Upcoming Webinars

Assessing the ecological and social performance of artificial reefs

Tuesday, June 18, 1 pm US EDT/10 am US PDT/5 pm UTC. Presented by: Sylvain Pioch of University Montpellier 3 and Jessica Salaün of CRIOBE/EPHE University Perpignan. Description: Many types of structures – ranging from intentionally designed concrete modules with nature-inspired designs to decommissioned ships and petroleum platforms – have been deployed in marine water to create artificial reefs. Initially, the artificial reefs were deployed to enhance fishery production, but they can also protect areas against prohibited trawling, provide eco-mooring sites, substitute for natural reefs for diving activities, and help restore habitats or protect species. Increasingly, artificial reefs are being deployed to rehabilitate marine ecosystems and their functionalities (e.g., nursery, feeding, or reproductive) and to mitigate the effects of anthropogenic impacts. In the future, scientifically-informed deployment of artificial reefs could provide corridors for larval dispersal and the juvenile and adult migrations of marine organisms. This webinar will provide an overview of historic and current reasons for the deployment of artificial reefs, recent studies of why and how artificial reefs have met these goals socially and ecologically, estimates of the how much of the global seabed is covered with artificial reefs, and the risks and management needed for deploying artificial reefs successfully in the future.

The role of marine protected areas in providing ecosystem services to improve ocean and human health

Thursday, June 20, 10 am US EDT/7 am US PDT/2 pm UTC/3 pm BST/4 pm CEST. Presented by: Gillian Ainsworth and Sebastian Villasante of the University of Santiago de Compostela. Description: Marine protected areas (MPAs) are key management tools that contribute to the conservation of marine ecosystems worldwide, increasing the ecosystem services that nature provides to people. These ecosystem services include the release of oxygen, leisure opportunities, cultural inspiration, and the provision of food and medicines that improve the health and well-being of millions of people. In this talk we explain how natural processes and components in MPAs are valued by different groups of people and how we can maximize their effectiveness and avoid negative socio-economic effects such as social conflicts and inequitable distribution of benefits. We recommend that the MPA creation and management decision-making include the collection and integration of interdisciplinary data. This data can be used to develop pluralistic methods of valuation and foster social equity by involving local stakeholders.

Past Webinars

Barriers, Opportunities, and Emerging Solutions in Applying Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: IUU Fishing and Transnational Crime

This webinar originally aired on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Presented by: Stuart J. Green of Blue-Green Advisors and Farid Maruf of USAID-SUFIA-TS, Tetra Tech. Description: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Advanced Analytics (AA), and Machine Learning (ML) can be transformational in promoting fair, legal, and sustainable fisheries management across the Indo-Pacific region. This webinar will delve into the key findings of the recent USAID report “Applying AI/AA/ML in Promoting Fair, Legal and Sustainable Regional Fisheries Management in the Indo-Pacific Region.” This webinar will explore emerging technological solutions that show potential in overcoming barriers to sustainable fisheries management and enhancing monitoring, analysis, and enforcement mechanisms. These innovative technologies have the potential to revolutionize fisheries management, ensuring ecological sustainability and economic viability for coastal communities.

Designing and delivering carbon and biodiversity credit schemes to benefit MPA managers, indigenous peoples and local communities

This webinar originally aired on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. Presented by: Julian Clifton of the University of Lincoln. Description: Carbon and biodiversity credit schemes (often collectively referred to as ‘nature-based solutions’) are increasingly highlighted as a means to deliver on global biodiversity and climate change targets. The total size of the nature-based solutions market is projected to reach around $200 billion by 2050, representing a significant means to address the growing gap in conservation financing in protected areas worldwide. It is imperative, however, to ensure that the design and delivery of monetary or non-monetary benefits (termed co-benefits) arising from such credit schemes involve relevant resource users, including indigenous peoples, on an equitable and just basis. This webinar will introduce the current landscape of biodiversity and credit schemes, identifying the main actors and processes involved. The webinar will identify a suite of principles and criteria which provide a framework for managers and communities within protected areas to evaluate the impacts of credit schemes on local resource users and ensure that co-benefits are tailored to the local social, cultural, political and environmental context. The role of MPA managers as intermediaries in scheme design and implementation will also be highlighted. It is hoped that this webinar will enable MPA managers to work alongside resource users in the co-design and implementation of nature-based solutions schemes to facilitate the long term delivery of appropriate co-benefits to MPAs and their resident communities.

Bringing local communities and sustainable growth opportunities together for sea turtle conservation

This webinar originally aired on Thursday, May 2, 2024. Presented by: Kirsten Fairweather of Project Biodiversity. Description: Project Biodiversity (Projeto Biodiversidade) is a Cabo Verdean NGO that unites local conservation efforts with opportunities for sustainable growth through programs that benefit Cabo Verde’s unique ecosystems and its people. At the heart of Project Biodiversity’s work is the protection and conservation of the loggerhead sea turtle. The archipelago supports one of the world’s largest nesting aggregations of loggerhead sea turtles and the only major nesting area for loggerhead turtles along the eastern Atlantic. Project Biodiversity runs a wide range of programs to protect nesting turtle populations – including running night patrols and drone monitoring of turtle nesting beaches to prevent poaching; providing educational programs to local communities, youth, and tourists; designating Tourist Friendly Hotels; and relocating nests to hatcheries. Join this webinar to learn about the wide range of measures taken to protect Cabo Verde’s sea turtle nesting aggregations, what has worked, what hasn’t worked, and how Project Biodiversity has created sustainable growth opportunities for local communities with this work.

Counting whales from space with SPACEWHALE

This webinar originally aired on Wednesday, March 13, 2024. Presented by: Julika Voss of BioConsult SH. Description: BioConsult’s new service SPACEWHALE counts whales and other wildlife species from space using satellite imagery. These images are screened and evaluated in a semi-automatic process combining state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and quality assurance by marine mammal experts. SPACEWHALE can answer key questions about how many whales of which species inhabit a sea area of interest and when they occur. This allows study of previously unexplored areas and can help accelerate the designation of Important Marine Mammal Areas and Marine Protected Areas, provide environmental impact assessments for offshore wind farm operators, and offer an efficient tool for mandatory baseline monitoring of whale populations. This webinar will provide an overview of SPACEWHALE as well as discuss past projects – including a study in New Zealand comparing the results of SPACEWHALE with those of a boat-based survey – and current projects – including data collection in the Indian Ocean where SPACEWHALE will provide baseline data for the implementation of Important Marine Mammal Areas and Marine Protected Areas. Learn more at https://www.spacewhales.de.

Vida Manglar Project: Certifying conservation actions to reduce carbon emissions and benefit local communities

This webinar originally aired Wednesday, March 6, 2024. Presented by: Paula Cristina Sierra Correa and Anny Paola Zamora Bornachera of INVEMAR. Description: Vida Manglar Project is a joint initiative of local communities and institutions to reduce the effects of climate change and conserve the mangrove ecosystems of the Columbian Caribbean. The project seeks the certification of actions that reduce carbon emissions from the loss of mangrove forests. It has achieved certifications from Verra’s Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards, allowing it to enter the carbon credit market. Some of the project’s activities include establishing conservation and restoration agreements with local communities and ranchers and creating alternative livelihoods – such as ecotourism; beekeeping; and participatory monitoring of manatee, caiman, river otters, and birds – for local communities. Project activities benefit 12.000 inhabitants that rely on mangrove forest ecosystem services, 435 families, and 14 mangrove community organizations. As a whole, the project to date has avoided the emission of about 69.000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and aims to avoid the emission of about 930.000 tons CO2 over the next 20 years.

Mexican Mangrove Monitoring System (SMMM): Knowing to conserve

This webinar originally aired on Thursday, February 29, 2024. Recording audio is in both English and Spanish. Presented by: SMMM Team of the National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO). Description: Mangroves provide valuable ecosystem services worth billions of dollars. Countries with extensive mangrove areas have implemented management programs and conservation since the 1980s. However, the global area of mangroves continues to decline, and restoration projects and rehabilitation are having limited success, especially at the spatial scales necessary to restore functional properties. The effective long-term monitoring of mangroves is essential to identifying existing and potential threats to and improving the success of restoration and rehabilitation programs. This webinar will present the origin, development, implementation and main results of the Mexican Mangrove Monitoring System (SMMM). The SMMM identifies changes in the mangrove ecosystem through the periodic evaluation of its spatial distribution and the state of its natural and social attributes. The information generated supports the protection, conservation, and management programs of Mexican mangroves.

Networking urban MPAs to face their diverse and unique challenges

This webinar originally aired on Thursday, February 22, 2024. Presented by: Jean-Jacques Goussard and Lilian Wetzel of the MPA Resilience Partnership, Mike De Luca of the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve, Mathieu Ducrocq of the Regional Network of Marine Protected Areas in West Africa (RAMPAO), and Jacqueline Gautier-DeBernardi of the Monaco Association for Nature Conservation. Description: As coastal populations become more concentrated, many of today’s coastal MPAs will become urban or peri-urban in the next few decades. This urbanization will occur against a backdrop of accelerating climate-related changes. While the concept of sustainable coastal cities is emerging, MPAs in urban contexts and their unique resilience challenges have remained largely on the sidelines of the marine and coastal conservation movement. Given the massive and diverse pressures that urban MPAs face, they are ideal pilot laboratories for marine and coastal resilience building and conservation. The MPA Resilience Partnership is therefore launching a global initiative to network urban MPAs. This webinar will present this innovative initiative and its diverse objectives for the first time and will gather webinar participants’ insights and contributions for this initiative. This initiative has arisen from insights gained from use of R-SAT (the MPA Resilience Self-Assessment Tool) which is currently used by more than a hundred MPAs worldwide.

Mud matters: Understanding the role of ocean sediments in storing carbon

This webinar originally aired on Thursday, February 15, 2024. Presented by: Sara Hutto of the Greater Farallones Association and Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries and Doug George of NOAA. Description: The sediments of the vast ocean floor represent the world’s largest non-fossil pool of organic carbon, yet they are not well-studied or protected. The carbon in these sediments can remain stored for thousands to millions of years; however, activities such as mining, oil and gas exploration, and bottom-contact fishing can disturb sediment, resuspending it into the water column and potentially remineralizing carbon into aqueous CO2. Current understanding of marine sediment carbon along the US West Coast is limited, constraining meaningful management and protection of these critically important carbon sinks. The Greater Farallones Association, in partnership with NOAA Office for Coastal Management (OCM) and NOAA’s Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries, conducted the first systematic evaluation of marine sedimentary carbon stocks in North-central California. This webinar will discuss the importance of marine sediments in global carbon sequestration and storage. It will also present the results of this study, including an estimate of the carbon stock within the Sanctuaries’ marine sediments and identification of carbon “hot-spots” on the seafloor based on a novel spatial model of carbon density.

Blue carbon as a natural climate solution

This webinar originally aired on Tuesday, February 13, 2024 (Australian EDT). Presented by: Peter Macreadie of the Blue Carbon Lab at Deakin University, Australia. Description: Blue carbon ecosystems (BCE), including mangrove forests, seagrass meadows, and tidal marshes, store carbon and provide co-benefits such as coastal protection and fisheries enhancement. Blue carbon sequestration has therefore been suggested as a natural climate solution. In this webinar, the Blue Carbon Lab at Deakin University will examine the potential for BCEs to act as carbon sinks, as well as the opportunities and challenges to protect or restore ecosystems for this function. Touching on local case studies and projects, the webinar will showcase how improving policy and financial approaches, engaging communities, and boosting our science can help operationalize blue carbon to achieve measurable changes to atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, provide multiple co-benefits, and address national obligations associated with international agreements.

Using oral histories to improve MPA planning and management

This webinar originally aired Thursday, January 18,2024. Presented by: Nicola Johnstone of New South Wales Department of Primary Industries Fisheries Marine Strategy Implementation. Description: Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been used for decades to conserve biological diversity and ecological systems, underpinned by knowledge gained from natural science disciplines. However, little consideration has been given to understanding the human element. Oral histories as a research methodology can help address this. They can contribute significant new knowledge and insights to the planning and management of an MPA, and through the research process, build relationships with community, improve trust, and bridge the people-environment-management divide. This was demonstrated in the Solitary Islands Marine Park (SIMP) in northern New South Wales, Australia. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with seventy people from varied backgrounds who have a relationship with the SIMP. Three key themes were explored: the process to declare the SIMP, how and why people connect to the SIMP, and changes in the SIMP observed over time. This webinar will illustrate the substantial benefits of using oral history for MPA planning and management and will provide tips and best practices for using oral histories as a research methodology.

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