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Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: SiS-2007- | Award Amount: 814.10K | Year: 2008

Ecological economics (EE) and, in general, sustainability sciences make important contributions to the analyses of sustainability policies in Europe and worldwide. EE develops physical indicators and indices, provides economic valuation of environmental services and negative externalities, applies tools of multi-criteria evaluation to resource use, and promotes environmental policy instruments such as eco-taxes and marketable permits. To provide policy makers with high quality, relevant research, increased collaboration between ecological economists and CSOs is needed. Many CSOs already have a large stock of environmental knowledge but need increased capacity in EE to give an analytical foundation to activism and policy making. The social and disciplinary divide between CSO and academic research poses significant challenges. At the same time, there are real-world demands from CSOs for knowledge of EE for instance, to assess the liability of companies in oil extraction conflicts, to evaluate plans for palm oil plantations for biofuel exports, or to establish alternative energy plans at the regional level. This project addresses CSO capacity weakness in EE through a number of coordinated activities. The focus is not on theory but on case study learning. Joint working groups will identify and report on key issues for research in water management, mining, energy, forestry and agriculture, based on CSO needs and interests. Previous cooperative research activities will be reviewed and assessed in terms of their effectiveness in meeting CSO needs, and documented and disseminated. In addition, options for future research cooperation will be explored in order to apply EE methods, tools and indicators to CSO work. Findings will be presented and enhanced at symposia embedded in the 2008 EE world conference in Nairobi (with UNEP) and the 2009 conference of the European Society for EE. A website will disseminate the projects work and continue the capacity building process.

Rossberg A.G.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | Rossberg A.G.,Queen's University of Belfast
Advances in Ecological Research | Year: 2012

The prediction and management of ecosystem responses to global environmental change would profit from a clearer understanding of the mechanisms determining the structure and dynamics of ecological communities. The analytic theory presented here develops a causally closed picture for the mechanisms controlling community and population size structure, in particular community size spectra, and their dynamic responses to perturbations, with emphasis on marine ecosystems. Important implications are summarised in non-technical form. These include the identification of three different responses of community size spectra to size-specific pressures (of which one is the classical trophic cascade), an explanation for the observed slow recovery of fish communities from exploitation, and clarification of the mechanism controlling predation mortality rates. The theory builds on a community model that describes trophic interactions among size-structured populations and explicitly represents the full life cycles of species. An approximate time-dependent analytic solution of the model is obtained by coarse graining over maturation body sizes to obtain a simple description of the model steady state, linearising near the steady state, and then eliminating intraspecific size structure by means of the quasi-neutral approximation. The result is a convolution equation for trophic interactions among species of different maturation body sizes, which is solved analytically using a novel technique based on a multiscale expansion. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Mackinson S.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences | Year: 2014

When an ecosystem model of the North Sea is calibrated to data from multiple trophic levels, the model estimated the primary production required to support the food web correlates temporally with observed changes in sea temperature and nutrient levels, supporting evidence from empirical analyses. However, a different result is given from an alternative calibration using fish stock data only. The inference taken from the emergent primary production - temperature relationship and empirical data are that, on balance, there is stronger overall evidence to support the calibration constrained at multiple trophic levels. Two important implications of the findings are (i) that the relative importance of fishing and environmental effects is likely to be interpreted differently depending on the calibration approach and (ii) the contrasting model calibrations would give different responses to fishing policies. It raises questions regarding how to judge the performance (and credibility) of an ecosystem model and the critical importance of conducting empirical and modelling analyses in parallel. Adopting a combined approach to ecosystem modelling is an important step in the pursuit of operational and defensible tools to support the ecosystem approach to management.

Le Quesne W.J.F.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | Pinnegar J.K.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
Fish and Fisheries | Year: 2012

Views expressed on the potential impact of ocean acidification range from wholesale degradation of marine ecosystems through to no discernable impact with minimal consequences. Constraining this range of predictions is necessary for the development of informed policy and management. The direct biological impacts of acidification occur at the molecular and cellular level; however, it is the expression of these effects at the population and ecosystem level that is of societal concern. Here, we consider the potential impact of ocean acidification on fisheries with particular emphasis on approaches to scaling from physiological responses to population- and ecosystem-level processes. In some instances, impacts of ocean acidification may lead to changes in the relative species composition at a given trophic level without affecting the overall productivity, whilst in other instances, ocean acidification may lead to a reduction in productivity at a given tropic level. Because of the scale at which ecological processes operate, modelling studies are required. Here, ocean acidification is situated within ongoing research into the ecological dynamics of perturbed systems, for which many models have already been developed. Whilst few existing models currently explicitly represent physiological processes sensitive to ocean acidification, some examples of how ocean acidification effects may be emulated within existing models are discussed. Answering the question of how acidification may impact fisheries requires the integration of knowledge across disciplines; this contribution aims to facilitate the inclusion of higher trophic level ecology into this ongoing debate and discussion. © 2011 Crown in the right of Canada.

Although the impacts of dredged material disposal in the marine environment have been well studied, there is currently a limited understanding of the associated impacts on benthic function. This study compares macrofaunal structural and functional (based on secondary production estimates) responses to dredged material disposal at 14 sites across the coast of England and Wales.Disposal resulted in significant reductions of total secondary production at seven sites; no sites exhibited significant increases in production estimates. These seven sites were generally those which displayed significant structural impacts. There was no clear relationship between multivariate structural changes and taxonomic contribution to total production, indicating that a lack of change in the former (regarded as a sensitive indicator of change) does not always signify a lack of a significant functional impact. The need to evaluate functional changes, in addition to structural impacts, with respect to dredged material disposal site monitoring is discussed. © 2012.

Law R.J.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2014

In this article I review recent trends reported in the literature from 2008 to date for organic contaminant concentrations in marine mammal tissues worldwide, in order to get an idea of where we stand currently in relation to the control of hazardous substances. For many contaminants which have been subject to regulation regarding their production and use (e.g. organochlorine pesticides, PBDE and HBCD flame retardants, butyltins) trends are downwards. For perfluorinated compounds, trends are more mixed. For dioxins, furans and dioxin-like CBs, there are no recent data, for either concentrations or trends. For CBs overall, earlier downward trends in concentration in UK harbour porpoises following regulation beginning in the 1980s have stalled, and remain at toxicologically significant levels. This raises concerns for killer whales and bottlenose dolphins who, because of their larger size and greater bioaccumulation potential, have higher levels still, often far above accepted toxicological threshold values. © 2014 .

Roberts D.A.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
Environment International | Year: 2012

Sediments act as a net sink for anthropogenic contaminants in marine ecosystems and contaminated sediments may have a range of toxicological effects on benthic fauna and associated species. When resuspended, however, particulate-bound contaminants may be remobilised into the water column and become bioavailable to an additional assemblage of species. Such resuspension occurs through a range of natural and anthropogenic processes each of which may be thought of as pulsed disturbances resulting in pulsed exposures to contaminants. Thus, it is important to understand not only the toxicological responses of organisms to resuspended contaminated sediments (RCS), but also the frequency, magnitude and duration of sediment disturbance events. Such information is rarely collected together with toxicological data. Rather, the majority of published studies (> 50% of the articles captured in this review) have taken the form of fixed-duration laboratory-based exposures with individual species. While this research has clearly demonstrated that resuspension of contaminated sediments can liberate sediment-bound contaminants leading to toxicity and bioaccumulation under controlled conditions, the potential for ecological effects in the field is often unclear. Monitoring studies suggest that recurrent natural disturbances such as tides and waves may cause the majority of contaminant release in many environments. However, various processes also act to limit the spatial and temporal scales across which contaminants are remobilised to the most toxic dissolved state. Various natural and anthropogenic disturbances of contaminated sediments have been linked to both community-level and sub-lethal responses in exposed populations of invertebrates and fish in the field. Together these findings suggest that resuspension of contaminated sediments is a frequently recurring ecological threat in contaminated marine habitats. Further consideration of how marine communities respond to temporally variable exposures to RCS is required, as well as research into the relative importance of various disturbances under field conditions. © 2011.

Copp G.H.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | Copp G.H.,Bournemouth University
Fish and Fisheries | Year: 2010

Originally developed to assess the relative abundance of ≥1+ fishes in large rivers, point abundance sampling by electrofishing (PASE) was adapted for 0+ fishes in the mid-1980s. Being both economical and widely applicable, PASE for 0+ fish has become a commonly used sampling approach in Europe, but its use for estimating 0+ fish density and species richness has attracted particular concern because of size and species selectivity. As such, this review is both timely and necessary. It summarizes the development of PASE and evaluates its various applications: studies of 0+ fish community composition, relative abundance and density, species richness (S), population size structure, larval and juvenile growth dynamics, microhabitat use, diel dynamics of species-species and species-microhabitat interactions, and the analysis of data emanating from PASE databases. The use and potential misuse of replicate sampling in estimates of S are examined, with PASE data from various European rivers re-analysed to assess geographical patterns in 0+ fish S. Comparisons of PASE and other approaches for estimating 0+ fish density and species richness have all demonstrated PASE to be cost-effective and relatively reliable, but sampling accuracy and precision do decrease as fishes enter the juvenile period of development. © 2010 Crown copyright.

Engelhard G.H.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | Righton D.A.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | Pinnegar J.K.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
Global Change Biology | Year: 2014

Globally, spatial distributions of fish stocks are shifting but although the role of climate change in range shifts is increasingly appreciated, little remains known of the likely additional impact that high levels of fishing pressure might have on distribution. For North Sea cod, we show for the first time and in great spatial detail how the stock has shifted its distribution over the past 100 years. We digitized extensive historical fisheries data from paper charts in UK government archives and combined these with contemporary data to a time-series spanning 1913-2012 (excluding both World Wars). New analysis of old data revealed that the current distribution pattern of cod - mostly in the deeper, northern- and north-easternmost parts of the North Sea - is almost opposite to that during most of the Twentieth Century - mainly concentrated in the west, off England and Scotland. Statistical analysis revealed that the deepening, northward shift is likely attributable to warming; however, the eastward shift is best explained by fishing pressure, suggestive of significant depletion of the stock from its previous stronghold, off the coasts of England and Scotland. These spatial patterns were confirmed for the most recent 31/2 decades by data from fisheries-independent surveys, which go back to the 1970s. Our results demonstrate the fundamental importance of both climate change and fishing pressure for our understanding of changing distributions of commercially exploited fish. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Kirby M.F.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | Law R.J.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2010

A fully integrated and effective response to an oil or chemical spill at sea must include a well planned and executed post-incident assessment of environmental contamination and damage. While salvage, rescue and clean-up operations are generally well considered, including reviews and exercises, the expertise, resources, networks and logistical planning required to achieve prompt and effective post-spill impact assessment and monitoring are not generally well established.The arrangement and co-ordination of post-incident monitoring and impact assessment need to consider sampling design, biological effects, chemical analysis and collection/interpretation of expert local knowledge. This paper discusses the risks, impacts and mitigation options associated with accidental spills and considers the importance of pre-considered impact assessment and monitoring programmes in the wider response cycle. The PREMIAM (Pollution Response in Emergencies: Marine Impact Assessment and Monitoring; www.premiam.org) project is considered as an example of an improved approach to the planning, co-ordination and conduct of post-incident monitoring. © 2010.

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