Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

High human impact ocean areas along US West Coast revealed

13.05.2009
Climate change, fishing and commercial shipping top list of threats

Climate change, fishing and commercial shipping top the list of threats to the ocean off the West Coast of the United States.

"Every single spot of the ocean along the West Coast," said Ben Halpern, a marine ecologist at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California at Santa Barbara, "is affected by 10 to 15 different human activities annually."

In a two-year study to document the way humans are affecting the oceans in this region, Halpern and colleagues overlaid data on the location and intensity of 25 human-derived sources of ecological stress, including climate change, commercial and recreational fishing, land-based sources of pollution and ocean-based commercial activities.

With the information, they produced a composite map of the status of West Coast marine ecosystems.

The work was published online today in the journal Conservation Letters, and was conducted at NCEAS. NCEAS is primarily funded by NSF's Division of Environmental Biology.

"This important analysis of the geography and magnitude of land-based stressors should help focus attention on the hot-spots where coordinated management of land and ocean activities is needed," said Phillip Taylor, section head in NSF's Division of Ocean Sciences.

The lead scientists on the study conducted a similar analysis on a global scale; the results were published last year in Science.

By refining the methods used in the global study and applying them at a regional scale, the scientists were able to test how well the results predicted regional ocean health.

"We found two remarkable and unexpected results in this research," said Halpern.

"Ocean management needs to move beyond single-sector management and towards comprehensive ecosystem-based management if it is to be effective at protecting and sustaining ocean health.

"Also, the global results for this region were highly correlated with the regional results, suggesting that the global results can provide valuable guidance for regional efforts around the world."

The study results show that hotspots of cumulative impact are in coastal areas near urban centers and heavily polluted watersheds.

The research involved a four-step process.

First, the scientists gathered information to quantify and compare how different human activities affect each marine ecosystem. For example, fertilizer runoff was shown to have a large effect on salt marshes, but a much smaller one on rocky reefs.

Then the researchers gathered and processed data on marine ecosystems and human influences.

Next they combined data from the first and second steps to determine "human impact scores" for each location along the West Coast.

Finally, they compared regional results to global results for the same areas from the previous analysis.

"Comparing the global version of the map to regional-scale versions allows us to determine where it performs best," said biologist and paper co-author Kim Selkoe, also of NCEAS.

"The high correlation is good news for marine managers in areas of the world that may be in need of maps of human impacts, but don't have the resources to undertake their own tailored analysis."

The study provides critical information for evaluating where certain activities can continue with little effect on the oceans, and where other activities might need to be stopped or moved to less sensitive areas, said Taylor.

As management and conservation of the oceans turns toward marine protected areas (MPAs), ecosystem-based management (EBM), and ocean zoning to manage human influence, such information will prove invaluable to managers and policymakers, said Halpern.

"The results are a wake-up call," he said. "We are significantly affecting the oceans."

Cheryl Dybas | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists on the road to discovering impact of urban road dust
18.01.2018 | University of Alberta

nachricht Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk
17.01.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>