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Sustaining Aquatic Biodiversity. G. Tyler Miller’s Living in the Environment 13 th Edition Chapter 24. Key Concepts. Economic and ecological importance. Effects of human activities. Protecting and sustaining aquatic diversity. Protecting and sustaining fisheries.

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Sustaining Aquatic Biodiversity

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Sustaining Aquatic Biodiversity

G. Tyler Miller’s

Living in the Environment

13th Edition

Chapter 24

Key Concepts

  • Economic and ecological importance

  • Effects of human activities

  • Protecting and sustaining aquatic diversity

  • Protecting and sustaining fisheries

  • Protecting and restoring wetlands

Case Study: A Biological Roller Coaster Ride in Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria has lost its endemic fish species to large introduced predatory fish.

A Biological Roller Coaster Ride in Lake Victoria

Reasons for Lake Victoria’s loss of biodiversity:

Introduction of Nile perch.

Loss of native cichlid species

Lake experienced algal blooms from nutrient runoff.

Invasion of water hyacinth has blocked sunlight and deprived oxygen.

Nile perch is in decline because it has eaten its own food supply.


We know fairly little about the biodiversity of the world’s marine and freshwater systems.

The world’s marine and freshwater systems provide important ecological and economic services.

The Importance of Aquatic Biodiversity

The most biologically diverse habitats include:

Coral reefs


Deep ocean floor

Highest near the coast

25,000 known fish species

The Importance of Aquatic Biodiversity:Ecological and Economic

Food Items

6% of total protein; 16% of animal protein

Many Chemicals


from seaweed

Medicines and Drugs

Antibiotics and anticancer drug, adhesives, bone reconstructive materials

seaweed, sponges, mollusks, coral barnacles, and other fish

APES Bell Ringer 11/28/2012

  • What are 4 human impacts on aquatic biodiversity?

Human Impacts on Aquatic Biodiversity

Species loss and endangerment

Marine habitat loss and degradation

Freshwater habitat loss and degradation


Nonnative species

Pollution and global warming

Species Loss and Endangerment


Habitat destruction


Freshwater species at greater risk

Mussels, crayfish, amphibians, fish

Marine Habitat Loss and Degradation

53% of coastal wetlands in US have disappeared


Coastal development

58% of world’s coral reefs are threatened

Coastal development


Warmer ocean temperatures

Two-thirds of US estuaries are at risk from pollution

35% of world’s mangroves have disappeared

Freshwater Habitat Loss and Degradation

The world has lost more than half of its inland wetlands

Agricultural and urban development

60% of the world’s larger rivers are fragmented by dams, diversions, and canals

Flood control levees and dikes

Alter and destroy aquatic habitats

Disconnect rivers from their floodplains

Eliminate wetlands and backwaters (spawning areas)


75% of the world’s 200 commercially valuable marine fish species are overfished

Overfishing leads to commercial extinction

Depletions and extinction of species unintentionally caught as bycatch

Non-native Species

Deliberate or accidental introduction into coastal waters, lakes and wetlands

purple loosestrife

Asian swamp eel

zebra mussle

Displace or cause extinction of native species

68% of fish extinctions

Pollution and Global Warming

Major pollution threats


Acid deposition

Plant nutrients

Toxic chemicals

Coastal development

Sediment and soil erosion

Global warming could

alter migration and feeding patterns

increase ocean temperature

raise sea levels

  • 44% comes from runoff from developed coastal areas


Six of the world’s seven major turtle species are threatened or endangered because o human activities.

Figure 12-4

Protect endangered and threatened species

Example: Sea turtle

Turtle extrusion devices (TEDs)

Olive ridley





Black turtle

Green turtle


Kemp's Ridley

Shrimp trawler

Turtle Extrusion Device

Area enlarged right

Case Study: The Florida Manatee and Water Hyacinths

Manatee can eat unwanted Water Hyacinths.

Endangered due to:

Habitat loss.

Entanglement from fishing lines and nets.

Hit by speed boats.

Stress from cold.

Low reproductive rate

Case Study: Commercial Whaling

After many of the world’s whale species were over-harvested, commercial whaling was banned in 1960, but the ban may be overturned.

Commercial Whaling

Despite ban, Japan, Norway, and Iceland kill about 1,300 whales of certain species for “scientific purposes”.

Although meat is still sold commercially.

Key Concepts

  • Economic and ecological importance

  • Effects of human activities

  • Protecting and sustaining aquatic diversity

  • Protecting and sustaining fisheries

  • Protecting and restoring wetlands

Protecting and Sustaining Marine Biodiversity

Identifying and protecting endangered and threatened species

Sea turtles

Turtle extrusion devices (TEDs)

National and International laws and treaties

CITES - Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species

Global Treaty on Migratory Species

US Marine Mammal Protection Act

US Endangered Species Act

US Whale Conservation and Protection Act

International Convention on Biological Diversity

Protecting and Sustaining Marine Biodiversity

Establish marine protected areas

Coastal nations have sovereignty over waters and seabeds up to 12 miles offshore

Jurisdiction over their Exclusive Economic Zone extends 200 miles offshore

Integrated coastal management

community based attempt to develop and use coastal resources sustainably

Protecting and Sustaining Marine Biodiversity

Regulating and preventing ocean pollution

Sustaining management of marine fisheries

Managing and Sustaining the World’s Marine Fisheries

Fishery regulation

Set, monitor, and enforce fishery catch limits below estimated MSY (maximum sustained yield)

Divide up fishing quotas

Require selective gear

Improve monitoring and enforcement

Economic approached

Reduce or eliminate subsidies

Impose fees for harvesting fish and shellfish from public managed offshore waters

Certify sustainable fisheries

Managing and Sustaining the World’s Marine Fisheries

Bycatch reduction

Wider mesh fish nets

Extrusion devices

Observers on boats

Multiple species licensing

Laws prohibiting throwing edible and marketable fish back to sea

Managing and Sustaining the World’s Marine Fisheries

Protected areas

Establish no-fishing marine areas

Protect marine habitats that are in good condition and disregard potentially hopeless cases

Strengthen commitment to marine biodiversity protection

Non-native invasions

Kill organisms in ship ballast water

Develop filters and traps

Require ships to dump ballast water beyond 200 mile limit

Managing and Sustaining the World’s Marine Fisheries

Consumer information

Use labeling to identify fish that have been harvested sustainably


Restrict location of fish farms to reduce loss of mangrove forests

Enact and enforce stricter pollution regulations

Increase productions of herbivorous aquaculture fish species

Protecting, Sustaining, and Restoring Wetlands


federal permit required

Mitigation banking

allows destruction of existing wetlands if an equal area of they same type of wetland is created or restored

Land use planning

steer agriculture and mining away from wetlands

Wetland restoration

often has limited success

Control of invasive species

purple loosestrife

Restoring the Florida Everglades

Natural flow of the Everglades has been diverted or disrupted.

Farmers planted vast agricultural land to sugarcane and vegetables.

Established Everglades National Park. Became the most endangered park.

Massive plumbing and land development projects cut off water flow

Restoring the Florida Everglades

1990 began the world’s largest ecological restoration project.

restore he curving flow of more than half of the Kissimmee River.

remove 400 km of canals and levees

create artificial marshes in previous farmland

add land adjacent to Everglades National Park

create network of artificial marshes

create 18 large reservoirs

capture much of the water flowing out to sea and return it to the Everglades

Protecting, Sustaining, and Restoring Wetlands

Protecting, Sustaining, and Restoring Lakes

Zebra mussel

  • Pollution

  • Cultural eutrophication

  • Water levels

  • Invasive species

Protecting, Sustaining, and Restoring Rivers

  • Pollution

  • Disruption of water flow

  • Loss of biodiversity

  • Invasive


Protecting, Sustaining, and Restoring Rivers

  • Disruption of water flow

    • 119 dams,

    • 19 hydroelectric dams

    • Salmon population dropped 94%

  • Salmon Restoration Project

    • upstream hatcheries

    • fish ladders

    • transport juveniles around dams

    • turning off turbines


We can help sustain freshwater fisheries by building and protecting populations of desirable species, preventing over-fishing, and decreasing populations of less desirable species.

A federal law helps protect a tiny fraction of U.S. wild and scenic rivers from dams and other forms of development.

National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (1968).

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