Latest Skimmer Articles

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

By Tundi Agardy, Contributing Editor, MEAM. Email: tundiagardy [at] earthlink.net

I’m of two minds about restoration. On one hand, I’m amazed and encouraged by the advancements made in fixing some of the damage we’ve done to marine habitats such as salt marshes, seagrasses, mangroves, and coral and shellfish reefs. New technologies and knowledge are creating possibilities we could only dream of in the past. On the other hand, I worry about our hubris, and whether we are really fixing the damage done, or just creating the illusion that we can successfully reconstruct healthy, functioning ecosystems. And I worry that, if this illusion is accompanied by the deception that restoring ecosystems is easy, we pave the way for wholesale pillaging of the earth.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

By Robert Orth, Professor of Marine Science, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, Virginia. Email: jjorth [at] vims.edu

The system of barrier islands, coastal bays, and salt marshes along the Atlantic coast of Virginia’s portion of the Delmarva Peninsula represent some of the most natural, unspoiled coastal habitat along the US East Coast. Historically, finfish and shellfish resources in this region supported large fisheries. However, during the 1930s, this region underwent a dramatic ecological shift.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

"If the last blue whale choked to death on the last panda, it would be disastrous but not the end of the world. But if we accidentally poisoned the last two species of ammonia-oxidizers, that would be another matter. It could be happening now and we wouldn't even know..."
                                  ---
Microbiologist Tom Curtis in Nature, 2006

Most marine microbes are marine organisms too small to be seen by the unaided human eye (that is, roughly less than 0.1 mm). They make up 98 percent of ocean biomass, are the foundation of all marine food webs, and are a major driver of most of Earth’s biogeochemical cycles, including those of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus (not to mention those of sulfur, hydrogen, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and chlorine).

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 voluntary alliance of tool users, developers, and training providers.

In 2016, the EBM Tools Network compiled a list of hands-on activities for teaching about ecosystem services and ecosystem-based management (now updated with several more activities!). A university professor recently asked if we have any similar resources for teaching marine protected area (MPA) design and management. EBM Tools Network members pooled their collective knowledge again and came up with this fantastic list of resources for teaching about MPAs at all educational levels.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

The last two issues of MEAM featured two Skimmers chock full of cutting edge research and insights from some of our climate change researcher heroes. If you didn’t have a chance to check them out yet, we highly recommend doing so now!

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. This Skimmer features new research and insights presented at the 4th International Symposium on Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Oceans (ECCWO), held in June 2018 in Washington, DC. In last month’s MEAM, we covered new research on how weather and climate extremes are impacting marine ecosystems, as well as some climate change tools and resources, presented at the symposium. This month we examine what practitioners can do about it.

Marine species just are not where they used to be: Managing and conserving species on the move

  • The problem: Much of current conservation action is based on maintaining species in the same places they have been located historically and at roughly the same levels of abundance. Marine resource management, likewise, is based on historical assumptions about where species are and in what numbers. But we are currently seeing big geographical shifts in marine populations in response to climate change, sometimes across political and management boundaries. How in the world can we deal with this?

Pages