Ecosystem Services News

©Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation/Ken Marks

Global Reef Expedition: Mission to Tonga

Assessing the health of coral reefs in the Kingdom of TongaHealthy coral reefs provide critical ecosystem services for millions of people globally, but with climate change and anthropogenic stressors, the landscape of these habitats is regularly shifting. The science and conservation community has realized the importance of baseline studies to help track how these precious reef ecosystems are changing. The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation launched the Global Reef Expedition (GRE)—the largest coral reef survey and mapping expedition in history—to conduct much-needed baseline

BMT scientist Dr Beth Toki (back, fourth from right) met with government officials and community stakeholders at Barana Village, on the outskirts of Honiara Photo BMT

Ecosystem based Adaptation to Climate Change

Building community resilience through ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) is a new application of BMT’s climate change capabilities. In the Pacific, climate change resilience and adaptation is increasingly being considered in the context of EbA, which concentrates on ecosystem services in adapting to the adverse effects of climate change. This contrasts with the infrastructure or property emphasis of traditional climate change adaptation assessments, and is particularly pertinent to Pacific Islands where communities rely heavily on their local natural resources. By taking into account the ecosystem

H38 deploying researchers (Photo: Brazil Navy)

A New Reef Biome Under the Amazon Plume

system. The conclusions reached by the researchers are reported here in full. “In conclusion, the novel reef system off the Amazon River is extensive, is impoverished in terms of biodiversity, and presents unique functional attributes due to the plume influence. The system provides relevant ecosystem services and functions as a selective biogeographic corridor between the Caribbean and the South Atlantic Ocean, and may give important insights in terms of future scenarios for forecasting coralline reefs trajectories under acute climate changes. Remarkably, 125 exploratory blocks for oil drilling

High Correlation of Biomass to Species Diversity in Northern Chukchi Sea - BOEM Study

Last summer, researchers began a five year study to monitor biodiversity in the Arctic Chukchi Sea from an ecosystem perspective, looking at microbes, whales and everything in between. Marine biodiversity is a key indicator of ocean health and critical ecosystem services that contribute to human life. Monitoring it improves our ability to interpret and forecast changes. The unprecedented effects of climate change combined with strong seasonal cycles and increasing human activities in the Arctic make this region particularly important to monitor. In August 2015, the AMBON team of researchers from

A shipping vessel navigates Canada’s Arctic waters. The MEOPAR network and Irving Shipbuilding announced $1.8 million in funding to support nine ocean research initiatives, including three projects to ensure safer, more culturally sensitive shipping and improved emergency response abilities in Canada’s Arctic. (Photo: Irving Shipbuilding)

MEOPAR, Irving Shipbuilding Support Ocean Research

;Maycira Costa, University of Victoria Arctic Marine Activities Integration & Synthesis Project (AMAIS): Enhancing Ocean Governance Through the Northern Marine Transportation Corridors - Jackie Dawson, University of Ottawa Observing and Responding to Pressures on Arctic Marine Ecosystem Services - Brent Else, University of Calgary Testing New, Innovative & Affordable Technologies for Monitoring & Visualizing the Impacts of Sea Level Rise, Erosion & Storm Surges on Coast Environments - Adam Fenech, University of Prince Edward Island  Ocean Observation

Photo courtesy of Texas A&M University

Fate of Past Oyster Reef Projects Unknown

Horizon oil spill settlement reached with BP in July. That settlement will send billions to the five Gulf States for restoration projects, with more than $160 million earmarked for oyster restoration projects. “Oysters accomplish a lot within the environment, and provide important ecosystem services,” Blomberg said. “They’re an important food source and support vital fisheries.” In addition, as filter feeders, oysters remove excess phytoplankton and nutrients to help clean the water column. That helps prevent harmful algal blooms and a form of water pollution

Bleached and dead Acorpora coral in the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. Warm Pacific ocean temperatures may lead to an increase in coral bleaching, NOAA scientists said. (Credit: NOAA)

Scientists See Rising Threat of Coral Bleaching

worse where corals are suffering from other environmental threats, like pollution or overfishing.”   NOAA’s bleaching prediction for the upcoming months supports the findings of a paper published in the journal Science last week that examined the threat to marine ecosystems and ecosystem services under two different carbon dioxide emission pathways.   “The paper reports that even if humans limit the Earth’s warming to two degrees C (3.8 degrees F), many marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, are still going to suffer,” said Eakin, an author on the paper.

All animals observed throughout the AESA project. Top left: is a sea cucumber Psychropotes longicauda. Top middle: Macrouridae sp. Top right: sea cucumber Oneirophanta sp. Middle left:  sea anemone Actinauge sp. Bottom left: sea cucumber Amperima sp  this is one of the most abundant animals observed in t this study. Bottom right: sea anemone Sicyonis sp.

Mapping the Abyss with AUV Photography

last decade. Only in recent years has more significance been placed on the location of species and the factors that influence ecosystem dynamics and biodiversity. The intensification of industrial movements within the deep-sea setting creates the potential for loss in species abundance and many ecosystem services. Additionally, climate change can cause unexpectedly large changes to the deep-sea environment. As such, research into how these factors will impact deep-sea ecosystems has become a priority for many scientists. This can only be achieved however by understanding how these habitats work at present

EPA Releases EnviroAtlas Ecosystem Mapping Tool

universities. Using powerful web application tools, it lets users generate customized maps and images that show the condition of their local community’s air, water, and landscape; as well as population density and other demographic data. Users can investigate land cover patterns, see how ecosystem services reduce pollution, and view closer to true scale data to compare them across selected communities. EnviroAtlas is available to anybody with access to a computer and an internet connection. No special software is needed. It is currently not optimized for smartphone or tablet use, but a mobile-frien

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