Posts Tagged 'socio-economy'

Global aquaculture productivity, environmental sustainability, and climate change adaptability

To meet the demand for food from a growing global population, aquaculture production is under great pressure to increase as capture fisheries have stagnated. However, aquaculture has raised a range of environmental concerns, and further increases in aquaculture production will face widespread environmental challenges. The effects of climate change will pose a further threat to global aquaculture production. Aquaculture is often at risk from a combination of climatic variables, including cyclone, drought, flood, global warming, ocean acidification, rainfall variation, salinity, and sea level rise. For aquaculture growth to be sustainable its environmental impacts must reduce significantly. Adaptation to climate change is also needed to produce more fish without environmental impacts. Some adaptation strategies including integrated aquaculture, recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), and the expansion of seafood farming could increase aquaculture productivity, environmental sustainability, and climate change adaptability.

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Ocean acidification impacts on coastal ecosystem services due to habitat degradation

The oceanic uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions is changing seawater chemistry in a process known as ocean acidification. The chemistry of this rapid change in surface waters is well understood and readily detectable in oceanic observations, yet there is uncertainty about the effects of ocean acidification on society since it is difficult to scale-up from laboratory and mesocosm tests. Here, we provide a synthesis of the likely effects of ocean acidification on ecosystem properties, functions and services based on observations along natural gradients in pCO2. Studies at CO2 seeps worldwide show that biogenic habitats are particularly sensitive to ocean acidification and that their degradation results in less coastal protection and less habitat provisioning for fisheries. The risks to marine goods and services amplify with increasing acidification causing shifts to macroalgal dominance, habitat degradation and a loss of biodiversity at seep sites in the tropics, the sub-tropics and on temperate coasts. Based on this empirical evidence, we expect ocean acidification to have serious consequences for the millions of people who are dependent on coastal protection, fisheries and aquaculture. If humanity is able to make cuts in fossil fuel emissions, this will reduce costs to society and avoid the changes in coastal ecosystems seen in areas with projected pCO2 levels. A binding international agreement for the oceans should build on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal to ‘minimise and address the impacts of ocean acidification’.

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Expert assessment of risks posed by climate change and anthropogenic activities to ecosystem services in the deep North Atlantic

Sustainable development of the ocean is a central policy objective in Europe through the Blue Growth Strategy and globally through parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Achieving sustainable exploitation of deep sea resources is challenged due to the huge uncertainty around the many risks posed by human activities on these remote ecosystems and the goods and services they provide. We used a Delphi approach, an iterative expert-based survey process, to assess risks to ecosystem services in the North Atlantic Ocean from climate change (water temperature and ocean acidification), the blue economy (fishing, pollution, oil and gas activities, deep seabed mining, maritime and coastal tourism and blue biotechnology), and their cumulative effects. Ecosystem services from the deep sea, identified through the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment framework, were presented in an expert survey to assess the impacts of human drivers on these services. The results from this initial survey were analyzed and then presented in a second survey. The final results, based on 55 expert responses, indicated that pollution and temperature change each pose a high risk to more than 28% of deep-sea ecosystem services, whilst ocean acidification, and fisheries both pose a high risk to more than 19% of the deep-sea ecosystem services. Services considered to be most at risk of being impacted by anthropogenic activities were biodiversity and habitat as supporting services, biodiversity as a cultural service, and fish and shellfish as provisioning services. Tourism and blue biotechnology were not seen to cause serious risk to any of the ecosystem services. The negative impacts from temperature change, ocean acidification, fishing, pollution, and oil and gas activities were deemed to be largely more probable than their positive impacts. These results expand our knowledge of how a broad set of deep-sea ecosystem services are impacted by human activities. Furthermore, the study provides input in relation to future priorities regarding research in the Atlantic deep sea.

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Direct and indirect impacts of marine acidification on the ecosystem services provided by coralligenous reefs and seagrass systems

Increasing emissions of CO2 and the resultant ocean acidification (OA) will have large implications for the marine ecosystems sustained by habitat-forming species and their related ecosystem services (ES), with potentially significant impacts on human well-being. Here, we provide an assessment of the direct and indirect impacts of OA on ES. The changes in the functioning of coralligenous reefs and Posidonia oceanica meadows promoted by OA were investigated by i) synthesizing current knowledge into conceptual models. The models were then used to, ii) assessing the impacts of exposure of the selected taxa at the acidification level associated with two CO2 emission scenarios and iii) using the conceptual model outputs to project the cascading impacts from individuals to functions to ES.

The results highlight that the combination of the direct and indirect effects of acidification will alter many functions of both coralligenous and P.oceanica systems, triggering habitat modifications and the loss of highly valuable ES.

While the exact timing of the expected changes will depend on the severity of the emission scenarios, significant and hardly reversible changes can be expected as quickly as a few decades under the business-as-usual scenario, and many ecosystem services are at risk even under much more conservative scenarios.

Continue reading ‘Direct and indirect impacts of marine acidification on the ecosystem services provided by coralligenous reefs and seagrass systems’

Evolution of the human impact on oceans: tipping points of socio-ecological coviability

Since an important degree of the carbon dioxide (CO2) that mankind emits in the atmosphere ends up in the ocean as a result of gas exchange through the air-sea interface, the ocean acidifies itself (because of the reaction CO2 produces when it contacts water). Ocean acidification is one of the perturbing anthropogenic effects (because of human activity), not only for maritime ecosystems but also for Man himself as he will have to adapt. He will have to deal with variations in fisheries and other costal touristic activities (reduction of corals, and so on). However, the anthropogenic CO2 penetration in the ocean is not uniform, and the cold Polar Regions will be affected by the change faster than the warm tropical regions. The study that we are conducting addresses several points of the quantification, in time and space, of anthropogenic CO2 penetration in the ocean. One of them has permitted the identification of breaking points. We demonstrate that four tipping points can be located in order to quantify risks of ocean acidification, which may have as a result the dissolution of calcium carbonates that are indispensable to marine ecosystems (shells, corals, and so on).

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Socio-economic tools to mitigate the impacts of ocean acidification on economies and communities reliant on coral reefs–a framework for prioritization

Coral reef preservation is a challenge for the whole of humanity, not just for the estimated three billion people that directly depend upon coral reefs for their livelihoods and food security. Ocean acidification combined with rising sea surface temperatures, and an array of other anthropogenic influences such as pollution, sedimentation, over fishing, and coral mining represent the key threats currently facing coral reef survival. Here we summarise a list of agreements, policies, and socio-economic tools and instruments that can be used by global, national and local decision-makers to address ocean acidification and associated threats, as identified during an expert workshop in October 2017. We then discuss these tools and instruments at a global level and identify the key tasks for raising decision makers’ awareness. Finally, we suggest ways of prioritizing between different actions or tools for mitigation and adaptation.

Continue reading ‘Socio-economic tools to mitigate the impacts of ocean acidification on economies and communities reliant on coral reefs–a framework for prioritization’

Ocean acidification impacts in select Pacific Basin coral reef ecosystems

In the vast tropical Pacific Basin islands, corals reef ecosystems are one of the defining marine habitats, critical for maintaining biodiversity and supporting highly productive fisheries. These reefs are also vital for tourism and armoring exposed shorelines against erosion and other storm-related effects. Since the 1980’s, there has been growing evidence that these Pacific Basin coral reef ecosystems are highly vulnerable to the combined effects of both climatic and non-climatic stressors. Observations of widespread bleaching in the region has been linked to acute temperature stress, and the heightened recurrence intervals and intensity of storms has been correlated to recent climate-change induced impacts. Ocean acidification is another ubiquitous stressor with dramatic consequences to biological systems. In this paper we describe what sets this region apart from other coral reef regions around the world, and highlight some examples of the diverse response to ocean acidification threats and associated socio-economic impacts.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book