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Climate Change

Adaptive capacity: from assessment to action in coastal social-ecological systems

Coastal ecosystems are undergoing complex changes caused by both social and ecological drivers occurring at varying scales and speeds, which ultimately act as either risks or opportunities to coastal social-ecological systems. The assessment of adaptive capacity of coastal ecosystems is crucial in understanding the extent to which they will be able to accept and adapt to these social and biophysical drivers.

Side event at the UN Ocean Conference

The United Nations Ocean Conference to “Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14” was held in New York at the UNHQ between June 5 and 9, 2017. On Friday June 9, the Nereus Program hosted a side event, ‘The Role of the Oceans in Sustainability: Benefits of Achieving SDG 14 for all Sustainable Development Goals,’ at the conference. This side event introduced recent research that evaluates how achieving ocean SDG 14 targets contributes to- and in some cases is required for – the achievement of other SDG targets.

Global spatial distribution of marine species and diversity in the context of climate change

The world is intuitively divided by the existence of recognizable, bounded units of landscape with characteristic climatic regimes and land cover that drives the distribution of existing life on earth. On a global scale, terrestrial ecosystems are grouped into major biomes such as boreal forest, savannah, desert, tundra and grasslands, each with distinct climates, landscapes, species, and vegetation.

POLICY BRIEF: Adjacency: How legal precedent, ecological connectivity, and Traditional Knowledge inform our understanding of proximity

Pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), all States have customary and treaty obligations to protect and preserve the marine environment and its resources. Several countries have expressed an interest in the question of whether States could properly assert priority over the conservation of areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) adjacent to their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). The term “adjacency”, with respect to maritime coastal boundaries, refers to a State’s spatial proximity with the open ocean and deep sea in ABNJ.

Climate change could increase fishing fuel consumption

We know that fuel use contributes to climate change, but in a vicious circle, climate change could also increase fuel use in fishing. This is due to fish shifting their distributions due to warming waters. With this increased use of fuel and the increasing price, small-scale and artisanal fishers will have a harder time sustaining livelihoods and feeding their families under climate change.

Climate change-contaminant interactions in marine food webs

This paper proposes that climate change will alter the effects of pollutants in marine food webs by either directly increasing contaminant exposure (for instance due to receding ice caps), or making organisms more vulnerable to other climate change impacts. It discusses two main classes of contaminants that can affect the health of marine organisms: fat-soluble contaminants known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and protein-binding contaminants such as methylmercury (MeHg).

Managing living marine resources in a dynamic environment: The role of seasonal to decadal climate forecasts

Variations in climate lead to fluctuations and changes in fish stocks; they can have effects on such things as fish behaviour, distributions and growth. Because of this, fisheries management has to respond dynamically to these fluctuations. If management decisions are made primarily on past patterns, the negative impacts can be exacerbated, especially with climate change.

From tiny phytoplankton to massive tuna: how climate change will affect energy flows in ocean ecosystems

Phytoplankton are the foundation of ocean life, providing the energy that supports nearly all marine species. Levels of phytoplankton in an ocean area may seem like a good predictor for the amount of fish that can be caught there, but a new study by Nereus Program researchers finds that this relationship is not so straightforward