Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New study ranks 'hotspots' of human impact on coastal areas

14.07.2009
Coastal marine ecosystems are at risk worldwide as a result of human activities, according to scientists at UC Santa Barbara who have recently published a study in the Journal of Conservation Letters. The authors have performed the first integrated analysis of all coastal areas of the world.

"Resource management and conservation in coastal waters must address a litany of impacts from human activities, from the land, such as urban runoff and other types of pollution, and from the sea," said Benjamin S. Halpern, first author, who is based at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at UCSB.

"One of the great challenges is to decide where and how much to allocate limited resources to tackling these problems," he said. "Our results identify where it is absolutely imperative that land-based threats are addressed –– so-called hotspots of land-based impact –– and where these land-based sources of impact are minimal or can be ignored."

The hottest hotspot is at the mouth of the Mississippi River, explained Halpern, with the other top 10 in Asia and the Mediterranean. "These are areas where conservation efforts will almost certainly fail if they don't directly address what people are doing on land upstream from these locations."

Nutrient runoff from upstream farms has caused a persistent "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, where the Mississippi runs into this body of water. The dead zone is caused by an overgrowth of algae that feeds on the nutrients and takes up most of the oxygen in the water.

The authors state that they have provided the first integrated analysis for all coastal areas of the world. They surveyed four key land-based drivers of ecological change:

nutrient input from agriculture in urban settings

organic pollutants derived from pesticides

inorganic pollutants from urban runoff

direct impact of human populations on coastal marine habitats.

Halpern explained that a large portion of the world's coastlines experience very little effect of what happens on land –– nearly half of the coastline and more than 90 percent of all coastal waters. "This is because a vast majority of the planet's landscape drains into relatively few very large rivers, that in turn affect a small amount of coastal area," said Halpern. "In these places with little impact from human activities on land, marine conservation can and needs to focus primarily on what is happening in the ocean. For example: fishing, climate change, invasive species, and commercial shipping."

Coauthors from NCEAS are Colin M. Ebert, Carrie V. Kappel, Matthew Perry, Kimberly A. Selkoe, and Shaun Walbridge. Fiorenza Micheli of Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station and Elizabeth M. P. Madin of UCSB's Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology are also co-authors. Selkoe is also affiliated with the University of Hawaii's Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology.

NCEAS is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the National Marine Sanctuaries, and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship provided additional support for this research.

Gail Gallessich | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsb.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Foxes in the city: citizen science helps researchers to study urban wildlife
14.12.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

nachricht Machine learning helps predict worldwide plant-conservation priorities
04.12.2018 | Ohio State University

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: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magic number colloidal clusters

13.12.2018 | Life Sciences

UNLV study unlocks clues to how planets form

13.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Live from the ocean research vessel Atlantis

13.12.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>