Consequences of global shipping traffic for marine giants

| January 31, 2019 | Leave a Comment

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Media Type: Article - Recent

Year of Publication: 2019

Author(s): Vanessa Pirotta, Alana Grech, Ian D Jonsen1, William F Laurance, Robert G Harcourt

Journal: The Ecological Society of America

Categories: ,

Abstract: Shipping routes in the ocean are analogous to terrestrial roads, in that they are regularly used thoroughfares that concentrate the movement of vessels between multiple locations. We applied a terrestrial road ecology framework to examine the ecological
impacts of increased global shipping on “marine giants” (ie great whales, basking sharks [Cetorhinus maximus], and whale sharks
[Rhincodon typus]). This framework aided in identifying where such “marine roads” and marine giants are likely to interact and
the consequences of those interactions. We also reviewed known impacts of shipping routes on these species, and then applied the
road ecology framework to detect unknown and potentially threatening processes. In the marine environment, such a framework
can be used to incorporate knowledge of existing shipping impacts into management practices, thereby reducing the detrimental
effects of future expansion of shipping routes on marine giants.

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