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Effective conservation planning (to include EBM and MPAs, cumulative impacts)

Room: Dochart B     2014-08-18; 11:00 - 13:00

NB: Unless specified otherwise, presentations are 15 minutes in length, and speed presentations are 5 mins in length.

Chair(s)/Moderator(s): Porter, Lindsay

C15.1  11:00  Species distribution modelling (SDM) in the marine environment: simple in theory, complex in practice. MacLeod, C.D. *, GIS In Ecology, 120 Churchill Drive, Glasgow, G11 7EZ, UK.; Bannon, S.M. Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences (IBES), University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB24 2TZ, UK.; Pierce, G.J. Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences (IBES), University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB24 2TZ, UK.;

Abstract: Species distribution modelling (SDM) aims to predict the distribution of species from their relationships with environmental variables. The theoretical basis for SDMs, grounded in the ecological niche concept, is very simple, and SDMs are playing an increasingly critical role in marine conservation. However, SDMs are not necessarily easy to implement in a practical and biologically-meaningful way. In particular, there are a number of assumptions behind SDM that can easily be violated but which are rarely investigated before models are constructed and applied. To explore these issues, we analysed the distribution of two cetacean species, the harbour porpoise and the minke whale, in western Scotland, in relation to a number of key environmental variables. For both species, there were notable differences in both the importance of individual variables and their relationships with occurrence between two neighbouring areas and between time of year within each area. Markedly different relationships were also identified depending on whether the index of species occurrence used was presence-absence or relative density. These differences suggest that applying SDM in a meaningful way for conservation purposes in the marine environment may be much more difficult that it initially seems. In particular, it is likely to be inappropriate to create a single SDM covering large, oceanographically-diverse areas and all times of year without taking such differences into account.

C15.2  11:15  Toward deep-sea conservation: Defining natural population structure in hydrothermal-vent-associated species. Thaler, AD *, Southern Fried Science; Plouviez, S Duke University Marine Lab; Carlsson, J University College Dublin; Schultz, TF Duke University Marine Lab; Van Dover, CL Duke University Marine Lab;

Abstract: Studies of genetic connectivity and population structure in deep-sea chemosynthetic ecosystems often focus on dominant, endosymbiont-hosting fauna while relatively little attention has been paid to vent-associate species that are not exclusively dependent on chemosynthetic ecosystems. We assessed the connectivity and population structure of two vent-associated invertebrates that are common at deep-sea hydrothermal vents in the western Pacific. While Chorocaris sp. 2 has only been observed at hydrothermal vent sites, M. lauensis can be found throughout the deep sea, but occurs in higher abundance around the vent periphery. Genetic differentiation was assessed across a range of spatial scales, from tens to thousands of kilometers, using mitochondrial COI amplicons and microsatellite markers. Population structure for Chorocaris sp. 2 indicated a single well-mixed population within Manus Basin that is genetically differentiated from conspecifics in neighboring basins. Population structure for Munidopsis lauensis was more complex: two genetically differentiated populations in Manus Basin and a third population in Lau Basin. As hydrothermal vent ecosystems are geographically discrete, by assessing genetic patterns of isolation and connectivity among many species within these communities, we can determine the spatial scale at which disturbance can impact population structure for vent-associated species. This information can better inform conservation and management efforts at at-risk hydrothermal vents.

C15.3  11:30  Individual and population level foraging consistency in Campbell Albatross: Implications for marine spatial planning . Sztukowski,LA *, Marine Biology & Ecology Research Centre, University of Plymouth; Weimerskirch, H Centre d’Etudes Biologiques de Chizé; Thompson, DR National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd. ; Torres, LG Oregon State University; Sagar, PM National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd.; Cotton, PA Marine Biology & Ecology Research Centre, University of Plymouth; Votier, SC Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter;

Abstract: Consistent individual differences in foraging behaviour are common among marine vertebrates, likely reflecting special-temporal patterns in resource availability. Understanding the occurrence and implications of individual consistency is critical to our insight of many fundamental ecological processes, as well as informing conservation and management strategies. We tested for spatial foraging consistency in the threatened Campbell Albatross (Thalassarche impavida) during the chick-brooding period at both the population and individual level using eight traits within and between two years. Terminal latitudes in 2012, terminal longitudes across all timeframes, total distance travelled across years, and angle of departure in 2011 were highly repeatable when measured at the population level. Individual level analyses revealed that males and females showed similar overall patterns of behaviour, with most individuals demonstrating consistent behaviours. However, individual metrics showed sex differences in the response to as yet unknown changes in the environment or foraging resources. Our results highlight that marine spatial planning should take account of inter-individual differences in foraging behaviour. Moreover, in species with biparental care, reduced foraging success of one individual may affect overall reproductive success. Thus management and conservation efforts that target areas frequented by one sex more than another may have negative impacts at the population-level.

C15.4  11:45  Marine protected area networks: Assessing whether the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Grorud-Colvert, Kirsten *, Oregon State University; Claudet, Joachim University of Perpignan; Tissot, Brian Humboldt State University Marine Laboratory; Caselle, Jenn University of California, Santa Barbara; Carr, Mark University of California, Santa Cruz; Day, Jon Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority; Friedlander, Alan University of Hawai‘i; Lester, Sarah , University of California, Santa Barbara;

Abstract: To address the challenges of our changing oceans, networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) are being recommended and established to conserve marine biodiversity, ecosystem function, and the goods and services provided by healthy ecosystems. As monitoring programs seek to evaluate whether MPA networks provide benefits beyond single MPAs, it is vital to empirically assess the effects of these networks and to prioritize the monitoring data necessary to explain those effects. We will first present the types of MPA networks based on their intended management outcomes, providing a common language to guide MPA planning discussions. We will then illustrate a framework for evaluating whether a connectivity network is providing an outcome greater than the sum of individual MPA effects. We use an analysis of an MPA network in Hawai‘i to compare networked MPAs to non-networked MPAs to demonstrate results consistent with a network effect. We assert that planning processes for MPA networks should identify their intended outcomes while also employing coupled field monitoring-simulation modeling approaches, a powerful way to prioritize the most relevant monitoring data for empirically assessing MPA network performance.

C15.5  12:00  Long-range movement of humpback whales and their overlap with anthropogenic activity in the South Atlantic Ocean. Rosenbaum, HC *, 1) Ocean Giants Program, Global Conservation Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, 2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY 10460-1099, USA; 2) Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, American Museum of Natural History, 79th St. and Central Park West, New Yor; Maxwell, SM 1) Marine Conservation Institute, 4812 Warm Springs Road, Glen Ellen, CA 95442, USA; 2) Stanford University, Hopkins Marine Station, 120 Oceanview Boulevard, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, USA.; Kershaw, F Department of Ecology, Evolution & Environmental Biology, Columbia University, 1014 Schermerhorn Ext., 1200 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027, USA.; Mate, B Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Marine Mammal Institute, Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon State University, Newport, OR 97365, USA.;

Abstract: Knowledge of movement patterns and migratory routes can be instrumental in supporting a wide range of management decisions. Our aim was to better understand the potential overlap of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) breeding and migratory habitat with anthropogenic activities off the coast of West Africa. We used Argos satellite-monitored radio tags to collect data on 13 animals off Gabon, a primary humpback whale breeding area. We quantified habitat use by determining the number of tag transmissions and used a state-space model to determine the behavioral state of individuals using speed and turning angle. We developed a spatial metric of relative potential impact (RPI) using models of cumulative human activities, oil platforms, toxicants, and shipping. We detected strong heterogeneity in movement behavior over time consistent with genetic evidence for multiple populations. Potential overlap of whale habitat and human activities was found to be extensive and greatest in exclusive economic zones close to shore, particularly for the hydrocarbon industry. In addition, whales potentially overlap with different activities during each stage of their migration. Breeding areas were also found to be extensive, with whales migrating north of Gabon late in the breeding season. Coupled with existing population-level data, these results may inform the definition of whale populations and actions to mitigate potential threats as part of local, regional and international management.

C15.6  12:15  Protection from Fishing and the Response of Reef Fish Community Functional Traits to Climate Variability over 20 Years. Amanda E. Bates *, National Oceanography Center Southampton; Rick Stuart-Smith University of Tasmania; Neville Barrett University of Tasmania; Graham Edgar University of Tasmania;

Abstract: While climate-related range shifts are well-documented, species’ abundance patterns will presumably respond to environmental variability and may dramatically alter community function. Here we follow a 20 year data series of shallow reef fish abundance in a global warming hotspot to explore climate-related variability in species functional traits in a marine reserve and nearby sites. We test for trends in biodiversity and identify biological traits linked to observed changes. Species and functional diversity fluctuated due to orders of magnitude change in the abundance of temperate species that related closely to key indices of El Niño-Southern Oscillation. These findings implicate the importance of climate modes of variability in affecting the ecology of the region. Nevertheless, long-term warming signatures were also present as increasing species and functional richness, driven in part by a general increase in herbivores in the region. Protection also altered community responses to climate variability. Reserve sites were distinguished from fished sites by displaying: (1) greater stability in some aspects of biodiversity, (2) recovery of large-bodied temperate species, (3) resistance to colonization by subtropical vagrants, and (4) less pronounced increases in the community-averaged temperature affinity. We empirically demonstrate that protection from fishing has buffered fluctuations in biodiversity and provided resistance to the initial stages of tropicalization.

C15.7  12:30  Learning lessons from environmental impact monitoring programmes: The Hong Kong dolphin population and the Hong Kong Zhuhai Macau Bridge construction. Porter. LJ *, The University of St. Andrews;

Abstract: Hong Kong waters are home to a population of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) that are subjected to intense pressure from coastal development. The many Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) that have been conducted under the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (\'EIAO\') (Cap. 499) are rarely critiqued by independent experts and are often based on, and subsequently form the basis of, other EIAs. There is no process to verify EIA predictions. As such, this leads to potentially false foundations being perpetuated from one impact assessment to another. The development of the Hong Kong Zhuhai Macau Bridge has provided an opportunity to tackle this issue as the Environmental Permit (EP) for this project is the strictest ever issued and provides for 24 hour monitoring of construction sites for the many years of project duration. The EP also provides for the development of an appropriate analyses for the data collected so that impacts can be discerned and quantified with a known degree of accuracy. The first two years of analyses shows clear underlying patterns of temporal and spatial habitat preferences with a gradual decrease in habitat use superimposed on top of this as construction activities continue. To date, the EIA predictions have not held true and ongoing dialogue with management authorities is assessing this with a view to incorporate these findings into subsequent EIAs.

C15.8  12:45  Population complexity of the humpback whale: implications for managing biologically meaningful units at multiple scales. Kershaw, F *, Dept. of Ecology, Evolution & Environmental Biology, Columbia University, 1014 Schermerhorn Ext., 1200 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027, USA.; Rosenbaum, HC 1) Ocean Giants Program, Global Conservation Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10460, USA; 2) Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, American Museum of Natural History, 79th Street and Central Park West, New Y;

Abstract: Identifying biologically meaningful population “units”, and elucidating patterns of gene flow and migratory connections, is critical to the development of management measures capable of protecting the long-term persistence of highly mobile marine species. Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) populations display complex genetic structures that have not been fully resolved at all spatial scales. We generated a data set representing the most robust sampling of “breeding stocks” across the South Atlantic and western Indian Oceans in order to assess genetic differentiation between putative populations, and simulate the number of genetic clusters without a priori population information. We estimated rates of gene flow using maximum likelihood and Bayesian approaches. Our results reveal that patterns of humpback whale population genetic structure vary at different spatial scales. At the ocean basin scale, population structure is governed chiefly by geographic distance and female fidelity to breeding areas and male-biased gene flow. At scales within ocean basins, signals of genetic structure exist but are often less evident due to high levels of gene flow for both males and females. Our findings suggest demographically discrete populations may not be fully or currently accounted for in management designations, which may have ramifications for assessments of the current status and continued protections for populations still undergoing recovery from commercial whaling.

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