Article

Managing for ocean biodiversity to sustain marine ecosystem services

Authors:
  • College (University) of Charleston, South Carolina, United States
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Abstract

Managing a complex ecosystem to balance delivery of all of its services is at the heart of ecosystem-based management. But how can this balance be accomplished amidst the conflicting demands of stakeholders, managers, and policy makers? In marine ecosystems, several common ecological mechanisms link biodiversity to ecosystem functioning and to a complex of essential services. As a result, the effects of preserving diversity can be broadly beneficial to a wide spectrum of important ecosystem processes and services, including fisheries, water quality, recreation, and shoreline protection. A management system that conserves diversity will help to accrue more "ecoservice capital" for human use and will maintain a hedge against unanticipated ecosystem changes from natural or anthropogenic causes. Although maintenance of biodiversity cannot be the only goal for ecosystem-based management, it could provide a common currency for evaluating the impacts of different human activities on ecosystem functioning and can act as a critical indicator of ecosystem status.

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... Marin biodiversitet er mangfoldet av liv som lever i havet, og omfatter variasjoner på nivåer fra genetikk til arter, til variasjoner på tvers av økosystemer (Sala & Knowlton, 2006). Et stort biologisk mangfold bidrar til at havene våre kan vaere produktive, og gjør økosystemer mer fleksible og tilpasningsdyktige i møte med miljøendringer (Palumbi et al., 2009). Stort biologisk mangfold styrker evnen marine samfunn har til å stå imot press, og gjør de i bedre stand til å komme seg igjen etter en forstyrrelse (Palumbi et al., 2009). ...
... Et stort biologisk mangfold bidrar til at havene våre kan vaere produktive, og gjør økosystemer mer fleksible og tilpasningsdyktige i møte med miljøendringer (Palumbi et al., 2009). Stort biologisk mangfold styrker evnen marine samfunn har til å stå imot press, og gjør de i bedre stand til å komme seg igjen etter en forstyrrelse (Palumbi et al., 2009). Slik sørger høy biodiversitet for at økosystemer opprettholdes, og hjelper marine samfunn i å forbli motstandsdyktige i møte med fremtidige utfordringer. ...
... Det er heller ikke uvanlig at biodiversitet vurderes ved å se på de ulike funksjonelle rollene arter utgjør i et økosystem. Dersom flere arter i et økosystem har økologisk like roller, gjør dette at enkelte arter kan reagere negativt på en forstyrrelse av systemet, uten at systemet opplever katastrofal svikt, fordi andre arter med like roller ivaretar de viktige økologiske funksjonene (Palumbi et al., 2009). Ulike arter med samme økologisk rolle kan reagere ulikt på miljøvariasjoner, så et stort biologisk mangfold bidrar derfor til mer robuste samfunn (Levin & Lubchenco, 2008). ...
... Thus, records of species that had seldom been encountered previously or were sampled beyond previously known distribution limits were synthesized. Second, seven of the most commonly used indices were selected to quantify the biodiversity patterns that reflected the productivity, stability, function, and structure of the community (Liu and Ma 2002;Palumbi et al. 2009;Duffy et al. 2013;Wang et al. 2018). Responses of the fish assemblage to changing environment could not always be directly observed. ...
... Therefore, the ecosystem of the PAR may be vulnerable to external influences. Understanding biodiversity patterns is essential to developing conservation strategies and monitoring conservation goals (Gaston 2000), and a proper level of biodiversity can promote productivity and secure multiple functions of the ecosystem (Palumbi et al. 2009;Duffy et al. 2013;Iken et al. 2019). However, species composition and distribution are the basis of diversity, and if the several significant distributional records we have observed do represent shifts in species distribution under the influence of climate change, then future changes in diversity are not yet known. ...
Article
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The Chukchi and northern Bering Seas, which serve as the only gateway for Pacific water entering the Arctic Ocean, have experienced profound declines in sea ice cover as well as increases in oceanic temperature. In this region, fish responses to climate change are of widespread concern, but time-series data are limited because of the harsh environment. Four Chinese National Arctic Research Expeditions with stations spanning substantial latitudes in both the Chukchi and northern Bering Seas were conducted in alternating summers (July–September, every 2 years) from 2010 to 2016, indicating that demersal fish had large spatial and interannual fluctuations in species composition and biodiversity. A total of 58 fish species were identified, including several taxa that were rarely sampled previously or repeatedly encountered in the border regions. The significant distributional records of these taxa may correspond to the probabilities that species have extended beyond the documented distribution limits and the interchanges between the Pacific and Atlantic faunas are promoted under the influence of climate change. The fish biodiversity patterns were quantitatively described using seven indices such as species richness and taxonomic diversity indices. The spatial and temporal variations in species composition and biodiversity may be related to differences and interannual oscillations in water mass and tight pelagic-benthic coupling. Additionally, our analyses suggested that fish communities in the Chukchi Sea, where the consequences of climate change seem to be more serious because of the simpler food web and the proximity to the central Arctic Ocean, appeared to be less affected by the currently changing environment than those in the northern Bering Sea. Time-series surveys would establish a foundation for distinguishing between acclimation to climate change and natural fluctuations.
... Through consideration of the importance of individual species in underpinning the stability of ecosystems and their services, we can gain precise understanding of the specific elements of biodiversity that stabilise ecosystems against disturbance (Chapter 2; Ross et al. 2021a), enabling mechanistic insight into the insurance effect of biodiversity (Yachi & Loreau 1999;Loreau et al. 2021). Such insight will provide a focus for management effects, allowing targeted conservation of key contributors to ecological stability and the continued supply of ecosystem services (Chapter 2; Petchey & Gaston 2002;Worm et al. 2006;Palumbi et al. 2009;Isbell et al. 2015a;Lefcheck et al. 2015;Fanin et al. 2017;Maseyk et al. 2017;Dee et al. 2019;White et al. 2020b;Greenop et al. 2021;Keyes et al. 2021;Ross et al. 2021a). Beyond individual species contributions to stability, intraspecific trait variation reveals the potential for individuals to drive ecological responses to disturbance (Ross et al. 2017;Herrando-pérez et al. 2019;Des Roches et al. 2021), and genetic variation can drive ecosystem change (McClean et al. 2015;Kahiluoto et al. 2019;Moreno-Mateos et al. 2020). ...
... By enabling identification of the key species that contribute to the robustness of ecosystem service supply, my theory provides a focus for management efforts that require consideration of the conservation value of individual species(Petchey & Gaston 2002;Worm et al. 2006;Palumbi et al. 2009;Isbell et al. 2015a;Maseyk et al. 2017; Fanin et al. 2018; Dee et al. 2019; White et al. 2020b). Focusing on the contribution of individual species to robustness and the vulnerability of those species to extinction through their life histories, interactions, and functional traits (Díaz et al. 2007; Mace et al. 2008; Moreno-Mateos et al. 2020; Carpentier et al. 2021; Keyes et al. 2021) will enable empirical quantification of how vulnerability scales from species through to ecosystem services (Kaiser-Bunbury et al. 2010; Oliver et al. 2015a; Dee et al. 2017; Fanin et al. 2018; Smale et al. 2019; Greenop et al. 2021). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Through global environmental change, humans are modifying the planet at an unprecedented rate and scale, triggering the ongoing biodiversity and climate crises. Ecological stability and the consistency of nature’s contributions to people are fundamental to the continued sustainability of human societies. Stability is a complex and multidimensional concept including components such as variability in time and space and the resistance to and recovery from disturbances. Global change has the potential to destabilise ecosystems, but the form and strength of the relationship between different global change drivers and dimensions of stability remains understudied, precluding general or mechanistic understanding. Here, I combine theory, a field experiment, and observational data from a high-resolution acoustic monitoring network to reveal the potential for multiple global change drivers to erode multidimensional ecological stability. Critically, I also show how biodiversity and natural habitats can buffer the destabilising effects of global environmental change on ecosystems and soundscapes, providing vital insurance against disturbance. In an era characterised by unrelenting global change and intensifying disturbance regimes, my results provide a key step towards a generalisable understanding—and ultimately management—of the stability of ecosystems and their contributions to human wellbeing.
... It covers 71% of the earth's surface (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2014) and provides many ecosystem services such as food, transport and tourism (Barbier, 2017). Literature states that these services increase with increasing biodiversity (Loreau et al., 2001;Tilman, 2001;Sala & Knowlton, 2006;Worm et al., 2006;Butler et al., 2007;Hector & Bagchi, 2007;Palumbi et al., 2009). Despite its importance, it is continuously threatened by anthropogenic influences like overfishing (Christensen et al., 2007), pollution (Sindermann, 1995), acidification (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2014) and global warming (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2014). ...
... 2.10 Four grid cells in 2D using the conformal projection (Bentsen et al., 1999 (Barbier, 2017). La littérature indique que ces services augmentent avec l'augmentation de la biodiversité (Loreau et al., 2001 ;Tilman, 2001 ;Sala & Knowlton, 2006 ;Worm et al., 2006 ;Butler et al., 2007 ;Hector & Bagchi, 2007 ;Palumbi et al., 2009). Malgré son importance, il est continuellement menacé par des influences anthropiques telles que la surpêche (Christensen et al., 2007), la pollution (Sindermann, 1995), l'acidification (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2014) et le réchauffement climatique (Hoegh-Guldberg et al. , 2014). ...
Thesis
To give sound management advice, the connectivity in coastal areas must be thoroughly understood. The red thread throughout this PhD is analysing the uncertainty of the SYMPHONIE2015 model and its effect on larval dispersal simulations. In the first chapter, the robustness of the model to assumption violation was tested. This was done by calculating six relative and absolute statistical indicators during and outside of wind, wave and stratification events. The results showed that the model’s performance is not affected by these events. In the second chapter, the instant error was calculated. Then, the cumulative error distributions were compared to each other in space and time. In time, the intraseasonal differences in error distributions were smaller than the interseasonal ones. In space, eight groups of error distributions could be formed. No link was found between the model’s performance and stratification, water depth, resolution and bathymetry slope. However, a strong correlation between the current speed and the error distributions was found. In chapter three, the instant error was added as noise to the Lagrangian dispersal simulations and compared to the original run to assess the effect of the models’ error on connectivity. The median difference in transfer rate between the runs with and without noise around zero. However, the relative difference in transfer rate can vary from -100% to 100%. Knowing the uncertainties in dispersal simulations can aid in using them for management advice.
... Coastal animals are adapted to persist in a naturally variable environment, having evolved strategies to exploit predictable environmental change and mechanisms to anticipate future expected changes [40]. We suggest that the species investigated in our study, and likely the majority of coastal ectotherms, normally exploit predictable daily oxygen supersaturation to cope with nightly oxygen undersaturation. ...
... We suggest that the species investigated in our study, and likely the majority of coastal ectotherms, normally exploit predictable daily oxygen supersaturation to cope with nightly oxygen undersaturation. However, the environment is being altered at an unusual rate due to anthropogenic activity, compromising feedback mechanisms, and the ability of communities to adapt to different fluctuation regimes remains overlooked [40]. Interestingly, the importance of behavioural and evolutionary mechanisms involved in the plasticity of species' thermal tolerance is unrelated to latitude or thermal seasonality, and it has been proposed that in cases where species are limited in their behavioural thermoregulation, greater plasticity in physiological traits will be favoured [41], it is possible that exposure to environmental fluctuations contributes to this. ...
Article
Coastal marine systems are characterized by high levels of primary production that result in diel oxygen fluctuations from undersaturation to supersaturation. Constant normoxia, or 100% oxygen saturation, is therefore rare. Since the thermal sensitivity of invertebrates is directly linked to oxygen availability, we hypothesized that (i) the metabolic response of coastal marine invertebrates would be more sensitive to thermal stress when exposed to oxygen supersaturation rather than 100% oxygen saturation and (ii) natural diel fluctuation in oxygen availability rather than constant 100% oxygen saturation is a main driver of the thermal response. We tested the effects of oxygen regime on the metabolic rate, and haemocyanin and lactate levels, of velvet crabs ( Necora puber ) and blue mussels ( Mytilus edulis ), under rising temperatures (up to 24°C) in the laboratory. Oxygen supersaturation and photosynthetically induced diel oxygen fluctuation amplified animal metabolic thermal response significantly in both species, demonstrating that the natural variability of oxygen in coastal environments can provide considerable physiological benefits under ocean warming. Our study highlights the significance of integrating ecologically relevant oxygen variability into experimental assessments of animal physiology and thermal response, and predictions of metabolic performance under climate warming. Given the escalating intensity and frequency of climate anomalies, oxygen variation caused by coastal vegetation will likely become increasingly important in mitigating the effects of higher temperatures on coastal fauna.
... Due to the difficulty of sampling micronekton, their pelagic biodiversity records are rare compared to zooplankton time series globally (Edwards et al., 2010). Given the impacts of loss of pelagic biodiversity on ecosystem function and services (Worm et al., 2006;Palumbi et al., 2009), it is paramount that baselines be established and understood (Jetz et al., 2012), and that they be connected to ecosystem management to assess potential future tipping points of forage fish popu-lations (Pikitch et al., 2014). As part of the first US Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) program (Duffy et al., 2013), the RREAS was identified as a unique observational record for monitoring biodiversity of pelagic micronekton and assessing ocean-climate processes that underlie changes (McClatchie et al., 2014;Ralston et al., 2015; see Box 1). ...
... Ecosystem services derived from eastern boundary upwelling systems, as a function of biodiversity and production of coastal pelagic species, have fueled human population growth for millennia. The sustainable harvest of living marine resources is only possible based on a resilient, healthy, and functioning pelagic ecosystem (Palumbi et al., 2009). From fishery and socioecological perspectives, an index of ecosystem services can be derived from tracking fishery landings and ex-vessel value (the value of the fish when unloaded from a vessel) to estimate spatially explicit values (per fished species habitat) for tons of landed catch and monetary value through time (Miller et al., 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
Our synthesis combines inferences from a long-term fisheries monitoring survey and principles of ecosystem oceanography to inform and benefit biodiversity monitoring and modeling studies within the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem. We review the history, research, and application of the Rockfish Recruitment and Ecosystem Assessment Survey, highlighting how one survey of life can illuminate understanding of pelagic biodiversity patterns and ecosystem function (from micronekton to top predators to ecosystem services) that may be easily extended to other surveys to strengthen observation networks. Biodiversity is often used as the standard for understanding ecosystem resilience to climate or anthropogenic disturbances. This concept is central to our review, and we examine it in relation to complex impacts resulting from a recent climate event (a marine heatwave) on biodiversity, ecosystem function, and socioeconomic services. We present a system of interconnected modules that summarize and illustrate patterns of pelagic biodiversity using a phylogenetic approach, known modulations and environmental drivers of variability (i.e., source waters, habitat compression, and ecosystem shifts), remote sensing and modeling tools for monitoring biodiversity (i.e., seascapes and krill hotspot models), and the status of top predator biodiversity. We use these modules to summarize connections between biodiversity and ecosystem services provided. Following each module, a brief discussion of questions raised and recommendations for future studies and partnerships is provided to improve future integrative biodiversity monitoring. Additionally, we invested in promoting data accessibility and outreach, resulting in several data visualization and ecosystem context tools for biodiversity monitoring and fisheries management. We advocate that a diverse integrated ecosystem approach should result in fewer ecological surprises by putting past events and surprises into context, and thus better anticipating those yet to arrive. Building partnerships among researchers and coastal communities will result in increased capacity of analytical tools and perspectives to ensure sustainable use of fishery resources, while strengthening the resilience of fishing communities.
... Bleaching susceptibility is taxon-and location-specific [7][8][9][10] and mass bleaching events lead to rapid compositional shifts in the benthic community [11]. With the ever-increasing frequency and severity of bleaching events, shallow corals are disappearing at an alarming rate [1,[12][13][14], and the quest to identify thermally tolerant corals and coral reefs is of great interest for conservation and management [15,16]. ...
... Mesophotic coral ecosystems are unlikely to provide long-term refugia from the ever-increasing frequency of thermal stress events [15,20]. However, they may still play a role as short-term refuges from bleaching. ...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change and consequent coral bleaching are causing the disappearance of reef-building corals worldwide. While bleaching episodes significantly impact shallow waters, little is known about their impact on mesophotic coral communities. We studied the prevalence of coral bleaching two to three months after a heat stress event, along an extreme depth range from 6 to 90 m in French Polynesia. Bayesian modelling showed a decreasing probability of bleaching of all coral genera over depth, with little to no bleaching observed at lower mesophotic depths (greater than or equal to 60 m). We found that depth-generalist corals benefit more from increasing depth than depth-specialists (corals with a narrow depth range). Our data suggest that the reduced prevalence of bleaching with depth, especially from shallow to upper mesophotic depths (40 m), had a stronger relation with the light-irradiance attenuation than temperature. While acknowledging the geographical and temporal variability of the role of mesophotic reefs as spatial refuges during thermal stress, we ought to understand why coral bleaching reduces with depth. Future studies should consider repeated monitoring and detailed ecophysiological and environmental data. Our study demonstrated how increasing depth may offer a level of protection and that lower mesophotic communities could escape the impacts of a thermal bleaching event.
... Regardless of the mechanism that has caused the current emergence of Pocillopora-dominated reefs, the concept of response diversity suggests a higher vulnerability of monocultures to disturbances such as heat-stress events in the future (Dalin et al., 2009;Lin, 2011). Reefs dominated by a single genus have a more limited range of traits and functions to persist and survive under challenging conditions than those with more diverse reef ecosystems (Aronson and Precht, 1995;Palumbi et al., 2009). Therefore, despite the apparent resilience of Polynesian reefs to climate change to date, the recent shift towards Pocillopora dominated states on Polynesian reefs may severely compromise their capacity to cope with future global changes. ...
Article
Coral reefs are declining at an unprecedented rate as a consequence of local and global stressors. Using a 26-year monitoring database, we analyzed the loss and recovery dynamics of coral communities across seven islands and three archipelagos in French Polynesia. Reefs in the Society Islands recovered relatively quickly after disturbances, which was driven by the recovery of corals in the genus Pocillopora (84% of the total recovery). In contrast, reefs in the Tuamotu and Austral archipelagos recovered poorly or not at all. Across archipelagos, predation by crown-of-thorns starfish and destruction by cyclones outweighed the effects of heat stress events on coral mortality. Despite the apparently limited effect of temperature-mediated stressors, the homogenization of coral communities towards dominance of Pocillopora in the Society Archipelago and the failure to fully recover from disturbances in the other two archipelagos concern the resilience of Polynesian coral communities in the face of intensifying climate-driven stressors.
... Estimating the richness of zooplankton species remains a priority in several fields of research, from ecology to conservation biology (Carugati, Corinaldesi, Dell'Anno, & Danovaro, 2015;Gaston, 2009). Such studies are particularly important in marine ecosystems where ecological processes are often maintained by both complex biotic interactions and environmental drivers (Palumbi et al., 2009;Steinberg & Landry, 2017). For example, zooplankton communities play a central role in regulating biogeochemical cycles by transferring carbon from primary producers to higher trophic levels (Bucklin et al., 2019;Everaert, Deschutter, De Troch, Janssen, & De Schamphelaere, 2018;Lindeque, Parry, Harmer, Somerfield, & Atkinson, 2013;Steinberg & Landry, 2017). ...
Preprint
Zooplankton play a pivotal role in sustaining the majority of marine ecosystems. The distribution patterns and diversity of zooplankton provide key information for understanding the functioning of these ecosystems. Nevertheless, due to the numerous cryptic and sibling species and the lack of diagnostic characteristics for immature developmental stages, the identification of the global-to-local patterns of zooplankton biodiversity and biogeography remains a challenge in different research fields. Here, the spatial and temporal changes in the zooplankton community from the open waters of the southern section of the Gulf of Mexico were assessed using a multilocus sequence analysis and metabarcoding approach based on the genetic information of 18S and cytochrome oxidase c subunit I (COI) genes. Additionally, a multi-scale analysis was implemented to evaluate which environmental predictors may explain the variability in the structure of the zooplankton community. Our finding suggests that the synergistic effects of oxygen, temperature, and longitude (intended as a proxy for still unexplored forces) may explain both spatial and temporal changes in the zooplankton community. Furthermore, the zooplankton distribution likely reflects the coexistence of three heterogeneous ecoregions and a bio-physical partitioning of the studied area. Finally, some taxa were either exclusive or predominant with either 18S or COI data. This may suggest that comprehensive assessments of the zooplankton community may be more accurately met by the use of multi-locus approaches.
... The importance of obtaining population estimates of shark and ray species is strongly justified, taking into account their ecological relevance, many of which have unique functions within marine ecosystems and, therefore, have low functional redundancy [59]. The presence of several species of sharks and rays that fulfill the same ecological role, can be indicators of a greater resilience of the ecosystem [60]. ...
Article
Full-text available
In the Mexican Caribbean, 15 marine protected areas (MPAs) have been established for managing and protecting marine ecosystems. These MPAs receive high anthropogenic pressure from coastal development, tourism, and fishing, all in synergy with climate change. To contribute to the MPAs' effectiveness, it is necessary to provide a long-term observation system of the condition of marine ecosystems and species. Our study proposes the establishment of a new marine biodiversity monitoring program (MBMP) focusing on three MPAs of the Mexican Caribbean. Five conservation objects (COs) were defined (coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves, marine turtles, and sharks-rays) for their ecological relevance and the pressures they are facing. Coral reef, seagrass and mangroves have multiple biological, biogeochemical and physical interactions. Marine turtles are listed as endangered species, and the status of their populations is unknown in the marine area of the MPAs. Elasmobranchs play a key role as top and medium predators, and their populations have been poorly studied. Indicators were proposed for monitoring each CO. As a technological innovation, all information obtained from the MBMP will be uploaded to the Coastal Marine Information and Analysis System (SIMAR), a public, user-friendly and interactive web platform that allows for automatic data management and processing.
... Áreas con una riqueza moderada de especies de elasmobranquios han mostrado tener una alta riqueza funcional, lo cual indica que hay especies que tienen funciones únicas dentro de los ecosistemas y, por tanto, tienen una baja redundancia funcional (ecológica) (Hussey et al., 2015). De esta forma, la presencia de varias especies que cumplen un mismo rol ecológico pueden ser indicadoras de una mayor resiliencia del ecosistema (Palumbi et al., 2009). 6.1.2 ...
... The ocean's foodwebs, continental shelves and estuaries support the production of seafood, serve as a sink for greenhouse gases, maintain water quality, and hedge against unanticipated ecosystem changes from natural or anthropogenic causes. Marine ecosystems with high diversity have slower fisheries collapse rates and higher rates of fisheries recovery than marine ecosystems with lower diversity (Worm et al. 2006, Levin and Lubchenco 2008, Palumbi et al. 2009). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The corona pandemic has exposed the interconnected, tightly coupled and vulnerable globalised world. This White Paper sets the scientific stage for understanding and responding to such crises for global sustainability and resilient societies. We provide a systemic overview of the current situation; where people and nature are dynamically intertwined and embedded in the biosphere, placing shocks and extreme events as part of this dynamic; where humanity has become the major force in shaping the future of the Earth system as a whole; and where the rapid expansion of the human dimension has caused climate change, simplification of life on earth, growing inequalities, and loss of resilience to deal with uncertainty and surprise. Taken together, human actions are challenging the biosphere foundation for a prosperous development of civilisations. The Anthropocene reality, of rising turbulence, calls for transformative change towards sustainable futures. Emerging technologies, social innovations, broader shifts in cultural repertoires, as well as a diverse portfolio of active stewardship of human actions in support of a resilient biosphere are highlighted as essential parts of such transformations.
... Áreas con una riqueza moderada de especies de elasmobranquios han mostrado tener una alta riqueza funcional, lo cual indica que hay especies que tienen funciones únicas dentro de los ecosistemas y, por tanto, tienen una baja redundancia funcional (ecológica) (Hussey et al., 2015). De esta forma, la presencia de varias especies que cumplen un mismo rol ecológico pueden ser indicadoras de una mayor resiliencia del ecosistema (Palumbi et al., 2009). 6.1.2 ...
Chapter
Los tiburones y las rayas tienen un papel esencial como depredadores tope y media- nos, respectivamente, en los ecosistemas marinos que habitan, y ocupan los últimos eslabones de la cadena trófica (Heithaus et al., 2008); desempeñan funciones de control sobre poblaciones de numerosas especies marinas (Myers et al., 2007), con lo que contribuyen a mantener el equilibrio con sus competidores, garantizando así la diversidad de especies (Myers y Worm, 2005). Su presencia mantiene el equilibrio de las cadenas tróficas en los principales ecosistemas que habitan (Terborgh y Estes, 2010); por ejemplo, su eliminación en el arrecife desencadenaría el conocido efec- to en cascada, pues dispararía la prolife- ración de sus competidores carnívoros, lo cual incidiría negativamente en las poblaciones de sus presas y de sus competidores carnívoros (peces) (Brunnschweiler, 2010). La ausencia de herbívoros, a su vez, conduciría a una proliferación de algas que compiten por el espacio con los corales. Esto podría contribuir a un cambio de fase en el ecosistema hacia un estado domina- do por algas (Dulvy et al., 2004).
... Consequently, the sustainability of marine ecosystem services are seriously compromised (US Commission Policy, 2004;MEA, 2005). For these reasons, the concept of ecosystem-based management (EBM, also referred as integrated ocean management or ecosystem approach) gained importance for driving marine activities in a sustainable way (Palumbi et al., 2009). EBM for oceans considers the complexity of marine ecosystems in the implementation of marine activities. ...
Thesis
To sustain the needs of growing world population, seas and oceans are becoming heavily exploited. Initially exploited for food and transportation, offshore marine areas are nowadays supplying energy and minerals. Whilst the extraction of terrestrial natural resources led to major environmental consequences (i.e. biodiversity loss), it is crucial to ensure the global environmental sustainability of marine products on their entire life cycle. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methods have the potential to provide such information and to identify hotspots of environmental impacts in the value chain of the product under analysis. At the endpoint level, LCA results consider impacts on three areas of protection (AoP): human health, ecosystem quality and natural resources. However, LCA methods have been traditionally applied to industrial processes and thus, are limited to include site-specific aspects (e.g. disturbance of the local ecosystem) in the scope of the assessment. The application of LCA to assess the environmental sustainability of marine products including ecosystem-specific life cycle impact assessments (LCIAs) in the evaluation of impacts belonging to the three AoP. Moreover, quantitative data on mass and energy flows associated to the entire life cycle of the products (production / extraction of raw materials and their processing to final commodities) are required to perform global environmental sustainability assessments. The overall objective of this PhD is to reinforce LCA capacity to assess the global sustainability of marine products. Two operational frameworks are proposed to include site-specific aspects related to the sourcing of marine raw materials, and data related to the processing of wet biomass are provided. In this way, the evaluation of the global environmental sustainability of marine products through LCA will be more inclusive and meaningful for comparative assessments with terrestrial alternatives. The PhD starts with a general introduction (Chapter 1) divided into four sections. First, an overview of marine activities is provided. The most important marine activities in terms of economic importance are described and the concept of the industrial revolution of the seas and oceans is introduced. This refers to the growing importance of the marine-sourced materials and energy for the global economy. Indeed, the importance of the marine economy is expected to follow a two-fold increase by 2030. On a longer time horizon, the potential recovery of deep-sea minerals might significantly increase our dependence on marine commodities. The second section provides background information related to the classification of natural resources and their link with ecosystem services. Natural resources are classified according to renewability, exhaustibility and their form at the moment of extraction (biotic / abiotic). Marine natural resources are presented according to this classification and in the context of ecosystem services. Deep-sea minerals are extensively presented as they might become substantial for our economy in a near future. The ecological pressures on marine ecosystems are discussed in the third section. Direct drivers of impact caused by the marine economy are highlighted, such as the reduction of commercial fish stock size. The fourth section introduces the global concepts of LCA and the development of site-specific LCIA pathways to assess changes in local ecosystem quality, measured through biodiversity related metrics. The main limitations for global environmental sustainability assessments of marine products are exposed. The needs for site-specific marine LCIAs and further data regarding the processing of marine raw materials are highlighted. Chapter 2 quantifies trade-offs amongst seaweed farming and wild catches fisheries. Both are considered as marine natural resources and marine ecosystem services. The reduction in fisheries yields caused by the harvesting of net primary production (NPP) (i.e. seaweed) is estimated through a trophic food web approach. A site-specific LCIA framework relying on the seasonal ecosystem NPP, seaweed biomass growth and fish landings is proposed to assess the Lost Potential Yield (LPY) of the area under study. LPY are reported in terms of biomass, economic value and eco-exergy, a metric measuring the genomic complexity of the organisms. The framework is illustrated for the Greater North Sea and shows a net positive contribution of seaweed farming in terms of marine natural resources (i.e. the production of seaweed exceeds the decrease in fisheries landings for the three LPY metrics). Further research could consist in the development of additional impact pathways to NPP reduction (e.g. habitat provision) and on the consideration of ecosystem carrying capacity. The following chapter (Chapter 3) develops a site-specific LCIA framework to assess impacts of deep seafloor disturbance on regional and global biodiversity as proxy for ecosystem quality. Changes in ecosystem quality are measured through a biodiversity-related metric: the potentially disappeared fraction of species (PDF), expressing relative changes in species richness caused by the intervention. The framework builds on existing LCIAs assessing impacts on ecosystem quality from land-use (i.e. land transformation and occupation). According to existing literature, the framework identifies three kinds of impacts: transformation, occupation and permanent impacts that can be summed to obtain the total impact on regional and global ecosystem quality. The regional biodiversity impacts are first assessed and converted to global biodiversity impacts considering the vulnerability and the scarcity of the ecosystem impacted. The framework is operationalized in a case study consisting to polymetallic nodules mining in the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCZ). Despite the very limited knowledge on benthic recovery from deep-sea mining, the framework shows consistency with existing LCA characterization models for biodiversity. The total impact on regional and global biodiversity is mostly influenced by the permanent impact on biodiversity because of the absence of recovery of a significant fraction of species. This framework can be integrated into LCA studies in order to understand the global environmental sustainability of deep-sea activities. Next to the development of additional LCIAs, the availability of detailed and transparent datasets is another challenge to assess the global environmental sustainability of marine products. Chapter 4 computes mass and energy flows associated with the harvesting and the processing of microalgae under eight biorefinery scenarios to produce lipids, proteins, energy and dried biomass. Two cell disruption methods are tested and two solvents for lipid extraction are compared. Complete flowsheets are provided for each step of the downstream processing of the raw biomass. The chapter highlights the impact of the cell disruption method on the total energy demand but also, the influence amongst downstream processes in a cascade design. Lipid extraction has influence on protein extraction, this latter improving energy production as it has a more favourable carbon to nitrogen ratio. In addition, lipids are extracted with a conventional solvent (hexane) for some scenarios and with a biobased solvent (2-methytetrahydrofuran) for other scenarios. The azeotropic distillation required for the recovery of the biobased solvent (and thus its extra energy demand) shows that solvent selection is crucial to control the total energy demand of the process, but lipid profiles will vary according to solvent properties. The last chapter (Chapter 5) consists of the conclusions and perspectives of the manuscript. Whilst the conclusions discuss the main outcomes of the three (published) research chapters (Chapter 2, Chapter 3 and Chapter 4), the perspective section opens a discussion on the requirement for an exhaustive classification of marine ecosystems. In a similar way as for the terrestrial ecosystems, such classification will facilitate the development of databases for marine ecosystem attributes and hence, the implementation of site-specific LCIAs. Furthermore, the section discusses alternatives to species richness related metrics to monitor changes in the ecosystem quality. Different types of biodiversity are defined according to the combination of biodiversity level (i.e. genetic, species, communities and landscape) and biodiversity attribute (i.e. composition, structure, function). Consequently, it is not possible to grasp the entire complexity of biodiversity through a single indicator such as species richness in LCA methods. The use of potential additional indicators for ecosystem quality and the main challenges arising from it are discussed. Finally, the discussion highlights the importance of aligning the scope of LCA studies with the descriptors used by European policy makers to assess the environmental status of marine ecosystems (under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, MSFD). It emphasizes the needs for additional marine LCIAs to consider all descriptors identified by the MSFD (11) in LCA studies of marine products. The challenge of integrating marine ecosystem services in the scope of LCA studies is considered. Because of the complexity of quantifying ecosystem services and their link with biodiversity, the use of regional biodiversity as midpoint indicator for ecosystem services is proposed. Finally, the section concludes by discussing the challenge of evaluating the total cumulative impact caused by different stressors on a given marine ecosystem. Whilst existing LCIAs do not consider interactions amongst each other, it is relevant to make use of ecological risk assessment tools to model the final ecosystem response to various disturbances occurring in parallel. To conclude, this work has emphasized two main challenges for the global environmental sustainability assessment of marine products: the implementation of site-specific LCIA frameworks and the development of datasets regarding further processing of the harvested products.
... To maximize outcomes, the extension of MPAs must also be followed by a comprehensive evaluation of their effectiveness. This evaluation requires new methodologies that incorporate considerations on the MPA's ability to protect and restore biodiversity and to support the provision of Ecosystem Services (hereafter, ES), i.e., the ecosystem outputs from which people benefit, including fish production and carbon sequestration (Palumbi et al., 2009;Belgrano et al., 2018;Lindegren et al., 2018), and related benefits to human well-being. The evaluation of MPAs must also include a broader human dimension (Jentoft et al., 2007;Fredriksen et al., 2020;Hynes et al., 2020) given that an MPA's effectiveness over time usually depends on the social, cultural, and institutional contexts in which the MPAs has been established and also support important socio-cultural aspects such as community identity and heritage (Charles and Wilson, 2009;Christie et al., 2017). ...
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Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are an important tool for management and conservation and play an increasingly recognised role in societal and human well-being. However, the assessment of MPAs often lacks a simultaneous consideration of ecological and socio-economic outcomes, and this can lead to misconceptions on the effectiveness of MPAs. In this perspective, we present a transdisciplinary approach based on the Delphi method for mapping and evaluating Marine Protected Areas for their ability to protect biodiversity while providing Ecosystem Services (ES) and related human well-being benefits – i.e., the ecosystem outputs from which people benefit. We highlight the need to include the human dimensions of marine protection in such assessments, given that the effectiveness of MPAs over time is conditional on the social, cultural and institutional contexts in which MPAs evolve. Our approach supports Ecosystem-Based Management and highlights the importance of MPAs in achieving restoration, conservation, and sustainable development objectives in relation to EU Directives such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (MSPD), and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
... Diverse and sustainable populations of marine organisms are key for the continued provision of marine ecosystem services, i.e. the 'direct and indirect benefits people obtain from [marine] ecosystems' (Beaumont et al. 2007, p. 254), and importantly for food biosecurity (Palumbi et al. 2009). However, food biosecurity appears threatened by environmental stress and future climate change (Ekstrom et al. 2015, Lloret et al. 2016, Kibria et al. 2017, Lemasson et al. 2019. ...
Article
Ocean acidification and warming (OAW) pose a threat to marine organisms, with particular negative effects on molluscs, and can jeopardize the provision of associated ecosystem services. As predation is an important factor shaping populations in the marine environment, the ability of organisms to retain traits valuable in predation resistance under OAW may be decisive for future population maintenance. We examine how exposure to seawater temperature (control: 16.8°C and warm: 20°C) and atmospheric p CO 2 (ambient [~400], ~750, and ~1000 ppm) conditions affects traits linked to predation resistance (adductor muscle strength and shell strength) in two ecologically and economically important species of oysters ( Magallana gigas and Ostrea edulis ) and relate them to changes in morphometry and fitness (condition index, muscle and shell metrics). We show that O. edulis remained unimpacted following exposure to OAW scenarios. In contrast, the adductor muscle of M. gigas was 52% stronger under elevated temperature and ~750 ppm p CO 2 , and its shell was 44% weaker under combined elevated temperature and ~1000 ppm p CO 2. This suggests greater resistance to mechanical predation toward the mid-21 st century, but greater susceptibility toward the end of the century. For both species, individuals with more somatic tissue held an ecological advantage against predators; consequently, smaller oysters may be favoured by predators under OAW. By affecting fitness and predation resistance, OAW may be expected to induce shifts in predator-prey interactions and reshape assemblage structure due to species and size selection, which may consequently modify oyster reef functioning. This could in turn have implications for the provision of associated ecosystem services.
... Global climate change, pollution, overexploitation, invasive species, and habitat fragmentation are the main drivers of the overall decline in biodiversity (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005). Marine systems dominated by habitat-forming species (e.g., corals, sponges, oysters, seagrasses, kelps) are critical to ecosystem services (Palumbi et al. 2009;Laffoley and Baxter 2016). The previously mentioned threats affect their physiological and ecological performance, ultimately causing their decline (Walther et al. 2002;Hoegh-Guldberg and Bruno 2010;Smale and Wernberg 2013). ...
Article
Canopy-forming seaweeds sustain critical ecosystem services in coastal habitats. Around the world, many of these seaweeds are suffering strong declines, mainly attributed to the progressive increase in sea surface temperature, in combination with other stressors due to current global changes. The southernmost part of the NE Atlantic is among those areas most affected by climate change. In this study, we estimated the distributional contractions of seven of the most conspicuous seaweeds from the Atlantic coasts of the Iberian Peninsula using an "Extent of Occurrence" methodology. Overall, during the last three decades , range shifts have been more pronounced east of the Cantabrian Sea than along the western coast of the Iberian Peninsula. In particular, regions with a semi-permanent summer upwelling seem to be critical to the persistence of brown seaweeds, fucoids and kelps. Range contractions of the cold-temperate fucoids were estimated to be ca. 21% and 45% for Himanthalia elongata and Fucus serratus, respectively; and for the kelps Saccharina latis-sima and Laminaria hyperborea, 6% and 14%, respectively. Range contractions for warm-temperate kelps were estimated to be ca. 13% and 10% for Saccorhiza polyschides and L. ochroleuca, respectively. Finally, a decline in the warm-temperate red algae Gelidium corneum occurred only in the easternmost area of the Cantabrian Sea (Basque Country), leading to a distributional contraction of 7%. We recommend conservation actions to better manage the remnant populations of these canopy-forming seaweeds, and their inclusion in national and regional catalogues of endangered species and on international Red Lists.
... Generation and adoption of one or more unsegregated and comprehending spatial plans for the comprehensive and utilizing the marine resources without exploiting [76]. This phase will address the key issues considering both environmental and human activities based on research initiatives. ...
Article
The diminishing condition of the marine ecology worldwide, is corroboration to a weak planning of coastal and ocean ecosystems. Therefore, a comprehensive knowledge of the spatial distribution of all the sustainable activities is necessary. Spatial planning is a necessity in many parts of the world for terrestrial environment usage. A Marine Spatial Planning is also based on the same foundation principles as terrestrial planning but with regard to the marine ecosystem. An MSP identifies the important areas of the ocean and puts forward a plan that is sustainable and accepted in harmony. This strategy does not harm the biodiversity in any way and the stakeholders can still use the resources of the ocean without destruction. This article discusses the extremities caused by global warming, anthropological threats that are in need of utmost attention and spatial planning along with its aims, importance and its benefits. Finally, it summarizes with examples from the past and provides with the steps that need to be taken in case an obstacle arises.
... Coastal habitats are becoming increasingly impacted through anthropogenic forcing 35 (Halpern et al. 2008), leading to loss of important and valuable services such as food production, 36 pollution control, shoreline buffering, and carbon storage (Barbier et al. 2011). At the same time, In addition to conserving current coastal habitats and their biological diversity, there have 57 been increasing efforts to actively restore lost or degraded systems, including seagrasses (Orth et 58 al. 2006), marshes (Zedler 2000), mangroves (Ellison 2000), and oyster and coral reefs (Mumby 59 and Steneck 2008; Beck et al. 2011). ...
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As nearshore ecosystems are increasingly degraded by human activities, active restoration is a critical strategy in ensuring the continued provision of goods and services by coastal habitats. After being absent for nearly six decades, over 1800 ha of the foundational species eelgrass ( Zostera marina L.) has been successfully reestablished in the coastal bays of the mid-western Atlantic, USA, but nothing is known about the recovery of associated animal communities in this region. Here, we determine the patterns and drivers of functional recovery in epifaunal invertebrates associated with the restored eelgrass habitat from 2001-2013. After less than a decade, the invertebrate community in the restored bed was richer, more even, and exhibited greater variation in functional traits than a nearby reference bed. Analysis of a suite of environmental and physical variables using random forests revealed these differences were primarily due to the increasing area and density of eelgrass directly attributable to ongoing restoration efforts. Based on analysis of functional traits, we propose that the rapid life histories of constituent organisms may have played a key role in their successful recovery. We also speculate that diverse epifaunal communities may have contributed to the restoration success through a predefined mutualism with eelgrass. Given that restored eelgrass now make up 32% of total seagrass cover in the mid-Atlantic coastal bays, this restoration may conserve regional biodiversity by providing new and pristine habitat, particularly given the general decline of existing eelgrass in this region.
... The oceans are essential for life on Earth, hosting a remarkable and still poorly known biodiversity, representing an invaluable source of food and energy, and being involved in the balancing of the planet's climate [1][2][3]. Thanks to the advances in marine robotics, the last decades represented a turning point for marine operations worldwide, from scientific explorations to commercial activities. The development of underwater vehicles, such as Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), submersibles, and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) has allowed a large range of operations that were previously impossible using scuba diving techniques due to the fact of both time and depth limitations. ...
Article
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Underwater robots emit sound during operations which can deteriorate the quality of acoustic data recorded by on-board sensors or disturb marine fauna during in vivo observations. Notwithstanding this, there have only been a few attempts at characterizing the acoustic emissions of underwater robots in the literature, and the datasheets of commercially available devices do not report information on this topic. This work has a twofold goal. First, we identified a setup consisting of a camera directly mounted on the robot structure to acquire the acoustic data and two indicators (i.e., spectral roll-off point and noise introduced to the environment) to provide a simple and intuitive characterization of the acoustic emissions of underwater robots carrying out specific maneuvers in specific environments. Second, we performed the proposed analysis on three underwater robots belonging to the classes of remotely operated vehicles and underwater legged robots. Our results showed how the legged device produced a clearly different signature compared to remotely operated vehicles which can be an advantage in operations that require low acoustic disturbance. Finally, we argue that the proposed indicators, obtained through a standardized procedure, may be a useful addition to datasheets of existing underwater robots.
... Regardless of the mechanism that has caused the current emergence of Pocillopora-dominated reefs, the concept of response diversity suggests a higher vulnerability of monocultures to disturbances such as heat-stress events in the future (Dalin et al., 2009;Lin, 2011). Reefs dominated by a single genus have a more limited range of traits and functions to persist and survive under challenging conditions than those with more diverse reef ecosystems (Aronson and Precht, 1995;Palumbi et al., 2009). Therefore, despite the apparent resilience of Polynesian reefs to climate change to date, the recent shift towards Pocillopora dominated states on Polynesian reefs may severely compromise their capacity to cope with future global changes. ...
Article
Coral reefs across the globe are facing threats from a variety of anthropogenic disturbances. Consequently, the proportional representation of live scleractinian corals in the benthic community has declined substantially in many regions. In contrast, parts of the reef ecosystem around Mo’orea (French Polynesia) have displayed remarkable rebound potential. Nevertheless, detailed studies of when, where, and to what extent reefs have been disturbed and subsequently recovered in the different reef habitats are lacking. Using long-term monitoring data (2004-2018), we reveal that the spatiotemporal dynamics of benthic communities differ markedly between the contiguous inner (fringing and barrier) and outer (fore) reefs. Coral communities on inner reefs vary spatially but were remarkably stable over 15 yr, exhibiting consistent levels of coral and algal cover, with no evidence for disturbance-driven regimes or community transitions. In contrast, the outer reefs showed marked declines in coral cover following consecutive acute disturbances, but coral recovered rapidly thereafter. Nevertheless, community composition changed significantly, with Pocillopora replacing Acropora as the dominant genus at several sites, indicating a more subtle but potentially critical transition into an alternative state defined by the prevalence of a single, fast-growing genus. Inner reef stability and outer reef recovery provide evidence that the effects of environmental disturbances and chronic anthropogenic stressors can manifest in fundamentally different ways, depending on prevailing conditions. Our results suggest important ecological and physical links between inner and outer reef systems that influence the observed dynamics, emphasizing that reef ecosystem management and conservation strategies need to consider all habitats.
... Áreas con una riqueza moderada de especies de elasmobranquios han mostrado tener una alta riqueza funcional, lo cual indica que hay especies que tienen funciones únicas dentro de los ecosistemas y, por tanto, tienen una baja redundancia funcional (ecológica) (Hussey et al., 2015). De esta forma, la presencia de varias especies que cumplen un mismo rol ecológico pueden ser indicadoras de una mayor resiliencia del ecosistema (Palumbi et al., 2009). 6.1.2 ...
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Los tiburones y las rayas tienen un papel esencial como depredadores tope y media- nos, respectivamente, en los ecosistemas marinos que habitan, y ocupan los últimos eslabones de la cadena trófica (Heithaus et al., 2008); desempeñan funciones de control sobre poblaciones de numerosas especies marinas (Myers et al., 2007), con lo que contribuyen a mantener el equilibrio con sus competidores, garantizando así la diversidad de especies (Myers y Worm, 2005). Su presencia mantiene el equilibrio de las cadenas tróficas en los principales ecosistemas que habitan (Terborgh y Estes, 2010); por ejemplo, su eliminación en el arrecife desencadenaría el conocido efec- to en cascada, pues dispararía la prolife- ración de sus competidores carnívoros, lo cual incidiría negativamente en las poblaciones de sus presas y de sus competidores carnívoros (peces) (Brunnschweiler, 2010). La ausencia de herbívoros, a su vez, conduciría a una proliferación de algas que compiten por el espacio con los corales. Esto podría contribuir a un cambio de fase en el ecosistema hacia un estado domina- do por algas (Dulvy et al., 2004).
... Our expectation that the potential stocks of marine ecosystem services would be higher in lower latitudes through increases in biodiversity was a little different from our results, as sites in the sub-tropical zone also had a biodiversity peak and higher rank and monetary values of fisheries production. The relationship between fish diversity and the ecosystem services can be driven by the sampling and complementarity effects, often mentioned in studies on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (Cardinale et al., 2012;Palumbi et al., 2009). In this study, the sampling effect indicated that high diverse fish assemblages had a higher chance of including fish species with high ecosystem service value, which increase the total values of fish-based ecosystem services. ...
Article
The latitudinal decline of species richness is a general spatial pattern of biodiversity, and it applies to marine species as well. Based on a latitudinal gradient of marine species richness, potential stocks of marine ecosystem services are expected to be higher in lower latitudes through increment in biodiversity. However, little is known about the relationships of the marine ecosystem services with latitude and biodiversity. We estimated the latitudinal patterns and relationships with the biodiversity of potential stocks of three major reef fish‐based ecosystem services (fisheries production, aquarium fish production, and recreational diving) at ten coral habitats from tropical to temperate zones in the Kuroshio Current region (8°37′N–33°24′N) using field survey data and information from relevant websites and administrative statistics. We found a latitudinal declin from south to north in potential stocks of aquarium fish production and diving in this region, whereas the peaks of fisheries production were found around both tropical and sub‐tropical zones. Our results also showed strong positive effects of biodiversity on potential stocks of the three ecosystem services, highlighting the importance of conserving diverse fish species to sustain multiple services at high levels. Broad spatial patterns of the reef fish‐based ecosystem services are useful as baselines for future evaluation of their changes. As the effects of climate change on reef fishes are predicted to vary among different latitude zones, our estimates of the ecosystem services infer specific management and economic actions for the respective zones against climate change. We found a latitudinal gradient of potential stocks of three reef fish‐based ecosystem services in the Kuroshio Current region (8°37′N–33°24′N). Our results showed strong positive effects of biodiversity on potential stocks of the three ecosystem services, highlighting the importance of conserving diverse fish species to sustain multiple services at high levels. Broad spatial patterns of the reef fish‐based ecosystem services are useful as baselines for future evaluation and infer management and economic actions against climate change in this region.
... It is in the best interest of societies everywhere to forecast abrupt or gradual changes to species and ecosystems we depend upon, and to detect and track organisms that can negatively alter ecosystem services (e.g., pathogenic, toxic, or invasive species), that pose a risk to food security or safety, and that affect the resilience of coastal biological and human communities. Monitoring changes in biodiversity is an important proxy for evaluating changes in ecosystem services [4]. ...
Article
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Marine biodiversity is a fundamental characteristic of our planet that depends on and influences climate, water quality, and many ocean state variables. It is also at the core of ecosystem services that can make or break economic development in any region. Our purpose is to highlight the need for marine biological observations to inform science and conservation management and to support the blue economy. We provide ten recommendations, applicable now, to measure and forecast biological Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs) as part of economic monitoring efforts. The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021–2030) provides a timely opportunity to implement these recommendations to benefit humanity and enable the USD 3 trillion global ocean economy expected by 2030.
... Coastal habitats are becoming increasingly impacted through anthropogenic forcing 35 (Halpern et al. 2008), leading to loss of important and valuable services such as food production, 36 pollution control, shoreline buffering, and carbon storage (Barbier et al. 2011). At the same time, In addition to conserving current coastal habitats and their biological diversity, there have 57 been increasing efforts to actively restore lost or degraded systems, including seagrasses (Orth et 58 al. 2006), marshes (Zedler 2000), mangroves (Ellison 2000), and oyster and coral reefs (Mumby 59 and Steneck 2008; Beck et al. 2011). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
As nearshore ecosystems are increasingly degraded by human activities, active restoration is a critical strategy in ensuring the continued provision of goods and services by coastal habitats. After being absent for nearly six decades, over 1800 ha of the foundational species eelgrass ( Zostera marina L.) has been successfully reestablished in the coastal bays of the mid-western Atlantic, USA, but nothing is known about the recovery of associated animal communities in this region. Here, we determine the patterns and drivers of functional recovery in epifaunal invertebrates associated with the restored eelgrass habitat from 2001-2013. After less than a decade, the invertebrate community in the restored bed was richer, more even, and exhibited greater variation in functional traits than a nearby reference bed. Analysis of a suite of environmental and physical variables using random forests revealed these differences were primarily due to the increasing area and density of eelgrass directly attributable to ongoing restoration efforts. Based on analysis of functional traits, we propose that the rapid life histories of constituent organisms may have played a key role in their successful recovery. We also speculate that diverse epifaunal communities may have contributed to the restoration success through a predefined mutualism with eelgrass. Given that restored eelgrass now make up 32% of total seagrass cover in the mid-Atlantic coastal bays, this restoration may conserve regional biodiversity by providing new and pristine habitat, particularly given the general decline of existing eelgrass in this region.
... By enabling identification of the key species that contribute to the robustness of ecosystem service supply, our theory provides a focus for management efforts that require consideration of the conservation value of individual species 8,10,32,34,36,[42][43][44] . Focussing on the contribution of individual species to robustness and the vulnerability of those species to extinction through their life histories, interactions and functional traits 24,31,45,46 will enable empirical quantification of how vulnerability scales from species through to ecosystem services 11,12,15,18,43 . ...
Article
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Ensuring reliable supply of services from nature is key to the sustainable development and well-being of human societies. Varied and frequently complex relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem services have, however, frustrated our capacity to quantify and predict the vulnerability of those services to species extinctions. Here, we use a qualitative Boolean modelling framework to identify universal drivers of the robustness of ecosystem service supply to species loss. These drivers comprise simple features of the networks that link species to the functions they perform that, in turn, underpin a service. Together, they define what we call network fragility. Using data from >250 real ecological networks representing services such as pollination and seed-dispersal, we demonstrate that network fragility predicts remarkably well the robustness of empirical ecosystem services. We then show how to quantify contributions of individual species to ecosystem service robustness, enabling quantification of how vulnerability scales from species to services. Our findings provide general insights into the way species, functional traits, and the links between them together determine the vulnerability of ecosystem service supply to biodiversity loss.
... Second, various variables of major marine ecosystem properties were collected from the literature. Six variables representing proxies for plankton-related processes that provide crucial socio-economical services to human societies, from climate regulation through the sequestration of atmospheric CO 2 , to tourism income and food provision 1,89 were retained: (i) normalized global species richness of oceanic taxa (bony fishes, sharks, cetaceans and squids) 13 , which is indicative of overall marine biodiversity; 89 (ii) mean annual reported and unreported catch rates of small (<30 cm) pelagic fishes over the 1990-2019 period 34 , which indicates the regions where large quantities of planktivorous fishes are collected; (iii) mean annual surface net primary production (NPP, mg Carbon m −2 day −1 ); 35 (iv) the corresponding flux of particulate organic carbon (FPOC, mg Carbon m −2 day −1 ) that is exported below the euphotic zone 35 , which indicates the strength of the biological carbon pump (BCP); (v) the ratio of the two (e ratio = FPOC/NPP), which indicates the efficiency of the BCP; and (vi) the inverse of the mean annual slope of the power-law particles size distribution (PSD) measured from satellite ocean color observations 36 , which is indicative of pelagic size structure and shows where larger organisms can emerge. Once these proxies were matched with our ensemble projections, we performed nonparametric variance analyses (Kruskal-Wallis tests 90 ) to examine if they present significant variations across the regions defined above based on a 0.01 significance level. ...
Article
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Marine phytoplankton and zooplankton form the basis of the ocean’s food-web, yet the impacts of climate change on their biodiversity are poorly understood. Here, we use an ensemble of species distribution models for a total of 336 phytoplankton and 524 zooplankton species to determine their present and future habitat suitability patterns. For the end of this century, under a high emission scenario, we find an overall increase in plankton species richness driven by ocean warming, and a poleward shift of the species’ distributions at a median speed of 35 km/decade. Phytoplankton species richness is projected to increase by more than 16% over most regions except for the Arctic Ocean. In contrast, zooplankton richness is projected to slightly decline in the tropics, but to increase strongly in temperate to subpolar latitudes. In these latitudes, nearly 40% of the phytoplankton and zooplankton assemblages are replaced by poleward shifting species. This implies that climate change threatens the contribution of plankton communities to plankton-mediated ecosystem services such as biological carbon sequestration.
... Marine ecosystems provide important goods and services to humans and nature itself, such as recreation and tourism, coastal protection from flooding and storm events, wild plant and animal resources, decontamination and detoxification, and carbon sequestration (Worm et al., 2006;Palumbi et al., 2009;Barbier et al., 2011). However, at the same time, marine ecosystems are experiencing changes in biodiversity at an unprecedented rate due to dramatic increase in anthropogenic activities, which leads to loss of ecosystem functioning and services. ...
Article
Coastal ecosystems globally are exposed to the most pervasive anthropogenic activities, caused by a suite of human infrastructure and enterprises such as shipping ports, aquaculture facilities, fishing, and tourism. These anthropogenic activities may lead to changes in ecosystem biodiversity, followed by loss of ecosystem functioning and services. Shipping industry and aquaculture have also been recognized as the main vectors for introduction of marine nonindigenous species (NIS) worldwide. In this study, we used DNA metabarcoding-based methods to investigate plankton biodiversity under varying anthropogenic pressures (shipping and bivalve aquaculture) along the eastern Adriatic coast (the northernmost part of the Mediterranean Sea). Our comparative assessment revealed similar community structures among investigated coastal locations (Northern, Central and Southern Adriatic). When the whole plankton communities were considered, they did not differ significantly between port and aquaculture sites. However, the proportion of the unique zOTUs in the port samples was remarkably higher than that in aquaculture sites (40.5% vs 8.2%), indicating that port areas may receive higher abundance and species richness of NIS than aquaculture sites. Further important difference between the two types of anthropogenically impacted habitats was a high abundance of three notorious invaders – M. leidyi, M. gigas, and H. elegans in late summer at the aquaculture site in Northern Adriatic. Therefore, the plankton community of the area is under pressure not only from aquaculture activities, but also establishment of NIS. Port areas are probably under greater introduction pressure from NIS, but aquaculture sites may experience greater community changes due to their establishment.
... Estimating the richness of zooplankton species remains a priority in several fields of research, from ecology to conservation biology (Carugati et al., 2015;Gaston, 2009). Such studies are particularly important in marine ecosystems where ecological processes are often maintained by both complex biotic interactions and environmental drivers (Palumbi et al., 2009;Steinberg & Landry, 2017). For example, zooplankton communities play a central role in regulating biogeochemical cycles by transferring carbon from primary producers to higher trophic levels (Bucklin et al., 2019;Everaert et al.,2018;Lindeque et al., 2013;Steinberg & Landry, 2017). ...
Article
Zooplankton plays a pivotal role in sustaining the majority of marine ecosystems. The distribution patterns and diversity of zooplankton provide key information for understanding the functioning of these ecosystems. Nevertheless, due to the numerous cryptic and sibling species and the lack of diagnostic characteristics for early developmental stages, the identification of the global-to-local patterns of zooplankton biodiversity and biogeography remains challenging in different research fields. The spatial and temporal changes in the zooplankton community in the open waters of the southern Gulf of Mexico were assessed using metabarcoding analysis of the V9 region of 18S rRNA and mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase c subunit I (COI). Additionally, a multi-scale analysis was implemented to evaluate which environmental predictors may explain the variability in the structure of the zooplankton community. Our findings suggest that the synergistic effects of dissolved oxygen concentration, temperature, and longitude (intended as a proxy for still unidentified predictors) may explain both spatial and temporal zooplankton variability even with low contribution. Furthermore, the zooplankton distribution likely reflects the coexistence of three heterogeneous ecoregions and a bio-physical partitioning of the studied area. Finally, some taxa were either exclusive or predominant with either 18S or COI markers. This may suggest that comprehensive assessments of the zooplankton community may be more accurately met by the use of multi-locus approaches.
... Our data, therefore, provide compelling new evidence that selective removal of species with particular traits and reduction of local biodiversity across the seascape through collective human impacts profoundly alter the structure and function of whole reef communities worldwide. This result has important implications for the continued management of reef ecosystems: conservation practices that are tied to the restoration of high-performing species 30 and those that aim to preserve the diversity of whole communities (e.g., marine protected areas) 31,32 are both required to maximize the provision of a critical ecosystem function in an increasingly human-dominated world 33 . ...
Article
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Changing biodiversity alters ecosystem functioning in nature, but the degree to which this relationship depends on the taxonomic identities rather than the number of species remains untested at broad scales. Here, we partition the effects of declining species richness and changing community composition on fish community biomass across >3000 coral and rocky reef sites globally. We find that high biodiversity is 5.7x more important in maximizing biomass than the remaining influence of other ecological and environmental factors. Differences in fish community biomass across space are equally driven by both reductions in the total number of species and the disproportionate loss of larger-than-average species, which is exacerbated at sites impacted by humans. Our results confirm that sustaining biomass and associated ecosystem functions requires protecting diversity, most importantly of multiple large-bodied species in areas subject to strong human influences.
... Áreas con una riqueza moderada de especies de elasmobranquios han mostrado tener una alta riqueza funcional, lo cual indica que hay especies que tienen funciones únicas dentro de los ecosistemas y, por tanto, tienen una baja redundancia funcional (ecológica) (Hussey et al., 2015). De esta forma, la presencia de varias especies que cumplen un mismo rol ecológico pueden ser indicadoras de una mayor resiliencia del ecosistema (Palumbi et al., 2009). 6.1.2 ...
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En esta obra se integran y proponen protocolos de monitoreo de la biodiversidad marina en áreas naturales protegidas del Caribe mexicano, como parte de un programa de estudio con enfoque integrador que permite extender su implementación a las áreas marinas protegidas de la región del Gran Caribe. La aplicación de las metodologías descritas permite estimar la resiliencia y evaluar la condición y el estado de salud de tres ecosistemas prioritarios (arrecifes coralinos, pastizales marinos y manglares), y dos grupos de especies claves: tortugas marinas y condrictios (tiburones y rayas). Los cinco protocolos de monitoreo incluyen la fundamentación teórica de 60 indicadores de monitoreo biológico y fisicoquímico sobre la base del conocimiento de la estructura, la función y los procesos biológicos que ocurren en los ecosistemas prioritarios de la región, así como de la ecología de las especies. Se abordan los procedimientos de cálculo y la relevancia de cada indicador para estimar la salud de dichos ecosistemas y especies. El libro, coordinado por la CONABIO, integra el conocimiento científico-técnico de académicos, investigadores, tomadores de decisiones, y miembros de la sociedad civil de México, de los cuales 21 son autores y 33 colaboradores pertenecientes a 17 instituciones, con experiencia en trabajos para la conservación de las áreas marinas protegidas del Caribe mexicano. Se describe además cómo la información resultante de los monitoreos es integrada y asimilada dentro del Sistema de Información y Análisis Marino Costero (SIMAR), manteniendo la información disponible para la comunidad científica y tomadores de decisiones. Esta obra reúne elementos técnicos disponibles para apoyar la generación de mejores políticas públicas de conservación y aprovechamiento sustentable de nuestros recursos marinos para el bienestar de la sociedad. Los protocolos forman parte de los esfuerzos internacionales por integrar y distribuir datos de biodiversidad marina que permitan evaluar su condición en un contexto de cambio y variabilidad climática.
... In order to prevent these environmental changes to jeopardize marine ecosystem services, management of marine exploitation is of utmost importance (Palumbi et al. 2009). Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are now recognized as one of the most important tools available to manage marine ecosystems. ...
... The ocean's foodwebs, continental shelves and estuaries support the production of seafood, serve as a sink for greenhouse gases, maintain water quality, and hedge against unanticipated ecosystem changes from natural or anthropogenic causes. Marine ecosystems with high diversity have slower fisheries collapse rates and higher rates of fisheries recovery than marine ecosystems with lower diversity (Worm et al. 2006, Levin and Lubchenco 2008, Palumbi et al. 2009). ...
... Hence, it is in humanity's best interest to forecast abrupt or gradual changes to species and ecosystems we depend upon. Monitoring changes in biodiversity is an important proxy for evaluating changes in ecosystem services (Palumbi et al., 2009). ...
Thesis
Oceans and seas are often perceived as the last wilderness on the planet. However, anthropogenic actions are already impacting these ecosystems, ranging from the coasts and the sea surface to the open ocean and the deep sea floor. Marine ecosystems are currently affected by multiple human activities, such as eutrophication, overfishing, the introduction of non-indigenous species, the contamination by hazardous chemicals and (micro)plastics, etc., in addition to climate change, leading to impaired environmental conditions. Evidence is growing that these changing environmental conditions have negative effects on the biodiversity and functioning of marine food webs. Due to their rapid responses to environmental variation, planktonic organisms are used as bio-indicators of ecosystem changes. With the need for better understanding the impact of a changing environment on zooplankton communities, zooplankton monitoring programs have been carried out in the marine environment globally since the early 20th century. Most zooplankton monitoring studies focus mainly on variability in biodiversity and biomass. However, this approach is hindered by challenges in the identification, which is time-consuming, complicated and requires biological expertise. A combination of new technologies and techniques, together with classical in situ and laboratory studies, could improve our understanding of such biodiversity patterns by assessing the health and physiology of marine plankton. In this thesis, we aimed to apply molecular methods to investigate spatiotemporal patterns in zooplankton dynamics, as well as to investigate the influence of environmental variation and stressors on these dynamics.
... Dynamic behavior of continental shelf like high or low turbidity, erosion of sediments in the continental shelf and similar physiographic changes can affect marine life. Marine biodiversity maintains the ecosystem of the ocean and so consequently marine ecology is affected (Stephen et al., 2009). Fauna and flora are classified on their associated locations. ...
Article
Indus shelf region, located offshore of the Indus delta, is characterized by several unique and diversified features with dynamic potential of expansion and regression.The growth of this subaqueous part of Indus Delta is the result of the enormous amount of sediments discharge from the Indus River since the Oligocene period. Intervention in the natural flow of the Indus River System (IRS) in the 20th century, due to water diversion and water storage activities on the IRS has created many changes on the continental shelf and shelf-slope in the offshore Indus Delta. The available data of sediment discharge from the Kotri barrage and other previous studies provide information that sediment discharge in natural waterflow conditions before the half of the 20th century was more than 250 million (10⁶) tones per year, but after the construction of canals, barrages and dams in upstream area of the IRS, a gradual declining trend was occurred in the flow of water and sediment discharge. Morphological changes those occurred over the shelf of delta in the 20th century have been evaluated using geoinformatic approach. Two bathymetry maps of the 19th and 20th centuries were used in view to determine the temporal difference on the continental shelf. Ten cross-sections were drawn on both the bathymetry maps in northeast-southwest direction. Profiles from the cross-section of both periods have been developed to analyze the temporal variation on the continental shelf of the offshore Indus Delta. Sediment accumulation was found from 1895 to 1995 on the western edge of the shelf and erosional activities on some places were also noted from the eastern profiles of the continental shelf. Low depth near the coast observed from the map of later period indicates the process of accretion activities near the shore. General trend shows morphologically changes in the shelf region.
... The global oceans are in crisis. The rapidity of environmental change requires novel approaches to conservation and management (Palumbi et al. 2009, Steffen et al. 2015, Lenton et al. 2019. Marine megafauna has in particular been severely impacted during the Anthropocene but are also important ecosystem sentinels (Hazen et al. 2019). ...
Chapter
In the past three decades scientists have been equipping free-living seabirds with biologging devices to provide information about their behaviour in unprecedented detail. However, more recently the miniaturisation of tracking devices, have enabled scientists to understand the precise distribution patterns of seabirds across a variety of scales and species. As tags have become smaller and cheaper, seabird tracking studies and number of individuals have increased exponentially. This has allowed scientists to identify the major sources of anthropogenic stressors affecting seabirds in the marine environment and for resolving marine conservation issues. The increasing volume and complexity of tracking data has lead scientists to develop effective tools for data mining and spatial analysis with further benefits for seabird conservation. However, they often require high levels of expertise and considerable computation capacities which turn their use by policy makers and managers challenging. In this book chapter we overview the recent advances in tracking devices currently used to study seabird distribution and discuss the challenges and how they can be important for resolving marine conservation issues.
... Historically, habitat loss and species over-exploitation were considered to be the main threats to marine ecosystems (Crain et al., 2008;Jackson et al., 2001), with pollution, invasive species, mining, coastal development and climate change emerging as new threats (Frazão Santos et al., 2020;Majiedt et al., 2019;Rombouts et al., 2013a;Sink et al., 2012). For humans to continue to benefit from oceans, we need to preserve the condition, integrity and resilience of marine ecosystems and strategically mitigate further damage from human activities (Levin and Lubchenco, 2008;Palumbi et al., 2009). ...
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This review provides a broad conceptual overview of different approaches to measuring marine ecosystem condition and guidance for framework development (particularly relevant for developing countries). The objectives were to review definitions of ecosystem condition and identify the core approaches and key challenges within the research area. Furthermore, we reviewed the advantages and disadvantages of different indicators that can be used for condition assessments. A semi-systematic approach drawing from more than 300 studies covering a broad range of methods was followed. Generally, definitions of ecosystem condition are based on known changes to the ecosystem, but ultimately, they should align with the definition of an ecosystem and consider ecosystem structure and functioning. As far as possible, the definition should relate an observed state to a reference condition or ecological target. Importantly, definitions of condition should be practical, scalable and always provided when conducting condition assessments. Five indicator categories were identified including pressures, physical parameters, biological structure, functional structure and ecological models. Indicators mostly focus on drivers of change (i.e. ex situ pressures) or the structure of the ecosystem, as these data are easier to obtain. While valuable, these classes of indicators can only provide an indirect appraisal of ecosystem functioning in instances where the relationship between pressure, structure and functioning are known. Indicators that measure structure and functioning of an ecosystem can be used to directly report on condition; however, the data (and monitoring) requirements make them impractical in most instances. Ideally, integrated assessments, that measure indicators from all indicator categories, should be prioritised to provide a comprehensive overview of condition. However, this often requires transdisciplinary collaboration, substantial research capacity (and associated funding) and time to collect the necessary data. An alternative is to select a few strategic indicators that can provide data to address the definition of ecosystem condition and at the same time provide a feasible approach to address the project specific research objectives. Where possible, a data-derived approach should be followed as in situ measurements have potential to improve the understanding of impacts of anthropogenic pressures on ecosystem functioning, and in turn facilitate better management of human activities and enhance ecosystem functioning.
Conference Paper
Marine data acquisition contains limited methods to perform extended data collection with relative ease. Considering this, this paper aims to propose a drone design concept with the central goal of a high endurance marine exploration and monitoring platform. To do this, an autonomous tricopter fixed-wing design with a wingspan of 1.5 m and a weight of 3.5 kg is proposed utilizing an S5020 airfoil, which will carry a recoverable submarine-like aquatic drone member. This design is based around an increase in flight efficiency over that of standard multirotor designs with the capability to autonomously carry out a given mission directive with limited operator interaction.
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Population connectivity studies are a useful tool for species management and conservation planning, particular of highly threatened or endangered species. Here, we evaluated the genetic structure and connectivity pattern of the endangered coral Cladocora caespitosa across its entire distribution range in the Mediterranean Sea. Additionally, we examined the relative importance of sexual and asexual reproduction in the studied populations and their genetic diversity. A total of 541 individuals from 20 localities were sampled and analysed with 19 polymorphic microsatellite markers. Of the genotyped individuals, 482 (89%) had unique multilocus genotypes. Clonality percentages of the populations varied from 0% (in eight populations) to nearly 69% (in one population from Crete). A heterozygosity deficit and a high degree of inbreeding was the general trend in our data set. Population differentiation in C. caespitosa was characterised by significant pairwise F ST values with lower ones observed at an intraregional scale and higher ones, between populations from different biogeographic regions. Genetic structure analyses showed that the populations are divided according to the three main sub-basins of the Mediterranean Sea: the Western (Balearic, Ligurian and Tyrrhenian seas), the Central (Adriatic and Ionian seas) and the Eastern (Levantine and Aegean seas), coinciding with previously described gene flow barriers. However, the three easternmost populations were also clearly separated from one another, and a substructure was observed for the other studied areas. An isolation-by-distance pattern was found among, but not within, the three main population groups. This substructure is mediated mainly by dispersal along the coastline and some resistance to larval movement through the open sea. Despite the low dispersal ability and high self-recruitment rate of C. caespitosa, casual dispersive events between regions seem to be enough to maintain the species’ considerable genetic diversity. Understanding the population connectivity and structure of this endangered scleractinian coral allows for more informed conservation decision making.
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Despite their ecological importance, sponges are often avoided in biodiversity studies and monitoring programs because they are notoriously difficult to identify using morphological or molecular methods. Here, we investigate the metabarcoding performance of universal degenerate cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) primers in detecting species from this challenging phylum in a cryptobenthic community. Twenty-two modified Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) were deployed for 2 years in mesocosms receiving unfiltered seawater from an adjacent reef slope. Upon recovery, each unit was inspected by a marine sponge taxonomist who used a combination of taxonomy, imagery, and DNA barcoding (28S rRNA and COI) to identify sponges and generate a validated taxonomic richness value for each ARMS unit. A total of 69 unique sponge barcoded morphologies (BMs) were identified from the classes Calcarea, Demospongiae, and Homoscleromorpha. Metabarcoding identified 41 unique sponge molecular operational taxonomic units (MOTUs) from Demospongiae and Homoscleromorpha but the primers failed to amplify any species from the class Calcarea which comprised 22% of the BMs. Sponge richness did not differ between BMs and MOTUs assigned to the classes Demospongiae and Homoscleromorpha. However, assignments at the order and family level in Demospongiae underscore known limitations in sponge taxonomic resolution using the COI gene. The prevalence of false positives within the order Suberitida and the pervasiveness of false negatives within the order Haplosclerida highlighted both technical and biological constraints in the metabarcoding method. Overall, these results confirm the need for discretion in sponge MOTU assignments using universal degenerate barcoding primers that target a short fragment of the COI gene. However, they also demonstrate that COI metabarcoding is capable of capturing sponge richness from a complex natural community.
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Societal values are crucial for the prioritisation of activities within the marine environment and are therefore fundamental to successfully implementing Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) in New Zealand (NZ). Documenting Social Values (Mauri Moana) is a research project within the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge (NSC) that is exploring how societal values for the marine environment like intrinsic and recreational along with Māori values are integrated into EBM. Using a case study approach, we explore how Māori values are catered for within planning approaches and institutions for Tauranga Moana (Tauranga Harbour). Through our earlier work in the Sustainable Seas NSC, we developed a framework (He Waka Taurua) for a NZ marine management system that was informed by EBM and mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge). The current study further elaborates on the components that form a proposed NZ marine management system based on the Tauranga Moana case study. This framework provides a useful approach for informing how co-governance institutions can manage the different values and aspirations of Māori, and local communities with government institutions to support healthy oceans and healthy people.
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Fish eDNA metabarcoding is a nonintrusive, time‐ and cost‐effective way to detect biodiversity, with potential applications in ecosystem‐based management and fisheries assessment. Nevertheless, fish‐specific eDNA resources are currently not well‐developed, and many fish species are not yet sequenced in reference databases. We developed Mitohelper, a Python‐based command line tool to annotate and align fish mitochondrial sequences available in the existing MitoFish database. Mitohelper improves MitoFish annotations by adding gene names and additional taxonomic classifications. Using these improved reference datasets, Mitohelper's getrecord function searches MitoFish for available mitochondrial (cytochrome c oxidase, 12S rRNA, and others) gene sequences against a user‐provided list of fish taxonomic names. Mitohelper's getalignment function aligns (often partial) mitochondrial gene sequences to a user‐specified full‐length reference sequence for the assessment and visualization of overlapping sequencing regions. To facilitate the development of taxonomic classifiers, we combined Mitohelper's 12S rRNA dataset with SILVA’s 16S rRNA and 18S rRNA datasets in a QIIME 2‐compatible format. By providing valuable information on taxonomic and gene region coverage of currently available fish mitochondrial data, Mitohelper's functions promote informed experimental design that can guide sequencing and analysis strategies. In summary, Mitohelper improves the breadth and functionality of eDNA data resources, as well as the accuracy of taxonomic classification. Mitohelper and its reference datasets are updated approximately monthly and available at https://github.com/aomlomics/mitohelper.
Conference Paper
View Video Presentation: https://doi.org/10.2514/6.2021-2783.vid The ability to remotely operate a collection of aquatic drones for extended periods of time will provide significant improvements to autonomous data collection in marine environments. The implementation of a floating drone hub will allow aquatic and amphibious systems to more closely monitor aquatic species and complete various other long-term missions. In addition, this hub will allow these extended duration missions to operate in remote areas where regular human intervention may be challenging or costly. As an additional design aspect, these hubs could be used as floating solar arrays in remote areas to provide power to small communities near a coast. This paper proposes a novel design for such a floating hub concept and explores bioinspired aspects of its design.
Article
Strong conservation management needs comprehensive data on biodiversity. Rapid methods that document aquatic biodiversity or assess the health condition of an ecosystem remain scarce. Herein, we have performed a metagenomics study on environmental DNA (eDNA) collected from an urban backwater area - Muttukadu, located in the southeast coast of India. Shotgun metagenomics approach using Illumina®NextSeq500 sequencing yielded 88.4 million raw reads. The processed data was assigned as 80% prokaryotes, 0.4% eukaryotes, ~2% viruses, and ~17% remain unknown. This approach has the potential to identify small micro-eukaryote, unseen species from both estuarine and marine environments. We have identified 156 eukaryote organisms represented from 21 phyla and 112 families, including those that are of conservational significance and ecological importance. Furthermore, our data also demonstrated the presence of pathogenic microorganisms due to sewage mixing with the backwaters. Given its sensitivity, we suggest this approach for an initial assessment of biodiversity structure in an ecosystem for the biomonitoring program.
Chapter
The recent destruction and deterioration of the environment in the Anthropocene have led to a worldwide decline in biodiversity. This demands the precise identification and cataloging of the current biodiversity before they vanish and prioritize conservation programs for the threatened species. For beginners in biodiversity and taxonomy research one of the critical steps in studying the macro and micro invertebrates is collecting these organisms from the sea, as marine invertebrate phyla occupy a host of varying micro-ecosystems. In some cases the collection and preservation of a particular taxon of organisms is a straightforward procedure. However, some phyla require special techniques for collection or extraction and special treatment for adequate preservation. Marine biodiversity survey, collection, and documentation are carried out by various researchers, including anatomists, biologists, conservationists, ecologists, molecular biologists, neurobiologists, geologists, paleontologists, physiologists, taxonomists, zoologists, and others interested in the study of animal life. This chapter outlines general methods for the collection, preservation, and documentation of marine invertebrates.
Article
Human‐driven changes in nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) inputs are modifying biogeochemical cycles and the trophic state of many habitats worldwide. These alterations are predicted to continue to increase, with the potential for a wide range of impacts on invertebrates, key players in ecosystem‐level processes. Here, we present a meta‐analysis of 1679 cases from 207 studies reporting the effects of N, P, and combined N + P enrichment on the abundance, biomass, and richness of aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates. Nitrogen and phosphorus additions decreased invertebrate abundance in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, with stronger impacts under combined N + P additions. Likewise, N and N + P additions had stronger negative impacts on the abundance of tropical than temperate invertebrates. Overall, the effects of nutrient enrichment did not differ significantly among major invertebrate taxonomic groups, suggesting that changes in biogeochemical cycles are a pervasive threat to invertebrate populations across ecosystems. The effects of N and P additions differed significantly among invertebrate trophic groups but N + P addition had a consistent negative effect on invertebrates. Nutrient additions had weaker or inconclusive impacts on invertebrate biomass and richness, possibly due to the low number of case studies for these community responses. Our findings suggest that N and P enrichment affect invertebrate community structure mainly by decreasing invertebrate abundance, and these effects are dependent on the habitat and trophic identity of the invertebrates. These results highlight the important effects of human‐driven nutrient enrichment on ecological systems and suggest a potential driver for the global invertebrate decline documented in recent years.
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Biodiversity loss can affect ecosystem functions and services. Individual ecosystem functions generally show a positive asymptotic relationship with increasing biodiversity, suggesting that some species are redundant. However, ecosystems are managed and conserved for multiple functions, which may require greater biodiversity. Here we present an analysis of published data from grassland biodiversity experiments, and show that ecosystem multifunctionality does require greater numbers of species. We analysed each ecosystem function alone to identify species with desirable effects. We then calculated the number of species with positive effects for all possible combinations of functions. Our results show appreciable differences in the sets of species influencing different ecosystem functions, with average proportional overlap of about 0.2 to 0.5. Consequently, as more ecosystem processes were included in our analysis, more species were found to affect overall functioning. Specifically, for all of the analysed experiments, there was a positive saturating relationship between the number of ecosystem processes considered and the number of species influencing overall functioning. We conclude that because different species often influence different functions, studies focusing on individual processes in isolation will underestimate levels of biodiversity required to maintain multifunctional ecosystems.
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We evaluated the effects of plant functional group richness on seasonal patterns of soil nitrogen and phosphorus cycling, using serpentine grassland in south San Jose, California. We established experimental plots with four functional types of plants: early-season annual forbs (E), late-season annual forbs (L), nitrogen-fixers (N), and perennial bunchgrasses (P). These groups differ in several traits relevant to nutrient cycling, including phenology, rooting depth, root:shoot ratio, size, and leaf C:N content. Two or three species of each group were planted in single functional group (SFG) treatments, and in two-, three-, and four-way combinations of functional groups. We analyzed available nutrient pool sizes, microbial biomass nitrogen and phosphorus, microbial nitrogen immobilization, nitrification rates, and leaching losses. We used an index of “relative resource use” that incorporates the effects of plants on pool sizes of several depletable soil resources: inorganic nitrogen in all seasons, available phosphorus in all seasons, and water in the summer dry season. We found a significant positive relationship between increasing relative resource use (including both plant and microbial uptake) and increasing plant diversity. The increase in relative resource use results because different functional groups have their maximum effect on different resources in different seasons: E’s dominate reduction of inorganic nitrogen pools in winter; L’s have a stronger depletion of nitrogen in spring and a dominant reduction of water in summer; P’s have a stronger nitrogen depletion in summer; N-fixers provide additional nitrogen in all seasons and have a significant phosphorus depletion in all seasons except fall. Single functional group treatments varied greatly in relative resource use; for example, the resource use index for the L treatment is as high as in the more diverse treatments. We expected a reduction of leaching losses as functional group richness increased because of differences in rooting depth and seasonal activity among these groups. However, measurements of nitrate in soil water leached below the rooting zone indicated that, apart from a strong reduction in losses in all vegetated treatments compared to the bare treatment, there were no effects of increasing plant diversity. While some single functional group treatments differed (P ≤ L, N), more diverse treatments did not. Early- and late-season annuals, but not perennial bunchgrasses, had significant positive effects on microbial immobilization of nitrogen in short-term (24 h) ¹⁵N experiments. We conclude that: (1) total resource use, across many resource axes and including both plant and microbial effects, does increase with increasing plant diversity on a yearly timescale due to seasonal complementarity; (2) while the presence of vegetation has a large effect on ecosystem nitrogen retention, nitrogen leaching losses do not necessarily decrease with increasing functional group richness; (3) indirect effects of plants on microbial processes such as immobilization can equal or exceed direct effects of plant uptake on nutrient retention; and (4) plant composition (i.e., the identity of the groups present in treatments) in general explains much more about the measured nutrient cycling processes than does functional group richness alone (i.e., the number of groups present).
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Within the next 50 to 100 years, support and maintenance of an extended human family of 8 to 11 billion people will become difficult at best. Our con- sumption rates already exceed the supply of many resources crucial to human health, and few places on Earth do not bear the stamp of human impacts. This policy forum looks ahead at how the ecological sciences can aid in meeting these and other emerging societal challenges. It was developed by members of the Ecological Visions Project Committee, an initiative of the Ecological Society of America.
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Empirical studies investigating the role of species diversity in sustaining ecosystem processes have focused primarily on terrestrial plant and soil communities. Eighteen representative studies drawn from post-1999 literature specifically examined how changes in biodiversity affect benthic ecosystem processes. Results from these small-scale, low-diversity manipulative studies indicate that the effects of changes in biodiversity (mostly synonymous with local species richness) are highly variable over space and time and frequently depend on specific biological traits or functional roles of individual species. Future studies of freshwater and marine ecosystems will require the development of new experimental designs at larger spatial and temporal scales. Furthermore, to successfully integrate field and laboratory studies, the derivation of realistic models and appropriate experiments will require approaches different from those already used in terrestrial systems.
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A venerable generalization about community resistance to invasions is that more diverse communities are more resistant to invasion. However, results of experimental and observational studies often conflict, leading to vigorous debate about the mechanistic importance of diversity in determining invasion success in the field, a well as other ecosystem properties, such as productivity and stability. In this study, we employed both field experiments and observational approaches to assess the effects of diversity on the invasion of a subtidal marine invertebrate community by three species of nonindigenous ascidians (sea squirts). In experimentally assembled communities, decreasing native diversity increased the survival and final percent cover of invaders, whereas the abundance of individual species had no effect on these measures of invasion success. Increasing native diversity also decreased the availability of open space, We limiting resource in this system, by buffering against fluctuations in the cover of individual species. This occurred because temporal patterns of abundance differed among species, so space was most consistently and completely occupied when more species were present. When we held diversity constant, but manipulated resource availability, we found that the settlement and recruitment of new invaders dramatically increased with increasing availability of open space. This suggests that the effect of diversity on invasion success is largely due to its effects on resource (space) availability. Apart from invasion resistance, the increased temporal stability found in more diverse communities may itself be considered an enhancement of ecosystem function. In field surveys, we found a strong negative correlation between native-species richness and the number and frequency of normative invaders at the scale of both a single quadrat (25 X 25 cm), and an entire site (50 X 50 in). Such a pattern suggests that the means by which diversity affects invasion resistance in our experiments is important in determining the distribution of invasive species in the field. Further synthesis of mechanistic and observational approaches should be encouraged, as this will increase our understanding of the conditions under which diversity does (and does not) play an important role in determining the distribution of invaders in the field.
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Investigations of the role of competition, predation and abiotic stress in shaping natural communities were a staple for previous generations of ecologists and are still popular themes. However, more recent experimental research has uncovered the largely unanticipated, yet striking influence of facilitation (i.e. positive species interactions) on the organization of terrestrial and aquatic communities. Modern ecological concepts and theories were well established a decade before the current renaissance of interest in facilitation began, and thus do not consider the importance of a wide variety of facilitative interactions. It is time to bring ecological theory up to date by including facilitation. This process will not be painless because it will fundamentally change many basic predictions and will challenge some of our most cherished paradigms. But, ultimately, revising ecological theory will lead to a more accurate and inclusive understanding of natural communities.
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Effective management of coral reef ecosystems requires accurate, quantitative and spatially explicit information on patterns of species richness at spatial scales relevant to the management process. We combined empirical modelling techniques, remotely sensed data, field observations and GIS to develop a novel multi-scale approach for predicting fish species richness across a compositionally and topographically complex mosaic of marine habitat types in the U.S. Caribbean. First, the performance of three different modelling techniques (multiple linear regression, neural networks and regression trees) was compared using data from southwestern Puerto Rico and evaluated using multiple measures of predictive accuracy. Second, the best performing model was selected. Third, the generality of the best performing model was assessed through application to two geographically distinct coral reef ecosystems in the neighbouring U.S. Virgin Islands. Overall, regression trees outperformed multiple linear regression and neural networks. The best performing regression tree model of fish species richness (high, medium, low classes) in southwestern Puerto Rico exhibited an overall map accuracy of 75%; 83.4% when only high and low species richness areas were evaluated. In agreement with well recognised ecological relationships, areas of high fish species richness were predicted for the most bathymetrically complex areas with high mean rugosity and high bathymetric variance quantified at two different spatial extents (≤0.01 km2). Water depth and the amount of seagrasses and hard-bottom habitat in the seascape were of secondary importance. This model also provided good predictions in two geographically distinct regions indicating a high level of generality in the habitat variables selected. Results indicated that accurate predictions of fish species richness could be achieved in future studies using remotely sensed measures of topographic complexity alone. This integration of empirical modelling techniques with spatial technologies provides an important new tool in support of ecosystem-based management for coral reef ecosystems.
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Thesis--Yale. Processed.
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We demonstrate the KGSMapper (Kansas Geological Survey Mapper), a straightforward, web-based biogeographic tool that uses environmental conditions of places where members of a taxon are known to occur to find other places containing suitable habitat for them. Using occurrence data for anemonefishes or their host sea anemones, and data for environmental parameters, we generated maps of suitable habitat for the organisms. The fact that the fishes are obligate symbionts of the anemones allowed us to validate the KGSMapper output: we were able to compare the inferred occurrence of the organism to that of the actual occurrence of its symbiont. Characterizing suitable habitat for these organisms in the Indo-West Pacific, the region where they naturally occur, can be used to guide conservation efforts, field work, etc.; defining suitable habitat for them in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific is relevant to identifying areas vulnerable to biological invasions. We advocate distinguishing between these 2 sorts of model output, terming the former maps of realized habitat and the latter maps of potential habitat. Creation of a niche model requires adding biotic data to the environmental data used for habitat maps: we included data on fish occurrences to infer anemone distribution and vice versa. Altering the selection of environmental variables allowed us to investigate which variables may exert the most influence on organism distribution. Adding variables does not necessarily improve precision of the model output. KGSMapper output distinguishes areas that fall within 1 standard deviation (SD) of the mean environmental variable values for places where members of the taxon occur, within 2 SD, and within the entire range of values; eliminating outliers or data known to be imprecise or inaccurate improved output precision mainly in the 2 SD range and beyond. Thus, KGSMapper is robust in the face of questionable data, offering the user a way to recognize and clean such data. It also functions well with sparse datasets. These features make it useful for biogeographic meta-analyses with the diverse, distributed datasets that are typical for marine organisms lacking direct commercial value.
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Although the effect of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning has become a major focus in ecology, its significance in a fluctuating environment is still poorly understood. According to the insurance hypothesis, biodiversity insures ecosystems against declines in their functioning because many species provide greater guarantees that some will maintain functioning even if others fail. Here we examine this hypothesis theoretically. We develop a general stochastic dynamic model to assess the effects of species richness on the expected temporal mean and variance of ecosystem processes such as productivity, based on individual species' productivity responses to environmental fluctuations. Our model shows two major insurance effects of species richness on ecosystem productivity: (i) a buffering effect, i.e., a reduction in the temporal variance of productivity, and (ii) a performance-enhancing effect, i.e., an increase in the temporal mean of productivity. The strength of these insurance effects is determined by three factors: (i) the way ecosystem productivity is determined by individual species responses to environmental fluctuations, (ii) the degree of asynchronicity of these responses, and (iii) the detailed form of these responses. In particular, the greater the variance of the species responses, the lower the species richness at which the temporal mean of the ecosystem process saturates and the ecosystem becomes redundant. These results provide a strong theoretical foundation for the insurance hypothesis, which proves to be a fundamental principle for understanding the long-term effects of biodiversity on ecosystem processes.
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During the next 50 years, which is likely to be the final period of rapid agricultural expansion, demand for food by a wealthier and 50% larger global population will be a major driver of global environmental change. Should past dependences of the global environmental impacts of agriculture on human population and consumption continue, 10(9) hectares of natural ecosystems would be converted to agriculture by 2050. This would be accompanied by 2.4- to 2.7-fold increases in nitrogen- and phosphorus-driven eutrophication of terrestrial, freshwater, and near-shore marine ecosystems, and comparable increases in pesticide use. This eutrophication and habitat destruction would cause unprecedented ecosystem simplification, loss of ecosystem services, and species extinctions. Significant scientific advances and regulatory, technological, and policy changes are needed to control the environmental impacts of agricultural expansion.
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The ecological consequences of biodiversity loss have aroused considerable interest and controversy during the past decade. Major advances have been made in describing the relationship between species diversity and ecosystem processes, in identifying functionally important species, and in revealing underlying mechanisms. There is, however, uncertainty as to how results obtained in recent experiments scale up to landscape and regional levels and generalize across ecosystem types and processes. Larger numbers of species are probably needed to reduce temporal variability in ecosystem processes in changing environments. A major future challenge is to determine how biodiversity dynamics, ecosystem processes, and abiotic factors interact.
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