Posts Tagged 'socio-economy'

Expert opinions on threats and impacts in the marine environment

We study expert opinions on global, marine threats and potential impacts to the environment and to society, using a survey dataset with more than 1500 respondents. The sample provides a panel of respondents across scientific disciplines, age groups, and institution types. We divide the respondents into two groups based on their main disciplinary background (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics [STEM] and social science and humanities [SSH]). We can thus analyze potential differences in the assessment of marine threats and impacts across disciplines. The two groups largely agree on which threats and impacts are the most important. Further, more or less the same issues are listed as both environmental and societal concerns. These issues include overfishing, climate change (global warming, ocean acidification), pollution (plastics), and habitat damage. We also find interesting differences across the two disciplinary groups, in particular regarding sea level rise, biodiversity loss, and invasive species. Similarities and differences between the disciplinary groups largely hold up when controlling for demographic variables such as age and institution type.

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Ocean acidification and blue economies

The pH of the surface ocean is decreasing worldwide as a result of anthropogenic carbon dioxide entering the surface ocean from the atmosphere; nearly 40% of the CO2 emitted to the atmosphere between 1800 and 2007 has been absorbed by the ocean. This consequent decrease in surface water pH is called “ocean acidification” and is a major threat to the blue economies of developing coastal nations and small islands. At particular risk are coral reefs, which serve as the basis for ecotourism and fisheries, and which provide protection from waves and resulting damage to property and loss of life. In addition, ocean acidification has been shown to negatively affect plankton, shellfish and other organisms that deposit carbonate structures. Ocean acidification is recognized by the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and specifically by Sustainable Development Goal 14 on “Life Under Water”, as a major challenge. Ocean science, both observations and research, can play a significant role in understanding the potential impacts of ocean acidification, as well as creating mitigation and adaptation approaches. This chapter will explain the causes and impacts of ocean acidification and will proceed to blue economy implications and the need for new ocean science.

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Seaweed farming for food and nutritional security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and women empowerment: a review

Seaweed is a promising marine macroalgae of the millennium, providing various ecological, social, and economic benefits. At present, seaweed production reached 35.8 million t from farming, accounting for 97% of global seaweed output, with a world market of US$ 11.8 billion. Seaweeds are an excellent source of nutritious human food because of their low lipid content, high minerals, fibers, polyunsaturated fatty acids, polysaccharides, vitamins, and bioactive compounds. Many seaweed sub-products offer unique properties to develop various functional foods for the food processing industries. In the perspective of climate change mitigation, seaweed farms absorb carbon, serve as a CO2 sink and reduce agricultural emissions by providing raw materials for biofuel production and livestock feed. Seaweed farming system also helps in climate change adaptation by absorbing wave energy, safeguarding shorelines, raising the pH of the surrounding water, and oxygenating the waters to minimize the impacts of ocean acidification and hypoxia on a localized scale. Moreover, it contributes substantially to the sustainable development of the economic condition of coastal women by providing livelihood opportunities and ensuring financial solvency. This review paper highlights the significance of seaweed farming in global food and nutritional security, mitigation and adaptation to global climate change, and women empowerment within a single frame. This review paper also outlined the major issues and challenges of seaweed farming for obtaining maximum benefits in these aspects. The main challenges of making seaweed as a staple diet to millions of people include producing suitable species of seaweeds, making seaweed products accessible, affordable, nutritionally balanced, and attractive to the consumers. Various food products must be developed from seaweeds that may be considered equivalent to the foods consumed by humans today. Lack of effective marine spatial planning to avoid user conflicts is vital for expanding the seaweed farming systems to provide aquatic foods and contribute globally for mitigation and adaptation of climate change impacts. Hence, women’s empowerment through seaweed farming is primarily constrained by the lack of technical knowledge and financial resources to establish the coastal farming system. All the information discussed in this paper will help to understand the critical needs for large-scale seaweed farming for climate resilience mariculture, potentials for global food security, and future research on various aspects of seaweed farming and their diverse utilization.

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Ocean acidification research in the Mediterranean Sea: status, trends and next steps

Ocean acidification (OA) is a serious consequence of climate change with complex organism-to-ecosystem effects that have been observed through field observations but are mainly derived from experimental studies. Although OA trends and the resulting biological impacts are likely exacerbated in the semi-enclosed and highly populated Mediterranean Sea, some fundamental knowledge gaps still exist. These gaps are at tributed to both the uneven capacity for OA research that exists between Mediterranean countries, as well as to the subtle and long-term biological, physical and chemical interactions that define OA impacts. In this paper, we systematically analyzed the different aspects of OA research in the Mediterranean region based on two sources: the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Ocean Acidification International Coordination Center (OA-ICC) database, and an extensive survey. Our analysis shows that 1) there is an uneven geographic capacity in OA research, and illustrates that both the Algero-Provencal and Ionian sub-basins are currently the least studied Mediterranean areas, 2) the carbonate system is still poorly quantified in coastal zones, and long-term time-series are still sparse across the Mediterranean Sea, which is a challenge for studying its variability and assessing coastal OA trends, 3) the most studied groups of organisms are autotrophs (algae, phanerogams, phytoplankton), mollusks, and corals, while microbes, small mollusks (mainly pteropods), and sponges are among the least studied, 4) there is an overall paucity in socio-economic, paleontological, and modeling studies in the Mediterranean Sea, and 5) in spite of general resource availability and the agreement for improved and coordinated OA governance, there is a lack of consistent OA policies in the Mediterranean Sea. In addition to highlighting the current status, trends and gaps of OA research, this work also provides recommendations, based on both our literature assessment and a survey that targeted the Mediterranean OA scientific community. In light of the ongoing 2021-2030 United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, this work might provide a guideline to close gaps of knowledge in the Mediterranean OA research.

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Ocean acidification research for sustainability: co-designing global action on local scales

The global threat that ocean acidification poses to marine ecosystems has been recognized by the UN 2030 Agenda under Sustainable Development Goal, Target 14.3: to reduce ocean acidification. The Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) is a collaborative international network to detect and understand the drivers of ocean acidification in estuarine-coastal-open ocean environments, the resulting impacts on marine ecosystems, and to make the information available to optimize modelling studies. The Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability (OARS) programme, endorsed by the 2021–2030 UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, will build on the work of GOA-ON through its seven Decade Action Outcomes. By employing a Theory of Change framework, and with the co-design of science in mind, OARS will develop an implementation plan for each Decade Action Outcome, which will identify the stakeholders and rights-holders, as well as the tools, means, and positive consequences required for their successful delivery. The organizational structure of GOA-ON, with nine regional hubs, will benefit OARS by providing a vital connection between local and global scales. GOA-ON regional hub case-studies illustrate how activities in the past and future, informed by global and regional priorities, support capacity building and the co-design of ocean acidification science.

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Vulnerability of exploited deep-sea demersal species to ocean warming, deoxygenation, and acidification

Vulnerability of marine species to climate change (including ocean acidification, deoxygenation, and associated changes in food supply) depends on species’ ecological and biological characteristics. Most existing assessments focus on coastal species but systematic analysis of climate vulnerability for the deep sea is lacking. Here, we combine a fuzzy logic expert system with species biogeographical data to assess the risks of climate impacts to the population viability of 32 species of exploited demersal deep-sea species across the global ocean. Climatic hazards are projected to emerge from historical variabilities in all the recorded habitats of the studied species by the mid-twenty-first century. Species that are both at very high risk of climate impacts and highly vulnerable to fishing include Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni), rose fish (Sebastes norvegicus), roughhead grenadier (Macrourus berglax), Baird’s slickhead (Alepocephalus bairdii), cusk (Brosme brosme), and Portuguese dogfish (Centroscymnus coelepis). Most exploited deep-sea fishes are likely to be at higher risk of local, or even global, extinction than previously assessed because of their high vulnerability to both climate change and fishing. Spatially, a high concentration of deep-sea species that are climate vulnerable is predicted in the northern Atlantic Ocean and the Indo-Pacific region. Aligning carbon mitigation with improved fisheries management offers opportunities for overall risk reduction in the coming decades. Regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) have an obligation to incorporate climate change in their deliberations. In addition, deep-sea areas that are not currently managed by RFMOs should be included in existing or new international governance institutions or arrangements.

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Observations to underpin policy: examples of ocean and coastal observations in support of the Sendai Framework, the Paris Agreement, and Sustainable Development Goal 14

The ocean impacts human well-being and sustainability by influencing weather, climate, the economy, health and safety. Ocean and coastal observations play a critical role in enabling decision-makers to understand ocean and coastal issues and shape effective policies. This chapter explores how ocean and coastal observations relate to the development and achievement of three of the Group on Earth Observation’s engagement priority areas: the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Climate Agreement, and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Observing systems and outputs covered in this chapter include tsunami warning, storm surge monitoring and forecasting, monitoring ocean heat content, informing climate adaptation, monitoring of marine pollution and ocean acidification and safety at sea alters for fishers.

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SDG-14: life below water

Global systems and processes that assure the supply of rainwater, drinking water and oxygen are regulated by oceanic temperature chemistry, currents and life. Pollution, diminished fisheries and the loss of coastal habitats all have negative impacts on the ocean’s sustainability. Such activities have severely impacted around 40% of the world’s oceans. SDG-14, Life Below Water, aims to conserve marine ecosystems by establishing regulations for removing pollutants from the sea, decreasing sea acidification and regulating the fishing sector to ensure sustainable fishing. As a result, the major incentive for this goal is to protect and utilise marine ecosystem services sustainably. This chapter presents the business models of 36 companies and use cases that employ emerging technologies and create value in SDG-14. We should highlight that one use case can be related to more than one SDG and it can make use of multiple emerging technologies.

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A global horizon scan of issues impacting marine and coastal biodiversity conservation

The biodiversity of marine and coastal habitats is experiencing unprecedented change. While there are well-known drivers of these changes, such as overexploitation, climate change and pollution, there are also relatively unknown emerging issues that are poorly understood or recognized that have potentially positive or negative impacts on marine and coastal ecosystems. In this inaugural Marine and Coastal Horizon Scan, we brought together 30 scientists, policymakers and practitioners with transdisciplinary expertise in marine and coastal systems to identify new issues that are likely to have a significant impact on the functioning and conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity over the next 5–10 years. Based on a modified Delphi voting process, the final 15 issues presented were distilled from a list of 75 submitted by participants at the start of the process. These issues are grouped into three categories: ecosystem impacts, for example the impact of wildfires and the effect of poleward migration on equatorial biodiversity; resource exploitation, including an increase in the trade of fish swim bladders and increased exploitation of marine collagens; and new technologies, such as soft robotics and new biodegradable products. Our early identification of these issues and their potential impacts on marine and coastal biodiversity will support scientists, conservationists, resource managers and policymakers to address the challenges facing marine ecosystems.

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Ocean acidification effects on aquaculture of a high resilient calcifier species: a bioeconomic approach

Highlights

  • Farming of high resilience calcifier species was assessed under Ocean Acidification conditions.
  • A bioeconomic model with biologic, environmental, product-appearance and market attributes was used.
  • Biologic performance and shell integrity features were assumed as pH-dependant functions.
  • A negative market price adjustment due to shell spoils because low pH conditions was included.
  • The reduction in the sale price due to damaged shell had the highest negative effect on the culture performance.

Abstract

Although Ocean Acidification OA has been identified as a potential threat to calcifying species, recent research has described a wide variety of possible responses (from vulnerability to high resilience) of these species to OA,. Hence, possible OA effects may be more complex, species-specific, and life-stage related than previously thought. Therefore, research of OA effects on aquaculture should address these complexities even when farming high resilience species. This work used bioeconomic modeling to assess the possible effects of OA on bivalve aquaculture incorporating biological, appearance, and market complexities into the culture analysis. A single batch of cultured mussels was modeled from stocking to harvest. The applied bioeconomic model assumed biological (i.e. growth and mortality rates) and shell integrity features (i.e. physical appearance) as pH functions. Bioeconomic parameters were calibrated based on literature regarding the farming of Mytilus galloprovincialis. The model included a negative market price adjustment due to shell spoils developed because of low pH conditions. The bioeconomic performance effects of the pH-driven features on the farming were assessed in a one by one (i.e. individual changes occurring alone) and jointly based analyses (i.e. all the pH-driven changes occurring together). Two IPCC scenarios were used to forecast future diminishing pH trajectories. Results showed that the reduction in the sale price due to damaged shell surface had the highest negative effect on the culture quasi-profits (35% and 70%). When the assumed pH-driven changes were assessed occurring together the quasi-profits diminished up to 49% and 84% in the analyzed OA scenarios. Nevertheless, in all the assessed scenarios positive quasi-profits were achieved. Finally, some proactive measures to diminish the possible effects of OA on bivalves farming are discussed.

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Towards a digital twin of the Italian coast

In the framework of the Destination Earth initiative, a long-term project to take advantage of the great amount of data produced by European agencies and scientific organizations around the world, the goal of building a Digital Twin of the Earth was born. The Digital Twin Earth is a highprecision digital model of the Earth that integrates various aspects of the Earth’s system in order to monitor and simulate natural phenomena and related human activities, and that is able to explore the past and present and predict the future.

To build a Digital Twin Earth it is required the scientific cooperation of European institutions, alongside with a set of technological tools such as High-Performance Computing (HPC), Cloud Computing and connectivity, Big Data, interoperable data and data standards, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to simulate and model the Earth’s systems processes.

On this work it is presented a web platform that uses open-source technologies to integrate a wide set of more than 60 geospatial layers of environmental data, provided openly and for free by Copernicus Marine Service, and Copernicus Land Monitoring Service, in addition to demographics data provided also open and free by WorldPop. With the data integrated on this platform a user is able to explore and analyze many land and sea layers. This platform is focused solely on the coastal areas of Italy, but its modular and extensible design is suitable for extending it and replicating it to other parts of the world.

The platform addresses the Digital Twin Earth’s Big Data and interoperability component by integrating several geospatial data sources using a mediator-wrapper integration architecture that leverages the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards for geospatial data, the Cloud Computing and connectivity component by providing a web-based interface to explore and analyze the integrated data, and the scientific cooperation component by enabling the possibility to save and share the analysis and discoveries made through the platform.

This work constitutes a proof of concept and an approach of what a Digital Twin of the Earth is capable of. To show it, a case study is presented analyzing ocean acidification on Genova and is whereabouts.

The development of the platform is a work in progress, which means that many more features and functionalities are to be included in following versions, having in mind a tool that is open, data-centric, and a good example of a Digital Twin Earth.

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California shellfish farmers: perceptions of changing ocean conditions and strategies for adaptive capacity

Highlights

  • Shellfish growers were interviewed about their experiences with environmental change.
  • Growers expressed concerns about multiple observed environmental changes.
  • Growers identified seventeen adaptive strategies.
  • Strategies can be categorized as policy/networking, farm management, and science.

Abstract

Coastal communities along the U.S. West Coast experience a myriad of environmental stressors, including exposure to low pH waters exacerbated by ocean acidification (OA). This can result in ecological and social consequences, making necessary the exploration and support for locally relevant strategies to adapt to OA and other environmental changes. The shellfish aquaculture industry along the West Coast is particularly vulnerable to OA, given the negative effects of low pH on shellfish survival and growth. As such, the social-ecological system exemplified by this industry serves as an opportunity to identify and address strategies for local adaptation. Through interviews conducted with West Coast shellfish farm owners and managers (‘growers’), we investigate perceptions of OA and environmental change and identify specific strategies for adaptation. We find that growers are concerned about OA, among many other environmental stressors such as marine pathogens and water temperature. However, growers are often unable to attribute changes in shellfish survival or health to these environmental factors due to a lack of data and the resources and network required to acquire and interpret these data. From these interviews, we identify a list of adaptive strategies growers employ or would like to employ to improve their overall adaptive capacity to multiple stressors (environmental, economic, political), which together, allow farms to weather periods of OA-induced stress more effectively. Very few studies to date have identified specific adaptive strategies derived directly from the communities being impacted. This work therefore fills a gap in the literature on adaptive capacity by amplifying the voices of those on the front lines of climate change and identifying explicit pathways for adaptation.

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Ocean futures for the world’s largest yellowfin tuna population under the combined effects of ocean warming and acidification

The impacts of climate change are expected to have profound effects on the fisheries of the Pacific Ocean, including its tuna fisheries, the largest globally. This study examined the combined effects of climate change on the yellowfin tuna population using the ecosystem model SEAPODYM. Yellowfin tuna fisheries in the Pacific contribute significantly to the economies and food security of Pacific Island Countries and Territories and Oceania. We use an ensemble of earth climate models to project yellowfin populations under a high greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC RCP8.5) scenario, which includes, the combined effects of a warming ocean, increasing acidification and changing ocean chemistry. Our results suggest that the acidification impact will be smaller in comparison to the ocean warming impact, even in the most extreme ensemble member scenario explored, but will have additional influences on yellowfin tuna population dynamics. An eastward shift in the distribution of yellowfin tuna was observed in the projections in the model ensemble in the absence of explicitly accounting for changes in acidification. The extent of this shift did not substantially differ when the three-acidification induced larval mortality scenarios were included in the ensemble; however, acidification was projected to weaken the magnitude of the increase in abundance in the eastern Pacific. Together with intensive fishing, these potential changes are likely to challenge the global fishing industry as well as the economies and food systems of many small Pacific Island Countries and Territories. The modelling framework applied in this study provides a tool for evaluating such effects and informing policy development.

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Emergent effects of global change on consumption depend on consumers and their resources in marine systems

Significance

Understanding the effects of global change on species interactions is important for predicting emergent ecosystem changes. Although environmental change can have direct effects on consumers, it is unclear if consumption will change in any generalizable way when both the consumer and resource(s) are exposed to future conditions. Using meta-analysis, we show high variability in consumption rates in response to ocean acidification and warming, indicating conclusions that suggest consumption will generally increase or decrease in a future ocean are premature. We also demonstrate how the interpretation is dependent on whether only the consumer or both the consumer and its resource(s) are exposed to future conditions. Based on these findings, we provide a road map for future research in this area.

Abstract

A better understanding of how environmental change will affect species interactions would significantly aid efforts to scale up predictions of near-future responses to global change from individuals to ecosystems. To address this need, we used meta-analysis to quantify the individual and combined effects of ocean acidification (OA) and warming on consumption rates of predators and herbivores in marine ecosystems. Although the primary studies demonstrated that these environmental variables can have direct effects on consumers, our analyses highlight high variability in consumption rates in response to OA and warming. This variability likely reflects differences in local adaptation among species, as well as important methodological differences. For example, our results suggest that exposure of consumers to OA reduces consumption rates on average, yet consumption rates actually increase when both consumers and their resource(s) are concurrently exposed to the same conditions. We hypothesize that this disparity is due to increased vulnerability of prey or resource(s) in conditions of OA that offset declines in consumption. This hypothesis is supported by an analysis demonstrating clear declines in prey survival in studies that exposed only prey to future OA conditions. Our results illustrate how simultaneous OA and warming produce complex outcomes when species interact. Researchers should further explore other potential sources of variation in response, as well as the prey-driven component of any changes in consumption and the potential for interactive effects of OA and warming.

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A framework for assessing harvest strategy choice when considering multiple interacting fisheries and a changing environment: the example of eastern Bering Sea crab stocks

Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management aims to broaden the set of factors included in assessments and management decision making but progress with implementation remains limited. We developed a framework that examines the consequences of temporal changes in temperature and ocean pH on yield and profit of multiple interacting stocks including eastern Bering Sea (EBS) snow, southern Tanner, and red king crab. Our analyses integrate experimental work on the effects of temperature and ocean pH on growth and survival of larval and juvenile crab and monitoring data from surveys, fishery landings, and at-sea observer programs. The impacts of future changes in temperature and ocean pH on early life history have effects that differ markedly among stocks, being most pessimistic for Bristol Bay red king crab and most optimistic for EBS snow crab. Our results highlight that harvest control rules that aim to maximize yield lead to lower profits than those that aim to maximize profit. Similarly, harvest control rules that aim to maximize profit lead to lower yields than those that aim to maximize yield, but differences are less pronounced. Maximizing profits has conservation benefits, especially when the implemented harvest control rule reduces fishing mortality if population biomass is below a threshold level.

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Editorial: acidification and hypoxia in marginal seas

Editorial on the Research Topic
Acidification and Hypoxia in Marginal Seas

Ocean acidification and hypoxia (dissolved oxygen <2 mg L−1 or <62 μmol L−1) are universal environmental concerns that can impact ecological and biogeochemical processes, including element cycling, carbon sequestration, community shifts, contributing to biodiversity reduction, and reducing marine ecosystem services (Riebesell et al., 2000Feely et al., 20042009Andersson et al., 2005Doney, 2006Cohen and Holcomb, 2009Doney et al., 20092020Kleypas and Yates, 2009Ekstrom et al., 2015Gattuso et al., 2015). While the stressors are global in their occurrence, local and regional impacts might be enhanced and even more accelerated, thus requiring even greater and faster consideration (Doney et al., 2020).

The driving mechanisms of acidification and hypoxia are inextricably linked in near-shore and coastal habitats. Along coastal shelf and its adjacent marginal seas, where the natural variability of multiple stressors is high, human-induced eutrophication is additionally enhancing both local acidification and hypoxia. For example, the well-known eutrophication of surface waters in the northern Gulf of Mexico caused hypoxic conditions that result in a pH decrease by 0.34 in the oxygen-depleted bottom water, which is significantly more than the pH decrease via atmospheric CO2 sequestration alone (pH decrease by 0.11; Cai et al., 2011). Similar changes in coastal conditions involving biological respiration and atmospheric CO2 invasion have also been observed in other marginal seas, urbanized estuaries, salt marshes and mangroves (Feely et al., 200820102018Cai et al., 2011Howarth et al., 2011). Other natural and anthropogenic processes, such as increased wind intensity and coastal upwelling, enhanced stratification due to global warming, along with more intense benthic respiration, more frequent extreme events, oscillation of water circulations, and variations in the terrestrial carbon and/or alkalinity fluxes, etc., all influence the onset and maintenance of acidification and/or hypoxia. For example, coastal upwelling brings both low pH and hypoxic water from below and enhances acidification and hypoxia in the coastal regions (Feely et al., 2008). Although acidification and hypoxia in the open oceans have received considerable attention already, the advances in our understanding of the driving mechanisms and the temporal evolution under global climate change is still poorly understood, particularly with respect to the region-specific differences, various scales of temporal and spatial variability, predictability patterns, and interactive multiple stressor impacts. Therefore, coastal ecosystems have a much broader range of rates of change in pH than the open ocean does (Carstensen and Duarte, 2019). The importance of understanding acidification and hypoxia for the biogeochemical and ecosystem implications in marginal seas is essential for climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy implementations in the future.

The scope of this Research Topic is to cover the most recent advances related to the status of acidification and hypoxia in marginal seas, the coupling mechanisms of multi-drivers and human impacts, ecosystem responses, prediction of their evolution over space and time, and under future climate change scenarios. The authors of this Research Topic contributed a total of 35 papers covering a wide variety of subjects spanning from acidification and/or hypoxia (OAH) status, the carbonate chemistry baseline and trends, the impacts of OAH on the habitat suitability and ecosystem implications, and the long-term changes and variability of OAH in marginal seas.

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Impact of climatic and non-climatic stressors on ocean life and human health: a review

Highlights

  • Ocean climatic and non-climatic stressors have affected ocean life and human health
  • Field observation and modeling research for multiple ocean stressors.
  • Investigate the adaptation ability of the ocean ecosystem towards ocean stressors.
  • Investigate the effect of nutritional changes and chronic effects of contaminated seafood.
  • Develop and use plasma pyrolysis and gasification technology and promote a healthy and eco-living lifestyle.

Abstract

Ocean life forms are fundamentally well adapted to natural environmental variations, and they can even tolerate extreme conditions for a short time. However, several anthropogenic stressors are causing such drastic changes in the ocean ecosystem. First, the review attempts to outline the impact of climatic and non-climatic stressors on ocean life, and it also outlines the synergistic impact of both stressors. Then the impact on human health caused by the damage of the marine ecosystem has been discussed. Furthermore, the type of prior studies and current mitigation adaptation programs have been presented. Finally, some perspectives about future research and mitigation adaptation are offered.

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Fisheries surveys are essential ocean observing programs in a time of global change: a synthesis of oceanographic and ecological data from U.S. West Coast fisheries surveys

As climate change and other anthropogenic impacts on marine ecosystems accelerate in the 21st century, there is an increasing need for sustained ocean time series. A robust and collaborative network of regional monitoring programs can detect early signs of unanticipated changes, provide a more holistic understanding of ecosystem responses, and prompt faster management actions. Fisheries-related surveys that collect fisheries-independent data (hereafter referred to as “fisheries surveys”) are a key pillar of sustainable fisheries management and are ubiquitous in the United States and other countries. From the perspective of ocean observing, fisheries surveys offer three key strengths: (1) they are sustained due to largely consistent funding support from federal and state public sector fisheries agencies, (2) they collect paired physical, chemical, and biological data, and (3) they have large and frequently overlapping spatial footprints that extend into the offshore region. Despite this, information about fisheries survey data collection can remain poorly known to the broader academic and ocean observing communities. During the 2019 CalCOFI Symposium, marking the 70th anniversary of the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI), representatives from 21 ocean monitoring programs on the North American West Coast came together to share the status of their monitoring programs and examine opportunities to leverage efforts to support regional ecosystem management needs. To increase awareness about collected ocean observing data, we catalog these ongoing ocean time series programs and detail the activities of the nine major federal or state fisheries surveys on the U.S. West Coast. We then present three case studies showing how fisheries survey data contribute to the understanding of emergent ecosystem management challenges: marine heatwaves, ocean acidification, and contaminant spills. Moving forward, increased cross-survey analyses and cooperation can improve regional capacity to address emerging challenges. Fisheries surveys represent a foundational blueprint for ecosystem monitoring. As the international community moves toward a global strategy for ocean observing needs, fisheries survey programs should be included as data contributors.

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Climate change-accelerated ocean biodiversity loss & associated planetary health impacts

A planetary health perspective views human health as a function of the interdependent relationship between human systems and the natural systems in which we live. The planetary health impacts of climate change induced ocean biodiversity loss are little understood. Based on a systematic literature review, we summarize how climate change-induced ocean warming, acidification, and deoxygenation affect ocean biodiversity and their resulting planetary health impacts. These impacts on the planets’ natural and human systems include biospheric and human consequences for ecosystem services, food and nutrition security, human livelihoods, biomedical and pharmaceutical research, disaster risk management, and for organisms pathogenic to humans. Understanding the causes and effects of climate change impacts on the ocean and its biodiversity and planetary health is crucial for taking preventive, restorative and sustainable actions to ensure ocean biodiversity and its services. Future courses of action to mitigate climate change-related ocean biodiversity loss to support sound planetary health are discussed.

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Climate vulnerability assessment of key fishery resources in the Northern Humboldt Current System

The Northern Humboldt Current System sustains one of the most productive fisheries in the world. However, climate change is anticipated to negatively affect fish production in this region over the next few decades, and detailed analyses for many fishery resources are unavailable. We implemented a trait-based Climate Vulnerability Assessment based on expert elicitation to estimate the relative vulnerability of 28 fishery resources (benthic, demersal, and pelagic) to the impacts of climate change by 2055; ten exposure factors (e.g., temperature, salinity, pH, chlorophyll) and 13 sensitivity attributes (biological and population-level traits) were used. Nearly 36% of the species assessed had “high” or “very high” vulnerability. Benthic species were ranked the most vulnerable (gastropod and bivalve species). The pelagic group was the second most vulnerable; the Pacific chub mackerel and the yellowfin tuna were amongst the most vulnerable pelagic species. The demersal group had the relatively lowest vulnerability. This study allowed identification of vulnerable fishery resources, research and monitoring priorities, and identification of the key exposure factors and sensitivity attributes which are driving that vulnerability. Our findings can help fishery managers incorporate climate change into harvest level and allocation decisions, and assist stakeholders plan for and adapt to a changing future.

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