FULL PROPOSAL AND DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT

FULL PROPOSAL AND DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT:

Project Title

MARINE BIODIVERSITY OF THE COASTAL ZONES IN THE NW PACIFIC: STATUS,

REGIONAL THREATS, EXPECTED CHANGES AND CONSERVATION

Duration – 2 years

Project Leader, Institution and Country [Insert full details here]

Dr. Andrey V. Adrianov, Director

Institute of Marine Biology, Far East Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Vladivostok 690041, Russia

Project relevance to the APN Science & Policy Agendas

The proposed project is directly related to one of the themes of the APN agenda – Ecosystems, Biodiversity and Land Use. Biodiversity issue is at stake now, and it is still lesser known aspect of global change. NW Pacific, an area of APN interests, is one of the richest region with respect to biodiversity in Asia, but, at the same time, it is undergoing modifications due to increasing human impact. Enourmas human population in Asian countries produces ever increasing effect on the biota causing the extinction of endangered species, processes of bioinvasions, biodiversity loss, ecosystem unbalancing. Coastal zones are the most sensitive areas experiencing long-term modifications in ecosystems and biodiversity. There is still not enough synthesis studies to understand the status and changes in biodiversity, although some initiatives are ongoing (for example, DIWPA - DIVERSITAS in Western Pacific and Asia). Capacity building at the regional level and improving decision-making process at national and international levels are the urgent needs. The project will address issues of the biodiversity assessment, modification and its goals will contribute to raising awareness of global environmental changes with particular reference to coastal zones where the most human population is concentrated.

Regional collaboration and leverage of support being sought (monetary and/or in-kind)

Republic of Korea – Dr. Kwang-Sik Choi, School of Applied Marine Science, Cheju National University, Cheju P.R.

China – Prof. Hong-Sheng Yang, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao

Fully Detailed Proposal

The project intends to study marine biological diversity in coastal zones of the Northwest Pacific with emphasis to Japan (East) and Yellow Seas, its modern status, threats, recent and future modifications due to numan impact and ways of its conservation. In course of the project, we plan to collect information about overall species diversity and to compile species lists of biota as a basis for monitoring of expected changes. Awareness of the huge level of biodiversity, the extremely poor knowledge on this subject, high exctintion rates of modern species, insufficient number of taxonomists, and slow progress in the describing existing species have called for a new methodology and strategy for marine biodiversity studies. This strategy should include selection of areas that display the highest level of biodiversity for a comprehensive study, inventory and monitoring and should include four phases: 1) identification of centers of evolutionary diversification (major centers of species and genetic diversity) by integrated surveys and inventories; 2) location of a monitoring site within the selected area; 3) publication of comprehensive identification guides to the biota of the studies area (available also on-line); and 4) studies of biodiversity in these selected areas at all other levels. This strategy is approved by DIWPA. In the Russian Far East, one of these areas is Peter the Great Bay (northwestern Sea of Japan/East Sea). The Sea of Japan exhibits the highest level of biodiversity: it comprises 42% of the total species number recorded in the Far East seas, and in Peter the Great Bay, about 4000 marine species belonging to 52 phyla and 105 classes have been registered (Adrianov, 2004). At the same time, the area is under strong human pressure due to development of the largest Russian Far Eastern city – Vladivostok. Two large rivers – Tumen and Razdolnaya (Suifun), shared with China and Korea, influence significantly the level of organic and heavy metal pollution. We plan to develop, for the first time in Russia, the method of videomonitoring of marine biota along the long-term fixed transects, which run through all types of seafloor landscapes (Adrianov, Tarasov, 2006). In other areas of the Russian coast of the Sea of Japan, we are going to undertake coastal expeditions to survey intertidal and subtidal zone with SCUBA diving: earlier data refer to 1950-1970s and it would be important to identify recent changes in the composition and structure of biodiversity distribution and communities. It is especially important that during last two decades the process of bioinvasions began to play a significant role in the region (Bagaveeva, Zvyagintsev, 2000; 2001; etc.). Biological invasions represent a serious ecological and economic menance leading to biodiversity loss, ecosystem unbalancing, fishery and tourism impairment. Recent spread of invasive bivalve mollusks such as Meditteranean mussel Mytilus galloprovinciallis and some polychaetes caused long-term modifications in the endemic ecosystems and regional environments, preparing a fertile ground for mass bioinvasions of other alien species. At the same time, regional warming of coastal waters clearly pronounced in the Sea of Japan caused mass immigration of subtropical fishes (no less than 15 species) and it influences local fisheries. For the purpose of the bioinvasion assessments, the joint team is planning to inspect and study the species composition and ecological characteristics of the biofouling communities and ballast waters of ships used in trade lines between China (like Dalian-Vladivostok), Korea (Pusan, Inchon – Vladivostok) and Russia. Another important direction of the planned project activity will be studies of toxic and harmful algae and their effects on fisheries and public health. Harmful algal blooms in the North Pacific are common events and introduction of new species of phytoplankton is an serious threat to native ecosystems.

Special attention will be paid to studies of the intertidal zones and island ecosystems. Intertidal zone is most sensitive to human impact and is under immediate pressure of man. In Korea, with its large tidal flats supporting local people communities, the extent of modifications of tidal areas is especially big. With construction of dikes enclosing sea areas, insufficient water circulation results in algal blooms and eutrophication, mass mortalities of benthic organims (Je et al., 1998, 2000). Traditional fishing activities is becoming unsustainable as indigenous coastal communities are dispersed. All these environmental problems affect local people economically, socially and emotionally. It is important to understand how reclamation of tidal flats influence biodiversity and ecology of the coastal zone and to compare these data from China, Korea and Russia. We plan to summarize data on biodiversity loss and modifications on tidal flats in three involved countries in order to present sound recommendations for policy-makers: in Russia, several development projects started related to modifications of the coastal zone, but NGOs communnity is not so active as in Korea and we need to learn the Asian experience in coastal management.

Island ecosystems often exhibit a high level of biodiversity and high sensitivness to economic development. In Korea, Cheju (Jeju) Island is one of the richest ecosystem in terms of biodiversity (Je et al., 2002); in Russian abobe-mentioned Peter the Great Bay, the only marine reserve (Far East National Biosphere Marine Reserve) is located on islands with high biodiversity. Our activity will involve a documenting of species diversity in island’s ecosystems as a baseline study for conserving coastal and marine biological diversity.

All these activities will contribute to development of recommendations for policy-makers, will involve a number of young scientists in biodiversity studies which is especially important for “thin-layered” taxonomic community, and will contribute to our understanding og global change in the Northeast Asia region.

Regional Collaboration

As our project will involve three parties – teams from China, Korea and Russia, this would develop and enhance regional collaboration in global change studies. Our three countries share big waterways – rivers which runoff influence coastal zone of the Sea of Japan, and it is important to develop regional network for environmental assessments. There are some ongoing research projects between China and Russia regarding impact of Amur River but they mostly emphasize issue of pollution, not biodiversity modifications. Publication of a joint monograph as major outcome of the project will lead to better understanding of regional aspects of global change, and conducting workshops will attract attention of regional scientific community to problems of joint biodiversity studies.

Relationship to the Human Dimensions of Global Change

One of the aim of the project is to to generate scientific knowledge on coupled human-environment systems, to estimate environmental change processes and their consequences for sustainable development of the region of Northeast Asia, and to explore anthropogenic drivers of biodiversity modifications and loss.

Capacity Building for Global Change Research

Through the project activity, we plan to establish infrastructures for collaborative regional research in Northeast Asia, enhance regional cooperation in global change research, to increase in joint publications, to increase in number of trained scientists, especially in taxonomy, and to involve as many as possible young scientists in global change community. Dialogue with policy community and impact on policy formulation would be the important contribution of research teams.

Scientific Contribution of each Participating Country

The project activitity will involve scientists – specialists in biodiversity and environment – from Republic of Korea and China as these areas are neighboring to the Russian Far East and three areas share many species in common but, at the same time, human impacts on the coastal zone and level of economic development are different; this makes it possible to compare effects of anthropogenic influence on ecosystems and to learn differences in use of biological resources. Contribution of Korean and Chinese teams will be made through providing literature and other available data on status of biodiversity; we plan also joint studies of relevant biological collections, especially those from Marine Biology Museum of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Institute of Oceanology in Qingdao), Cheju National University and Museum of the Institute of Marine Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences in Vladivostok. Joint workshop on the status of biodiversity in the coastal zone of the Japan (East) and Yellow Seas will be the first workshop of such kind between Korean, Chinese and Russian scientists and first step to understand current problems in biodiversity and taxonomic studies in the marginal seas of the NW Pacific. Russian team plans to invite Korean/Chinese collaborators to take part in field-works on the coast of the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

Policy-relevancy and Sustainable Development Issues

The data obtained in course of the project will be used by the regional administrations of Primorsky and Khabarovsky Provinces (Russia) in planning of social and economic development in the Far East Region of the Russian Federation. The improvement of the environments in Korea, especially those in widely reclaimed tidal flats, is impossible without knowledge of biodiversity modifications. There is urgent need to establish a long-term vision and integrated management strategies for the coastal areas of China, Russia and Korea, and biodiversity studies are important for sustainable use of fisheries resources. Recommendations for preservation of unique nature and biodiversity in the coastal and land areas neighboring the Tumen River mouth will be presented to the Government of the Russian Federation for subsequent negotiations between the Russian Federation, China, Republic of Korea and DPRK. The Chinese and Russian teams will also make recommendations to policy/decision-makers concerning the Amur (Heilongjiang) River which is under strong pollution influencing its estuarine area and neighboring coastal zone.

Relationship between Global Change Research Programmes and Networks

The aims of the project correspond well with the goals of DIVERSITAS and its regional initiatives such as DIWPA – International Network for DIVERSITAS in the Western Pacific and Asia. It is also well correlated with the main purpose of the global program CENSUS of MARINE LIFE, and its regional activity under NaGISA. Russian participants collaborated for a long time with START and its Asian branch – TEACOM (Temperate East Asia Committee), conducted research on regional aspects of global change and held 6 regional meeting on global change, including one international – APN/START symposium in Vladivostok in 2002. Previous project supported by APN (2005-05-NMY, Climate variability and human activities in relation to Northeast Asian land-ocean interactions and their implications for coastal zone management) included some aspects of biodiversity study in the near-eastuarine areas of the major rivers of northeastern Asia – Amur, Razdolnaya and Tumen Rivers in Russia, Han River in Korea and Yellow and Yangtze Rivers in China. Training Workshop in Global Change for Young Scientists was organized in Vladivostok, Russia in October 2005 with support of APN, and a science session for local policy-makers was conducted at the same time. We held also two meetings of the TEACOM-START in Vladivostok in 1997 and 2002 where problems of regional aspects of global change and biodiversity modifications were discussed. Institute of Marine Biology in Vladivostok was headquarters of the Russian National Committee for IGBP for last four years, and one of the project member (Dr. K. Lutaenko) was its secretary; this allowed to collect a lot of information to be presented in reports to IGBP, TEACOM and other networks. The project activity would inevitably promote further involvement of regional biodiversity/taxonomy communities in Korea, China and Russia to networks of global change organizations.

Related Research Work

Taxonomic and biodiversity studies are perfomed by many researchers and institutions working in the NW Pacific area. However, complex approach taking into account recent modifications of the biota, links to climatic changes and overall assessment, international cooperation, etc. requires combined efforts of different research teams. This is one of the important tasks of the project team. Background literature reviews on this subject are enumerated below.

Full timeline for the entire duration of the project

 

Month

12-month timeline (first year, 2007-2008)

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

1

2

3

Joint Meeting

           

X

         

Data Collection, field-works

   

X

X

X

X

X

X

       

Data Analysis

         

X

X

X

X

X

   

Development of website

       

X

X

X

         

Draft Interim Report

                 

X

   

APN Reporting

                   

X

X

 

Date/Venue

Event

Estimated No. of Participants

11 - 14 October 2007 Institute of Oceanology CAS, Qingdao, China

Joint Meeting

15

 
 

Month

12-month timeline (first year, 2007-2009)

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

1

2

3

Data Collection, field-works

     

X

X

X

X

X

X

     

Data Analysis

       

X

X

X

X

X

     

Preparation of a monograph on the status of biodiversity

               

X

X

X

X

Final Workshop

               

X

     

APN Reporting

                   

X

X

 

Date/Venue

Event

Estimated No. of Participants

3 - 5 December 2008 Institute of Marine Biology RAS, Vladivostok, Russia

Final Meeting

20