World Aquarium News
Abstract Conservation scientists rarely have the information required to understand changes in abundance over more than a few decades, even for important species like Pacific salmon. Such lack of historical information can underestimate the magnitude of decline for depressed populations. We applied genetic tools to a unique collection of 100‐year‐old salmon scales to reveal declines of 56%–99% in wild sockeye populations across Canada's second largest salmon watershed, the Skeena River. These analyses reveal century‐long declines that are much greater than those based on modern era abundance data, which suggested that only 7 of 13 populations declined over the last five decades. [...]
Tue, Aug 20, 2019
Source Conservation Letters
Abstract Conservation scientists rarely have the information required to understand changes in abundance over more than a few decades, even for important species like Pacific salmon. Such lack of historical information can underestimate the magnitude of decline for depressed populations. We applied genetic tools to a unique collection of 100‐year‐old salmon scales to reveal declines of 56%–99% in wild sockeye populations across Canada's second largest salmon watershed, the Skeena River. These analyses reveal century‐long declines that are much greater than those based on modern era abundance data, which suggested that only 7 of 13 populations declined over the last five decades. [...]
Tue, Aug 20, 2019
Source Conservation Letters
Researchers are setting out to find answers to disappearance of famed pilot Amelia Earhart. An autonomous surface vehicle (ASV), or robot, can explore the seafloor in waters that may be too deep for divers. [...]
Wed, Aug 14, 2019
Source Coral Reef News from Science Daily
Research revealed a unique feeding strategy of a marine sponge, wherein the sponge animal acquires important components of its diet from symbiotic bacteria living within the sponge. [...]
Wed, Aug 14, 2019
Source Coral Reef News from Science Daily
Researchers have studied how sunscreens release different compounds -- trace metals and inorganic nutrients -- into Mediterranean seawater, with unknown effects on marine ecology. [...]
Wed, Aug 14, 2019
Source Coral Reef News from Science Daily
Abstract Effective conservation requires monitoring and pro‐active risk assessments. We studied the effects of at‐sea mortality events (ASMEs) in marine mammals over two decades (1990–2012) and built a risk‐based indicator for the European Union's Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Strandings of harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena), short‐beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis), and striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) along French coastlines were analyzed using Extreme Value Theory (EVT). EVT operationalizes what is an extreme ASME, and allows the probabilistic forecasting of the expected maximum number of dead animals assuming constant pressures. For the period 2013–2018, we forecast the strandings of 80 harbor porpoises, 860 common [...]
Tue, Aug 13, 2019
Source Conservation Letters
Abstract Nearshore‐structured habitats—including underwater grasses, mangroves, coral, and other biogenic reefs, marshes, and complex abiotic substrates—have long been postulated to function as important nurseries for juvenile fishes and invertebrates. Here, we review the evolution of the “nursery habitat hypothesis” and use >11,000 comparisons from 160 peer‐reviewed studies to test whether and which structured habitats increase juvenile density, growth, and survival. In general, almost all structured habitats significantly enhanced juvenile density—and in some cases growth and survival—relative to unstructured habitats. Underwater grasses and mangroves also promoted juvenile density and growth beyond what was observed in other structured habitats. These conclusions were robust [...]
Tue, Aug 13, 2019
Source Conservation Letters
Abstract The Australian Government's 5‐year Threatened Species Strategy contains four priority action areas and associated targets. Here, we argue that the well‐publicized target to cull 2 million feral cats has a weak scientific basis because: (1) reliable estimates of Australia's cat population size did not exist when the target was set; (2) it is extremely difficult to measure progress (numbers of cats killed) in an accurate, reliable way; and, most importantly, (3) the cull target is not explicitly linked to direct conservation outcomes (e.g., measured increases in threatened species populations). These limitations mean that the cull target fails to meet what [...]
Tue, Aug 13, 2019
Source Conservation Letters
Abstract Infrastructures such as roads and pipelines have environmental impacts that diffuse far beyond the local development footprint, including fragmenting habitat or changing hydrology. Broad‐scale diffuse impacts are challenging to incorporate into conservation planning and strategic environmental assessment due to difficulties in determining how impacts spread across landscapes. We built curves representing expert‐elicited magnitudes and spatial extents of direct and diffuse impacts of infrastructure on biodiversity groups, to incorporate these impacts into a spatial conservation prioritization. We demonstrate how different prioritization outputs inform different steps of the impact assessment mitigation hierarchy. In southern Australia we find the diffuse‐impact footprint to be [...]
Tue, Aug 13, 2019
Source Conservation Letters
Tue, Aug 13, 2019
Source Conservation Letters
Abstract Local support is important for the longevity of conservation initiatives. The literature suggests that perceptions of ecological effectiveness, social impacts, and good governance will influence levels of local support for conservation. This paper examines these relationships using data from a survey of small‐scale fishermen in 11 marine protected areas from six countries in the Mediterranean Sea. The survey queried small‐scale fishermen regarding perceptions and support for conservation. We constructed composite scores for three categories of perceptions—ecological effectiveness, social impacts, and good governance—and tested the relationship with levels of support using ordinal regression models. While all three factors were positively correlated [...]
Tue, Aug 13, 2019
Source Conservation Letters
Abstract To conserve marine biodiversity, we must first understand the spatial distribution and status of at‐risk biodiversity. We combined range maps and conservation status for 5,291 marine species to map the global distribution of extinction risk of marine biodiversity. We find that for 83% of the ocean, >25% of assessed species are considered threatened, and 15% of the ocean shows >50% of assessed species threatened when weighting for range‐limited species. By comparing mean extinction risk of marine biodiversity to no‐take marine reserve placement, we identify regions where reserves preferentially afford proactive protection (i.e., preserving low‐risk areas) or reactive protection (i.e., mitigating [...]
Tue, Aug 13, 2019
Source Conservation Letters
Abstract Preserving biodiversity and ecosystem function in the Anthropocene is one of humanity's greatest challenges. Ecosystem‐based management and area closures are considered an effective way to maintain ecological processes, especially in marine systems. Although there is strong evidence that such measures positively affect community structure, their impact on the rate of key ecological processes remains unclear. Here, we provide evidence that marine protected areas enhance herbivory rates on coral reefs via direct and indirect pathways. Using meta‐analysis and a path‐analytical framework, we demonstrate that, on average, protected areas increase the species richness of herbivorous fishes, which, in turn, enhances browsing rates [...]
Tue, Aug 13, 2019
Source Conservation Letters
Abstract With much of Earth's surface already heavily impacted by humans, there is a need to understand where restoration is required to achieve global conservation goals. Here, we show that at least 1.9 million km2 of land, spanning 190 (27%) terrestrial ecoregions and 114 countries, needs restoration to achieve the current 17% global protected area target (Aichi Target 11). Restoration targeted on lightly modified land could recover up to two‐thirds of the shortfall, which would have an opportunity cost impact on agriculture of at least $205 million per annum (average of $159/km2). However, 64 (9%) ecoregions, located predominately in Southeast Asia, [...]
Tue, Aug 13, 2019
Source Conservation Letters
Abstract Our ecological studies on large varanid lizards in a remote region of tropical Australia reveal a direct benefit to collaboration with local indigenous people. Although they worked together, in pairs, western scientists and indigenous rangers found lizards with different behavioral phenotypes (“personalities”). The resultant broader sampling of the lizard population enabled us to detect positive effects of a conservation management intervention. Those effects would not have been evident from the subset of animals collected by western scientists, and hence, involvement by researchers from both cultures critically affected our conclusions and paved the way for large‐scale deployment of a novel conservation [...]
Tue, Aug 13, 2019
Source Conservation Letters