Frontiers in Marine Science
About: Frontiers in Marine Science is an academic journal published by Frontiers Media. The journal publishes majorly in the area(s): Biology & Environmental science. It has an ISSN identifier of 2296-7745. It is also open access. Over the lifetime, 9515 publications have been published receiving 104228 citations.
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation1, University of Queensland2, Scottish Association for Marine Science3, Griffith University4, National Institute for Environmental Studies5, Hokkaido University6, University of California, Santa Barbara7, Imperial College London8, Edith Cowan University9, Aberystwyth University10, University of the Sunshine Coast11, University of California, Davis12
TL;DR: In this article, the authors review evidence for the responses of marine life to recent climate change across ocean regions, from tropical seas to polar oceans, and find that general trends in species responses are consistent with expectations from climate change, including poleward and deeper distributional shifts, advances in spring phenology, declines in calcification and increases in the abundance of warm water species.
Abstract: Climate change is driving changes in the physical and chemical properties of the ocean that have consequences for marine ecosystems. Here, we review evidence for the responses of marine life to recent climate change across ocean regions, from tropical seas to polar oceans. We consider observed changes in calcification rates, demography, abundance, distribution and phenology of marine species. We draw on a database of observed climate change impacts on marine species, supplemented with evidence in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We discuss factors that limit or facilitate species’ responses, such as fishing pressure, the availability of prey, habitat, light and other resources, and dispersal by ocean currents. We find that general trends in species responses are consistent with expectations from climate change, including poleward and deeper distributional shifts, advances in spring phenology, declines in calcification and increases in the abundance of warm-water species. The volume and type of evidence of species responses to climate change is variable across ocean regions and taxonomic groups, with much evidence derived from the heavily-studied north Atlantic Ocean. Most investigations of marine biological impacts of climate change are of the impacts of changing temperature, with few observations of effects of changing oxygen, wave climate, precipitation (coastal waters) or ocean acidification. Observations of species responses that have been linked to anthropogenic climate change are widespread, but are still lacking for some taxonomic groups (e.g., phytoplankton, benthic invertebrates, marine mammals).
TL;DR: In this article, it was shown that even lower greenhouse gas emission scenarios (such as Representative Concentration Pathway RCP 4.5) are likely to drive the elimination of most warm-water coral reefs by 2040-2050.
Abstract: Coral reefs are found in a wide range of environments, where they provide food and habitat to a large range of organisms as well as other ecological goods and services. Warm-water coral reefs, for example, occupy shallow sunlit, warm and alkaline waters in order to grow and calcify at the high rates necessary to build and maintain their calcium carbonate structures. At deeper locations (40 – 150 m), “mesophotic” (low light) coral reefs accumulate calcium carbonate at much lower rates (if at all in some cases) yet remain important as habitat for a wide range of organisms, including those important for fisheries. Finally, even deeper, down to 2000 m or more, the so-called ‘cold-water’ coral reefs are found in the dark depths. Despite their importance, coral reefs are facing significant challenges from human activities including pollution, over-harvesting, physical destruction, and climate change. In the latter case, even lower greenhouse gas emission scenarios (such as Representative Concentration Pathway RCP 4.5) are likely drive the elimination of most warm-water coral reefs by 2040-2050. Cold-water corals are also threatened by warming temperatures and ocean acidification although evidence of the direct effect of climate change is less clear. Evidence that coral reefs can adapt at rates which are sufficient for them to keep up with rapid ocean warming and acidification is minimal, especially given that corals are long-lived and hence have slow rates of evolution. Conclusions that coral reefs will migrate to higher latitudes as they warm are equally unfounded, with the observations of tropical species appearing at high latitudes ‘necessary but not sufficient’ evidence that entire coral reef ecosystems are shifting. On the contrary, coral reefs are likely to degrade rapidly over the next 20 years, presenting fundamental challenges for the 500 million people who derive food, income, coastal protection, and a range of other services from coral reefs. Unless rapid advances to the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement occur over the next decade, hundreds of millions of people are likely to face increasing amounts of poverty and social disruption, and, in some cases, regional insecurity.
TL;DR: The seaweed aquaculture can also contribute to climate change adaptation by damping wave energy and protecting shorelines, and by elevating pH and supplying oxygen to the waters, thereby locally reducing the effects of ocean acidification and deoxygenation as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: Seaweed aquaculture, the fastest-growing component of global food production, offers a slate of opportunities to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Seaweed farms release carbon that maybe buried in sediments or exported to the deep sea, therefore acting as a CO2 sink. The crop can also be used, in total or in part, for biofuel production, with a potential CO2 mitigation capacity, in terms of avoided emissions from fossil fuels, of about 1500 tons CO2 km-2 year-1. Seaweed aquaculture can also help reduce the emissions from agriculture, by improving soil quality substituting synthetic fertilizer and, when included in cattle fed, lowering methane emissions from cattle. Seaweed aquaculture contributes to climate change adaptation by damping wave energy and protecting shorelines, and by elevating pH and supplying oxygen to the waters, thereby locally reducing the effects of ocean acidification and de-oxygenation. The scope to expand seaweed aquaculture is, however, limited by the availability of suitable areas and competition for suitable areas with other uses, engineering systems capable of coping with rough conditions offshore and an increasing market demand for seaweed products, among other factors. Despite these limitations, seaweed farming practices can be optimized to maximize climate benefits, which may, if economically compensated, improve the income of seaweed farmers.
TL;DR: A review of the current state of development of seabed mining activities in areas both within and beyond national jurisdictions is presented in this article, where the uncertainties and gaps in scientific knowledge and understanding which render baseline and impact assessments particularly difficult for the deep sea.
Abstract: Rising demand for minerals and metals, including for use in the technology sector, has led to a resurgence of interest in exploration of mineral resources located on the seabed. Such resources, whether seafloor massive (polymetallic) sulfides around hydrothermal vents, cobalt-rich crusts on the flanks of seamounts or fields of manganese (polymetallic) nodules on the abyssal plains, cannot be considered in isolation of the distinctive, in some cases unique, assemblages of marine species associated with the same habitats and structures. In addition to mineral deposits, there is interest in extracting methane from gas hydrates on continental slopes and rises. Many of the regions identified for future seabed mining are already recognised as vulnerable marine ecosystems. Since its inception in 1982, the International Seabed Authority (ISA), charged with regulating human activities on the deep-sea floor beyond the continental shelf, has issued 27 contracts for mineral exploration, encompassing a combined area of more than 1.4 million km2, and continues to develop rules for commercial mining. At the same time, some seabed mining operations are already taking place within continental shelf areas of nation states, generally at relatively shallow depths, and with others at advanced stages of planning. The first commercial enterprise, expected to target mineral-rich sulfides in deeper waters, at depths between 1,500 and 2,000 metres on the continental shelf of Papua New Guinea, is scheduled to begin early in 2019. In this review, we explore three broad aspects relating to the exploration and exploitation of seabed mineral resources: (1) the current state of development of such activities in areas both within and beyond national jurisdictions, (2) possible environmental impacts both close to and more distant from mining activities and (3) the uncertainties and gaps in scientific knowledge and understanding which render baseline and impact assessments particularly difficult for the deep sea. We also consider whether there are alternative approaches to the management of existing mineral reserves and resources, which may reduce incentives for seabed mining.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography1, Florida State University2, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research3, University of the Azores4, Temple University5, University of Aveiro6, United States Geological Survey7, University of the West Indies8, Dalhousie University9, Oregon State University10, University of Victoria11, Duke University12, Ghent University13, University of Hawaii14
TL;DR: In this article, the authors synthesize current knowledge of the nature, extent and time and space scales of vent and seep interactions with background systems, and document an expanded footprint beyond the site of local venting or seepage with respect to elemental cycling and energy flux, habitat use, trophic interactions, and connectivity.
Abstract: Although initially viewed as oases within a barren deep ocean, hydrothermal vent and methane seep communities are now recognized to interact with surrounding ecosystems on the sea floor and in the water column, and to affect global geochemical cycles. The importance of understanding these interactions is growing as the potential rises for disturbance from oil and gas extraction, seabed mining and bottom trawling. Here we synthesize current knowledge of the nature, extent and time and space scales of vent and seep interactions with background systems. We document an expanded footprint beyond the site of local venting or seepage with respect to elemental cycling and energy flux, habitat use, trophic interactions, and connectivity. Heat and energy are released, global biogeochemical and elemental cycles are modified, and particulates are transported widely in plumes. Hard and biotic substrates produced at vents and seeps are used by “benthic background” fauna for attachment substrata, shelter, and access to food via grazing or through position in the current, while particulates and fluid fluxes modify planktonic microbial communities. Chemosynthetic production provides nutrition to a host of benthic and planktonic heterotrophic background species through multiple horizontal and vertical transfer pathways assisted by flow, gamete release, animal movements, and succession, but these pathways remain poorly known. Shared species, genera and families indicate that ecological and evolutionary connectivity exists among vents, seeps, organic falls and background communities in the deep sea; the genetic linkages with inactive vents and seeps and background assemblages however, are practically unstudied. The waning of venting or seepage activity generates major transitions in space and time that create links to surrounding ecosystems, often with identifiable ecotones or successional stages. The nature of all these interactions is dependent on water depth, as well as regional oceanography and biodiversity. Many ecosystem services are associated with the interactions and transitions between chemosynthetic and background ecosystems, for example carbon cycling and sequestration, fisheries production, and a host of non-market and cultural services. The quantification of the sphere of influence of vents and seeps could be beneficial to better management of deep-sea environments in the face of growing industrialization.