Welcome to PAP/RAC Mediterranean Coastal Alert! This newsletter is regularly updated monthly. It contains abstracts of selected current articles and archives on various environmental themes, in particular those dealing with all aspects of coastal issues. The selection is made from the articles published in the leading international scientific journals. This newsletter is an excellent way of keeping you updated with coastal studies and processes.
The effect of ocean warming and acidification was investigated on a natural plankton assemblage from an oligotrophic area, the bay of Villefranche (NW Mediterranean Sea). The assemblage was sampled in March 2012 and exposed to the following four treatments for 12 days: control (∼360 μatm, 14°C), elevated pCO2 (∼610 μatm, 14°C), elevated temperature (∼410 μatm, 17°C), and elevated pCO2 and temperature (∼690 μatm, 17°C). Nutrients were already depleted at the beginning of the experiment and the concentrations of chlorophyll a (chl a), heterotrophic prokaryotes and viruses decreased, under all treatments, throughout the experiment. There were no statistically significant effects of ocean warming and acidification, whether in isolation or combined, on the concentrations of nutrients, particulate organic matter, chl a and most of the photosynthetic pigments. Furthermore, 13C labelling showed that the carbon transfer rates from 13C-sodium bicarbonate into particulate organic carbon were not affected by seawater warming nor acidification. Rates of gross primary production followed the general decreasing trend of chl a concentrations and were significantly higher under elevated temperature, an effect exacerbated when combined to elevated pCO2level. In contrast to the other algal groups, the picophytoplankton population (cyanobacteria, mostly Synechococcus) increased throughout the experiment and was more abundant in the warmer treatment though to a lesser extent when combined to high pCO2 level. These results suggest that under nutrient-depleted conditions in the Mediterranean Sea, ocean acidification has a very limited impact on the plankton community and that small species will benefit from warming with a potential decrease of the export and energy transfer to higher trophic levels.
Source: L. Maugendre, J.-P. Gattuso, J. Louis, A. de Kluijver, S. Marro, K. Soetaert and F. Gazeau (2015); “Effect of ocean warming and acidification on a plankton community in the NW Mediterranean Sea”, ICES J. Mar. Sci. (July/August 2015), Volume 72, Issue 6 July/August 2015, Pages 1744-1755; Received: 21 May 2014; Revision Received: 13 August 2014; Accepted: 18 August 2014; First Published Online: 17 September 2014 under: DOI:10.1093/icesjms/fsu161
Coastal cities play a leading role in world development; however, they are highly vulnerable to natural disasters given their specific locations and rapid urbanization pace. Characterizing the social vulnerability of coastal cities to hazards should provide critical references for coastal management. This paper developed a composite social vulnerability index (SVI) for Chinese coastal cities by integrating 17 indices from three aspects (exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity) that shaped the vulnerability of urban society to hazards; and then verified SVI effectiveness by quantifying its correlation with the total economic loss of hazards. Social vulnerability patterns along the Chinese coast in 2000, 2005 and 2010 were then obtained. Results showed that cities around the Bohai Bay generally presented lower SVI values in the three years. Cities in the eastern and south-eastern coast generally had higher SVI values in space but became lower with time. Conversely, SVI values became higher for cities in Hainan and Guangxi Province. The clustering approach categorized the 53 cities into different groups according to their profiles of vulnerability. These categorized groups could facilitate more targeted coastal management options. This paper highlighted that adaption should be incorporated in analyzing the reaction of urban society to hazards. The SVI was believed to be an applicable and reliable tool to inform coastal management.
Keywords: Social vulnerability; Vulnerability assessment; Adaption; Coastal management; China.
Source: S. Su, J. Pi, C. Wan, H. Li, R. Xiao and B. Li (2015); “Categorizing social vulnerability patterns in Chinese coastal cities”, Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 116, November 2015, Pages 1–8; Received: 16 November 2014; Received in Revised Form: 20 June 2015; Accepted: 28 June 2015; Available Online under DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2015.06.026
Climate change, rising sea levels, and increases in storm intensity and frequency are developing issues for many coastal communities and will impact significant archaeological resources across the Pacific. The 9.0 magnitude Tohoku earthquake and resulting tsunami that occurred off of Honshu, Japan in 2011 were natural disasters that provided the National Park Service with the opportunity to observe the effects of higher than normal waters on coastal resources at Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park. The 2011 tsunami inundated areas of the park up to 1.06 meters and caused damage to multiple site types and features. Although tsunami are not events caused by climate change, this natural disaster and its effects allowed insights into the future of park archaeological resources when sea-level rise and island subsidence are considered. When park resources were examined in relation to future sea-level rise (SLR) scenarios, models demonstrate that the park faces significant losses to archaeological resources with as little as a 0.5-meter rise in sea level. When the results of these models are considered with the estimated rates of island subsidence, SLR in this area could reach one meter or more by the end of the century.
Source: A. Johnson, L. Marrack and S. Dolan (2015); “Threats to Coastal Archaeological Sites and the Effects of Future Climate Change: Impacts of the 2011 Tsunami and an Assessment of Future Sea-Level Rise at Hōnaunau, Hawai’i”, The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, Volume 10, Issue 2, Pages 232-252; Received: 16 April 2014; Accepted: 7 October 2014; Published Online: 11 February 2015; Available Online under: DOI:10.1080/15564894.2014.980472
The livelihood of coastal communities is directly linked to the health of intertidal and marine ecosystems. Coastal zones and marine areas are rapidly changing and highly vulnerable to impacts from climate change, accelerating human development, and over-fishing. Quality of life and the benefits of coastal development can be greatly enhanced, and costs minimized, by projecting and comparing alternative policy outcomes before management decisions are made. This article describes the Marine Integrated Decision Analysis System (MIDAS), an interactive decision support tool designed to assist the users and managers of Belize's system of marine management areas (MMAs) in understanding the interactions among various ecological, socioeconomic, and governance conditions in a spatially explicit manner. MIDAS can simulate and visualize the likely effects of alternative management strategies and therefore provides an important tool for evaluating potential scenarios. We developed two MIDAS modules to address specific threats in Belize – spatial risk resulting from mangrove deforestation in coastal areas and the potential effect of an oil spill off the coast of Belize. Workshops conducted in Belize indicate that diverse user groups such as fishers, tourism operators, and public environmental agencies can successfully utilize MIDAS to understand MMA outcomes, and environmental risks.
Source: S. Gopal, L. Kaufman, V. Pasquarella, M. Ribera, C. Holden, B. Shank and P. Joshua (2015); “Modeling Coastal and Marine Environmental Risks in Belize: the Marine Integrated Decision Analysis System (MIDAS)”, Journal of Coastal Management, Volume 43, Issue 3,
Pages 217-237; Published online: 29 May 2015; DOI:10.1080/08920753.2015.1030292