Marine Research Findings of the VECTORS Project

This website provides access to the research results of the VECTORS project, which can be used to support marine management decisions, policies and governance as well as future research and investment. VECTORS was a large scale project that brought together more than 200 expert researchers from 16 different countries. It examined the significant changes taking place in European seas, their causes, and the impacts they will have on society.


All of the publications created as part of the VECTORS project are listed below (latest first).
Please use the search box below to find a publication by title, author(s), year or keyword; the most relevant results will be displayed at the top of the page.

  • Galil, B.S., A. Marchini, A. Occhipinti-Ambrogi, D. Minchin, A. Narçius, H. Ojaveer and S. Olenin. (2014). International arrivals: widespread bioinvasions in European Seas. Ethology, Ecology and Evolution 26(2-3), 152-171.
    View abstract The European Union lacks a comprehensive framework to address the threats posed by the introduction and spread of marine non-indigenous species (NIS). Current efforts are fragmented and suffer substantial gaps in coverage. In this paper we identify and discuss issues relating to the assessment of spatial and temporal patterns of introductions in European Seas (ES), based on a scientifically validated information system of aquatic non-indigenous and cryptogenic species, AQUANIS. While recognizing the limitations of the existing data, we extract information that can be used to assess the relative risk of introductions for different taxonomic groups, geographic regions and likely vectors. The dataset comprises 879 multicellular NIS. We applied a country-based approach to assess patterns of NIS richness in ES, and identify the principal introduction routes and vectors, the most widespread NIS and their spatial and temporal spread patterns. Between 1970 and 2013, the number of recorded NIS has grown by 86, 173 and 204% in the Baltic, Western European margin and the Mediterranean, respectively; 52 of the 879 NIS were recorded in 10 or more countries, and 25 NIS first recorded in European seas since 1990 have since been reported in five or more countries. Our results highlight the ever-rising role of shipping (commercial and recreational) as a vector for the widespread and recently spread NIS. The Suez Canal, a corridor unique to the Mediterranean, is responsible for the increased introduction of new thermophilic NIS into this warming sea. The 2020 goal of the EU Biodiversity Strategy concerning marine Invasive Alien Species may not be fully attainable. The setting of a new target date should be accompanied by scientifically robust, sensible and pragmatic plans to minimize introductions of marine NIS and to study those present.
  • Gambill, M. and M.A. Peck. (2014). Respiration rates of the polyps of four jellyfish species: Potential thermal triggers and limits. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 459, 17-22.
    View abstract The bloom dynamics of metagenic jellyfish are regulated, to a large degree, by the asexual reproduction of benthic polyps. The ecophysiology of polyps is poorly studied compared to pelagic (ephyrae and medusae) life stages.We measured unfed (routine) respiration rates (RR) of the polyps of four scyphozoan species (Cyanea capillata, Aurelia aurita, Aurelia labiata and Aurelia limbata) acclimated to six temperatures between 7 and 20°C and one species (A. aurita) under hypoxic conditions. Strong increases (Q10 ~ 7 to 13) in RR occurred after subtle warming across specific test temperatures (e.g., 12 to 15°C for C. capillata, A. labiata, and A. aurita). In some species, RR at 20°C was lower than at 15 or 18°C suggesting that sub-optimally warm temperatures were approached. Polyps of A. aurita were unable to maintain RR below 11, 22 and 24% O2 saturation at 8.0, 15.5 and 19.0°C, respectively. Despite obvious differences in activity and habitat, rates of respiration in polyps, ephyrae andmedusae of A. aurita at 15°C appear similar after taking into account differences in body size. A literature comparison of polyp respiration rates suggests a narrowing of thermal windows in individuals collected from higher latitudes. Common garden experiments are needed to thoroughly examine potential local adaptation.
  • Piraino, S., D. De Vito, E. Brodbeck, C.G. Di Camillo, G. Fanelli and F. Boero. (2013). Destructive standard squares or low-impact visually driven collection? A comparison of methods for quantitative samplings of benthic hydrozoans. Italian Journal of Zoology 80(3), 424-436. doi:10.1080/11250003.2013.787461
    View abstract The patchy distribution pattern of benthic hydrozoans reflects high sensitivity of colonies to local and micro-scale environmental factors, which may affect the outcome of biodiversity inventories based on different sampling methodologies. We compared three quantitative sampling methods for benthic hydrozoans, differing for strategy (scraping standardized surfaces or picking visually located colonies) and tactics (extension of examined surface). Each of the three methods consisted of eight replicate samplings to compare relative and absolute method efficiencies, also in terms of minimum sampling area representative of the hydroid diversity in the study site. A single horizontal belt transect on a vertical rocky cliff was chosen at 15 m depth near Otranto (South Adriatic). A total of 37 species were identified by the three methods and their relative abundances were evaluated. The hydroid assemblage was dominated by generalist species with high polyp numbers able to colonize different substrata. We compared the outcomes of each of the three sampling methods, and by a cost-benefit analysis we identified the optimal sampling methods to be adopted according to the different targets of the investigations. On data standardized to the same total sampled areas, the three sampling methods did not originate significant differences in the number of polyps of each recorded species (PDA, Polyp Detection Ability), whereas the visually-oriented collection (VIS) and the scrapings over 20 x 20 cm standard surfaces (S20) were more effective in the detected number of species (SDA, Species Detection Ability) than over 10 x 10 cm squares (S10). For ecological purposes, samplings based on five S20 replicates can be considered an appropriate experimental design to get a statistically robust representation of the studied hydroid assemblage at Punta Palascia. However, variation in depth, exposure and geographical locations may require different sampling approaches, and pre-surveys should be always carried out before addressing taxonomical surveys of sessile organisms.
  • Somerfield, P.J. and R.K. Clarke. (2013). Inverse analysis in non-parametric multivariate analyses: distinguishing groups of associated species which covary coherently across samples. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 449, 261-273.
    View abstract For decades multivariate analysis has been recognised as being appropriate for the analysis and description of complex ecological datasets, such as are routinely generated in studies of biota along gradients in time or space. The main focus of analyses tends to be the description and analysis of patterns among samples and groups of samples. Early applications of multivariate analyses to ecological data also recognised the importance of, and gave equal weight to, understanding how variables (species or taxa, in biotic datasets) varied among samples and groups of samples, but such analyses have inherent difficulties. Among these are the facts that species do not vary independently of each other, that responses of species to gradients may not be monotonic, that there are generally many more species than samples, that abundances vary widely within and among species, and that some species are rare. Although some methods are routinely applied to explore species responses across and among samples to environmental gradients, few explicitly recognise that species do not vary independently. Within a very widely-used framework for the nonparametric multivariate analysis of ecological data we demonstrate how Similarity Profiles (SIMPROF) analysis and other approaches may be combined to analyse associations among species and to visualise those relationships. Type 2 SIMPROF determines whether observed associations could have arisen by chance. Type 3 SIMPROF detects statistically distinct subsets of species which respond to gradients in a coherent manner. How different groups respond is visualised using component line plots (coherent curves). We illustrate the method using a range of datasets. We show how the method discriminates groups of species which respond differently to a single gradient, or respond coherently to different environmental or anthropogenic pressure gradients. We demonstrate how these approaches extend naturally to analyses of other types of multivariate data where the identification of coherent groups of variables is of interest.
  • Nunes, P.A.L.D. and A. Ghermandi. (2013). The economics of marine ecosystems: reconciling use and conservation of coastal and marine systems and the underlying natural capital. Environmental and Resource Economics. doi:10.1007/s10640-013-9732-1
    View abstract The recognition of the degree to which human activities can affect and depend on the health and preservation of marine and coastal ecosystems, and their goods and services, is today an indisputable fact (Halpern et al. 2012). However, as recently as a few decades ago, the marine environment could still be regarded as an acceptable final sink for land-based activities because of its high resilience and adaptive capacity and consequently be treated as a "universal sewer", in the words of Jacques-Yves Cousteau when addressing the US House Committee on Science and Astronautics on 28 January 1971. As of today, such out-of-sight and out-of-mind approach is patently no longer tenable. Human endeavors such as commercial fishing, offshore drilling, shipping, wind farms, recreational uses, and aquaculture have brought unprecedented change to marine and coastal ecosystems worldwide, either directly or indirectly - as in the case of anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases and land runoff. Rising water temperature, ocean acidification, sea level rise, fisheries collapse, threats and severe degradation of entire marine habitats (such as coral reefs), and the increase in frequency and cumulative impacts of oil spills, harmful algal blooms and invasive species all bear the fingerprint of human activities (Frieler et al. 2012; Halpern et al. 2008; IPCC 2007; Pauly et al. 2002). The central role of the protection and adequate management of the marine environment resources in promoting sustainable development has been recently strongly reaffirmed in The Future We Want, the final resolution adopted by the General Assembly at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 (UN 2012). Out of the 283 paragraphs of the document, twenty are dedicated to the 'Oceans and Seas', stressing "the importance of the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and seas and of their resources for sustainable development, including through their contributions to poverty eradication, sustained economic growth, food security and creation of sustainable livelihoods and decent work, while at the same time protecting biodiversity and the marine environment and addressing the impacts of climate change"  (page 30, paragraph 158). This same document identifies the world's oceans and seas as one key priority area and confers an unprecedented preeminence to the protection of marine biodiversity, reaffirming "the decision X/2 of the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, held in Nagoya, Japan, from 18 to 29 October 2010, that, by 2020, 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services are to be conserved" (page 34, paragraph 177) by exploring the use of alternatives policy instruments, including marine protected areas (MPAs), and based upon the best available scientific information.
  • Olenin, S., A. Narçius, D. Minchin, M. David, B.S. Galil, S. Gollasch, A. Marchini, A. Occhipinti-Ambrogi, H. Ojaveer and A. Zaiko. (2013). Making non-indigenous species information systems practical for management and useful for research: An aquatic perspective. Biological Conservation 173, 98-107. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2013.07.040
    View abstract Biological invasions attract increasing attention from scientists, policy makers and various management authorities. Consequently, the knowledge-base on non-indigenous species (NIS) continuously expands and so the number and availability of web resources on NIS rises. Currently there are more than 250 websites on NIS, ranging from global to regional and national. Many of these databases began as inventories of NIS, but evolved to include information on NIS origin, introduction history, pathways, vectors, and more. The databases have been used increasingly for scientific analyzes, though key information needs for bioinvasion management and research are only partially met. In this account we describe an advanced information system dealing with aquatic NIS introduced to marine, brackish and coastal freshwater environments of Europe and adjacent regions (AquaNIS). AquaNIS differs substantially from existing NIS information sources in its organizational principles, structure, functionality, and output potential for end-users, e.g., managing aquaculture or ship's ballast water. The system is designed to assemble, store and disseminate comprehensive data on NIS, and assist the evaluation of the progress made towards achieving management goals. With the coming into force of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive and similar legislation addressing the problem of biological invasions, the availability of advanced, scientifically validated and up-to-date information support on NIS is essential for aquatic ecosystem assessment and management. Key issues related to electronic information systems, such as data management principles and long-term database maintenance, are discussed.
  • Onofri, L. and P.A.L.D. Nunes. (2013). Beach "lovers" and "greens": A worldwide empirical analysis of coastal tourism. Ecological Economics 88, 49-56. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.01.003
    View abstract This paper examines worldwide tourist coastal destination choice using a comprehensive global dataset at the country level, for both domestic and international tourists. This data includes a systematic profile of the countries' coastline with respect to economic and natural environments, such as marine biodiversity related indicators. Tourist demand is modelled using a system of simultaneous structural equations estimated by a 3SLS routine. We identify two tourist demand segments, denoting different preferences for the worldwide coastal destinations. International tourists choose their coastal destination because they have a strong preference for the cultural and natural environments. This, in turn, depends on the destination of country's coastal habitat abundance and marine biodiversity. We label this segment of coastal tourism, as "greens". Alternatively, domestic tourists have a preference for beach characteristics, in particular beach length. This in turn depends on anthropogenic pressure, the built environment and climatic variables. For this reason we interpret this tourism segment as "beach lovers". This information is, in turn, of high significance for stimulating coastal tourism demand as well as for identifying market based policy instruments with the objective to finance the conservation of environmental and cultural capital hosted at the coastal communities.
  • Minchin, D., E.J. Cook and P.F. Clark. (2013). A list of alien brackish and marine British species. Aquatic Invasions 8(1), 3-19. doi:10.3391/ai.2013.8.1.02
    View abstract Ninety alien species have been identified from British marine and brackish environments; of which 58 are established. Their arrival has been principally due to shipping and imported consignments of cultured species. The majority of alien species were initially reported from the English Channel, with many subsequently spreading northwards to the North or Celtic Seas. The majority of aliens in Britain originate from the North Pacific (N=35), followed by the North-west Atlantic (N=22). Additional alien species may be expected as a result of continued trade, port, and marina developments. Alterations in climate and extreme weather events are likely to result in future changes to the distribution of marine and brackish water alien species around the British coast.
  • Megina, C., M.M. González-Duarte, P.J. López-González and S. Piraino. (2013). Harbours as marine habitats: hydroid assemblages on sea-walls compared with natural habitats. Marine Biology 160, 371-381.
    View abstract Sessile hydrozoans constitute a common component of marine rocky communities. We compared the hydrozoan assemblages occurring on sea-walls of commercial harbours with those on natural rocky cliffs along the southern Iberian Peninsula, to identify differences in the multivariate structure of the assemblages and species richness. Harbour hydroid assemblages significantly differed from natural ones mainly due to their qualitative composition. Medusa-less taxa, optimized for low dispersal and long-term persistence on the substratum, are barely represented in harbours, but abundant at natural sites. "Port species" assemblages were composed of (1) small, shortliving species with typical opportunistic characteristics; (2) cosmopolitan large-size taxa, significantly represented both in harbours and in natural habitats; (3) non-indigenous species. Contrarily to the expected lower richness of communities in confined areas, our results demonstrate that richness of hydroid assemblages
  • Tamburello, L., L. Benedetti-Cecchi, L. Masini and F. Bulleri. (2013). Habitat heterogeneity promotes the coexistence of exotic seaweeds. Oecologia 172(2), 505-513. doi:10.1007/s00442-012-2510-x
    View abstract Despite the progressive accumulation of exotic species in natural communities, little effort has been devoted to elucidating the mechanisms underpinning the coexistence of invaders in environmentally and biologically heterogeneous systems. The exotic seaweeds, Asparagopsis taxiformis and Caulerpa racemosa, exhibit a segregated distribution on Mediterranean rocky reefs. A. taxiformis dominates assemblages in topographically complex habitats, but is virtually absent on homogenous platforms. In contrast, C. racemosa achieves extensive cover in both types of habitat. We assessed whether differences in their distribution were generated by biotic interactions (between invaders and/or between invaders and natives) or by environmental constraints. Three models were proposed to explain seaweed distribution patterns: (1) invaders inhibit one another; (2) native assemblages, differing between complex and simple habitats, prevent the establishment/spread of one invader, but not that of the other; and (3) environmental conditions regulate the establishment/persistence of the seaweeds in different habitats. We removed the dominant invader and resident assemblages in each type of habitat. Moreover, A. taxiformis thalli were transplanted into the habitat dominated by C. racemosa to establish whether its failure to colonize the simple habitat was due to the lack of propagules or post-recruitment mortality. C. racemosa spread in the complex habitat was not influenced by the removal of resident assemblages, but it was slightly enhanced by A. taxiformis removal. Neither C. racemosa removal nor that of resident assemblages promoted A. taxiformis colonization and survival in simple habitats. Our results suggest that heterogeneity in environmental conditions can promote invader coexistence by mitigating the effects of negative biotic interactions. Therefore, the accumulation of introduced species in native communities does not necessarily imply established invaders fostering further invasion.
  • Rochette, S., O. Le Pape, J. Vigneau and E. Rivot. (2013). A hierarchical Bayesian model for embedding larval drift and habitat models in integrated life cycles for exploited fish. Ecological Applications 23(7), 1659-1676. doi:10.1890/12-0336.1
    View abstract This paper proposes a hierarchical Bayesian framework for modeling the life cycle of marine exploited fish with a spatial perspective. The application was developed for a nursery-dependent fish species, the common sole (Solea solea), on the Eastern Channel population (Western Europe). The approach combined processes of different natures and various sources of observations within an integrated framework for life-cycle modeling: (1) outputs of an individual-based model for larval drift and survival that provided yearly estimates of the dispersion and mortality of eggs and larvae, from spawning grounds to settlement in several coastal nurseries; (2) a habitat suitability model, based on juvenile trawl surveys coupled with a geographic information system, to estimate juvenile densities and surface areas of suitable juvenile habitat in each nursery sector; (3) a statistical catch-at-age model for the estimation of the numbers-at-age and the fishing mortality on subadults and adults. The approach provided estimates of hidden variables and parameters of key biological significance. A simulation approach provided insight to the robustness of the approach when only weak data are available. Estimates of spawning biomass, fishing mortality, and recruitment were close to the estimations derived from stock-assessment working groups. In addition, the model quantified mortality along the life cycle, and estimated site-specific density-dependent mortalities between settled larvae and age-0 juveniles in each nursery ground. This provided a better understanding of the productivity and the specific contribution of each nursery ground toward recruitment and population renewal. Perspectives include further development of the modeling framework on the common sole and applications to other fish species to disentangle the effects of multiple interacting stress factors (e.g., estuarine and coastal nursery habitat degradation, fishing pressure) on population renewal and to develop risk analysis in the context of marine spatial planning for sustainable management of fish resources.
  • Rothman, B.S., A. Shlagman and B.S. Galil. (2013). Saron marmoratus (Olivier, 1811), an Indo-Pacific marble shrimp (Hippolytidae, Decapoda, Crustacea) in the Mediterranean Sea. Marine Biodiversity Records 6, e129. doi:10.1017/S1755267213000997
    View abstract Saron marmoratus, a colourful Indo-Pacific 'marble shrimp', is newly recorded in the Mediterranean Sea from specimens recently photographed along the Israeli coastline. The colour pattern of the species is described and illustrated. It is the second Indo-Pacific hippolytid species recorded in the Mediterranean.
  • Sell, A.F. and I. Kröncke. (2013). Correlations between benthic habitats and demersal fish assemblages - A case study on the Dogger Bank (North Sea). Journal of Sea Research 80, 12-24. doi:10.1016/j.seares.2013.01.007
    View abstract The interdependence between groundfish assemblages and habitat properties was investigated on the Dogger Bank in the North Sea. Abiotic habitat parameters considered included topography, hydrographic conditions, sediment composition, and the biotic habitat variable the prevailing benthic invertebrates. Distinct epi- and infauna communities occurred at different locations on the Dogger Bank. Fish assemblages were clearly linked to both the biotic and abiotic habitat characteristics. Overall, fish and benthic communities revealed similar spatial distribution, represented in the respective clusters of characteristic and abundant species. Distribution patterns corresponded with the prevailing abiotic conditions such as depth and sediment composition, which appear to relate to autecological preferences of individual species. The apparently most generalist species, grey gurnard (Eutrigla gumardus) and dab (Limanda limanda) occurred at all stations and dominated in terms of biomass in most cases. The absolute numbers of grey gurnards were related to the abundance of suitable prey, invertebrate and fish species, which stomach analyses revealed as part of the diet in an independent study during the same research cruise. Haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) and whiting (Merlangius merlangus) were only abundant at deep stations along the flanks of the bank. The occurrence of lemon sole (Microstomus kitt), American plaice (Hippoglossoides platessoides) and cod (Gadus morhua) was also positively correlated with depth, whereas especially lesser weever (Echiichthys vipera), sandeel species and solenette (Buglossidium luteum) occurred predominantly at the shallower sites. At the same time, individual fish species such as solenette and lesser weever were associated with high densities of selected epi- or infauna species.
  • Trimoreau, E., B. Archambault, A. Brind'Amour, M. Lepage, J. Guitton and O. Le Pape. (2013). A quantitative estimate of the function of soft-bottom sheltered coastal areas as essential flatfish nursery habitat. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 133, 193-205. doi:
    View abstract Essential fish habitat suitability (EFHS) models and geographic information system (GIS) were combined to describe nursery habitats for three flatfish species (Solea solea, Pleuronectes platessa, Dicologlossa cuneata) in the Bay of Biscay (Western Europe), using physical parameters known or suspected to influence juvenile flatfish spatial distribution and density (i.e. bathymetry, sediment, estuarine influence and wave exposure). The effects of habitat features on juvenile distribution were first calculated from EFHS models, used to identify the habitats in which juvenile are concentrated. The EFHS model for S. solea confirmed previous findings regarding its preference for shallow soft bottom areas and provided new insights relating to the significant effect of wave exposure on nursery habitat suitability. The two other models extended these conclusions with some discrepancies among species related to their respective niches. Using a GIS, quantitative density maps were produced from EFHS models predictions. The respective areas of the different habitats were determined and their relative contributions (density x area) to the total amount of juveniles were calculated at the scale of stock management, in the Bay of Biscay. Shallow and muddy areas contributed to 70% of total juvenile relative abundance whereas only representing 16% of the coastal area, suggesting that they should be considered as essential habitats for these three flatfish species. For S. solea and P. platessa, wave exposure explained the propensity for sheltered areas, where concentration of juveniles was higher. Distribution maps of P. platessa and D. cuneata juveniles also revealed opposite spatial and temporal trends which were explained by the respective biogeographical distributions of these two species, close to their southern and northern limit respectively, and by their responses to hydroclimatic trends.
  • Weslawski, J.M., L. Kryla-Straszewska, J. Warzocha, J. Urbanski, M. Wlodarska-Kowalczuk and L. Kotwicki. (2013). How lonely they are? A degree of isolation among macrozoobenthos species in the Marine Protected Area, the Bay of Puck, the Southern Baltic. Oceanological and Hydrobiological Studies 42(3), 289-295. doi:10.2478/s13545-013-0085-8
    View abstract Extensive sampling (450 grabs) was performed all over the inner part of Puck Bay (105 km2 area) in summers of 2007-2009. The GIS-based analysis of samples was performed to assess in detail the distribution of 32 benthic species. The minimum area of occurrence was less than 1 km2 for Lekanosphaera rugicauda and the maximum was 83 km2 for Cerastoderma glaucum. The material reveals that species with the pelagic larval stage were most widespread, with the least distance between individuals and the highest average density (e.g. Cerastoderma glaucum, Hydrobia ventrosa). The most isolated and the least dense species within the studied area were discretely mobile, non-larval crustaceans (e.g. Gammarus oceanicus and Lekanosphaera rugicauda), present at single sites with the largest distance from each other. We conclude that analysis of species distribution helps in understanding the threats to populations of marine invertebrates and marine spatial planning, through locating the isolated species and populations.
  • Yahia, M.N.D., O.K. Yahia, S.K.M. Gueroun, M. Aissi, A. Deidun, V. Fuentes and S. Piraino. (2013). The invasive tropical scyphozoan Rhopilema nomadica Galil, 1990 reaches the Tunisian coast of the Mediterranean Sea. BioInvasions Records 2(4), 319-323. doi:10.3391/bir.2013.2.4.10
    View abstract The alien Erythraean jellyfish Rhopilema nomadica was first recorded in Tunisia waters (Gulf of Gabes) in 2008. Subsequently it was sighted in the Bizerte Channel and Gulf of Tunis where it has been regularly observed since 2010 during summer and autumn months.
  • Minchin, D. and A. Zaiko. (2013). Variability of the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) impacts in the Shannon River system. In: Nalepa, T.F. and D.W. Schloesser. Quagga and zebra mussels: biology, impacts and control. CRC Press, p.587-598.
    View abstract The biopollution assessment method was used to compare relative impacts of the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) across different regions (assessment units) in the Shannon River system, Ireland. The approach involved defininf the zebra mussel abundance and distribution range, as well as the impact of this species on communities, habitats, and ecosystems based on surveys and studies over the period 1997-2007. Zebra mussels were found associated with most habitat ranging from rocky shallows to soft sediments in depths to 37m. Abundance and biomass were greatest in lakes/reservoirs and lowest in rivers/canals, and impacts were greatest in assessment units having mainly lentic characteristics. Impacts involved total losses of unionids, declines in chlorophyll, and increases in rooted aquatic macrophytes. Variation in the magnitude of impact within each assessment unit depended upon specific features such as pH, available calcium, and most probably turbulence.
  • Gasche, L., S. Mahévas and P. Marchal. (2013). Supporting fisheries management by means of complex models: can we point out isles of robustness in a sea of uncertainty? Plos One 8(10), e77566. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077566
    View abstract Ecosystems are usually complex, nonlinear and strongly influenced by poorly known environmental variables. Among these systems, marine ecosystems have high uncertainties: marine populations in general are known to exhibit large levels of natural variability and the intensity of fishing efforts can change rapidly. These uncertainties are a source of risks that threaten the sustainability of both fish populations and fishing fleets targeting them. Appropriate management measures have to be found in order to reduce these risks and decrease sensitivity to uncertainties. Methods have been developed within decision theory that aim at allowing decision making under severe uncertainty. One of these methods is the information-gap decision theory. The info-gap method has started to permeate ecological modelling, with recent applications to conservation. However, these practical applications have so far been restricted to simple models with analytical solutions. Here we implement a deterministic approach based on decision theory in a complex model of the Eastern English Channel. Using the ISIS-Fish modelling platform, we model populations of sole and plaice in this area. We test a wide range of values for ecosystem, fleet and management parameters. From these simulations, we identify management rules controlling fish harvesting that allow reaching management goals recommended by ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) working groups while providing the highest robustness to uncertainties on ecosystem parameters.
  • Galil, B.S. (2013). Going going gone: the loss of a reef building gastropod (Mollusca: Caenogastropoda: Vermetidae) in the southeast Mediterranean Sea. Zoology in the Middle East 59(2), 179-182. doi:10.1080/09397140.2013.810885
    View abstract The gregarous vermetid gastropods modify their environment, both ecologically and physically (Chemello & Silenzi, 2011). Yet the existence of the vermetid protected platforms which mitigate and hinder wave-induced coastal erosion depends on a delicate balance between opposing forces: vermetid accretion deposition and cementation on one hand, bioerosion and marine erosion on the other. Mediterranean vermetid reefs depend for the existence on the actively-built rims constructed by gastropods of the genus Dendropoma Morch, 1861. As early as 1961 Safriel (1966) observed that along the central coast of Israel "although the raised margins of the platforms and terraces are completely coated by Dendropoma shells, the majority of these are empty, the animals having been probably killed by overgrowth of a dense algal population". Living individual s are confined to patches clear of seaweeds, mainly found around burrows inhabited by the crab Pachygrapsus which feeds on the surrounding algae. The majority of living patches are on the exposed rims of the platforms.� With fewer individuals than are need to counterbalance marine and bio-erosion, we may fact decimation of this particular endemic seascape.
  • Galil, B.S., P. Genovesi, H. Ojaveer, G. Quílez-Badia and A. Occhipinti. (2013). Mislabeled: eco-labeling an invasive alien shellfish fishery. Biological Invasions 15(6). doi:10.1007/s10530-013-0460-9
    View abstract The invasive alien Manila clam fishery from Ria Arousa, Spain, was recommended for a Marine Stewardship Council certificate which implies the fishery maintains the integrity of the ecosystem. By certifying an environmentally harmful invasive alien clam fishery, the MSC harms the environment and risks its credibility, at the time when environmental responsibility and social responsibility are increasingly important to policymakers, industry, and consumers, particularly in Europe. We call on the MSC to reassess their evaluation of the Ruditapes philippinarum fishery in Ria Arousa, Spain.
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