- Seychelles finalizes plan to protect 30% of its EEZ, ~400,000 sq. km
- Great Barrier Reef suffers most widespread mass bleaching to date
- Silt and nutrient runoff from Australian wildfires likely to impact coastal ecosystems
- Study identifies 10 priority sites for protecting biodiversity in ABNJ
- Climate change may shift where marine aquaculture can take place
- Many highly mobile species cannot keep up with climate change in hotspots
- New tool for mapping shallow seafloor discovered
- Floating solar technology for coastal ocean taking big steps forward
- Paper examines inequities in distribution of ocean goods and services
- International fisheries agreements do not consider stock shifts
- Scientists find evidence for seasonal migrations on deep seafloor
- Current 50-year floods may occur annually for most of coastal US before 2050
- Study suggests marine ecosystems could largely recover by 2050 if major pressures mitigated (read publication)
- Tropical ocean ecosystems may collapse within decade without greenhouse gas emission reductions (read publication)
- Experts estimate $175 billion a year needed to achieve SDG 14
- New taxonomy of conservation finance strategies and mechanisms available
- Overview and recommendations for resilience-based management available
- Coral atlases for Western Micronesia now available
- And, of course, the Trump administration continues to roll back environmental regulations in the US
Latest Skimmer Articles
In April, the Mulago Foundation, which funds organizations that fight poverty, pooled advice from leaders in its network who have steered their institutions through Ebola, the 2008 recession, and other crises. The advice is pithy, insightful, and provocative. It is highly relevant to small-to-mid-size NGOs, and many others will find it useful as well. The advice is available in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.
In addition, Mulago also hosted a wonderful webinar on this topic – full of useful advice on how to ensure the survival of an institution, maintain its progress, and respond to opportunities that will arise during the crisis. You can watch a recording of the webinar here.
Editor’s note: Every month, I skim dozens of newsletters, reports, and articles for material relevant to managing and conserving marine ecosystems. And every month, I’m a little shellshocked by the onslaught of bad news. People ask me how I like my job, and I tell them that I love the oceans, I love the work, and I love the people I work with, but it is profoundly sad to chronicle the decline of ocean ecosystems. I know many Skimmer readers have these same – and perhaps even more intense – feelings and experiences. Several recent studies and a body of recent reporting are now providing a framework for recognizing and legitimizing these feelings and experiences as well as highlighting the need to develop systems to deal with them. This Skimmer provides a brief summary of recent research and news in the hopes it can help marine conservation and management practitioners move forward with their vital work studying, managing, and protecting marine ecosystems.
What is ecological grief?
- As professionals in the marine conservation and management field, Skimmer readers are hyperaware of large scale and global changes to marine ecosystems – changes including loss of biodiversity, top predators, iconic species, and biomass and the degradation of habitats. These changes are due to climate change, overfishing, coastal development, and other human activities.
- New research is now examining the emotional and psychological toll that these changes are having on people, especially:
- Marine planning and management trainings added to Skimmer database
- Final session to negotiate new UN Law of the Sea high seas biodiversity treaty to begin in March (read analysis of draft treaty)
- Ireland publishes draft national marine planning framework
- Experts identify priority deep-sea areas for monitoring and conservation
- New paper examines the future of global food provision from the ocean
- Policy brief assesses 18 opportunities to increase ocean-based climate strategies
- Decarbonization and implementing adaptation measures can substantially reduce losses to global GDP from sea level rise
- Climate change and Brexit upsetting European fisheries
- US NOAA releases 2019 Arctic Report Card
- International coalition forms to advance ocean-based renewable energy
- New research shows that fisheries that are managed doing better than fisheries that are not
- Study reviews progress in integrating climate change adaptation into MPA design and management
- China phasing out single-use plastics – bans plastic bags in major cities by end of 2020
- New accounting method suggests far more microplastics in ocean than previously thought
Some more climate change-related news and resources:
Editor’s note: The EBM Tools Network got started in 2005-2006 under the leadership of Patrick Crist, then the director of conservation planning and ecosystem management at NatureServe. Over the past 14 years, the Network has grown to over 11,000 coastal and marine conservation and management practitioners worldwide, and is now run by OCTO, which also publishes this newsletter. For this issue of the Skimmer, we catch up with Crist, now principal at the consultancy PlanIt Forward, to see how conservation planning tools have changed over this time.
Skimmer: What changes have you seen in the use of conservation planning tools since the EBM Tools Network got started in 2005-2006? Are more conservation projects and groups using them? If so, why do you think this change has occurred?
Crist: It is really hard to quantify the use of tools – I haven’t seen any polling or studies on this although it would be really informative. Given that most conservation software is free, it is hard to tease apart casual downloads from actual application. For example, when the NatureServe Vista decision support system became free, there were about 2000 downloads worldwide almost immediately and there have typically been a few hundred every year since then. Periodic polling of the registrants, however, suggests single-digit percentages of actual use.
Last month, The Skimmer released a compilation of role-playing/simulation games to educate stakeholders, professionals, students, and the general public about aspects of coastal and marine conservation, management, and adaptation. We’ve just added nine more games to the game compilation. Check out the newbies:
Editor’s note: In last month’s issue, The Skimmer interviewed three practitioners about their experiences developing and using serious games to educate stakeholders, professionals, students, and the general public about aspects of the conservation and management of coastal and marine ecosystems. This month we interviewed Harald Warmelink, a senior research project leader at Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, about his work developing the serious game MSP Challenge. Warmelink’s work focuses on the design, use, and evaluation of serious games for policy analysis, decision-making, management, and organization, as well as their gamification.
The Skimmer: Can you tell us a little bit about your game and the target audience?
Warmelink: As we wrote in the article “Communicating Maritime Spatial Planning: The MSP Challenge approach”: “The MSP Challenge Simulation Platform integrates real geodata (both marine and human activities) sourced from a great many proprietary institutions and data-portals (such as IMO, HELCOM, EMODnet, and national data centers) with science-based simulation models for shipping, energy and ecology (Ecopath with Ecosim). The data and models have been linked together in a game engine (Unity) to create an interactive simulation platform. This simulation platform allows anyone – experts as well as non-experts – to creatively operate it for scenario development, and/or for multi-player game sessions. This can have multiple purposes such as scenario exploration, co-design, validation or policy-oriented learning. Although the simulation platform has taken a significant step towards becoming a next generation marine planning support system, it continues to use play mechanics, in the form of player roles, scenarios and challenges.”
Historically, games were a means for young people to learn critical survival skills. In recent decades, however, games have come to be viewed as simply a source of entertainment. A recent movement – “serious gaming” – is now revitalizing the idea that games can do a lot more than just entertain. It is showing that they can be a powerful tool for teaching, engaging stakeholders, conducting research, and evaluating public policy. For instance, serious games can:
- Help players better understand complex topics and the interests of a wide variety of groups, promoting thinking about systems as a whole
- Let players experiment with and see the consequences of different choices over time, promoting longer-term thinking
- Create a high level of engagement with the public, potentially at lower cost than other more traditional engagement activities
- Help policymakers and researchers understand stakeholder decision making and the way stakeholders may respond to a variety of policy choices.
This month The Skimmer has compiled information about role-playing/simulation games designed to educate stakeholders, professionals, students, and the general public about aspects of coastal and marine conservation, management, and adaptation. These serious games allow players to experiment with coastal and marine conservation, management, and adaptation actions (or inaction) to help players, researchers, and policymakers better understand how coastal and marine ecosystems (including resource users and human communities) work. We also interview a range of game developers about their experiences using their games in the field.
Look through our new compilation for a serious game for your coastal and marine conservation, management, and adaptation work.
The Skimmer interviewed three practitioners about their experiences developing and using serious games to educate stakeholders, professionals, students, and the general public about aspects of the conservation and management of coastal and marine ecosystems. Learn about:
- How the Reef Stakes game is being used across Southeast Asia to explain the complexity of multi-stakeholder decision-making processes and highlight threats to coral reef ecosystems
- How the Ocean Limited game is being used in Germany to allow players to take on stakeholder roles and negotiate interests in marine resources
- How the Fishing in the Food Web game is being used in Argentina to introduce players to complex marine ecological concepts and stimulate discussion about how marine ecosystems work.
One striking commonality of these stories is the ability of games to engage a wide variety of audiences – oftentimes even wider audiences than those for which they were developed – in discussion and learning about the conservation and management of marine ecosystems.
- New report describes expected impacts of climate change on global ocean economy
- Ocean acidification could cost US fisheries, tourism, and coastal communities billions
- Ocean deoxygenation increasingly threatens species and ecosystems
- Global wave patterns will change drastically with further global warming
- New research able to link frequency of most damaging hurricanes to climate change
- New study assesses changes in fish distribution due to climate change
- Draft treaty on conservation and sustainable use of high seas marine life available for review
- Wales publishes new national marine plan
- New tool helps coastal cities identify financial, political, ecological risks from climate change
- New underwater robotic gliders measure ocean noise levels
- New tool tracks vessels at high risk for IUU fishing
- Project will enable study of environmental changes on ocean microbes
- Larval fish eating microplastics in their nursery habitats
- Latest studies suggest Arctic Ocean may be ice-free for part of year by 2044
- Oldest and thickest Arctic Ocean sea ice disappearing twice as fast as other sea ice
- Input requested on coastal management challenges, will inform US national research investments