Nov 28, 2015

US Marine Natural Monuments: From President Clinton to President Obama

The Justice Department explains why designation of marine national monuments is legally sound - in certain locations though not in others - and ecologically important.

"Establishing a National Monument in the Territorial Sea or the EEZ." was prepared by Randolph D. Moss, Asst AG, Office of Legal Counsel U.S. Department of Justice* . The key legal assertions are summarized at the top of the memo as follows: (bulletpointed for ease of reading) (see transcription of full report)

"We conclude that the President could use his authority under the Antiquities Act to establish a national monument in the Territorial Sea.

* "We also believe the President could establish a national monument in the EEZ to protect marine resources.

* "We are unconvinced, however, that the President could establish a national wildlife refuge in either area based on implied authority rooted in practice.

"Finally, with respect to the management issues, we believe that

* "Department of the Interior must have management authority over any national monument, that
* "The Fish and Wildlife Service cannot share management responsibilities with another agency over any national wildlife refuge area within a national monument, that

* "Fishery management plans issued under the MSFCMA must be consistent with regulations applicable to national monuments, and that

* * Establishment of a national monument would not preclude the establishment of a national marine sanctuary in the same area under the NMSA" [National Marine Sanctuaries Act]"

The above is the opening summary of a much longer document
whose sections are:


PART 1. Establishing a National Monument under the Antiquities Act.
(A). The territorial Sea Pg 11.
(B). The Exclusive Economic Zone Pg 16


A. Management of National Monuments Pg 24.
B. Effect of the MSFCMA on Establishment and Management of National Monuments. Pg 26.
C. Effect of Establishment of a National Monument on the Secretary of Commerce's Authority to Establish a National Marine Sanctuary under the NMSA. Pg 27

* Randolph D. Moss is presently US District Court Judge in the District of Columbia Court

Maine Ocean Acidification meeting 11/23/15 Audio MP3s

On November 23, 2015, a meeting was held  of governments officials, businesses and NGOs involved in Ocean Acidification research, education and advocacy.  Susie Arnold of Island Institute moderated the meeting. Listen below to  excerpts from the meeting on updates on research and monitoring.  (mp3s)  Or save them to your desktop or phone.

Introductions   5min 27sec

Nick Battista, Island Institute 3min 32sec

OA Updates 1 Bigelow Lab. 7min 30sec

OA Updates 2. 8 minutes

OA Updates 3 Mook Sea Farm. 3min 30 sec

OA Updates 4  Richard Nelson. 3min 30sec

OA Monitoring 1. 6min 21sec

OA Monitoring 2, 3minutes

OA Monitoring 3.  10 minutes

OA Monitoring 4. 10min 30sec

OA Monitoring 5. 5min30sec

OA Monitoring 6. 8min 45sec

OA Monitoring 7. 7min 30sec

OA Monitoring 8. to end of meeting 8min 9sec

Nov 26, 2015

Canada's Scotian Shelf Acidification Report: Micro- marine organisms affected, too.

Read what Canada has found to be true or at least, likely, of ocean acidification's effects on the Scotian Shelf ecosystem  in the State of the Scotian Shelf 2012, We observe that like theirs, our region's marine microbes that create tiny calcium based shells to live within are affected by reduced pH - as much as or more than we megafauna and macrophytes! Here's the report's section on marine microbes

4.3 Calcifying Micro- organism Productivity 
Micro-organisms are small bacteria, phytoplankton, zooplankton, and invertebrate species. They are responsible for almost half of all global primary productivity (Rost et al. 2008). Primary productivity is the production of oxygen and other organic compounds.

Micro-organisms are also the basis of the marine food web. Due to climate change, changes in dissolved carbon dioxide concentrations, pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and stratification will all combine to influence the composition and dominance of micro-organisms in the sea. This will impact their role in respiration, nutrient cycling, and many other important biological processes (Rost et al. 2008) (see Climate Change theme paper).

In some instances, however, increased dissolved carbon dioxide in ocean waters could exhibit beneficial impacts on certain micro-organism species, due to varying respiratory responses. For others, more negative responses may be observed.

In short, increased carbon dioxide dissolution in the sea is expected to affect micro-organism species differently, by impacting species-specific productivity, composition, assemblage, and succession (Orr et al. 2005; Rost et al. 2008).

Calcification is important to the prosperity of many micro-organisms by way of body structure, functioning, and protection (Pörtner 2008). Calcification is often a function of complex physiological processes in organisms that make use of bicarbonate or trapped carbon dioxide rather than carbonate, thus, although carbonate saturation may be a good proxy for calcification it is not necessarily a direct driver at the organism level (Atkinson and Cuet 2008; Pörtner 2008).

Some calcareous-based micro-organisms can survive extended periods of time in the absence of their calcareous structures, while many oth

ers cannot (e.g., echinoderms such as starfish) (Pörtner 2008). Typical calcareous marine micro-organisms include foraminifera (calcite shells), coccolithophores (calcite shells), and euthecosomatous pteropods (aragonite shells). They account for almost all of the flux of calcium carbonate from the ocean’s surface waters to the deep sea (Fabry et al. 2008). Foraminifera and euthecosomatous pteropods are particularly important inhabitants of sub-polar regions such as the Scotian Shelf. Micro-organisms vary in their response to ocean acidification, even within like species, and this has implications for the adaptation of individual species (Fabry et al. 2008). For lower trophic calcifying marine micro-organisms, such as Emiliania huxleyi (Figure 7), declines in their population may have significant implications on the ecosystem as a whole, by causing changes in food chain dynamics (Riebesell et al. 2000; Fabry et al. 2008; Rost et al. 2008). Emiliania huxleyi are commonly found in the waters of Atlantic Canada, includi-

ng those on the eastern Scotian Shelf (Brown and Yoder 1994). The species is particularly vulnerable to changes in ocean pH. In general, acute and long-term sensitivity to dissolved carbon dioxide is likely to be highest in lower trophic invertebrate species, which are poorlysuited to tolerate changes that can influence important life processes such as calcification (Pörtner 2008). The result is a lower tolerance of these species to changes in temperature that will reduce their spatial distribution, associated species interactions, and affect their role in the ecosystem (Pörtner 2008). Pteropods are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification due to their highly-soluble aragonite shells, while very little is known about the impacts of ocean acidification on cnidarians, sponges, bryozoans, annelids, brachiopods, and tunicates (Fabry et al. 2008). In contrast, increased dissolved carbon dioxide appears to have little impact on marine diatoms (Fabry et al. 2008). Some zooplankton species may exhibit diminished respiration, with species reliant on calcium carbonate showing signs of depressed physiological function (Royal Society 2005; Fabry et al. 2008; Rost et al. 2008)

FIGURE 7. Evidence of reduced calcification in two calcareous marine coccolithophore plankton species: Emiliania huxleyi (see Panels a,b, d, and e) and Gephyrocapsa oceanica (see Panels c and f) (Riebesell et al. 2000). The organisms were exposed to simulated dissolved carbon dioxide concentrations of approximately 300 ppm by volume (Panels a–c) and 780-850 ppm by volume (Panels d–f), respectively. The scale bar represents 1 micrometre (µm) in length (one thousandth of a millimetre). At the higher simulated dissolved carbon dioxide concentrations, organisms demonstrated signs of malformation, as represented by abnormalities in their shape and roughness of their edges (reprinted with permission from the Nature Publishing Group, Macmillan Publishers Ltd: Nature, Riebesell et al. 2000)..

Elevated dissolved carbon dioxide concentrations favour plankton species with high carbon demands and low surface area-tovolume ratios, that is, larger micro-organism species or species that lack carbon dependence. As a result, increased dissolved carbon dioxide may cause a shift in the global ocean’s planktonic community structure (Wolf-Gladrow et al. 1999). For instance, non-photosynthetic micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi, and protists may prosper under conditions of a lowered-pH sea. Many of these organisms have greater metabolic variability, which could give them a competitive advantage (e.g., nitrogenfixing cyanobacteria may benefit from ocean acidification) (Royal Society 2005). This could further contribute to an altered chem

stry of the sea (Orr et al. 2005). Last, increased dissolved carbon dioxide in the sea may increase the extra-cellular polysaccharides found on surfaces of plankton organisms. Extra-cellular polysaccharides behave as a glue that binds multiple organisms into large aggregates, subsequently altering the residence time and flux of planktonic biomass from surface waters into the deep sea (Royal Society 2005). As a result, essential minerals and energy found in the surface ocean could also dramatically change