Special Issue "Implementation of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Marine Ecosystem Management"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Biodiversity and Functionality of Aquatic Ecosystems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021) | Viewed by 13395

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Genuario Belmonte
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Zoogeography and Fauna, DiSTeBA (Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies), University of Salento, campus ecotekne, 73100 Lecce, Italy
Interests: plankton ecology; resurrection ecology; neuston; hyperbenthos; Copepoda Calanoida (freshwater and marine); zoogeography; submarine caves; aquariums and museums
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) in the early 2000s grouped ecosystem services into four categories: provisioning; regulating; supporting; and cultural. According to the MA project, biodiversity is a necessary underlying component of ecological goods and services. Biodiversity, sometimes referred to as an ecological good/service per se, undoubtedly also supports ecological goods and services. At a local and national scale, however, relatively limited information still exists about the status of many ecosystem services with the lowest level of information coming from marine ecosystems.

New methodological approaches are probably necessary to fill in the existing knowledge gap between land and marine ecosystems. The perspective and/or the maintenance of human wellbeing necessarily asks for a bigger contribution (in terms of direct resources and indirect services) of the marine environment, which represents 71% of the Earth surface.

The present Special Issue aims to put together classical and innovative studies of the submarine world, mostly those parts (e.g., the mesophotic–aphotic, or the open sea) from where new information arrives in terms of Carbon sequestration, tourist attraction, fishery management and new food sources, new biological products, other than the consciousness of where the most urban litter goes.

Prof. Dr. Genuario Belmonte
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Ecosystem services
  • Marine biodiversity
  • Marine environment management
  • Mesophotic environment
  • Carbon sink
  • Fishery and marine food
  • New marine based tourism
  • Climate history
  • Marine litter

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Article
A Perspective for Best Governance of the Bari Canyon Deep-Sea Ecosystems
Water 2021, 13(12), 1646; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13121646 - 11 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 877
Abstract
There is growing awareness of the impact of fishery activities on fragile and vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems, stimulating actions devoted to their protection and best management by national and international organizations. The Bari Canyon in the Adriatic Sea represents a good case study of [...] Read more.
There is growing awareness of the impact of fishery activities on fragile and vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems, stimulating actions devoted to their protection and best management by national and international organizations. The Bari Canyon in the Adriatic Sea represents a good case study of this, since it hosts vulnerable ecosystems, threatened species, as well as valuable commercial species, but virtually lacks substantial management plans for the sustainable use of resources. This study documents the high level of biodiversity of the Bari Canyon and the impact of human activities by analyzing remotely operated vehicle surveys and benthic lander deployments. An integrated socio-economic study provides information on fishing pressure in the Bari Canyon and in the surrounding areas. Finally, measures of conservation, protection, and management are discussed and suggested for this remarkable site in the context of the deep Mediterranean Sea. Full article
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Article
Diversity and Distribution of Sabellida (Annelida) under Protection Regimes
Water 2021, 13(11), 1491; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13111491 - 26 May 2021
Viewed by 873
Abstract
Sabellida are widespread, diverse and abundant in marine benthic habitats. Their distribution patterns on hard-bottom substrates are poorly studied so far. Little is known about the factors influencing their distribution, including the protection regimes that are known to affect assemblage diversity. We analyzed [...] Read more.
Sabellida are widespread, diverse and abundant in marine benthic habitats. Their distribution patterns on hard-bottom substrates are poorly studied so far. Little is known about the factors influencing their distribution, including the protection regimes that are known to affect assemblage diversity. We analyzed hard-bottom Sabellida at 1.5 and 5 m depths at the Torre Guaceto Marine Protected Area (MPA) (SE Italy) to describe diversity and distribution patterns, and to identify potential factors influencing their distribution. The Sabellida diversity varied significantly among stations and was higher at 5 m depth. No relation with the protection regime was found. Among environmental variables, only sedimentation appeared related, suggesting that local trophic features might have influenced the observed pattern. Among habitat formers, only the macroalga Halimeda tuna significantly explained part of the observed variation, probably due to its role as a basibiont for some Sabellida taxa. Other predictor variables of Sabellida distribution were the abundances of some invertebrate taxa, especially Syllidae and some filter feeders such as Sabellariida and Cirripedia, probably due to shared ecological requirements, rather than a direct effect on Sabellida distribution. The relation with the Syllidae remains obscure so far, albeit some kind of interaction (including predator/prey interactions) between these two taxa cannot be excluded. Sabellida should be taken into account when analyzing patterns of biodiversity of hard-bottom environments. Full article
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Article
Trace Metals Do Not Accumulate Over Time in The Edible Mediterranean Jellyfish Rhizostoma pulmo (Cnidaria, Scyphozoa) from Urban Coastal Waters
Water 2021, 13(10), 1410; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13101410 - 18 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1007
Abstract
Jellyfish as food represent a millennial tradition in Asia. Recently, jellyfish have also been proposed as a valuable source of protein in Western countries. To identify health risks associated with the potential human consumption of jellyfish as food, trace element accumulation was assessed [...] Read more.
Jellyfish as food represent a millennial tradition in Asia. Recently, jellyfish have also been proposed as a valuable source of protein in Western countries. To identify health risks associated with the potential human consumption of jellyfish as food, trace element accumulation was assessed in the gonads and umbrella tissues of the Mediterranean Rhizostoma pulmo (Macri, 1778), sampled over a period of 16 months along the shallow coastal waters a short distance from the city of Taranto, an area affected by metallurgic and oil refinery sources of pollution. Higher tissue concentrations of trace elements were usually detected in gonads than in umbrella tissue. In particular, significant differences in the toxic metalloid As, and in the metals Mn, Mo, and Zn, were observed among different tissues. The concentrations of vanadium were slightly higher in umbrella tissues than in gonads. No positive correlation was observed between element concentration and jellyfish size, suggesting the lack of bioaccumulation processes. Moreover, toxic element concentrations in R. pulmo were found below the threshold levels for human consumption allowed by Australian, USA, and EU Food Regulations. These results corroborate the hypothesis that R. pulmo is a safe, potentially novel food source, even when jellyfish are harvested from coastal areas affected by anthropogenic impacts. Full article
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Article
Horizontal Distribution of Deep Sea Microplankton: A New Point of View for Marine Biogeography
Water 2021, 13(9), 1263; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13091263 - 30 Apr 2021
Viewed by 794
Abstract
An investigation on microplankton composition and spatial distribution has been carried out around Italian seas. The analysis of 53 samples, collected in 2017 at two depths in 27 different stations, has led to a scenario of horizontal distribution of microplankton. Dinophyta and Ciliophora [...] Read more.
An investigation on microplankton composition and spatial distribution has been carried out around Italian seas. The analysis of 53 samples, collected in 2017 at two depths in 27 different stations, has led to a scenario of horizontal distribution of microplankton. Dinophyta and Ciliophora were chosen as representatives of the whole microplankton community. A total of 60 genera were identified. Cluster analysis of data regarding taxa presence and abundance led us to recognize that similarities between surface stations were more evident than those between deep ones. Furthermore, we conducted an inter-annual comparison with available data from the South Adriatic Sea (2013, 2015). The higher dissimilarity between deep sea samples was also confirmed in a relatively smaller geographic area. The dissimilarity of deep-sea samples does not correspond to a higher habitat diversification, in terms of abiotic parameters. It has been suggested that the negligible biological connectivity in the deep, for those micro-organisms not able to perform wide spatial migrations, could produce such a biological diversification. Full article
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Article
The Importance of Food Pulses in Benthic-Pelagic Coupling Processes of Passive Suspension Feeders
Water 2021, 13(7), 997; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070997 - 04 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1018
Abstract
Benthic-pelagic coupling processes and the quantity of carbon transferred from the water column to the benthic suspension feeders need multiple intensive sampling approaches where several environmental variables and benthos performance are quantified. Here, activity, dietary composition, and capture rates of three Mediterranean gorgonians [...] Read more.
Benthic-pelagic coupling processes and the quantity of carbon transferred from the water column to the benthic suspension feeders need multiple intensive sampling approaches where several environmental variables and benthos performance are quantified. Here, activity, dietary composition, and capture rates of three Mediterranean gorgonians (Paramuricea clavata, Eunicella singularis, and Leptogorgia sarmentosa) were assessed in an intensive cycle considering different variables such as the seston concentration and quality (e.g., carbon, nitrogen, and zooplankton), the colony branch patterns, and the energetic input of the single species (i.e., mixotrophic and heterotrophic). The three species showed clear differences in their impact on the seston concentration. Paramuricea clavata, the most densely distributed, showed a greater impact on the near bottom water column seston. The lowest impact of E. singularis on the seston could be explained by its mixotrophy and colony branching pattern. Leptogorgia sarmentosa had a similar impact as E. singularis, having a much more complex branching pattern and more than an order of magnitude smaller number of colonies per meter square than the other two octocorals. The amount of carbon ingested in the peaks of the capture rates in the three species may cover a non-neglectable proportion of the potential carbon fluxes. Full article
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Article
Radiocarbon Dating of Marine Samples: Methodological Aspects, Applications and Case Studies
Water 2021, 13(7), 986; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070986 - 03 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1042
Abstract
Radiocarbon dating by AMS (Accelerator Mass Spectrometry) is a well-established absolute dating technique widely used in different areas of research for the analysis of a wide range of organic materials. Precision levels of the order of 0.2–0.3% in the measured age are nowadays [...] Read more.
Radiocarbon dating by AMS (Accelerator Mass Spectrometry) is a well-established absolute dating technique widely used in different areas of research for the analysis of a wide range of organic materials. Precision levels of the order of 0.2–0.3% in the measured age are nowadays achieved while several international intercomparison exercises have shown the high degree of reproducibility of the results. This paper discusses the applications of 14C dating related to the analysis of samples up-taking carbon from marine carbon pools such as the sea and the oceans. For this kind of samples relevant methodological issues have to be properly addressed in order to correctly interpret 14C data and then obtain reliable chronological frameworks. These issues are mainly related to the so-called “marine reservoirs effects” which make radiocarbon ages obtained on marine organisms apparently older than coeval organisms fixing carbon directly from the atmosphere. We present the strategies used to correct for these effects also referring to the last internationally accepted and recently released calibration curve. Applications will be also reviewed discussing case studies such as the analysis of marine biogenic speleothems and for applications in sea level studies. Full article
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Review

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Review
Trends and Evolution in the Concept of Marine Ecosystem Services: An Overview
Water 2021, 13(15), 2060; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13152060 - 29 Jul 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1700
Abstract
The biotic and abiotic assets of the marine environment form the “marine natural capital” embedded in the global ocean. Marine natural capital provides the flow of “marine ecosystem services” that are directly used or enjoyed by people providing benefits to human well-being. They [...] Read more.
The biotic and abiotic assets of the marine environment form the “marine natural capital” embedded in the global ocean. Marine natural capital provides the flow of “marine ecosystem services” that are directly used or enjoyed by people providing benefits to human well-being. They include provisioning services (e.g., food), regulation and maintenance services (e.g., carbon sequestration and storage, and coastal protection), and cultural services (e.g., tourism and recreational benefits). In recent decades, human activities have increased the pressures on marine ecosystems, often leading to ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss and, in turn, affecting their ability to provide benefits to humans. Therefore, effective management strategies are crucial to the conservation of healthy and diverse marine ecosystems and to ensuring their long-term generation of goods and services. Biophysical, economic, and sociocultural assessments of marine ecosystem services are much needed to convey the importance of natural resources to managers and policy makers supporting the development and implementation of policies oriented for the sustainable management of marine resources. In addition, the accounting of marine ecosystem service values can be usefully complemented by their mapping to enable the identification of priority areas and management strategies and to facilitate science–policy dialogue. Given this premise, this study aims to review trends and evolution in the concept of marine ecosystem services. In particular, the global scientific literature on marine ecosystem services is explored by focusing on the following main aspects: the definition and classification of marine ecosystem services; their loss due to anthropogenic pressures, alternative assessment, and mapping approaches; and the inclusion of marine ecosystem services into policy and decision-making processes. Full article
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Review
Pollution Biomarkers in the Framework of Marine Biodiversity Conservation: State of Art and Perspectives
Water 2021, 13(13), 1847; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131847 - 02 Jul 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1486
Abstract
Marine biodiversity is threatened by several anthropogenic pressures. Pollution deriving from the discharge of chemical contaminants in the sea represents one of the main threats to the marine environment, influencing the health of organisms, their ability to recover their homeostatic status, and in [...] Read more.
Marine biodiversity is threatened by several anthropogenic pressures. Pollution deriving from the discharge of chemical contaminants in the sea represents one of the main threats to the marine environment, influencing the health of organisms, their ability to recover their homeostatic status, and in turn endangering biodiversity. Molecular and cellular responses to chemical pollutants, known as biomarkers, are effect-based methodologies useful for detecting exposure and for assessing the effects of pollutants on biota in environmental monitoring. The present review analyzes and discusses the recent literature on the use of biomarkers in the framework of biodiversity conservation. The study shows that pollution biomarkers can be useful tools for monitoring and assessment of pollution threat to marine biodiversity, both in the environmental quality monitoring of protected areas and the assessment of the health status of species at risk. Moreover, key areas of the research that need further development are suggested, such as the development of omics-based biomarkers specifically addressed to conservation purposes and their validation in the field, the extension of the biomarker study to a wider number of endangered species, and the development of organic guidelines for the application of the biomarker approach in support to conservation policies and management. Full article
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Review
Marine Microalgae Contribution to Sustainable Development
Water 2021, 13(10), 1373; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13101373 - 14 May 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1351
Abstract
The burning of fossil fuels is an unsustainable activity, which is leading to an increase in greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions and related global warming. Among sustainable energy sources, microalgae represent a promising alternative to fossil fuel and contribute to the achievement of important [...] Read more.
The burning of fossil fuels is an unsustainable activity, which is leading to an increase in greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions and related global warming. Among sustainable energy sources, microalgae represent a promising alternative to fossil fuel and contribute to the achievement of important Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular, the potential contribution of marine microalgae to sustainable development is large as, among other benefits, they represent a carbon negative energy source and may be applied in many coastal areas around the world. Despite this, significant economic and technological improvements are needed in order to make microalgae biofuels viable on a large scale. This review aims to explore how and to what extent third-generation biofuels (marine microalgae, but also the latest advances in freshwater microalgae) can benefit the realization of these SDGs. From this study we concluded that the production of large-scale marine microalgae biofuels is not yet feasible from the economic perspective at a large scale. However, the cultivation of microalgae in seawater holds great potential for increasing the small to medium viability of this biofuel source. The possibilities for improvement along with the contributions to sustainable development lay the groundwork for continuing to study and apply the potential of sustainable production of microalgae bioenergy. Full article
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Review
Who’s Next? Non-Indigenous Cnidarian and Ctenophoran Species Approaching to the Italian Waters
Water 2021, 13(8), 1062; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081062 - 12 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 731
Abstract
The aims of the present paper were to review the knowledge about the Mediterranean non-indigenous species of the taxa Cnidaria and Ctenophora (CC NIS), to screen the risk of 98 species for their potential invasiveness in the Mediterranean Sea and their approach to [...] Read more.
The aims of the present paper were to review the knowledge about the Mediterranean non-indigenous species of the taxa Cnidaria and Ctenophora (CC NIS), to screen the risk of 98 species for their potential invasiveness in the Mediterranean Sea and their approach to the Italian waters. Of these, 38% are well established in the basin, 4% are known for their invasiveness, 44% are casual, 11% have a taxonomic status unresolved, and 3% are included in the category ”cryptogenic”. The biodiversity CC NIS of the Mediterranean Sea has changed considerably in the last two decades and 27 out of 98 Mediterranean CC NIS are present in the Italian waters. Fifteen CC NIS, some equipped with high invasive potential, should be regarded as good candidates to become future immigrants of the Italian waters. Anticipatory NIS forecast based on biogeographical and ecological analyses may provide a useful tool for targeted management of the CC NIS issue and for the assessment of the second descriptor of Good Environmental Status. On the other hand, conservation and management of marine ecosystem should be based on the conservation of the essential environmental conditions for the functioning of these ecosystems instead of the contamination or eradication of alien species. Full article
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Review
Aquaculture and Restoration: Perspectives from Mediterranean Sea Experiences
Water 2021, 13(7), 991; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070991 - 04 Apr 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1546
Abstract
In this paper, the different possibilities and innovations related to sustainable aquaculture in the Mediterranean area are discussed, while different maricultural methods, and the role of Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) in supporting the exploitation of the ocean’s resources, are also reviewed. IMTA, and [...] Read more.
In this paper, the different possibilities and innovations related to sustainable aquaculture in the Mediterranean area are discussed, while different maricultural methods, and the role of Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) in supporting the exploitation of the ocean’s resources, are also reviewed. IMTA, and mariculture in general, when carefully planned, can be suitable for environmental restoration and conservation purposes. Aquaculture, especially mariculture, is a sector that is progressively increasing in parallel with the increase in human needs; however, several problems still affect its development, mainly in relation to the choice of suitable sites, fodder production, and the impact on the surrounding environment. A current challenge that requires suitable solutions is the implementation of IMTA. Unfortunately, some criticisms still affect this approach, mostly concerning the commercialization of new products such as invertebrates and seaweeds, notwithstanding their environmentally friendly character. Regarding the location of a suitable site, mariculture plans are currently displaced from inshore to offshore, with the aim of reducing the competition for space with other human activities carried out within coastal waters. Moreover, in open water, waste loading does not appear to be a problem, but high-energy waters increase maintenance costs. Some suggestions are given for developing sustainable mariculture in the Mediterranean area, where IMTA is in its infancy and where the scarce nutrients that characterize offshore waters are not suitable for the farming of both filter feeder invertebrates and macroalgae. From the perspective of coupling mariculture activity with restoration ecology, the practices suggested in this review concern the implementation of inshore IMTA, creating artificially controlled gardens, as well as offshore mussel farming coupled with artificial reefs, while also hypothesizing the possibility of the use of artificially eutrophized areas. Full article
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