Global climate change and other human‐induced alterations of the environment are causing a significant loss in biodiversity. Among the many species affected is the giant limpet Patella ferruginea, considered as the most endangered marine invertebrate within the Western Mediterranean basin.
The results of a 10‐year monitoring programme in an updated population viability analysis (PVA) model are provided, which indicate the unlikeliness of the population in Ceuta facing extinction within the next 50 years.
Evidence is provided for the possible role of this population as a source population for other sink populations in the Alboran Sea.
Large interannual variations in recruitment have been recorded, and the general linear model (GLM) indicates the influence of chlorophyll and temperature on recruitment rates. These results inform conservation strategies for this flagship species.
A continuing debate between environmental scientists and fisheries biologists on the sustainability of fisheries management practices, and the extent of fishing impacts on marine ecosystems, is unlikely to be resolved without fishery‐independent data spanning large geographic and temporal scales. Here, we compare continental‐ and decadal‐scale trends in fisheries catches with underwater reef monitoring data for 533 sites around Australia, and find matching evidence of rapid fish‐stock declines.
Regardless of a high global ranking for fisheries sustainability, catches from Australian wild fisheries decreased by 31% over the past decade. The biomass of large fishes observed on underwater transects decreased significantly over the same period on fished reefs (36% decline) and in marine park zones that allow limited fishing (18% decline), but with a negligible overall change in no‐fishing marine reserves. Populations of exploited fishes generally rose within marine reserves and declined outside the reserves, whereas unexploited species showed little difference in population trends within or outside reserves.
Although changing climate and more precautionary fisheries management contribute to declining fish catches, fisheries‐independent transect data suggest that excessive fishing also plays a major role.
The large number of fishery stocks that remain unmanaged or have poor data, coupled with continuing declines in the stock biomass of managed fish species, indicate that Aichi Target 6 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (i.e. ‘by 2020, all fish and invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants are managed and harvested sustainably’) will not be achieved in Australia, or elsewhere.
In order to maintain some naturally functioning food webs supported by large predators and associated ecosystem services in this era of changing climate, a greatly expanded network of effective, fully protected marine protected areas is needed that encompasses global marine biodiversity. The present globally unbalanced situation, with >98% of seas open to some form of fishing, deserves immediate multinational attention.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and networks of MPAs are being implemented globally as a spatial management tool for achieving conservation objectives. There has been considerable progress in reaching the prescribed 10% protected area target for 2020, outlined in the Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Target 11 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14.
The application of MPA network design principles (e.g. Representative, ecological connectivity), which underpin ecological coherence, is still lacking or insufficient in many regions. Poor ecological coherence hinders the ecological performance of MPA networks, leading to dysfunction in the flow of ecosystem services and reduced ecosystem benefits, with potentially negative consequences for human well‐being.
This paper presents four pivotal focus points for future progress that can bridge the gap between ecological and social systems. The aim is to shift the discourse of ‘ecological coherence’ further into the social sphere, and hence support the alignment of the process of designating ecologically coherent MPA networks with the ‘triple bottom line’ of economic development, environmental sustainability, and social inclusion, as described in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to achieve social–ecological coherence in MPA network design.
Green Bay has sometimes been referred to as the largest freshwater “estuary” in the world. Its watershed, much of it in intensive agriculture, comprises one-third of the Lake Michigan basin and delivers one-third of the lake's total phosphorus load. At one time, the major tributary, the Fox River, was considered the most heavily industrialized river in North America, primarily from paper manufacturing. Deterioration in water quality and the loss of beneficial and ecological uses have been extensive and began well back into the last century. More recently, the bay has also become a test case for our resolve to remediate and restore ecosystems throughout the Great Lakes and elsewhere. Green Bay has stimulated a significant amount of widely relevant research on the fate and behavior of toxics, biogeochemistry, habitat, biodiversity, and ecological processes. The bay represents a true “proving ground” for adaptive restoration. Key findings of the recent summit on the Ecological and Socio-Economic Tradeoffs of Restoration in the Green Bay Ecosystem are summarized here. Foremost among recommendations of the workshop was the creation of a “Green Bay Ecosystem Simulation and Data Consortium” serving as a data clearing house, building upon the significant progress to date, and developing a modeling framework and visualization tools, furthering public outreach efforts, and ensuring a sustained growth in scientific expertise. Funding was estimated to be on the order of ~$15–20M over the next ~5?years – a modest investment relative to the value of the ecosystem and the long-term cost of inaction.
The Great Lakes are a vital resource for drinking water and recreation and provide a major fishery for millions of people. As part of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the US and Canadian governments have been charged with the protection of this system. Persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBTs) contaminants were found to be affecting the lake water quality as early as the late 1960s, and various programs sponsored by the US and Canada have been created to monitor PBTs such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs). These programs have refined measurement techniques to quantify trace level contaminants using a targeted analytical approach. However, new PBTs are being detected in the environment, and the traditional targeted methodology is inadequate for understanding the complex chemical mixture affecting Great Lakes wildlife. Fortunately, new analytical technologies are emerging that allow for comprehensive screening of PBTs beyond targeted methods. The current commentary presents an outline of a new framework for contemporary monitoring programs. The goal is to facilitate the compilation of legacy, emerging PBT, and archive PBT signatures by utilizing the basic practices of traditional targeted analysis. This example focuses on fish monitoring programs, and how they are ideally suited for legacy monitoring as well as data-driven discovery of new chemicals of concern.
A detailed review of historical literature and museum data revealed that flathead catfish were not historically native in the Great Lakes Basin, with the possible exception of a relict population in Lake Erie. The species has invaded Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, Lake Huron, nearly all drainages in Michigan, and the Fox/Wolf and Milwaukee drainages in Wisconsin. They have not been collected from Lake Superior yet, and the temperature suitability of that lake is questionable. Flathead catfish have been stocked sparingly in the Great Lakes and is not the mechanism responsible for their spread. A stocking in 1968 in Ohio may be one exception to this. Dispersal resulted from both natural range expansions and unauthorized introductions. The invasion is ongoing, with the species invading both from the east and the west to meet in northern Lake Michigan. Much of this invasion has likely taken place since the 1990s. This species has been documented to have significant impacts on native fishes in other areas where it has been introduced; therefore, educating the public not to release them into new waters is important. Frequent monitoring of rivers and lakes for the presence of this species would detect new populations early so that management actions could be utilized on new populations if desired.
Flathead catfishPylodictis olivarisGreat LakesInvasive