Conveners: Angel Borja, AZTI-Tecnalia; Marine Research Division; Pasaia (Spain), firstname.lastname@example.org; Tundi Agardy, Marine Affairs Research and Education (MARE), email@example.com; Steven Degraer, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences; Marine Ecosystem Management Section, S.Degraer@MUMM.ac.be
In recent times, human pressures and subsequent impacts on marine ecosystems have increased dramatically. This is due to both traditional activities (e.g. fishing, resource extraction, pollutant discharges and maritime transport) and recent increasing use of marine resources (e.g. offshore aquaculture and marine renewable energy exploitation). Many countries have introduced new legislation to address these challenges (e.g. the US Marine Policy, Canada’s Oceans Act, and the E.U. Marine Strategy Framework Directive). These regulations seek to safeguard marine ecosystems, through an integrative ecosystem-based approach encompassing all ecosystem components in order to allow sustainable use of marine goods and services. Marine spatial planning is the best framework to consider present and future human activities and systematically plan and achieve better management of our oceans. The main objective of this session is to showcase approaches undertaken in different countries to implement such plans and to draw lessons for an improved marine spatial planning process ensuring a proper implementation of the ecosystem-based approach.
Conveners: Beth Turner, NOAA NOS National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, firstname.lastname@example.org; Dwight Trueblood, NOAA NOS Estuarine Reserves Division, email@example.com; Kalle Matso, University of New Hampshire, firstname.lastname@example.org; Felix Martinez, NOAA NOS National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, email@example.com
Many, if not most, aquatic science projects are done with the goal of informing management and policy to protect, conserve, and wisely use aquatic resources. However, the transfer of research results into policy and management decisions remains a challenge. Some projects use the “catapult” approach: packaging up all the results at the end of the project and flinging them across institutional barriers to the desired end users. Others try a “ferry” approach, publishing results as the project progresses and scheduling meetings periodically between the scientists and the end users, providing discrete times for exchange of information. Still others attempt a “bridge” that fosters a more dynamic and continuous exchange of results and information, actively seeking real-time feedback from end users. This session requests presentations that discuss how aquatic science results have (or have not) made it to policy and management end users. Presentations should focus on strategies and techniques that have been used to facilitate the use of research results rather than on minute details of the research itself. It is hoped that the presentations will be able to identify some lessons learned, best practices or guidelines for enhancing the transfer of research results into actionable information.
Ecological risk assessment, which includes an understanding of the potential for establishment, spread, and impact of nonindigenous species, provides a tool used by scientists and managers to respond to current invasions and predict future invasions. In this session, investigators utilize science, economics, and risk assessment to address ecological and/or economic impacts of current and future aquatic species invasions, quantify major uncertainties and ways to reduce uncertainty, and identify methodologies that relate to cost-effective management of nonindigenous species. We suggest that these integrative approaches to nonindigenous species risk assessment will further enhance our understanding of the ecology of species invasions, and improve methods of identifying and managing invasive species. Presentations and posters should address risk assessment and/or impacts of nonindigenous aquatic species. A wide variety of analyses and applications will be considered.
Since 2007, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC) has been home to a global effort to improve management outcomes for massive deltaic coastal systems like that of the Mississippi River Delta by comparing the ecological, hydrological, geological, and biogeochemical processes of large deltaic systems across the globe. The Delta Research and Global Observation Network (DRAGON) is developing a science framework for comparing, integrating, and ultimately predicting the effects of key drivers and management practices in these large ecosystems. The DRAGON brings together scientists and managers to model the large river deltas around the world (http://deltas.usgs.gov). Forecast Mekong is part of the U.S. Department of State’s Lower Mekong Initiative, which was launched in 2008 by Secretary Clinton and the Foreign Ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam to enhance U.S. engagement with the Lower Mekong countries in the areas of environment, health, education, and infrastructure. The USGS is using research and data from the Mekong River Delta in Southeast Asia to compare restoration, conservation, and management efforts there with those of the Mississippi River Delta in the USA. The project provides a forum to engage regional partners in the Mekong Basin countries to share data and support local research efforts. Ultimately, Forecast Mekong is intended to support more informed decisions about how to make the Mekong and Mississippi deltas resilient in the face of climate change, economic stresses, and other impacts.
Conveners: Carola Wagner, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemuende, firstname.lastname@example.org; Karin Junker, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemuende, email@example.com
Extreme climate and weather events are likely to occur more frequently and with a greater magnitude in the future, shifting ecosystems to the edge of their resilience and beyond. Due to their destructive capacity, severe alterations in ecosystem structure and functioning are expected to have dire consequences for ecosystem services. Whether and how climate extremes push ecosystems to a new state depends on the frequency, intensity and duration of those events, as well as the adaptive capacity of the respective systems. The increase in extreme climate events and their impacts on ecosystems is imposing further challenges to ecosystem management by altering the predictability of the systems. We invite presentations that focus on the impacts of climate and weather extremes on aquatic ecosystems and their predictability by applying long-term data analysis, experimental studies, statistical as well as deterministic models. In addition, we encourage contributions from the stakeholder’s perspective that aim at identifying the scientific information required to sustain ecosystem goods and services, thus linking research and management.
The Gulf of Mexico and Alaskan Arctic are currently the OCS areas of greatest oil and gas (O&G) development interest. Each area presents policy and scientific challenges, which has created the need for policies and scientific information to support continued deep water leasing, while providing adequate assurances of safety and environmental protection. Specific issues of concern in the Gulf of Mexico relate to spill response and containment capabilities in deep water, as well as the resilience of the Gulf ecosystem to perturbations from additional oil spills. Arctic concerns relate to the potential effects of OCS development on subsistence uses and ecosystem resources, and their potential interaction with ongoing climate change in the Arctic. This session will provide an overview of the current federal regulatory frameworks for OCS O&G development, a description of existing environmental protections, and an overview of risks to ecosystems associated with O&G development. We encourage submissions that discuss regulatory or scientific aspects of O&G development on the OCS. In particular, we seek submissions pertaining to the interaction between climate change and O&G development, oil spill cleanup in extreme environments, long-term monitoring of ecological impacts from O&G developments, and examples of how basic research on the OCS have allowed the effective integration of science and environmental protection.
Conveners: Amanda W.J. Demopoulos, Ph.D., US Geological Survey, Southeast Ecological Science Center, firstname.lastname@example.org; Erik E. Cordes, Ph.D., Temple University, email@example.com; Helen K. White, Ph.D., Haverford College, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill brought renewed attention to the diverse and complex communities of the Gulf of Mexico (GoM). In light of the documented impacts of the spill, recent focus has shifted towards restoration. The science of restoration in the GoM varies considerably according to habitat; for example, nearshore salt marshes require a different approach compared to offshore waters and the deep-sea. In addition, restoration may include rebuilding some habitats as well as preserving others from future disturbances. Given that the DWH oil spill was implicated in detrimental impacts to a wide variety of GoM habitats, and that we are still learning the extent of these impacts, the time is right to conduct and gather the relevant research needed to develop effective restoration plans. This session will target NGOs, government and academic researchers, and resource managers involved in using the latest scientific research and theory to design marine protected areas and reserves. Discussions will include identifying the challenges and obstacles associated with restoration in the nearshore, offshore and deep-sea. Basic questions addressed by this session will include: What does restoration mean in the various impacted habitats? What ongoing research can inform these efforts? Who are the stakeholders? What have we learned from restoration activities to date? What are the long-term goals for restoration activities?
Effective ecosystem management requires a clear understanding of ecosystem organization, function, and response to stressors, including those caused by human activities. This session will include research that uses comparisons across marine ecosystems to provide fundamental understanding of marine ecosystem structure, function and dynamics—with particular emphasis on climate and fishing as agents of change—to foster enhanced prediction and support for ecosystem-based management. We anticipate presentations will cover fundamental research to understand complex dynamics controlling ecosystem structure, productivity, behavior, resilience, and population connectivity, as well as effects of climate variability and anthropogenic pressures on living marine resources and critical habitats. By drawing ecosystem-scale comparisons across environmental gradients and management regimes, we increase our understanding of the underlying principles that organize marine ecosystems and the roles of human actions therein. Additionally, predicting marine ecosystem responses to change is essential to developing ecosystem-based management strategies that will ensure the sustainability of marine resources and the livelihoods of those who depend on them.
Conveners: James Ammerman, New York Sea Grant, Stony Brook University, email@example.com; Christopher Gobler, Stony Brook University, Southampton, firstname.lastname@example.org; Cornelia Schlenk, New York Sea Grant, Stony Brook University, email@example.com
More than 23 million people live within 50 miles of the 600 mile coastline of Long Island Sound, and its value to the local economy is estimated at $9 billion per year. Though the subject of research and restoration efforts for many years, 2012 marks the publication of a major synthesis volume on the science and management of Long Island Sound, largely through the efforts of the Long Island Sound Study (the EPA National Estuary Program) and affiliated university and government researchers. This session will address recent major research findings, their management implications, and outreach efforts to bring this information to the public. Presentations comparing Long Island Sound with other urban estuaries are also invited.
Many aquatic species can be classified as ecosystem engineers, i.e. they modify the environment either by creating biotic structures or by changing its physical dynamics. Some plants and animals have a major influence on near-bed hydrodynamics and thereby on sedimentation and erosion. These interactions between water, sediment and biota have consequences for the near-shore and coastal landscape and for the dynamics of fine sediment in the water column and the bed. Research into these interactions requires close cooperation between scientists from different disciplines. Meanwhile, there is growing interest from both ecosystem managers and from conservation organizations in using biogeomorphological processes to provide coastal protection, while simultaneously improving the natural status of coastal areas. Combining ecosystem functions such as sediment accretion (improving protection) and habitat formation (improving nature) can provide adaptable solutions for coastal areas, especially as most ecosystem engineering approaches will naturally adjust to sea-level rise and are resilient to storm damage. Simultaneously, adopting such solutions requires a certain mindset and awareness of coastal communities to accept “soft” coastal defenses. This session invites presentations dealing both with the underlying biogeomorphological processes as well as with the application of ecosystem engineering species in coastal protection.
Conveners: Stephanie Hampton, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, UC-Santa Barbara, firstname.lastname@example.org; Paul Hanson, Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, email@example.com; Emily Stanley, Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Long-term limnological data sets are increasingly valued for the unique perspective they provide on the complex dynamics of organisms and ecosystems, particularly as they respond to both anthropogenic perturbations and climate phenomena. Recent studies provide powerful examples of the role of multi-decadal data sets in elucidating major ecological processes in lakes, from documenting surprising patterns of ecosystem response to shifting climate, to unraveling complex underlying mechanisms. Typically, these high-value long-term studies are based on lakes that have long histories of limnological research. However, long-term limnological data collection is far more extensive than is suggested by either the current state of the literature or the current availability of long-term limnological data in public repositories. Many government and citizen-based programs have produced a wealth of lake data that have received limited attention in both research and management arenas, and most long-term lake studies result from independent efforts without coordinated data sharing. In this session, we hope to emphasize the need for community effort to develop, share, and safe-guard these long-term data sets by highlighting examples of their use in revealing patterns of multi-scale temporal change in lakes, informing management decisions, and engaging the public in the science and stewardship of lakes.
Conveners: Rebecca J. Allee, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Gulf Coast Services Center, email@example.com; Emily Shumchenia, Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, firstname.lastname@example.org
We invite oral and poster presentations that describe research, management, or regulatory activities that have utilized or plan to utilize NOAA’s Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS). There is an increasing demand for marine environmental characterizations to support ecosystem-based management, marine spatial planning activities, monitoring/assessment studies, and basic scientific research. CMECS offers a standard terminology for biotic and abiotic marine ecosystem components and an ecological framework by which to describe and study linkages in marine systems. Presentation topics of particular interest include those that address the strengths and weaknesses of this standard and how it may be best applied in practice, links to other classification systems, applications to specific management or regulatory activities, species-environment relationships (including humans and human use), marine habitat mapping/modeling, marine protected areas, habitat assessments, the biotope concept and characterization of biotopes. We aim to attract an interdisciplinary group of presenters from fields including marine ecology/biology, marine geology, oceanography, marine management/policy, and representatives from federal/state regulatory agencies.
Conveners: Alan D. Christian, University of Massachusetts Boston, email@example.com; Robyn E. Hannigan, University of Massachusetts Boston, firstname.lastname@example.org; Alonso Ramirez, University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras, email@example.com; Alex Eisen-Cuadra, University of Massachusetts Boston, firstname.lastname@example.org; Helenmary Hotz, University of Massachusetts Boston, Helenmary.Hotz@umb.edu
Global change can be defined as planetary scale changes of the Earth’s system that includes large-scale changes in human society. Societies need to respond to these changes through the use of science and policy. Furthermore, global change is likely to have impact on national security as these changes influence the distribution and abundance of resources. This session will focus on the effects of global change on stream and lake watersheds in the Caribbean and other climate-sensitive regions in terms of science and food and resource security, and how policy (including education/outreach) are being developed in response to global change.
In recent decades, Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) have expanded geographically, increased in duration and intensity, and resulted in escalated economic costs worldwide. HABs are a major threat to coastal economies because they negatively affect human and ecosystem health, coastal water quality, fisheries and recreation. As scientists continue to unravel the unique drivers and controls of blooms, research programs must be integrated with environmental management, education, and outreach efforts to develop strategies that protect public and resource health. In the last decade, there have been many examples of beneficial interactions between researchers, environmental agencies, industries and the public. For example, collaborations between researchers, aquaculture industries, coastal managers and citizen groups have been particularly successful in protecting public health from HABs while also promoting economic growth. It is promising that such cross-disciplinary collaborations continue to grow, yielding creative solutions to the challenges that HABs create. In this session, we invite presentations of case studies that highlight new or existing collaborations between research and non-research groups that hold a stake in HAB research, including scientists, regulatory agencies, public health groups, decision-makers, private stakeholders, and the public. This forum will provide an environment to foster such synergistic strategies.