Scientific consensus: sea level could rise half a meter this century

The latest assessment from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects that sea level will rise between 18 cm and 59 cm over the course of this century, due to human-caused global warming and the resultant thermal expansion of sea water. The range reflects six different models, each based on various assumptions. The IPCC notes that these models do not include the possibility that the melting of polar ice sheets could be nonlinear. That is, ice sheets might reach a point at which the speed of their melting accelerates rapidly, leading to faster sea level rise than forecasted by the IPCC. Although recent observations of polar ecosystems suggest such acceleration could occur, current scientific understanding of the phenomenon was too limited for inclusion in the report’s models. The report is available at For experts’ recommendations on how MPA managers can ensure their sites remain relevant in the face of climate change, see the December 2006/January 2007 edition of MPA News.

Report examines links between marine pollution and resilience to climate change

A new report from the UN Environment Programme highlights links between sustainability of coastal ecosystems and levels of pollution in a changing climate. The report cites recent research in the Seychelles: there, coral reefs that were bleached in the late 1990s by high sea-surface temperatures have generally recovered faster when facing lower levels of pollution, dredging, and other human-induced disturbance. Recovery was slower in more polluted waters. Christian Nelleman, senior officer of the report team, said, “We were well aware of the fact that land reclamation and coastal development could damage reefs in most tropical waters. What is really concerning is the fact that coastal pollution effectively may reduce the ability of reefs to recover.” The report Our Precious Coasts: Marine Pollution, Climate Change and Resilience of Coastal Ecosystems is available in PDF format at

Survey launched for marine area managers; opportunity to win US$300 for participating

Managers and researchers of coral-reef marine managed areas (MMAs) are invited to participate in a survey of costs and benefits generated by MMAs and how these correspond with conservation success. Participants will be entered in a prize draw, from which ten individuals will be awarded US$300 each. The survey, in English and Spanish, is part of ongoing research by doctoral candidate Venetia Hargreaves-Allen at Imperial College London (UK), with support from Reefbase and the WorldFish Center. The English version is at; the Spanish version is at The deadline for participation is 1 June 2007. A follow-up report, including best practice guidelines, will be available by e-mail to those who request one in the survey.

Presentations available on fisheries management in Mediterranean MPAs

Presentations are available online from an October 2006 workshop on the management of fisheries inside several Mediterranean MPAs. The workshop was led by MedPAN, the network of MPA managers in the Mediterranean. The presentations, most of which are in French only, are in PDF format at

Article available on MPAs in Puerto Rico

A recent article in Ocean & Coastal Management journal (Volume 49 [2006]) describes past and present-day development of MPAs in the US commonwealth of Puerto Rico, from historically “top-down” designations to today’s public participatory processes. The first MPA in Puerto Rico was designated in 1918. Paper reprints of the article “Marine protected areas in Puerto Rico: Historical and current perspectives” are available from the authors: Alfonso Aguilar-Perera (, Michelle Scharer (, and Manuel Valdes-Pizzini (