Marine Environment

Schematic diagram showing Greenland's coastal environments.
Environments along the coast of Greenland are rapidly changing under the influence of a warming climate in the Arctic. To better understand the changes in the coastal environments, we performed researches in the Qaanaaq region in northwestern Greenland as a part of the ArCS (Arctic Challenge for Sustainability) Project. Mass loss of ice caps and marine-terminating outlet glaciers were quantified by field and satellite observations. Measurements and sampling in fjords revealed the important role of glacial meltwater discharge in marine ecosystems.
Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 3, 18 December 2020
Earth's ecosystems, upon which all life depends, are in a severe state of degradation. The upcoming UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration aims to “prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean.” These Voices articulate why and what action is urgently needed.
Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 2, 21 February 2020
Despite global policy commitments to preserve Earth's marine biodiversity, many species are in a state of decline. Using data on 22,885 marine species, we identify 8.5 million km2 of priority areas that complement existing areas of conservation and biodiversity importance. New conservation priorities are found in over half (56%) of all coastal nations, including key priority regions in the northwest Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean.
Elsevier, TrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 114, May 2019
The presence of small plastic particles in the environment, reported for the first time in the 1970's, has only recently been recognized as a global issue. Although environmental awareness continues to grow, so does its consumption and associated risks. The number of studies reporting the presence of microplastics, has grown exponentially as did the concern over plastic degradation into smaller particles like nanoplastics, a potentially more pernicious form of plastic pollution.
The presence of plastic debris in the ocean is increasing and several effects in the marine environment have been reported. A great number of studies have demonstrated that microplastics (MPs) adsorb organic compounds concentrating them several orders of magnitude than the levels found in their surrounding environment, therefore they could be potential vectors of these contaminants to biota. However, a consensus on MPs as vectors of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) has not been reached since are opposing views among different researchers on this topic.
Elsevier, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 136, November 2018
Increasing accessibility of coral reefs from the latter third of the 20th century led quickly to recognition of the vulnerability of coral reef communities to a combination of direct and indirect human impacts. Coral reefs are confronted by the stark threats of climate and ocean changes from the increasing number, intensity and forms of human use impacting global and marine systems. Management, particularly of accessible coral reefs, occurs in the context of multiple scale transboundary water column linkages of lifecycle processes and increasing human use of coastal and marine space.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Aichi Target 11 states that, “by 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes”. There has been rapid progress to meet the quantitative goal (the 10% target).
In spite of the growing attention towards the overall quality of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), most empirical studies so far have narrowly focused their assessments on specific natural or social features and governing structures. In response, this study analyzed multi-use MPAs in the eelgrass restoration site in Hinase, Okayama, Japan in their environmental, economic and social dimensions. Considering changes in time and space as well as internal and external influences, the study faced many difficulties in dealing with the dynamics of MPA environments.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in September 2015, are accompanied by targets which have to be met individually and collectively by the signatory states. SDG14 Life Below Water aims to lay the foundation for the integrated and sustainable management of the oceans. However, any environmental management has to be based around targets which are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bounded – otherwise it is not possible to determine whether management actions are successful and achieve the desired aims.