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The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Editor’s note: The Skimmer is a MEAM feature where we briefly review the latest news and research on a topic. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the 4th International Symposium on Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Oceans (ECCWO)[1], held in Washington, DC. This symposium gathered scientists and managers from more than 50 nations to discuss the latest science on climate change impacts on ocean ecosystems, identify climate risks and knowledge gaps, and determine best ways to respond to sustain ocean resources and communities. Here is a quick summary of some recent and brand new research findings presented at the symposium on how weather and climate extremes are impacting marine ecosystems, as well as insights shared by speakers. (Learn about climate change tools and resources presented at the symposium in this month’s EBM Toolbox). Part 2 of the Skimmer, coming out next month, will feature more research and insights from ECCWO on how we can manage and conserve ocean ecosystems in a rapidly changing climate.

We know that extreme weather events (such as marine heatwaves) and other climate change-associated effects (including ocean warming, ocean deoxygenation, and ocean acidification) are dramatically altering marine ecosystems. But we are still figuring out the how, how much, and why of these changes. Some perspectives on what we know and what we still need to know:

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management
The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Editor's note: The goal of The EBM Toolbox is to promote awareness of tools and methods for facilitating EBM and MSP processes. It is brought to you by the EBM Tools Network (www.ebmtools.org), a network to share knowledge, tools, and experiences to promote ecosystem-based management of coastal and marine environments. This column presents some of the new tools, resources, and initiatives for dealing with the effects of climate change on ocean ecosystems that were presented at the recent International Symposium on Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Oceans, held in Washington, DC.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

OpenChannels.org has just updated and expanded its list of ocean conservation, management, and science-related conferences. (Over 50 conferences from around the world listed right now!) Check out the list at https://www.openchannels.org/conferences.

Submit additional suggestions for the list at https://www.openchannels.org/submit-conference.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

The EBM Tools Network recently co-hosted a webinar on Reducing Coastal Risk with Natural Defenses: The Latest Ecology, Engineering, and Economics of Natural Infrastructure, presented by Mike Beck of The Nature Conservancy and the University of California Santa Cruz. This talk summarized recent high-level research findings on the ecology, engineering, and economics of natural infrastructure and gave more detail on topics covered in MEAM’s recent lead article “Can we insure our way to healthier oceans and ocean communities?

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

“Most of us grew up in a world where data were rare and expensive to collect. In contrast, culturomics is firmly situated in the 21st-century world of abundant, ‘messy’ data, produced from the interactions between humans and the digital world.”

---- Richard Ladle, Federal University of Alagoas

In the past, MEAM’s coverage of social media has focused on how social media platforms (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Snapchat, Instagram) can be used to communicate with and educate stakeholders and the general public. But this view of social media as primarily an outreach tool largely ignores the fact that these platforms (as well as other digital venues such as online discussion groups and internet search engines such as Google) also provide a source of publicly available information on human interactions with coastal and marine environments. Analyzing data from these platforms can tell us where people are going in coastal and marine environments, why they are going there, what they are doing once they get there, what they are seeing and hearing, and how they are feeling about it – often complete with geotags, timestamps, photographs, and videos.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management
The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

A new paper in Marine Policy (pre-print available for free in the MarXiv research repository) discusses the importance of effective metaphors for marine conservation and policy. Metaphors are figures of speech that describe something in terms more familiar to listeners, e.g., “a blanket of snow”. Good metaphors help shape understanding of something and can mobilize appropriate action. Poorly-chosen metaphors are, at best, ineffective at mobilizing support for the intended cause, and, at worst, counterproductive because they lead to oppositional behaviors or decrease the credibility of the messenger.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

MEAM is a project of OCTO (www.octogroup.org). OCTO serves over 80,000 ocean professionals annually with a wide range of services.

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