A global horizon scan of issues impacting marine and coastal biodiversity conservation

Herbert-Read, J.E. and Thornton, A. and Amon, D.J. and Birchenough, S.N.R. and Côté, I.M. and Dias, M.P. and Godley, B.J. and Keith, S.A. and McKinley, E. and Peck, L.S. and Calado, R. and Defeo, O. and Degraer, S. and Johnston, E.L. and Kaartokallio, H. and Macreadie, P.I. and Metaxas, A. and Muthumbi, A.W.N. and Obura, D.O. and Paterson, D.M. and Piola, A.R. and Richardson, A.J. and Schloss, I.R. and Snelgrove, P.V.R. and Stewart, B.D. and Thompson, P.M. and Watson, G.J. and Worthington, T.A. and Yasuhara, M. and Sutherland, W.J. (2022) A global horizon scan of issues impacting marine and coastal biodiversity conservation. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 6. pp. 1262-1270. ISSN 2397-334X

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The biodiversity of marine and coastal habitats is experiencing unprecedented change. While there are well-known drivers of these changes, such as overexploitation, climate change and pollution, there are also relatively unknown emerging issues that are poorly understood or recognized that have potentially positive or negative impacts on marine and coastal ecosystems. In this inaugural Marine and Coastal Horizon Scan, we brought together 30 scientists, policymakers and practitioners with transdisciplinary expertise in marine and coastal systems to identify new issues that are likely to have a significant impact on the functioning and conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity over the next 5–10 years. Based on a modified Delphi voting process, the final 15 issues presented were distilled from a list of 75 submitted by participants at the start of the process. These issues are grouped into three categories: ecosystem impacts, for example the impact of wildfires and the effect of poleward migration on equatorial biodiversity; resource exploitation, including an increase in the trade of fish swim bladders and increased exploitation of marine collagens; and new technologies, such as soft robotics and new biodegradable products. Our early identification of these issues and their potential impacts on marine and coastal biodiversity will support scientists, conservationists, resource managers and policymakers to address the challenges facing marine ecosystems.

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Journal Article
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Nature Ecology and Evolution
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09 Sep 2022 15:45
Last Modified:
19 Jul 2024 00:57