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Ecological Biodiversity – Backlines

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Ecological Biodiversity – Backlines

Indian Ocean key to global biodiversity

Indian Ocean is a biodiversity hoptspot. It’s being threatened in the status quo

Pallewatta ‘10

Dr. Nirmalie Pallewatta is a senior lecturer and the current head of the Department of Zoology, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, “Impacts of Climate Change on Coastal

Ecosystems in the Indian Ocean Region,”
Coastal ecosystems are repositories of biological diversity and provide a wide range of goods and services. The major habitats of the coastal zone are coral reefs; seagrass beds/ meadows; coastal or barrier islands; rocky coasts; cliffs; intertidal rocky, mud, or salt flats; rock pools; sandy, pebble, or rocky beaches; dune systems; saline, brackish, and freshwater lagoons; estuaries and coastal river floodplains; salt marshes; and mangrove forests—all of which have been highly modified over millennia by human activities. The Indian Ocean region is particularly rich in marine biodiversity. For example, the diversity of a number of marine taxa, including corals, fishes, lobsters, and snails, peaks in the so-called East Indies Triangle (Indonesia, Malaysia, New Guinea, and the Philippines) and (though declining in the central Indian Ocean) shows another lower peak in East Africa and Madagascar. 9 Ecosystem services can be broadly grouped into three types: 10 • Provisioning —e.g., food species, water for agricultural and industrial use, timber, fibers, fuel, and genes • Regulating —e.g., climate regulation; influencing hydrological flows and cycles; reg - ulation of erosion; removal of excess nutrients and wastes; and mitigation/ameliora - tion of natural hazards such as floods, storm surges, landslides, and high winds • Cultural and religious —e.g., recreational, aesthetic, educational, and scientific opportunities; and spiritual and symbolic values The current widespread decline of regulating services is most worrying as, without these, the other two types of services are not possible. Coasts are affected by two main types of influences, terrestrial and marine, that are con - sidered external to the coastal zone. Terrestrial influences are mostly anthropogenic in nature. They include land use changes and all the consequences of changing hydrological regimes, and nutrient loading from sediment transport, runoff, and reduction of sediments through rivers (for example, from dam and channel construction and extraction of river sand upstream). Marine influences are mostly natural phenomena such as weather events (storms and cyclones), tsunamis, and wave patterns and coastal and ocean currents that affect the processes of nutrient, material, and heat transfer and mediate geomorphological changes Loss and degradation of ecosystems are affected by a suite of interacting factors that can be divided into two groups: direct drivers and indirect drivers. The direct drivers (also known as proximate causes ) of loss and degradation of coastal zone ecosystems are as follows: • Loss, fragmentation, and degradation of habitats , primarily by land use changes such as conversion to agriculture • Overexploitation of resources for livelihoods and commercial purposes • Pollution , mostly by nutrient enrichment by land-based use of chemical fertilizers and sewage but also from toxins such as pesticides and hazardous chemicals • Introduction of alien invasive species and their rapid and uncontrolled spread (this is also considered a form of biological pollution) • Anthropogenic climate change , which interacts with the previous factors listed, gen - erally reinforcing their impacts Following are the main indirect drivers (sometimes referred to as ultimate or root causes ) that underlie the proximate causes: 11 • Population expansion —increase of populations is followed by increased demands for resources • Distribution of wealth and social inequalities —the poor often must emphasize sur - vival over sustainability, while the wealthy are far removed from the consequences of overexploitation of resources, leading to degradation of natural systems • Policy failure —policies that do not take into account the inherent characteristics of ecosystems permit their unsustainable exploitation (e.g., policies on land tenure are especially responsible for changing the manner in which land and biological resources are used) • Market failure/distortions— ecosystem goods and services mostly bypass markets and thus are often undervalued and underpriced, so the costs of environmental destruction are not reflected in the market • Globalization —trade and market liberalization have created a global system in which commodities and their prices are highly influenced by international pressures that do not usually take local and regional environmental impacts of production into account • Poor development model —a development model that equates increased consumption rates with growth and advancement These drivers, both direct and indirect, are also agents of global change. Their impacts con - tribute to widespread trends on local, regional, and global scales and across socioeconomic strata. These drivers do not operate singly but form an interacting and often synergistic complex. Coastal and marine ecosystem goods and services are highly undervalued, as are ecosystems and biodiversity in general. This undervaluation results in unsustainable patterns of resource exploitation, highly degraded ecosystems, and weak attempts at con - servation. Communities that directly depend on these goods and services bear the heaviest economic and social costs of such decline and loss. Often they are among the poorest seg - ments of society. 12 All told, human stressors have significant implications for coastal ecosystems and bio - diversity. Anthropogenic pressures are leading to the disappearance, fragmentation, and outright destruction of habitats. Decreases in individual populations or in the number and types of species can result in decreasing ecological richness and degradation of communi - ties and ecosystems. Loss or reduction of ecosystem goods and services or loss of biodi - versity beyond certain limits can impair the natural functioning of ecosystems. Reduction of ecological resilience (the natural capacity to recover or revitalize from damage or distur - bance) beyond certain levels may lead to ecosystem collapse. Ecosystems already highly affected by anthropogenic activities may in some cases prove unable to withstand the addi - tional effects of climate change and may suffer irreversible loss of function. 13

Biodiversity impacts

Note to students: also see ev under header “A-to “Marine Biodiversity = resilient, alt causes”

( ) Marine ecosystems key to survival – additional protection needed.

Sielen ‘13

ALAN B. SIELEN is Senior Fellow for International Environmental Policy at the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, “The Devolution of the Seas,” Foreign Affairs, November/December,

Of all the threats looming over the planet today, one of the most alarming is the seemingly inexorable descent of the world’s oceans into ecological perdition. Over the last several decades, human activities have so altered the basic chemistry of the seas that they are now experiencing evolution in reverse: a return to the barren primeval waters of hundreds of millions of years ago.¶ A visitor to the oceans at the dawn of time would have found an underwater world that was mostly lifeless. Eventually, around 3.5 billion years ago, basic organisms began to emerge from the primordial ooze. This microbial soup of algae and bacteria needed little oxygen to survive. Worms, jellyfish, and toxic fireweed ruled the deep. In time, these simple organisms began to evolve into higher life forms, resulting in the wondrously rich diversity of fish, corals, whales, and other sea life one associates with the oceans today.¶ Yet that sea life is now in peril. Over the last 50 years -- a mere blink in geologic time -- humanity has come perilously close to reversing the almost miraculous biological abundance of the deep. Pollution, overfishing, the destruction of habitats, and climate change are emptying the oceans and enabling the lowest forms of life to regain their dominance. The oceanographer Jeremy Jackson calls it “the rise of slime”: the transformation of once complex oceanic ecosystems featuring intricate food webs with large animals into simplistic systems dominated by microbes, jellyfish, and disease. In effect, humans are eliminating the lions and tigers of the seas to make room for the cockroaches and rats.¶ The prospect of vanishing whales, polar bears, bluefin tuna, sea turtles, and wild coasts should be worrying enough on its own. But the disruption of entire ecosystems threatens our very survival, since it is the healthy functioning of these diverse systems that sustains life on earth. Destruction on this level will cost humans dearly in terms of food, jobs, health, and quality of life. It also violates the unspoken promise passed from one generation to the next of a better future.

( ) Biodiversity loss risks extinction.

Raj ‘12

(P. J. Sanjeeva Raj, former Head of Zoology Department, Madras Christian College, “Beware the Loss of Biodiversity,” The Hindu, September 23, 2012,

He regrets that if such indiscriminate annihilation of all biodiversity from the face of the earth happens for anthropogenic reasons, as has been seen now, it is sure to force humanity into an emotional shock and trauma of loneliness and helplessness on this planet. He believes that the current wave of biodiversity loss is sure to lead us into an age that may be appropriately called the “Eremozoic Era, the Age of Loneliness.” Loss of biodiversity is a much greater threat to human survival than even climate change. Both could act, synergistically too, to escalate human extinction faster. Biodiversity is so indispensable for human survival that the United Nations General Assembly has designated the decade 2011- 2020 as the ‘Biodiversity Decade’ with the chief objective of enabling humans to live peaceably or harmoniously with nature and its biodiversity. We should be happy that during October 1-19, 2012, XI Conference of Parties (CoP-11), a global mega event on biodiversity, is taking place in Hyderabad, when delegates from 193 party countries are expected to meet. They will review the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which was originally introduced at the Earth Summit or the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) is the nodal agency for CoP-11. Today, India is one of the 17 mega-diverse (richest biodiversity) countries. Biodiversity provides all basic needs for our healthy survival oxygen, food, medicines, fibre, fuel, energy, fertilizers, fodder and waste-disposal, etc. Fast vanishing honeybees, dragonflies, bats, frogs, house sparrows, filter (suspension)-feeder oysters and all keystone species are causing great economic loss as well as posing an imminent threat to human peace and survival. The three-fold biodiversity mission before us is to inventorise the existing biodiversity, conserve it, and, above all, equitably share the sustainable benefits out of it.

Seamounts Backline ev

( ) Seamount health is crucial ecosystem strength.

O.R.C.G. ‘13

Ocean Research & Conservation Group – Departmentt of Zoology from the University of Oxford –

“Seamounts” –
Seamounts are submerged mountains, usually of volcanic, but sometimes tectonic origin. They are found mainly along mid-ocean ridges but are also associated with crustal hotspots and island back-arcs. There are more than 33,000 seamounts with an elevation of more than 1000 m in the oceans covering nearly 5% of the seafloor, representing an area of ~17 million km2. There are more than 138,000 smaller features (knolls) covering >16% of the seafloor. This makes seamounts important habitats at a global scale in the oceans. Biologically seamounts are important as they appear to attract large concentrations of predators, including sharks, billfish, tuna, whales, seals and seabirds. Some fish, such as orange roughy, aggregate around seamounts to breed. They also host communities of deep-sea corals which form cold-water coral reefs or coral gardens. These habitats are associated sometimes with a high biomass and also a high diversity of associated species. Seamounts are targeted by commercial fisheries for pelagic species (e.g. tuna) but also for fish species associated with the seabed. Some of these species are extremely long lived (orange roughy may live for more than 150 years), whilst others aggregate for feeding or spawning. These features of the biology of these fish render them very vulnerable to overexploitation. Furthermore, the methods used to fish these species in some cases, bottom trawling, is enormously destructive to the communities of animals such as corals living on the seabed. These communities often comprise long-lived, slow-growing organisms that are unlikely to recover from such impacts over short and medium timescales and may be not for hundreds or even thousands of years.

( ) Seamounts on the brink now.

I.U.C.N. ‘13

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources or IUCN is the world's oldest and largest global environmental network. IUCN supports scientific research, and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy. IUCN features almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in more than 160 countries. IUCN's work is supported by more than 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. This is a joint publication lead by IUCN – with support from The Global Environment Facility and The United Nations Development Programme – “Seamounts Project: An Ecosystem Approach to Management of Seamounts in the Southern Indian Ocean” – available at:

Seamount ecosystems are particularly fragile and vulnerable to anthropogenic threats. Any additional or new activity, or the intensification of an ongoing activity, could become the tipping point for the collapse of a seamount ecosystem. At present an objective comparator of the threats and effects associated with the activities in this regard is lacking. This fundamental knowledge gap would be filled by a mechanism to improve the predictability of the tipping point trigger(s) and to improve the quantification of the risks thereof for seamount ecosystems.

( ) Here’s proof that the knowledge gained by the plan is exactly what’s needed for improving seamount conservation.

I.U.C.N. ‘13

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources or IUCN is the world's oldest and largest global environmental network. IUCN supports scientific research, and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy. IUCN features almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in more than 160 countries. IUCN's work is supported by more than 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. This is a joint publication lead by IUCN – with support from The Global Environment Facility and The United Nations Development Programme – “Seamounts Project: An Ecosystem Approach to Management of Seamounts in the Southern Indian Ocean” – available at:

In general terms many aspects of our understanding of seamounts remain poor. The seafloor of the oceans is not mapped to a sufficient resolution to determine the position, size and shape of the majority of seamounts, particularly those <1,000 m in elevation. Knowledge on interactions between seamounts and the ocean is based on a few observational ‘case studies’ and modeling of idealized seamount and flow configurations. Likewise, studies of pelagic and benthic communities on seamounts remain limited, with only a few hundred seamounts having been sampled at all and only few of these having been sampled extensively. With such a lack of observations, generalization about any aspect of the biology of seamounts is extremely difficult. As well as very limited sampling effort, seamount studies are also subject to significant bias in a number of aspects. For example, few low-latitude seamounts have been studied as most research has concentrated on mid-latitude seamounts close to the coastlines of developed States (e.g., NE Atlantic or SW Pacific). Knowledge of seamounts is particularly poor for some regions, especially the Indian Ocean, parts of the Pacific and the Southern Ocean. Studies on seamount fauna have focused on large organisms obtained in dredges or bottom trawls, or those easily viewed from towed cameras or submersibles. Despite these limitations, a general picture of the potential interactions of seamounts with the ocean, and there importance to marine ecosystems, has developed, especially over the last 20 years. To further this understanding, particularly in the context of management of seamount ecosystems, the following areas require further research effort at the present time: — Meter – 100 km scale current-seamount interactions, particularly in relation to tidally-driven effects; — Linkages between current-seamount interactions and seamount food webs; — Resolution of the importance of upwelling, vertical mixing, retention and resuspension on primary production; — The basis of seamount food webs, particularly bentho-pelagic coupling; — Factors influencing the seamount-scale distribution of benthic organisms; — The importance of seamount ecosystems to the surrounding ocean, especially to visitors such as aquatic predators; — Connectivity of seamount populations, and distributional geographic ranges of seamount species; — The differences (and similarities) of seamount and non-seamount communities, including consideration of ecosystem structure and endemism; — Life histories of seamount species; — The nature of the association between commercially targeted species and the seamount ecosystem; — Recovery of seamount ecosystems following human-induced impacts; and — Long-term implications of climate change to seamount communities.

Hotspots key to survival

( ) Hotspot conservation key to human survival

C.E.P.F. ‘8

Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund. The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund unites seven entities committed to enabling nongovernmental and private sector organizations to help protect vital ecosystems. L’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, The European Union, The Global Environment Facility, The Government of Japan, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and The World Bank “Rationale for Investment – Strategic Framework, FY 2008-2012” –

As might be expected, very large proportions of threatened species occur within and are often unique to the hotspots. Between them, the hotspots hold at least 150,000 plant species found nowhere else on Earth, 50 percent of the world’s total endemic species. In addition, 77 percent of threatened amphibian species are hotspot endemics, along with 73 percent of threatened bird species and 51 percent of threatened mammal species. The status of species can be one of the most important indicators of ecosystem health. Their demise can endanger the vitality and ability of ecosystems to provide services important for human survival: air and water cleansing, flood and climate control, soil regeneration, crop pollination, food, medicines, and raw materials. Many people and many species share a common vulnerability. By strategically focusing on the hotspots in developing countries, CEPF provides critically needed resources to assist civil society groups in helping preserve the diversity of life and healthy ecosystems as essential components of stable and thriving societies. The hotspots concept complements other systems for assessing global conservation priorities. All hotspots contain at least one Global 200 Ecoregion identified by WWF for their species richness, endemism, taxonomic uniqueness, unusual ecological or evolutionary phenomena, and global rarity. All but three contain at least one Endemic Bird Area identified by BirdLife International for holding two or more endemic bird species. In addition, nearly 80 percent of the sites identified by the Alliance for Zero Extinction1 are located in the hotspots. These high-priority areas for conservation hold threatened species as endemics to a single site. No matter how successful conservation activities are elsewhere, the state of the hotspots is the real measure of the conservation challenge. Unless the global community succeeds in conserving this small fraction of the planet’s land area, more than half of Earth’s diversity of life will be lost.

A-to “Marine Biodiversity = resilient, alt causes”

( ) Marine Ecosystems not resilient and alt causes are a bad gamble. Best science and risk framing goes Aff.

Langston ‘11

(internally quoting Brad Warren, who directs the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership’s ocean acidification program. Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) is an NGO working to reshape the world of corporate responsibility through the creation of powerful information tools and a methodology that allows companies to directly engage with suppliers of natural resources. Jennifer Langston is a researcher on sustainability issues and Sightline Daily editor – Formerly an author at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. This post is part of the research project: Northwest Ocean Acidification – “Are You a Banker or a Gambler?” – July 27th –

Some might argue that oceans are resilient places, that nature abhors a vacuum, and that other kinds of algae or grasses that thrive in more acidic seas could replace losses at the bottom of the food web. In truth, we don’t yet know how complicated marine ecosystems will adapt to ocean acidification. The effects could range from minor to apocalyptic. In that sense, you get to choose how scared you want to be, says Brad Warren, who directs the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership’s ocean acidification program. But the most knowledgeable scientists tend to eschew the more optimistic view, he said. And a smart businessperson pays attention to signs of trouble, tries not to get caught behind the curve, and needs to rethink old strategies when they’re no longer working. In other words, says Warren: If you think of someone who has a fiduciary duty for the systems that feed us and provide jobs to half a billion people in the world—from subsistence hunting to those making a lot of money—one can view that with a gambler’s instinct or with a stewardship instinct. What would you rather be—a banker or a gambler—with this resource?

( ) Resilience is misleading. Recovery is possible – but not if we cross forthcoming tipping points.

Ayers ‘13

Internally quoting Dr. Sylvia Alice Earle – who is a marine biologist, explorer, author, and lecturer. Since 1998 she has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence. Earle was the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and was named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998. Jane Ayers is an independent journalist that has written pieces for USA Today, Los Angeles Times Interview, The Nation, SF Chronicle, Truthout. She is also Director of her own Media outlet. “Women Say 'Enough is Enough' to Climate Changes Worldwide” – NATION OF CHANGE – Published: Friday 11 October 2013 –

Concerning the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Dr. Earle lamented, “Radioactivity is one more impact we have infected into the ocean system. Oceans are resilient but we are facing tipping points. With carbon at 400/ we have crossed the line. How much decline in plankton is acceptable? We all like to breathe but if we destroy the systems that make oxygen and that take up the carbon, then what? This is the last time we have to assert ourselves and make it right. Most oxygen is generated by creatures in the sea. Everyone has a stake in this. Yes, we need to take care of the water, but we also need to take care of the living parts of the water, i.e. the fish.” Pointing to a crossroads mankind is facing, Dr. Earle explained, “I joked at the International Women for Earth & Climate Summit that women can help find solutions to climate change by focusing on the oceans because half the fish in the ocean are female. But seriously, we are in a moment in time, at a crossroads, where we are facing global rising sea levels, floods increasing, etc. We are at a pivotal point in time, and I am emphasizing the role of oceans to governments, and the world. The plankton play a largely neglected role but they generate the oxygen that takes up the carbon. The plankton are most important to humankind surviving, and makes the planet function properly. “ Stating that the ocean keeps us alive, Dr. Earle explained, “Most people might think the ocean is only a source of recreation or fishing. But we must recognize that the ocean keeps us alive. It is a cornerstone of life’s system, and only now are we appreciating how important oceans are to every breath we take, to every drink of water we injest. We have impacted the oceans over the last fifty years, and now we have an unprecedented chance to solve some of these problems.”

( ) Resiliency not infinite. Must reverse trends now in order to recover from damage already-done.

Tulloch ‘9

Internally quoting Ben Halpern, a scientists from the Zoological Society of London – James Tulloch – Editor at Allianz – Allianz November 18th – 2009 –

The future looks bleak, but there is hope. “Oceans are resilient, says Halpern, “if we act soon they can recover.” Dead zones can be eliminated. Whales and seals hunted to near extinction did recover once protected. Some sectors are acting. Merchant shipping is cutting the risk of oil spills by banning single-hulled ships from 2010, and trying to reduce the spread of invasive species via ballast water. More stubborn is the fishing industry. The obvious answer is to fish less. As The Economist magazine points out, “nothing did so much good for fish stocks in northern Europe in the past 150 years as the Second World War”. Trawlers stuck in port allowed fisheries to revive. Abolishing government subsidies for fishing, and for trawler fuel, is one strategy. Individual transferable quotas, or ‘catch shares’, is another, giving partial ownership of a fish stock. This has worked in Iceland, New Zealand, and the western United States. “Fishers become very interested in making sure the stock is healthy and sustainable when their income depends on it,” says Halpern. It could also protect stocks in developing countries from marauding foreign factory ships. Marine reserves are a proven solution, argues Norris. “We have to move from hunter-gatherer mode to having the oceans more tightly managed.” Coral reef reserves in Indonesia and Kenya, and kelp forest reserves in New Zealand and South Africa, have successfully revived biodiversity. They would also maintain the seas as effective carbon sinks, says the United Nations, which wants a global ‘Blue Carbon’ regime (like REDD for forests) to protect ecosystems like mangroves and salt marshes. The oceans can no longer be a free-for-all. A combination of preservation, regulation, and ownership—‘marine planning’ or ‘ecosystem management’is the best bet to save our seas. Otherwise the places where life started will become lifeless.

( ) Resiliency thesis false. Alt causes just feed the brink.

Diwakar ‘10

Dr. Prasoon Diwakar – Center for Materials Under eXtreme Environment, Purdue University. He holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. He is a former employee at the Center for Disease Control. He has an academic and research background in Mechanical Engineering, Analytical Chemistry, Environmental Engineering, and Environmental Chemistry – “The Deep Blue: World Ocean Day” – Science is Beautiful – June 9, 2010 –

World Ocean day was celebrated yesterday, June 8th. The importance of protecting our Oceans and it’s ecosystem can not be emphasized more in the wake of BP oil spill disaster. But it’s not like we have not been polluting our Oceans before this spill. We keep doing that on a regular basis– industrial waters, overfishing, excessive usage of plastic bags ending up in ocean currents , Ocean acidification due to excessive anthropogenic CO2 and list goes on. It is likely that roughly one billion gallons of oil enters our oceans each year as a result of man’s activities. Only 8% of this input is believed to derive from natural sources. At least 22% is intentionally released as a function of normal tanker “operational discharges,” 12% enters from accidental tanker spills and another 36% from runoff and municipal and industrial wastes. [American Zoologist , 1993]. I keep hearing politicians and people talking about that our Oceans are resilient and it can tolerate any kind of garbage we put in. No it is not. It can do to a limit (depending on the type of waste we are putting in, amount of waste, and time available to the marine organisms to bounce back) and I think we have already crossed that limit. The Ocean ecosystem is very fragile due to all the mess we have put in there and I would prefer to see beautiful marine life rather see images of dark crude oil gushing out incessantly. I have stopped updating about BP spill because its beyond my comprehension now seeing the response of BP, politicians, News channels. It’s not the time to get political mileage out of the disaster. When BP should be concentrating on the spill and cleaning beaches, paying out affected locals, it’s busy in PR campaign to clean it’s image. Search for BP spill on Google and you will find first sponsored link from BP.. then Tony Hayward, CEO BP, talking about how he and BP will make things right in a new BP commercial with beaches shown in the background… Action is the best PR not mere words, telling lies and getting exposed is worst PR.. Brown pelicans drenched in crude oil exposes all the lies of the amount of spill.. Is it 5,000 gallons per day, 10,000 or 50,000 or 100,000 or more, no one knows. Is it that hard to estimate the amount of spill knowing the dimensions of pipe, flow rates, temperature, viscosity etc?

A-to “Alt Cause – Warming/Ocean Acidification”

Even if warming’s inevitable, marine conservation better protects against effects of climate change.

Brock ‘12

(et al; Robert Brock, co-Chair of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, NOAA National Marine Protected Areas Center – “Scientific Guidelines for Designing Resilient Marine Protected Area Networks in a Changing Climate” – Commission for Environmental Cooperation – July – report available via:

Marine Protected Area (MPA) networks must be designed to be integrated, mutually supportive and focused on sustaining key ecological functions, services and resources. As such, they can provide a mechanism to adapt to and mitigate climate change effects on ecosystems. MPA networks are especially suited to address spatial issues of connectivity (e.g., connecting critical places for life stages of key species), habitat heterogeneity, and the spatial arrangement and composition of constituent habitats, all of which can contribute to ecosystem resilience. Some of those properties can be supported through the size and placement of protected areas (e.g., abundance and size structure of upper trophic levels, species richness), and the reduction of other pressures such as fishing. Some ecosystem properties may not be amenable to spatial management tools but can be used to predict their vulnerability to climate change (e.g., phenological matches, flexibility of migration routes, dependence on critical habitats, functional redundancy, response diversity, community evenness: ICES 2011a).

( ) Plan gathers data that’s key to understanding Earth’s climate.

ClickGreen ‘14

(ClickGreen is a UK based news and media platform specializing in environmental issues. Internally quoting Walter H.F. Smith – who is a Geophysicist in NOAA's Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry and Chair of the scientific and technical sub-committee of GEBCOthis link opens in a new window, the international and intergovernmental committee for the General Bathymetric Charts of the Oceans. Smith earned a B.Sc. at the University of Southern California, M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees at Columbia University, and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography before joining NOAA in 1992. “Experts warn missing Malaysia Airlines flight may be 5 miles under the sea” – ClickGreen – Published May 27th, 2014 –

Search efforts for the missing airplane have focused on an area of the southern Indian Ocean west of Australia where officials suspect that the plane crashed after it veered off course. After an initial air and underwater search failed to find any trace of the airplane, authorities announced this month that they will expand the search area and also map the seabed in the area. Smith pointed out that the search for the missing plane is made more difficult because so little is understood about the seafloor in this part of the Indian Ocean. In the southeast Indian Ocean, only 5 percent of the ocean bottom has been measured by ships with echo soundings. Knowledge of the rest of the area comes from satellite altimetry, which provides relatively low-resolution mapping compared to ship-borne methods. “It is a very complex part of the world that is very poorly known,” Smith said. A lack of good data about Earth’s seafloors not only hinders search efforts, it also makes it harder for scientists to accurately model the world’s environment and climate, Smith noted. Today, our knowledge of our planet’s undersea topography is “vastly poorer than our knowledge of the topographies of Earth’s Moon, Mars and Venus,” Smith and Marks write in Eos. This is because these other planetary bodies have no oceans, making their surfaces relatively easy to sense from space.

( ) That data checks the effect climate change will on ocean ecosystems.

M.C.I. ‘12

Marine Conservation Institute is a nonprofit ocean conservation organization working to identify and protect vulnerable ocean ecosystems worldwide. The Chair of MCI is David Johns, an Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Portland State University, Portland OR. He specializes in place-based ecosystem conservation. “Marine Conservation in a Changing Climate” –
Climate change in the ocean can be addresses with the same effective tools as many other threats to marine life. The establishment of global networks of no-take marine reserves is an important step. Ecosystems that are healthy and robust will have a greater capacity to withstand and show resiliency in the face of oncoming climate change. Adaptive management is critical. Managers and scientists need the capacity to react progressively to changing oceanographic regimes, coral bleaching and other climate-generated processes. Predictive capacity also needs to be developed. Global climate model, oceanographic models and predictive SST and sea level rise maps are incredible tools to help conservationists target the most immediately threatened ecosystems and organisms.

Risk of warming and Ocean acidification will be not be substantial – their impact claims are hyperbole

Codling ‘11

Jo Codling, formerly an associate lecturer in Science Communication at the ANU and is based in Perth, Western Australia, “Ocean Acidification — a little bit less alkalinity could be a good thing,” September 2011,

Studies of how marine life copes with less alkaline conditions include many experiments with water at pH values in a range beyond anything that is likely on planet Earth — they go beyond the bounds of what’s possible. There are estimates that the pH of the ocean has shifted about 0.1 pH unit in the last 200 years, yet some studies consider the effects of water that is shifted by 2 or even 4 entire pH units. Four pH units means 10,000 fold change in the concentration of hydrogen ions). That’s a shift so large, it’s not going to occur in the next few thousand years, even under the worst of the worst case scenarios by the most sadistic models. Indeed, it’s virtually impossible for CO2 levels to rise high enough to effect that kind of change, even if we burned every last fossil, every tree, plant microbe, and vaporized life on earth. (Yet still someone thought it was worth studying what would happen if, hypothetically, that happened. Hmm.) 1103 studies on acidification say there’s no need to panic CO2 science has an extraordinary data base of 1103 studies of the effects of “acidification” on marine life. They reason that any change beyond 0.5 pH units is “far far beyond the realms of reality” even if you are concerned about coral reefs in the year 2300 (see Tans 2009). Even the IPCC’s highest end “scenario A2″ estimate predicts a peak change in the range of 0.6 units by 2300. Many of the headlines forecasting “Death to Reefs” come from studies of ocean water at extreme pH’s that will never occur globally, and that are beyond even what the IPCC is forecasting. Some headlines come from studies of hydrothermal vents where CO2 bubbles up from the ocean floor. Not surprisingly they find changes to marine life near the vents, but then, the pH of these areas ranges right down to 2.8. They are an extreme environment, nothing like what we might expect to convert the worlds oceans too.

A-to “Marine Conservation Fails”

( ) Marine Conservation empirical solves and is improving

Toropova ‘10

(et al; Caitlyn Toropova is a Reef Resilience Manager at The Nature Conservancy and holds and MA Biology Humboldt State University Global Ocean Protection: Present Status and Future Possibilities. p. 1)

As our understanding of the many and synergistic impacts of human activities on marine biodiversity and resources increases, so does the need for more innovative and integrated approaches to ocean management. Indeed, management approaches for the marine and coastal environment are rapidly evolving, including the theoretical guidance and practical advice for effective implementation and management of MPAs. MPAs have been used increasingly over the last century, and they remain a fundamental tool that is widely recognized as one of the most pragmatic and effective means for achieving ecosystem level conservation, protecting marine biodiversity and sustaining local human communities. MPAs and MPA networks that recognize and display connectivity are increasingly being used to respond to some of the key threats and pressures on the marine and coastal environment and resources. They are able to fulfil both broader conservation goals and fisheries management objectives, as well as providing a foundation for delivering ecosystem-based management (Agardy & Staub 2006; Compass 2004; IUCN-WCPA 2008; Mora et al. 2006; Parks etal. 2006)
(Note: MPA = stands for “Marine Protected Areas)

Better Knowledge Solves Conservation

( ) bathymetric knowledge key to habitat conservation

Smith ‘4

Walter H.F. Smith is a Geophysicist in NOAA's Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry and Chair of the scientific and technical sub-committee of GEBCOthis link opens in a new window, the international and intergovernmental committee for the General Bathymetric Charts of the Oceans. Smith earned a B.Sc. at the University of Southern California, M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees at Columbia University, and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography before joining NOAA in 1992. Oceanography • Vol. 17 • No. 1 – page 6

Globally uniform and detailed bathymetry is basic infrastructure, a prerequisite for intelligent scientific, economic, educational, managerial, and political work, in fields such as resource exploration, habitat conservation, and the planning of communications cable and pipeline routes. This special issue highlights two important topics with political, economic, and human dimensions. Monahan reviews the application of bathymetry from space to the mapping of new seabed territorial claims under the Law of the Sea. Vast areas are at stake, with the potential resource value to the United States alone in the trillions of dollars. Mofjeld et al. look at the tsunami and seismic hazards to coastal communities, examining the role that deepwater bathymetry plays in focusing or diffusing tsunami energy, and in revealing areas of the ocean floor that are likely to break out in new earthquake faults. Many people have seen a map of the ocean basins, and naturally might assume that such maps are accurate and adequately detailed. People are usually astonished to learn that we have much better maps of Mars, Venus, and Earth’s moon than we have of Earth’s ocean floors. Public opinion polls find that people in the United States favor ocean exploration over space exploration by two to one, yet there is no steady and systematic effort at mapping our home planet’s oceans. Bathymetric survey tracks cover the remote oceans as sparsely as the Interstate Highway System covers the United States. Imagine, for a moment, producing a topographic map of the United States using only data collected along the interstate highways. How would you interpolate the gaps? What features would you miss? How would this handicap our understanding of U.S. geology, environment, and resources?

( ) Better knowledge will drive policy change

Hixon ‘1

(et al; Mark A. Hixon – Professor of Marine Ecology and Conservation Biology at Oregon State Univ – from Chapter seven of the book: Conservation Biology: Research Priorities For The Next Decade – chapter seven is titled: Oceans at Risk: Research Priorities in Marine Conservation Biology p. 134-36)

• Document temporal changes in biodiversity (ecosystems, species) over historical and geological time scales. Because long-term knowledge of marine communities is lacking for most systems, the status of marine ecosystems and especially our perceptions of their pre-impact baseline conditions are both shifting rapidly (Pauly 1995; Sheppard 1995; Jackson 1997; Dayton et al. 1998; Steneck and Carlton 2000). Increasing evidence suggests that human impacts on marine ecosystems occurred long before the latter half of the twentieth century (reviews by Pauly 1995; Steneck and Carlton 2000). Examples have been documented in Alaska (Simcnstad et al. 1978), the Caribbean (Jackson 1997), California (Dayton et al. 1998), the Gulf of Maine (Steneck and Carlton 2000), and elsewhere (Aronson 1990). Continued examination of historical accounts, as well as intensified monitoring, will provide better estimates of recent changes in marine communities and patterns of biodi-versity. Over longer time scales, the fossil record can provide insight on the relative stability of species assemblages (e.g., Sepkoski 1992; Jackson 1995). Further exploration of existing community-level paleonto-logical data will provide estimates of background rates of extinction in the sea. Such baselines will provide a basis of comparison for modern trends that may help to convince governments of the urgency of marine conservation issues. Explore the ecological mechanisms driving population dynamics, structuring communities, and affecting biodiversity in several key ecosystems. Despite advances in our knowledge of rocky intertidal communities and other reasonably well-studied systems, we know little of basic population and community ecology as they relate to marine conservation biology. Certainly, such information will come only with time and substantial effort, but this knowledge is crucial for understanding what naturally regulates marine populations and maintains species diversity. We advocate intensive ecological study of several ecologically impor-tant and representative systems, including: (1) small open-ocean fishes and krill, which constitute the major trophic links between plankton and high-seas fishery species; (2) coastal bottom-oriented fishes (and the seafioor communities of which they are a part), which are often severely overexploited and their habitats physically altered by trawling (sec below); and (3) coral reefs, the most species-rich and among the most threatened of all marine ecosystems (see above). At the population level, increasing use of genetic methods (Avise 1998), otolith (fish ear-stone) microchemistry (Swearer et al. 1999), larval tagging (Jones et al. 1999), and physical oceanography (Cowen et al. 2000) will answer questions regarding population connectivity, mctapopulation structure, and stock boundaries. These issues are particularly important for designing and implementing marine protected areas (sec below). The mechanisms driving and regulating population fluctuations in the sea are also largely unknown, although hypotheses abound (Rothschild 1986; Sale 1991; Gushing 1995; Caley et al. 1996). Increasing use of controlled field experiments, especially at larger spatial scales, will be especially informative, but not always possible (Hixon and Webster 2001). Central topics in community ecology relevant to conservation include the roles of habitat complexity, disturbance and succession, webs of direct and indirect interactions, and di versity-stabil -ity and diversity-function relationships (conceptual reviews by Huston 1994; Pickett etal. 1998). Ultimately, such knowledge will allow us to answer crucial questions regarding extinction and conservation in the sea. Is our knowledge of terrestrial species relevant for conserving marine species (reviews by WCMC 1992; Carlton ct al. 1999; Roberts and Hawkins 1999)? Does larval dispersal render marine species less prone to extinction than terrestrial species (Grassle et al. 1991)? What arc minimal viable population sizes (review by Soule 1987)—from both a demographic and a genetic perspective—in marine species with relatively open vs. closed populations? How (if at all) does the Alice effect (a decreasing population growth rate at low population sizes, reviewed by Courchamp et al. 1999) operate in the sea? Are increases in population sizes of protected marine species hastening the decline of other threatened species, such as sea otters contributing to the demise of white abalone in California (Tegner et al. 1996) or orcas causing the decline in sea otters off Alaska (Estesetal. 1998)?

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