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Coastal Management

This category contains 61 posts
Conservationists are scrambling to save the species of the world, but where should they start

‘The conservationist is ready to see you’: triaging marine ecosystems in times of climate change

Climate change affects ecosystems worldwide, but how do conservationists decide which of planet earth’s ecosystems are most in need?

Red Crown-of-Thorns Starfish eating coral. Author Matt Kieffer, Flickr. No modifications made. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattkieffer/3016449061 Link to license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

Small MPAs: the new all-you-can-eat buffets?

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a popular conservation tool and are in many situations very effective. Unfortunately, as with many plans, there may be some unintended consequences, as seen in the case of small MPAs in Fiji, where they appear to have attracted corallivorous crown-of-thorns sea stars (Acanthaster spp.). Find out more in today’s oceanbites!

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Fisheries and Food Security

Fish have provided sustenance for millions of people, but in a world where stocks are rapidly depleting, what are the consequences of trying to save and rehabilitate their populations?

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Working with the coast

The coast is very dynamic and at the constant mercy of wind and water energy. Often times, humans will try to control the coast by constructing seawalls and groins. Such projects have major impacts on sediment transport that can affect natural ecosystems and recreational beaches. Read here about a group of scientists who sought to quantify just how much of an impact seawall and groin development had on a section of coast in southeast India.

Soft coral dominated reef. Author: Matt Kieffer. Source: Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattkieffer/15439205306)

Hard Coral or Macroalgae? Coral Reefs May Have Another Option

Most of the time coral reef communities are discussed, it seems the focus is whether they’re dominated by hard coral or algae. It turns out there may be other possible outcomes for reefs in the future. Find out more in today’s oceanbites!

(source: culture.oasiscollections.com)

Paradise Loss: How humans are impacting coastal reef communities

Humans are drawn to beautiful beaches and warm water, and with us come the conveniences of modern day civilization. While life may be flourishing in the shops, restaurants and luxury hotels, this development is taking its toll on the fragile reef community just off shore. Although reefs may appear healthy to the naked eye, researchers have discovered coastal development impacts their biological diversity, and this may be an indication of more serious, long-term damage.

Fig. 1. Encroaching Mangrove in Homestead, FL
Source: G. Gardner, National Park Service, via Wikimedia Commons

Mangrove Takeover Impacting Salt Marshes

Mangroves are encroaching on salt marsh habitats worldwide, but what does this change in plant community mean for the plants, ecosystem processes, and other inhabitants of these areas? Find out a bit of the answer to that question in today’s oceanbites!

A mother and baby sperm whale.

A Whale Shaped Needle in a Ocean Sized Haystack

Sperm whales are very large, but they can still be tricky to find in the ocean! These researchers combined several data sets, from centuries old whaling records to modern automated location recording, to determine the locations off the southwest Australia most suitable for sperm whales, so policy makers can plan to protect these animals and other scientists can save time searching for them.

Eine kleine Aalchaos.

The long and winding Eel migration

A glimpse of the thousands’ mile migration of the European eel shows it’s anything but straightforward.

Figure 1: H. trimaculatus (source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hippocampus_trimaculatus,_Osezaki.jpg)

From Wastewater to Seahorses to the Medicine Cabinet

Pollution of metals could be getting into the tissue of seahorses–the very tissues that are used to make a special Chinese medicine. Now scientists fear that the metal pollutants could harm the patients who take the medicine. Read more to find out what they learned about the accumulation of metals in seahorse tissues.

Fig. 3 Photos showing D. perlucidum  growing on seagrass, a navigational marker and substrate. Source: Simpson et al. 2016.

Seagrass Invasion! Tunicates colonizing seagrass beds impact plant and animal community

Seagrass habitats worldwide are in decline due to a number of factors. What happens when an invasive species comes on the scene to add to the stressors affecting seagrasses?

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New Model Evaluates How Coastlines in the Northeast United States Respond to Sea Level Rise

Some coastlines are more resilient to sea level rise, whereas others just plain drown. A new study by geologists at the United States Geological Survey evaluate how coastlines along the northeast United States will respond to sea level rise.

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Rip Rap Sill: The Best of Both Worlds

The hybrid shoreline stabilization method called rip rap sill combines rock structures with native vegetation. This study found that fish biodiversity and abundance in rip rap sills was more similar to a native marsh than a built rip rap.

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Sea Lions and goose chases – a day at the Marine Mammal Center

I spent a morning learning about the Marine Mammal Center at Moss Landing in California, helped with the intake of a sea lion, and went out on a call with the team.

Fig 1: Marine debris on the beach at Green Island in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Author: Keeley Belva, NOAA. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kure_debris_440.jpg

To I.D. Debris: LIDAR as a tool to identify trash on the beach

Scientists may have a new option for figuring out how much debris litters our beaches and what it all is! Find out more in today’s World Oceans Day post on marine debris!

Figure 2: intricate root system https-//pixabay.com/en/mangrove-philippines-trees-nature-1227352/

Room to Grow

When natural ecosystems are destroyed from anthropogenic development there exists a common notion that a replacement can be replanted somewhere else. One has to wonder though; what if the ecosystem destroyed cannot be replaced into the same role it once had. Scientists investigate if planted mangroves in the Philippines change the natural mangrove areas surrounding the restoration area, and to determine if there are differences in species diversity between planted and natural systems.

A snapping shrimp seen here with a mutualist friend, a goby. Photo by: Haplochromis - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=880768

Going Mute: Ocean acidification silences shrimp snaps

Coastal areas could fall silent in the next century as ocean acidification alters and affects the natural soundscapes of the oceans. Intrigued? Click here to read more!

Erodedcliffpacifica

It’s ALIVE: Living Shorelines!

It’s no secret we want to protect our shorelines from erosion and coastal storms. One best management practice catching steam is a living shoreline, which uses native vegetation instead of concrete. Living shorelines not only have the potential to protect coastal communities, but may also be a carbon sink.

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Storm Troopers! Robots collect ocean data during hurricanes

Hurricane prediction models are constantly improving as we create more innovative ways to study the growth and development of storms. In 2011, a team from Rutgers University sent an autonomous underwater vehicle into the projected path of Hurricane Irene to measure ocean conditions before, during, and after it passed.

Pacific sardines live in a sensitive coastal ecosystem. Recently warm winter waters on the US west coast have caused many sardines to seek more northern, colder waters. Credit: NOAA’s National Ocean Service.

Ports, Pups, Policy, and Low Sardine Stocks

While sardine stocks are seeing disturbingly low numbers along the US west coast, affecting fishermen and marine mammals that depend on them, scientists are working hard to provide forecast modeling and data than can better assist fishery managers to avoid this situation in the future.

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