A global horizon scan of issues impacting marine and coastal biodiversity conservation

James E. Herbert-Read* (Corresponding Author), Ann Thornton, Diva J. Amon, Silvana N.R. Birchenough, Isabelle M. Côté, Maria P. Dias, Brendan J Godley, Sally A. Keith, Emma McKinley, Lloyd S Peck, Ricardo Calado, Omar Defeo, Steven Degraer, Emma L. Johnston, Hermanni Kaartokallio, Peter I. Macreadie, Anna Metaxas, Agnes W.N. Muthumbi, David O. Obura, David M. PatersonAlberto R. Piola, Richardson Anthony J., Irene R. Schloss, Paul V.R. Snelgrove, Bryce D. Stewart, Paul Thompson, Gordon J. Watson, Thomas Worthington, Moriaki Yasuhara, William J. Sutherland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
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The biodiversity of marine and coastal habitats is experiencing unprecedented change. While there are well-known drivers of these changes, such as overexploitation, climate change, and pollution, there are also relatively unknown emerging issues that are poorly understood or recognised that have potentially positive or negative impacts on marine and coastal ecosystems. In this inaugural Marine and Coastal Horizon Scan, we brought together
30 scientists, policymakers, and practitioners with trans-disciplinary expertise in marine and coastal systems to identify novel issues that are likely to have a significant impact on the functioning and conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity over the next 5-10 years. Based on a modified Delphi voting process, the final 15 issues presented were distilled from a list of 75 submitted by participants at the start of the process. These issues are group into three categories: ecosystem impacts, for example the impact of wildfires and the effect of poleward migration on equatorial biodiversity; resource exploitation, including an increase in the trade of fish swim bladders and increased exploitation of marine collagens; and novel technologies, such as soft robotics and new bio-degradable products. Our early identification of these issues and their potential impacts on marine and coastal biodiversity will support scientists, conservationists, resource managers, and policymakers to address the challenges facing marine ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1262-1270
Number of pages9
JournalNature Ecology & Evolution
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2022

Data Availability Statement

This Marine and Coastal Horizon Scan was funded by Oceankind. SNRB is supported by EcoStar (DM048) and Cefas (My time). RC acknowledges FCT/MCTES for the financial support to CESAM (UIDP/50017/2020, UIDB/50017/2020, LA/P/0094/2020) through national funds. OD is supported by CSIC Uruguay and Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research. JH-R is supported by the Whitten Lectureship in Marine Biology. SAK is supported by a Natural Environment Research Council grant (NE/S00050X/1). PIM is supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP200100575). DMP is
supported by the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS). ARP is supported by the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research. WJS is funded by Arcadia. AT is supported by Oceankind. MY is supported by the Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative and bioDISCOVERY. We are grateful to everyone who submitted ideas to the exercise and the following who are not authors but who suggested a topic that made the final list: Rachel Brown (co-location of marine activities), Nick Graham and Christina Hicks (altered nutritional content of fish), Andrew Thornton (soft robotics), Amanda Vincent (fish swim bladders), Tom Webb (mesopelagic fisheries).


  • ecology
  • ocean sciences
  • science, technology and society
  • scientific community


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