Recent Submissions

  • Climate Change Adaptation in West Africa: A critical analysis of climate change adaptation policies and their implications for coastal communities in West Africa

    Backler, Scott; University of Derby (University of Derby, 2021)
    The UNFCCC, (2019) identifies climate change as a “threat multiplier” meaning that a sizeable amount of the UNs 17 Sustainable Development Goals are at threat from climate change. The recently published sixth assessment report by the IPCC further highlights that climate change is now at some level an unavoidable reality (IPCC, 2021). Whilst many West African coastal countries have adaptation framework to respond to the threat of climate change, several studies have highlighted an apparent gap in policy implementation, meaning that the policies are not as effective as intended at a grassroots level (Boateng, 2018; Davies-Vollum, Raha, and Koomson, 2021). Aims: 1. To critically analyse the institutional and organisational structure of climate change adaptation (CCA) policies and strategies in West African Coastal Countries. 2. To evaluate socio-cultural or socio-economic issues influencing policy implementation at a grassroots level. 3. To recommend alternative systematic policies or practical processes that could enable successful implementation of climate change adaption plans. Academic supervisors for this project - Dr Debadayita Raha & Dr Sian Davies-Vollum.
  • Time to change the data culture in geochemistry

    Chamberlain, Katy J.; Lehnert, Kerstin; McIntosh, Iona; Morgan, Daniel J.; Worner, Gerhard; University of Derby; Columbia University; JAMSTEC; University of Leeds; Gottingen University (Nature Research, 2021-10-29)
    Geochemical data are vital for understanding Earth’s past, present and future. However, currently only a fraction of geochemical data are findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable, limiting their use in the broadest range of scientific studies. There is an urgent need for international coordination of geochemical data and methods to unlock their full research potential.
  • Environmental management systems in the architectural, engineering and construction sectors: a roadmap to aid the delivery of the sustainable development goals

    Horry, Rosemary; Booth, Colin; Mahamadu, Abdul-Majeed; Manu, Patrick; Georgakis, Panagiotis; University of Derby; University of the West of England; University of Manchester; University of the West of England (Springer Nature, 2021-10-24)
    Realisation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) will provide improvements to people's lives and longevity of the planet. The architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) sectors have a potentially huge role in aiding the delivery of many SDGs; however, there appears to be a lack of research into the engagement within this sector. The leading environmental management system (EMS), ISO 14001, can enable organisations in the AEC sectors to improve their business operations, whilst minimising their impacts on the environment and improving society. Therefore, the study sets out to use institutional theory to determine the usefulness of ISO 14001 as a tool within the AEC sector and to demonstrate how the organisational benefits could facilitate the delivery of the SDGs. A stepwise PRISMA review process facilitated the compiling of academic articles and professional reports (n = 44), which enabled the creation of an inventory of the perceived benefits (n = 85) and the recognised barriers (n = 63) to implementing ISO 14001 across the AEC sectors. These barriers and benefits were confirmed by environmental practitioners as being relevant to the incorporation of an EMS. The most widely reported benefits within the AEC sectors were improving environmental performance and compliance with legislation. Lack of government pressure and lack of expertise were the most widely reported barriers, followed by cost to AEC organisations utilising an EMS. Following on from this inventory of benefits, it was possible to develop of a conceptual roadmap, which illustrates where linkages exist with the SDGs. SDG 4, 8, 12 and 13 are shown as exhibiting the most associations with the benefits. This roadmap was reviewed by AEC sector professionals who confirmed its usefulness. Therefore, it is surmised that the roadmap could aid strategic organisational sustainable planning or for organisations to demonstrate the delivery of their corporate social responsibilities.
  • Insights into Public Perceptions of Earthship Buildings as Alternative Homes

    Booth, Colin; Rashid, Sona; Mahamadu, Abdul-Majeed; Horry, Rosemary; Manu, Patrick; Awuah, Kwasi Gyau Baffour; Aboagye-Nimo, Emmanuel; Georgakis, Panagiotis; University of the West of England; University of Derby; et al. (MDPI, 2021-08-25)
    Sustainable futures necessitate a concomitant requirement for both sustainable buildings and sustainable behaviours under one roof. The defining principles behind Earthship buildings are to promote the use of local, recycled, waste, natural and renewable materials in their construction, for the adoption of a passive solar design for internal heating/cooling, collection of rainwater as a potable water supply, and encourage the onsite recycling of used water for plants to aid food production. However, despite growth in Earthship buildings constructed across many countries of the world, their appeal has not yet made a noticeable contribution to mainstream housing. Therefore, this study is the first to attempt to explore public perceptions towards the benefits and barriers of Earthship buildings as a means of understanding their demand by potential home builders/owners. Opinions were sought through questionnaire surveys completed by visitors to the Brighton Earthship building. Results reveal that the public believe that the reclamation of rainwater and greywater, renewable energy consumption and use of recycled materials included in the design/build are the major benefits of Earthship buildings, whilst the opportunity for a modern living style in a conservative lifestyle/setting, having a building that is cheaper than an ordinary home and the possibility of living totally off grid are considered the least beneficial reasons for building Earthship homes. Results also reveal that the public believe acquiring necessary permits/permissions to build may be more complicated, securing financial support (mortgage/loan) may be more challenging, and identifying/attaining suitable building plots are major barriers of Earthship buildings, whilst the futuristic/alternative building design, being built from waste materials and being entirely dependent on renewable resources (rainfall/wind/sunshine) are considered the least important barriers to building Earthship homes. Notwithstanding the participants included in this study already having an interest in Earthship buildings/lifestyles, it is concluded that the general public deem the general principles of Earthships as an acceptable choice of building/living but it is the formal means of building or buying an Earthship home that is the greatest hurdle against the uptake of Earthship buildings. Therefore, if sustainable futures are to be realized, it is proposed that a shift away from traditional house building towards Earthship building will require the involvement of all stakeholders immersed in the building process (architects, planners, builders, investors, lawyers) to path an easier journey for Earthship buildings and sustainable living.
  • Actively Noticing Nature (Not Just Time in Nature) Helps Promote Nature Connectedness

    Richardson, Miles; Hamlin, Iain; Butler, Carly; Thomas, Rory; Hunt, Alex; University of Derby; National Trust (Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Publishers, 2021-10-08)
    The climate and biodiversity crises reveal a failing human-nature relationship. The psychological construct of nature connectedness provides a means for understanding and improving that relationship. Furthermore, recent research suggests that higher levels of nature connectedness benefit both people and the environment, promoting pro-nature conservation actions, pro-environmental behaviours, and greater personal wellbeing. Nature connectedness is therefore emerging as a key target to improve human and nature’s wellbeing. Using data from a large national survey in the UK, the present research investigates how nature contact and noticing nature activities predict nature connectedness. Multiple regression analyses revealed that noticing nature, through activities that involve active sensory engagement with wildlife, explained levels of nature connectedness over and above simply spending time in nature. Moreover, the activities engaged in when in nature had differential effects on nature connectedness. Watching, listening to and photographing wildlife were significant predictors of nature connectedness, whereas studying nature, looking at scenery through windows, observing celestial phenomena and collecting shells and rocks were not. The results have implications for how best to improve nature connectedness, both in terms of how to design and improve greenspaces, and in terms of how to better engage the public with nature for a healthy and sustainable future.
  • Zircon geochronological and geochemical insights into pluton building and volcanic-hypabyssal-plutonic connections: Oki-Dōzen, Sea of Japan - a complex intraplate alkaline volcano

    Scarrow, Jane; Chamberlain, Katy J.; Montero, Pilar; Horstwood, Matthew S.A.; Kimura, Jun-Ichi; Tamura, Yoshihiko; Chang, Qing; Barclay, Jenni; University of Granada, Campus Fuentenueva, Granada, Spain; University of East Anglia; et al. (Mineralogical Society of America, 2021)
    The relationship between plutonic and volcanic components of magmatic plumbing systems continues to be a question of intense debate. The Oki-Dōzen Islands, Sea of Japan, preserve outcrops of temporally-associated plutonic, hypabyssal and volcanic rocks. Juxtaposition of these, by post-intrusion uplift, placed Miocene syenites in inferred faulted contact with volcanic trachytes that are cut by rhyolite hypabyssal dikes. This provides a window deep into the timing and origins of magma storage architecture and dynamics. Our aim is to determine what the age and composition of zircon, which is ubiquitous in all samples, can reveal about the plutonic-volcanic connection. Here we show magma source characteristics are recorded in zircon Hf isotopes whereas, in addition to source composition, differentiation processes - assimilation of heterogeneous hydrothermally altered crust and extensive fractional crystallization - are preserved in zircon O isotopes and trace elements, respectively. Combined with new U-Th-Pb SHRIMP zircon ages, 6.4–5.7 Ma, the compositional data show pluton formation was by protracted amalgamation of discrete magma pulses. The rhyolite dike preserves an evolved fraction segregated from these. Synchronous with plutonism was volcanic eruption of trachyte magma derived from the same source, but apparently stalled at a relatively shallow depth. Stalling occurred at least above the zone of amphibole stability since amphibole-compatible Sc and Ti were not depleted in the trachyte melt - resulting in elevated values of these in the volcanic, compared to the plutonic, zircon. Identifying smaller episodic magma pulses in a larger magmatic complex places constraints on potential magma fluxes and eruptible volumes. Distinct from high-flux, large volume, plume-related ocean islands with extensive vertically distributed multi-stage magmatic reservoirs or subduction-related transcrustal magma reservoirs, Oki-Dōzen was a low-flux system with incremental pluton growth and small- to moderate-scale eruptions.
  • No single model for super-sized eruptions and their magma bodies

    Wilson, Colin J. N.; Cooper, George F; Chamberlain, Katy; Barker, Simon J; Myers, Madison L.; Illsley-Kemp, Finnigan; Farrell, Jamie; Victoria University of Wellington; Cardiff University; University of Derby; et al. (Nature, 2021-07-27)
    The largest explosive volcanic eruptions on Earth (‘supereruptions’) generate widespread ash-fall blankets and voluminous ignimbrites with accompanying caldera collapse. However, the mechanisms of generation, storage and evacuation of the parental silicic magma bodies remain controversial. In this Review, we synthesise field and laboratory evidence from Quaternary supereruptions to illustrate the great diversity in these phenomena. Despite their size, some supereruptions started mildly over weeks to months before escalating into climactic activity, whereas others went into vigorous activity immediately. Some eruptions occupied days or weeks, and others were prolonged over decades. Some were sourced from single bodies of magma, and others from multiple magma bodies that were simultaneously or sequentially tapped. In all cases the crystal-richer, deeper roots (>10 km) of the magmatic systems had lifetimes of tens to hundreds of thousands of years or more. In contrast, the erupted magmas were assembled at shallower depths (4-10 km) on shorter timescales, sometimes only centuries. Geological knowledge of past events, combined with modern geophysical techniques, demonstrates how large silicic caldera volcanoes (with past supereruptions) operate today. Future research is needed particularly on the processes behind modern volcanic unrest and the signals that might herald an impending eruption, regardless of size, at such volcanoes.
  • Self-identification of electronically scanned signatures (ESS) and digitally constructed signatures (DCS)

    Kazmierczyk, Zuzanna; Turner, Ian J.; University of Derby (Informa UK, 2021-07-05)
    The use of electronic signatures as a form of identification is increasingly common, yet they have been shown to lack the dynamic features found in online signatures. In this study, handwritten signatures were scanned to produce electronically scanned signatures (ESS) which were then digitally altered to produce digitally constructed signatures (DCS). The ESS and DCS were presented back to participants to identify which were genuine. Only 1% of participants correctly identified all signatures, with a mean score of 57.6% identifications. The lack of self-recognition of ESS raises questions on their reliability and usefulness as means of personal identification.
  • Sea urchin diseases: Effects from individuals to ecosystems

    Sweet, Michael; University of Derby (Elsevier, 2020-01-08)
    Diseases affect all facets of life, at the cell, tissue, organ, individual, population, and ecosystem level, and those associated with marine organisms are no exception. In particular, echinoids are one group which have had well-documented disease outbreaks in the marine biome. For example, over 40 species of sea stars from the west coast of North America have recently been found to suffer from an outbreak of a disease known as sea star wasting syndrome or Asteroid idiopathic wasting syndrome (Eisenlord et al., 2016). Although similar “die-offs” have occurred in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, this recent outbreak has run at unprecedented magnitude, with upward of 60% disease prevalence at some sites and records across a wide geographic area (e.g., 84% of sites surveyed within one study)—see www.eeb.ucsc.edu. This is now being heralded as the greatest recorded mass mortality of a marine animal, exceeding the previous record, which was Diadema antillarum and their die-off in the Caribbean during the 1980s (Lessios et al., 1984a, Mumby et al., 2006). However, quite surprisingly, the causal agent for both diseases remains unknown (Lessios et al., 1984b, Miner et al., 2018). Various hypotheses have been suggested, from bacteria to viruses, however, evidence is lacking to point convincingly to one agent over another (Clemente et al., 2014).
  • Completing the life cycle of a broadcast spawning coral in a closed mesocosm

    Craggs, Jamie; Guest, James; Davis, Michelle; Sweet, Michael; University of Derby; Newcastle University; Horniman Museum and Gardens, London (Informa UK Limited, 2020-04-28)
    Studies of broadcast spawning in corals are fundamental to our understanding of early life history characteristics, reproductive biology, restoration etc. Spawning of corals for research is routinely conducted, but this is mostly restricted to sites adjacent to reefs and from broodstock collected from the wild just prior to gamete release. Only recently has it been possible to induce predictable broadcast spawning in an ex situ environment, and nobody has successfully closed the life cycle (i.e., production of an F2 generation) of these corals. Here, for the first time, we closed the life cycle of the broadcast spawning coral Acropora millepora in a fully closed ex situ mesocosm. This breakthrough has numerous implications for our understanding of reproductive biology, specifically it offers potential to deepen our understanding of the genetic influence on adaptive traits such as heat tolerance, growth and disease resistance over multiple generations.
  • Insights into the Cultured Bacterial Fraction of Corals

    Sweet, Michael; Villela, Helena; Keller-Costa, Tina; Costa, Rodrigo; Romano, Stefano; Bourne, David G.; Cárdenas, Anny; Huggett, Megan J.; Kerwin, Allison H.; Kuek, Felicity; et al. (American Society for Microbiology, 2021-06-22)
    Bacteria associated with coral hosts are diverse and abundant, withrecent studies suggesting involvement of these symbionts in host resilience toanthropogenic stress. Despite their putative importance, the work dedicated to cultur-ing coral-associated bacteria has received little attention. Combining published andunpublished data, here we report a comprehensive overview of the diversity and func-tion of culturable bacteria isolated from corals originating from tropical, temperate, andcold-wa ter habitats . A total of 3,055 isolat es from 52 studies were considered by ourmetasurvey. Of these, 1,045 had full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences, spanning 138 for-mally descri bed and 12 putativel y novel bacter ial gener a across the Proteobacteria,Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes,andActinobacteria phyla. We perfor me d compara ti ve genomi canalysis using the available genomes of 74 strains and identied potential signatures ofbenecial bacterium-coral symbioses among the strains. Our analysis revealed .400 bio-synthetic gene clusters that underlie the biosynthesis of antioxidant, antimicrobial, cyto-toxic, and other secondary metabolites. Moreover, we uncovered genomic features—notpreviously described for coral-bacterium symbioses—potentially involved in host coloni-zation and host-symbiont recognition, antiviral defense mechanisms, and/or integratedmetabolic interactions, which we suggest as novel targets for the screening of coralprobiotics. Our results highlight the importance of bacterial cultures to elu cidatecoral holob iont functioning and guide the selection of probiotic candidates to promote coral resilience and improve holistic and customized reef restoration and rehabilitation efforts.
  • A review of the diversity and impact of invasive non-native species in tropical marine ecosystems

    Alidoost Salimi, Parisa; Creed, Joel C.; Esch, Melanie M.; Fenner, Douglas; Jaafar, Zeehan; Levesque, Juan C.; Montgomery, Anthony D.; Alidoost Salimi, Mahsa; Edward, J. K. Patterson; Raj, K. Diraviya; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-04-23)
    Tropical marine ecosystems are biologically diverse and economically invaluable. However, they are severely threatened from impacts associated with climate change coupled with localized and regional stressors, such as pollution and overfishing. Non-native species (sometimes referred to as ‘alien’ species) are another major threat facing these ecosystems, although rarely discussed and overshadowed by the other stressors mentioned above. NNS can be introduced accidentally (for example via shipping activities) and/or sometimes intentionally (for aquaculture or by hobbyists). Understanding the extent of the impacts NNS have on native flora and fauna often remains challenging, along with ascertaining when the species in question actually became ‘invasive’. Here we review the status of this threat across key tropical marine ecosystems such as coral reefs, algae meadows, mangroves, and seagrass beds. We aim to provide a baseline of where invasive NNS can be found, when they are thought to have been introduced and what impact they are thought to be having on the native ecosystems they now inhabit. In the appended material we provide a comprehensive list of NNS covering key groups such as macroalgae, sponges, seagrasses and mangroves, anthozoans, bryozoans, ascidians, fishes, and crustaceans.
  • Editorial: Coral Reefs in the Anthropocene – Reflecting on 20 Years of Reef Conservation UK

    Andradi-Brown, Dominic A.; Banaszak, Anastazia T.; Frazer, Thomas K.; Gilchrist, Hannah; Harborne, Alastair R.; Head, Catherine E. I.; Koldewey, Heather J.; Levy, Emma; Richards, Kirsty; Short, Rebecca; et al. (Frontiers Media SA, 2020-06-12)
    Editorial on the Research Topic Coral Reefs in the Anthropocene – Reflecting on 20 Years of Reef Conservation UK.
  • Definitions of biodiversity from urban gardeners

    Norton, Briony, A.; Shang, Bowen; Sheffield, David; Ramsey, Andrew; University of Derby (Oxford University Press, 2021-06-14)
    Living in urban environments can leave people disconnected from nature and less likely to engage with biodiversity conservation. Within urban areas, residential gardens can occupy large proportions of greenspace and provide important habitat for biodiversity. Understanding the views and knowledge of garden owners who have collective responsibility for managing these areas is therefore important. We aimed to understand how urban garden owners understand biodiversity. We surveyed garden owners in Derby, UK, across 20 areas spanning a socioeconomic spectrum. Residents were asked to explain their understanding of ‘biodiversity’ in a short definition format. Responses were classified using thematic and word frequency analyses. Of 255 respondents, approximately one third were unable to provide a definition. From the definitions provided, themes that emerged in frequency order were: variety of species or environments; coexistence of organisms; conservation of nature; a synonym for habitat; and uncommon answers not clearly related to biodiversity. Members of wildlife or gardening charities were more likely than non-members to say they could define biodiversity and to use specific taxonomic terms. We detected no difference between keen and less keen gardeners. These short-form responses captured many themes longer and/or qualitative assessments have identified about people’s understanding of biodiversity and illustrate a diversity and, in some cases, a depth of understanding of the concepts of biodiversity, without necessarily adhering to the formal definition. Given the variety of understanding, at this critical period, technical terms, even common ones, should be used with caution and with an open mind about how people interpret them.
  • Explosive felsic eruptions on ocean islands: a case study from Ascension Island (South Atlantic)

    Preece, Katie; Barclay, Jenni; Brown, Richard J.; Chamberlain, Katy; Mark, Darren F.; Swansea University; University of East Anglia; Durham University; University of Derby; Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, East Kilbride; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-05-19)
    Ocean island volcanism is generally considered to be dominated by basaltic eruptions, yet felsic products associated with more hazardous explosive eruptive events are also present in the geological record of many of these islands. Ascension Island, recently recognised as an active volcanic system, exhibits explosive felsic eruption deposits but their age, eruptive styles and stratigraphic association with mafic volcanism are thus far unclear. Here we present a felsic pyroclastic stratigraphy for Ascension Island, supplemented by 26 new 40Ar/39Ar ages and whole rock geochemical XRF data. More than 80 felsic pyroclastic eruptions have occurred over the last ~ 1 Myr, including subplinian and phreatomagmatic eruptions, which produced pumice fall and pyroclastic density current deposits. Detailed sampling suggests felsic events are unevenly distributed in space and time. Subaerial activity can be divided into four Periods: Period 1 (~1000 – 500 ka) felsic and mafic eruptions, with felsic explosive eruptions, linked to a Central Felsic Complex; Period 2 (~ 500 – 100 ka) mafic period; Period 3 (~ 100 – 50 ka) felsic eruptions associated with the Eastern Felsic Complex; Period 4 (< 50 ka) mafic eruptions. The last explosive eruption occurred at ~ 60 ka. This work highlights the cyclical nature of ocean island volcanism and the timescales over which changes between predominantly mafic and felsic volcanism occur. The prevalence of past felsic explosive eruptions on Ascension highlights the need to consider the possibility of future subplinian or phreatomagmatic events in hazard management plans, with any potential risk compounded by Ascension’s small size 41 and remote location.
  • Opinions of small and medium UK construction companies on environmental management systems

    Bailey, Matthew; Booth, Colin A; Horry, Rosemary; Vidalakis, Christos; Mahamadu, Abdul-Majeed; Awuah, Kwasi Gyau Baffour; University of Derby; University of the West of England; University of Salford (Thomas Telford Ltd, 2021-02-16)
    Pressure to reduce the environmental impact of construction activities has increased, such that a paradigm shift is required. This paper presents stakeholder opinions of environmental management systems as a means for the construction industry to respond to these issues. Using a previous approach, the views of small and medium construction companies were sought, using questionnaires to ask respondents to reveal their perceived benefits of and barriers to implementing the ISO 14000 suite of environmental management standards in the UK. Detailed statistical analysis showed that environmental management systems can sometimes produce quantifiable benefits to organisations in terms of cost reduction. However, from a contractor’s view, the greatest benefit was a reduction in environmental impact outweighing financial benefits. Findings also demonstrated numerous barriers to an organisation exist, both internal and external, regarding adoption and use of environmental management systems. The most critical barrier was that cost savings do not always balance with the expense of implementation. Furthermore, waste minimisation at the design stage is viewed as most important. In general, the opinions gauged in this study indicated that short-term profits are normally considered more imperative than long-term gains. Therefore, despite a need to focus on developing strategies for removing or reducing the challenges of environmental management systems, the reality is that they may not be the panacea to sustainable development, as is often touted.
  • Corals as canaries in the coalmine: Towards the incorporation of marine ecosystems into the ‘One Health’ concept

    Sweet, Michael; Burian, Alfred; Bulling, Mark; University of Derby (Elsevier BV, 2021-02-02)
    ‘One World – One Health’ is a developing concept which aims to explicitly incorporate linkages between the environment and human society into wildlife and human health care. Past work in the field has concentrated on aspects of disease, particularly emerging zoonoses, and focused on terrestrial systems. Here, we argue that marine environments are crucial components of the ‘One World – One Health’ framework, and that coral reefs are the epitome of its underlying philosophy. That is, they provide vast contributions to a wide range of ecosystem services with strong and direct links to human well-being. Further, the sensitivity of corals to climate change, and the current emergence of a wide range of diseases, make coral reefs ideal study systems to assess links, impacts, and feedback mechanisms that can affect human and ecosystem health. There are well established protocols for monitoring corals, as well as global networks of coral researchers, but there remain substantial challenges to understanding these complex systems, their health and links to provisioning of ecosystem services. We explore these challenges and conclude with a look at how developing technology offers potential ways of addressing them. We argue that a greater integration of coral reef research into the ‘One World – One Health’ framework will enrich our understanding of the many links within, and between, ecosystems and human society. This will ultimately support the development of measures for improving the health of both humans and the environment.
  • Investing in Blue Natural Capital to Secure a Future for the Red Sea Ecosystems

    Cziesielski, Maha J.; Duarte, Carlos M.; Aalismail, Nojood; Al-Hafedh, Yousef; Anton, Andrea; Baalkhuyur, Faiyah; Baker, Andrew C.; Balke, Thorsten; Baums, Iliana B.; Berumen, Michael; et al. (Frontiers Media SA, 2021-01-15)
    For millennia, coastal and marine ecosystems have adapted and flourished in the Red Sea’s unique environment. Surrounded by deserts on all sides, the Red Sea is subjected to high dust inputs and receives very little freshwater input, and so harbors a high salinity. Coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and mangroves flourish in this environment and provide socio-economic and environmental benefits to the bordering coastlines and countries. Interestingly, while coral reef ecosystems are currently experiencing rapid decline on a global scale, those in the Red Sea appear to be in relatively better shape. That said, they are certainly not immune to the stressors that cause degradation, such as increasing ocean temperature, acidification and pollution. In many regions, ecosystems are already severely deteriorating and are further threatened by increasing population pressure and large coastal development projects. Degradation of these marine habitats will lead to environmental costs, as well as significant economic losses. Therefore, it will result in a missed opportunity for the bordering countries to develop a sustainable blue economy and integrate innovative nature-based solutions. Recognizing that securing the Red Sea ecosystems’ future must occur in synergy with continued social and economic growth, we developed an action plan for the conservation, restoration, and growth of marine environments of the Red Sea. We then investigated the level of resources for financial and economic investment that may incentivize these activities. This study presents a set of commercially viable financial investment strategies, ecological innovations, and sustainable development opportunities, which can, if implemented strategically, help ensure long-term economic benefits while promoting environmental conservation. We make a case for investing in blue natural capital and propose a strategic development model that relies on maintaining the health of natural ecosystems to safeguard the Red Sea’s sustainable development.
  • Species-Specific Variations in the Metabolomic Profiles of Acropora hyacinthus and Acropora millepora Mask Acute Temperature Stress Effects in Adult Coral Colonies

    Sweet, Michael; Bulling, Mark; Varshavi, Dorsa; Lloyd, Gavin R.; Jankevics, Andris; Najdekr, Lukáš; Weber, Ralf J. M.; Viant, Mark R.; Craggs, Jamie; University of Derby; et al. (Frontiers Media SA, 2021-03-25)
    Coral reefs are suffering unprecedented declines in health state on a global scale. Some have suggested that human assisted evolution or assisted gene flow may now be necessary to effectively restore reefs and pre-condition them for future climate change. An understanding of the key metabolic processes in corals, including under stressed conditions, would greatly facilitate the effective application of such interventions. To date, however, there has been little research on corals at this level, particularly regarding studies of the metabolome of Scleractinian corals. Here, the metabolomic profiles [measured using 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H NMR) and ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS)] of two dominant reef building corals, Acropora hyacinthus and A. millepora, from two distinct geographical locations (Australia and Singapore) were characterized. We assessed how an acute temperature stress (an increase of 3.25°C ± 0.28 from ambient control levels over 8 days), shifted the corals’ baseline metabolomic profiles. Regardless of the profiling method utilized, metabolomic signatures of coral colonies were significantly distinct between coral species, a result supporting previous work. However, this strong species-specific metabolomic signature appeared to mask any changes resulting from the acute heat stress. On closer examination, we were able to discriminate between control and temperature stressed groups using a partial least squares discriminant analysis classification model (PLSDA). However, in all cases “late” components needed to be selected (i.e., 7 and 8 instead of 1 and 2), suggesting any treatment effect was small, relative to other sources of variation. This highlights the importance of pre-characterizing the coral colony metabolomes, and of factoring that knowledge into any experimental design that seeks to understand the apparently subtle metabolic effects of acute heat stress on adult corals. Further research is therefore needed to decouple these apparent individual and species-level metabolomic responses to climate change in corals.
  • Going with the flow: How corals in high‐flow environments can beat the heat

    Fifer, James; Bentlage, Bastian; Lemer, Sarah; Fujimura, Atsushi G.; Sweet, Michael; Raymundo, Laurie J.; University of Guam Marine Laboratory, UOG Station, Mangilao, GU, USA; Boston University, Boston, MA, USA; University of Derby (Wiley, 2021-03-02)
    Coral reefs are experiencing unprecedented declines in health on a global scale leading to severe reductions in coral cover. One major cause of this decline is increasing sea surface temperature. However, conspecific colonies separated by even small spatial distances appear to show varying responses to this global stressor. One factor contributing to differential responses to heat stress is variability in the coral's micro‐environment, such as the amount of water flow a coral experiences. High flow provides corals with a variety of health benefits, including heat stress mitigation. Here, we investigate how water flow affects coral gene expression and provides resilience to increasing temperatures. We examined host and photosymbiont gene expression of Acropora cf. pulchra colonies in discrete in situ flow environments during a natural bleaching event. In addition, we conducted controlled ex situ tank experiments where we exposed A. cf. pulchra to different flow regimes and acute heat stress. Notably, we observed distinct flow‐driven transcriptomic signatures related to energy expenditure, growth, heterotrophy and a healthy coral host–photosymbiont relationship. We also observed disparate transcriptomic responses during bleaching recovery between the high‐ and low‐flow sites. Additionally, corals exposed to high flow showed “frontloading” of specific heat‐stress‐related genes such as heat shock proteins, antioxidant enzymes, genes involved in apoptosis regulation, innate immunity and cell adhesion. We posit that frontloading is a result of increased oxidative metabolism generated by the increased water movement. Gene frontloading may at least partially explain the observation that colonies in high‐flow environments show higher survival and/or faster recovery in response to bleaching events.

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