de anidación. Sin embargo, información sobre su presencia en el agua (donde pasan la mayor parte de su vida) es escasa. Por esta razón, este estudio analiza la información recolectada como parte de un proyecto de monitoreo de tortugas marinas de la Fundación Keto, en la zona comprendida entre el Parque Nacional Marino Ballena y la Reserva Biológica Isla del Caño. Entre los años 2009 y 2011, se registraron 447 avistamientos de tortugas (la mayoría fuera de las áreas de conservación) pertenecientes a tres especies: Lepidochelys olivacea, Chelonia mydas, y Eretmochelys imbricata. Se registraron avistamientos durante todos los meses del año, siendo L. olivacea la especie con más individuos observados. Se identificaron dos áreas (a profundidades menores a 10m) importantes para la presencia de E. imbricata. Este es el primer aporte científico que documenta la presencia exacta, considerable y continua en el tiempo de tres especies de tortugas marinas frente a las costas del Cantón de Osa, Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Epub 2015 April 01.
In this paper we describe the construction of an online GIS database system, hosted by WorldFish, which stores bio-physical, ecological and socio-economic data for the 'Coral Triangle Area' in South-east Asia and the Pacific. The database has been built in partnership with all six (Timor-Leste, Malaysia, Indonesia, The Philippines, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea) of the Coral Triangle countries, and represents a valuable source of information for natural resource managers at the regional scale. Its utility is demonstrated using biophysical data, data summarising marine habitats, and data describing the extent of marine protected areas in the region.
Los manglares son ecosistemas clave en la provisión de servicios ecosistémicos (ej. pesquerías y captura de carbono). La provisión real y potencial de estos y otros servicios ecosistémicos está altamente influenciada por la composición, estado y área total de manglar. A pesar de esto, y aunque estudios anteriores han mapeado el manglar del Golfo de Nicoya como estructuras homogéneas, hasta el momento no hay mapas detallados sobre distribución de especies en el sitio. Por esta razón, en este estudio intentamos realizar un mapa de cobertura de la tierra en la Zona Marítimo Terrestre de una sección del Golfo de Nicoya que incluye 3 vacíos de conservación marinos. Así se realizó una clasificación supervisada de imágenes satelitales Rapid Eye (resolución espacial de 6.5m, tomada en 2010), con la ayuda de muestreo intensivo de campo para la evaluación de los resultados. Se realizó un mapa de cobertura de la tierra con 10 clases, con una precisión del 86%, El manglar, si bien no se pudo clasificar a nivel de especie, si se logró separar en 3 diferentes estratos, tomando como base la altura de los rodales (0 a 2m; 2-10m; >10m). Esta información, junto con el perfil generalizado de los manglares en el área, podría ayudar a inferir la presencia de ciertas especies en un área dada; e.g. individuos de Rhizophora mangle generalmente se encuentra en la zona externa del manglar, y Avicennia spp en zonas más internas, Además, el análisis mostró que 10% del área que debiera estar cubierta por mangle, en realidad ha sido convertida a salinas o camaroneras. Este trabajo presenta resultados prometedores para realizar mapas de distribución de especies de manglar en el Pacífico Norte de Costa Rica, que se podrían mejorar con la utilización de otros tipos de datos a la hora de clasificar las imágenes satelitales.
The Coral Triangle is a global priority for conservation and since the creation of the Coral Triangle Initiative in 2007 it has been a major focus for a multi-lateral conservation partnership uniting the region's six governments. The Coral Triangle (CT) Atlas was developed to provide scientists and managers with the best available data on marine resources in the Coral Triangle. Endorsed as an official supporting tool to the Coral Triangle Initiative, the CT Atlas strives to provide the most accurate information possible to track the success of the conservation efforts of the Initiative. Focusing on marine protected areas and key marine habitats, the CT Atlas tested a process to assess the quality, reliability, and accuracy of different data layers. This article describes the mechanism used to evaluate these layers and to provide accurate data. Results of the preliminary quality control process showed errors in reputable datasets, outdated and missing data, metadata gaps, and a lack of user instructions to interpret layers. It highlighted the need to challenge existing datasets and demonstrated that regional efforts could improve the data available to evaluate the effectiveness of conservation measures. The Coral Triangle Atlas is continuously being updated to be as accurate as possible for reliable analysis.
The six Coral Triangle countries?Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste?each have evolving systems of marine protected areas (MPAs) at the national and local levels. More than 1,900 MPAs covering 200,881Â km2 (1.6% of the exclusive economic zone for the region) have been established within these countries over the last 40Â years under legal mandates that range from village level traditional law to national legal frameworks that mandate the protection of large areas as MPAs. The focus of protection has been primarily on critical marine habitats and ecosystems, with a strong emphasis on maintaining and improving the status of near-shore fisheries, a primary food and economic resource in the region. This article brings together for the first time a consistent set of current data on MPAs for the six countries and reviews progress toward the establishment of MPAs in these countries with regard to (i) coverage of critical habitat (e.g., 17.8% of the coral reef habitat within the region lies within an MPA), (ii) areas under effective management, and (iii) actions needed to improve the implementation of MPAs as a marine conservation and resource management strategy. The contribution of MPAs to the Coral Triangle MPA System as called for in the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security Regional Plan of Action is clarified. Options for scaling up existing MPAs to networks of MPAs that are more ecologically linked and integrated with fisheries management and responsive to changing climate through the Coral Triangle MPA System development are discussed. A key point is the need to improve the effectiveness of existing MPAs, and plan in a manner leading to ecosystem-based management.
Mangroves in the Nicoya Gulf are economically and environmentally important ecosystems at local and national scales. They are critical for delivering ecosystem services, particularly fisheries and carbon sequestration. Current and potential provision of services is highly influenced by the composition, state and extent of the mangrove resources. Despite this, detailed information on their distribution within the area is scarce. Therefore, in this study we set to map and assess the distribution of mangrove species in the gulf of Nicoya, making use of high resolution satellite images (Rapid Eye images taken in 2010, with a 6,5m2 spatial resolution). For the classification of the image, different pixel based classification algorithms were applied to it, in combination with spectral indices and other transformations of the same. An intense fieldwork campaign was carried out to collect training and validation samples for each class of interest. Through the analysis, it has not been possible to map mangrove species using the spectral data from the images; nonetheless, it was possible to classify the mangrove in 3 different strata according to stand height (which coupled with the known generalized profile of mangroves in the area, could help infer the presence of certain species in a given area –e.g. Rhizophora mangle individuals are usually in the seaward margins of the mangroves, and Avicennia spp in the inner areas) with a 92% accuracy. The 3 strata are as follows: a) Up to 2m in height (representing dwarf mangroves, Avicennia germinans), b) 2-10m, and c) greater than 10m. Further work that incorporates ancillary data sources is needed to improve the discrimination capacity between species. Here we present first promising results for mangrove species distribution map in the north Pacific of Costa Rica, which aim to support the current efforts to manage and guarantee permanence of ecosystem services of coastal areas