Marine mammal conservation : over the horizon
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Marine mammals can play important ecological roles in aquatic ecosystems, and their presence can be key to community structure and function. Consequently, marine mammals are often considered indicators of ecosystem health and flagship species. Yet, historical population declines caused by exploitation, and additional current threats, such as climate change, fisheries bycatch, pollution and maritime development, continue to impact many marine mammal species, and at least 25% are classified as threatened (Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable) on the IUCN Red List. Conversely, some species have experienced population increases/recoveries in recent decades, reflecting management interventions, and are heralded as conservation successes. To continue these successes and reverse the downward trajectories of at-risk species, it is necessary to evaluate the threats faced by marine mammals and the conservation mechanisms available to address them. Additionally, there is a need to identify evidence-based priorities of both research and conservation needs across a range of settings and taxa. To that effect we: (1) outline the key threats to marine mammals and their impacts, identify the associated knowledge gaps and recommend actions needed; (2) discuss the merits and downfalls of established and emerging conservation mechanisms; (3) outline the application of research and monitoring techniques; and (4) highlight particular taxa/populations that are in urgent need of focus.
Nelms , S E , Alfaro-Shigueto , J , Arnould , J P Y , Avila , I C , Bengtson Nash , S , Campbell , E , Carter , M I D , Collins , T , Currey , R J C , Domit , C , Franco-Trecu , V , Fuentes , M M P B , Gilman , E , Harcourt , R G , Hines , E M , Hoelzel , A R , Hooker , S K , Johnston , D W , Kelkar , N , Kiszka , J J , Laidre , K L , Mangel , J C , Marsh , H , Maxwell , S M , Onoufriou , A B , Palacios , D M , Pierce , G J , Ponnampalam , L S , Porter , L J , Russell , D J F , Stockin , K A , Sutaria , D , Wambiji , N , Weir , C R , Wilson , B & Godley , B J 2021 , ' Marine mammal conservation : over the horizon ' , Endangered Species Research , vol. 44 , pp. 291-325 . https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01115
Endangered Species Research
Copyright © The authors 2021. Open Access under Creative Commons by Attribution Licence. Use, distribution and reproduction are unrestricted. Authors and original publication must be credited.
DescriptionS.E.N. acknowledges funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NE/L002434/1). S.E.N. and B.J.G. also acknowledge support from the European Union (INDICIT; EU grant agreement no. 110661/2018/794561/SUB/ENV. C2). E.C. has a doctoral fellowship from the World Wildlife Foundation - Education for Nature. M.I.D.C. was supported by the UK Department for Business and Industrial Strategy (BEIS; project number OESEA-16-78). D.J.F.R. was supported by National Capability funding from the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) (grant no. SMRU1001). A.B.O. acknowledges funding from the Office of Naval Research (award no. N000141613017). D.M.P. was supported by the Whale Habitat Professorship Endowment Fund, Marine Mammal Institute, Oregon State University. K.A.S. was supported by a Royal Society of New Zealand Te Aparangi Rutherford Discovery Fellowship.
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