Two Types of Science, One Study of Ocean Acidification

by Weronika Konwent

Ocean acidification is predicted to increase as global warming accelerates, affecting marine habitats and especially coastal areas experiencing episodic upwelling, such as the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME). Hofmann et al. (2014) are studying this particular habitat due to its wide variety of conditions and its particular susceptibility to rapid environmental change, To do this, they are using data collected by the Ocean Margin Ecosystems Group for Acidification Studies (OMEGAS) to pair oceanographic and biological data to create a more thorough understanding of genetic variability within key species populations, and how this can affect adaptation to the conditions caused by climate change. Using the biological data to measure responses of sea creatures to oceanographic factors that are affected by climate change, Hofman et al (2014) hope to plot the future survival of CCLME species. Continue reading

The Intersection of Biodiversity and Socioeconomic Interests

 

by Weronika Konwent

Due to lack of specific species data, it is often difficult to predict where marine conservation will be most effective in maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem functionality. Olds et al (2014) test whether surrogates that fulfill the criteria of being keystone, umbrella, and flagship species can accurately predict which areas are optimal for conservation. They also tested whether seascape connectivity has an effect on fish abundance. It was concluded that the integration of these two conditions in marine spatial planning can positively impact the maintenance of fish communities and the functioning of ecosystems, and that these improvements can be beneficial to people in terms of sustenance and income. Continue reading

Conservation Strategies for a Changing Climate

by Weronika Konwent

     Conservation of marine species, especially as a response to climate change, requires a reliable conception of current and future spatial distribution of species to allow for the protection of biodiversity and the establishment of conservation at the most appropriate sites. Gormley et al. use Species Distribution Modeling (SDM) to predict how Priority Marine Habitats (PMH) in the NE Atlantic might shift and change according to climate change induced changes. Continue reading

A Strategy for Response to Climate Change in Marine Conservation

by Weronika Konwent

     An effect of global warming is an increase in sea-surface temperatures (SST), which impacts the distribution and range of corals. As temperatures increase, coral distribution will shift poleward. This is problematic because current marine protected areas do not take into account the distribution effects of climate change. Continual shifting of MPAs as conditions worsen is more than likely to meet political and logistical roadblocks. Makino et al (2014) established an integrative system by which to determine priority selection of habitats for MPAs. This research aims to create a process through which climate change can be factored into subsequent MPA planning, and will cater to coral distribution trends not only now but in the future as well. Continue reading

Addressing Climate Change in Australian Marine Ecosystems

by Weronika Konwent

Australia’s diverse marine environment is under threat from varied effects of climate change such as marine heat waves, ocean acidification, floods, and tropical cyclones. Various organisms spanning many habitats are affected, including fish, seabirds, marine turtles, coral, and marine invertebrates, many of which are keystone species that influence the structure of a particular community. It is important to study and understand the impact of ecological changes on the habitat and its inhabitants in order to preserve them as effectively as possible. Continue reading

Are No-Take Marine Reserves Really Effective?

 

by Weronika Konwent

No–take marine reserves (NTMRs) are established to promote marine biodiversity and to reign in exorbitant fishery behavior through the prohibition of all fishing and resource extraction. In the past several decades, the quantity of NTMRs has risen greatly across the world. While this seems like an obviously positive trend, many regard the existence of NTMRs as controversial. While most NTMR results appear positive, the opposition claims that faulty study design and a lack of objective empirical data may cause inaccurate portrayals of NTMR effects. Continue reading