Marine ecosystem restoration – such as reconstructing saltmarshes that have been lost to human development, replanting coastal mangrove forests that have been degraded, and enhancing the structural complexity of damaged reefs – is an emerging field that seeks to move ecosystems to healthier states, often with the goal of increasing their ability to provide ecosystem services.
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- First round of UN treaty negotiations on high seas biodiversity wraps up (read more here and here)
- Marine protection plan presented to Bahamian government for review and approval
- Ireland reaches first milestone in MSP process, publishing report on all marine activity
- European Commission finds EU has made some progress - but not enough - on reducing pressures on marine environment
- New database allows users to find and compare conservation plans from around the world
- Resources available for teaching about ocean planning to secondary/post-secondary classrooms
- 35 percent of wetlands lost between 1970 and 2015
- Jamaica bans single use plastic bags and straws by 2019
- Training helps US communities calculate nuisance flooding frequency
- New guidance helps US practitioners incorporate habitat protection and restoration into flood mitigation activities
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- Take a survey on critical research gaps for EBM implementation in US
- Apply for a free Saildrone data mission by December 31
- European Commission calls for MSP proposals by October 23
- One Planet – One Ocean: From Science to Solutions MOOC underway – registration still available
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.
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.
Last month’s EBM Toolbox column with resources for teaching about marine protected areas has been updated to include resources from the US NOAA National MPA Center and National Marine Sanctuaries network. Check it out here.
"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).
- England adopts marine plan for south coast
- Coastal-marine EBM pilot project for West, Central, and South Africa launched
- New toolkit compiles guidance and tools for measuring and utilizing blue carbon for promoting coastal conservation and restoration
- Case studies of sustainable financing of marine/coastal management published
- Overview of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture best practices published
- New conservation finance training available (see other available trainings)
- UN provides policy brief on ocean deoxygenation
- Scientists discover common plastics release greenhouse gasses as they degrade
- New Zealand to phase out single-use plastic bags in coming year
- UN FAO finds overfishing increasing, one-third of major commercial fish species overfished
- Arctic’s oldest, thickest sea ice breaking up for the first time
- NOAA State of the Climate Report in 2017 finds that it was the warmest non-El Niño year on record and greenhouse gasses and sea level reached record highs
- Study finds only 13 percent of global ocean remains as wilderness (Download the manuscript on MarXiv)
- European Commission calls for MSP proposals, due Oct 31
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 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!
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?