Using GIS Mapping of the Extent of Nearshore Rocky Reefs to Estimate the Abundance and Reproductive Output of Important Fishery Species

PLoS ONE, published 17 Jan 2012

Jeremy T. Claisse, Daniel J. Pondella, Jonathan P. Williams, and James Sadd

“Kelp Bass (Paralabrax clathratus) and California Sheephead (Semicossyphus pulcher) are economically and ecologically valuable rocky reef fishes in southern California, making them likely indicator species for evaluating resource management actions. Multiple spatial datasets, aerial and satellite photography, underwater observations and expert judgment were used to produce a comprehensive map of nearshore natural rocky reef habitat for the Santa Monica Bay region (California, USA). It was then used to examine the relative contribution of individual reefs to a regional estimate of abundance and reproductive potential of the focal species.

Habitat layers at Ridges and Rocky Point reefs.

Habitat layers at Ridges and Rocky Point reefs.

“For the reefs surveyed for fishes (i.e. 18 out of the 22 in the region, comprising 82% the natural rocky reef habitat <30 m depth, with a total area of 1850 ha), total abundance and annual egg production of California Sheephead were 451 thousand fish (95% CI: 369 to 533 thousand) and 203 billion eggs (95% CI: 135 to 272 billion). For Kelp Bass, estimates were 805 thousand fish (95% CI: 669 to 941thousand) and 512 billion eggs (95% CI: 414 to 610 billion). Size structure and reef area were key factors in reef-specific contributions to the regional egg production. The size structures of both species illustrated impacts from fishing, and results demonstrate the potential that relatively small increases in the proportion of large females on larger reefs could have on regional egg production. For California Sheephead, a substantial proportion of the regional egg production estimate (>30%) was produced from a relatively small proportion of the regional reef area (c. 10%). Natural nearshore rocky reefs make up only 11% of the area in the newly designated MPAs in this region, but results provide some optimism that regional fisheries could benefit through an increase in overall reproductive output, if adequate increases in size structure of targeted species are realized.”

Abu Dhabi Police G.H.Q. Receives Enterprise GIS Vision and Strategic Roadmap Award

Agency Recognized at the 2012 Esri Partner Conference

Abu Dhabi Police G.H.Q. receives Enterprise GIS Vision and Strategic Roadmap Award for its innovative use of Esri software.

Abu Dhabi Police G.H.Q. receives Enterprise GIS Vision and Strategic Roadmap Award for its innovative use of Esri software.

The Abu Dhabi Police (ADP) received the prestigious Esri Enterprise GIS Vision Award in recognition of its advanced Esri platform that improves key areas, such as crime prevention, security, and emergency management. The award was presented Tuesday, March 27, at the Esri Partner Conference in Palm Springs, California. The annual Esri Partner Conference brings together global partners and distributors to celebrate their efforts and provide them with the environment to develop the strategies and skills that will extend the value of their businesses.

“Their success is a result of the vision and leadership shown by Major General Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi,” said Jack Dangermond, president, Esri. “The Abu Dhabi Police use GIS to bring together people and processes for making better decisions.”

Abu Dhabi is one of the seven emirates that comprise the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is also its capital. This city’s extraordinarily fast development has naturally led to the typical urban concerns of police agencies everywhere including crime fighting, community safety, and intelligent response, which are global challenges as well.

The ADP Esri GIS enhances numerous capabilities. The approach, plans, and designs were benchmarked worldwide with leading law enforcement GIS implementers to ensure that ADP learns from best practices found elsewhere to provide a new standard for future police information systems.

Enterprise GIS services support police business and geoenable legacy police systems. They help easily find the location of emergency 999 callers, dispatch the nearest responders, and show nearby landmarks like hospitals and critical sites. The agency has dramatically reduced response times and eliminated manual descriptive guidance from the caller. GIS-based maps and analysis also help locate police resources and responders through an automated vehicle location system, allowing command and control (C2) officers to dispatch the nearest responder to the incident location. Responses have become more effective as a consequence of the much improved situational awareness provided to both the C2 officers and police responders. GIS is also used to provide a common operating picture with real-time data mapping related to the decision maker’s jurisdiction. GIS services fulfill the needs of ADP  stakeholders at all levels.

[Source: Esri press release]

Interactive Marine Spatial Planning: Siting Tidal Energy Arrays around the Mull of Kintyre

PLoS ONE, published 11 Jan 2012

Karen A. Alexander, Ron Janssen, Gustavo Arciniegas, Timothy G. O’Higgins, Tessa Eikelboom, and Thomas A. Wilding

“The rapid development of the offshore renewable energy sector has led to an increased requirement for Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and, increasingly, this is carried out in the context of the ‘ecosystem approach’ (EA) to management. We demonstrate a novel method to facilitate implementation of the EA. Using a real-time interactive mapping device (touch-table) and stakeholder workshops we gathered data and facilitated negotiation of spatial trade-offs at a potential site for tidal renewable energy off the Mull of Kintyre (Scotland). Conflicts between the interests of tidal energy developers and commercial and recreational users of the area were identified, and use preferences and concerns of stakeholders were highlighted. Social, cultural and spatial issues associated with conversion of common pool to private resource were also revealed. The method identified important gaps in existing spatial data and helped to fill these through interactive user inputs. The workshops developed a degree of consensus between conflicting users on the best areas for potential development suggesting that this approach should be adopted during MSP.”

The Strauss Center Uses Esri Technology to Better Target Aid

Mapping Tool Provides Insight into How Climate Change Is Affecting the Security of African Nations

The Strauss Center’s Climate Change and African Political Stability (CCAPS) program has implemented Esri technology to view how climate change impacts vulnerable populations in Africa. CCAPS created the dynamic mapping tool in partnership with AidData for use by researchers, policy makers, journalists, and citizens. Users can visualize any combination of CCAPS data on climate change, conflict, and aid on a map to discover how different forces overlap or intersect.

Active Aid Projects in Malawi

Active Aid Projects in Malawi

“This mapping tool allows policy makers to analyze data from multiple sources at once, providing integrated analysis of the drivers and responses related to security risks stemming from climate change,” said Francis J. Gavin, director of the Strauss Center.

The tool is already being used in the country of Malawi for a solution that tracks and reports on the country’s external funding. Aid information is mapped along with data on climate change vulnerability and incidents of conflict. This sheds light on whether aid is effectively targeting regions where climate change or conflict poses the most significant risk to the sustainable development and political stability of the country.

“Climate change poses an enormous threat to the livelihoods of millions of Africans,” said Jean-Louis Sarbib, CEO of Development Gateway. “The level of risk, however, is not evenly spread and certainly doesn’t respect national boundaries. To ask critical questions about how development assistance can reduce vulnerability, you need hyperlocal data on climate and also on aid-funded interventions. This is what the new CCAPS mapping tool shows in a digestible, interactive way.”

By integrating CCAPS research on climate change, along with existing datasets such as topographic maps, imagery, and thematic information on conflicts, the CCAPS mapping tool aims to provide the most comprehensive view possible of climate change and security in Africa.

“The great work of these organizations is a real game changer for the development community,” said Jack Dangermond, president of Esri. “Being able to create a tool that allows people to communicate with others all over the world using maps is powerful. I am impressed with the work being done and excited to see what they will think of next.”

CCAPS and AidData will continue to release upgrades to the mapping tool throughout 2012. The current mapping tool is available to use now at For more information on AidData, go to Learn more about GIS solutions for climate change from Esri at

[Source: Esri press release]

Spatial Analysis of Large-Scale Man-Made Disasters Using GIS – An Exemplary Implementation for Air Traffic Incidents

Spatial assessment of settlements in high-risk areas (e.g. New York JFK International Airport)

Spatial assessment of settlements in high-risk areas (e.g. New York JFK International Airport)

CSIS Days 2011, November 10-11, 2011, University of Tokyo, Japan

Konstantin Greger

“A GIS tool was developed and implemented to prove the existence and measure the significance of certain factors, that influence the occurrence and distribution of man-made disasters, using geo-statistical methods. In expert talks with insurance underwriters it was mentioned that the incident locations and their spatial surroundings (substantiated on a per-country basis) were of great interest.”

Parasites and Invasions: A Biogeographic Examination of Parasites and Hosts in Native and Introduced Ranges

Journal of BiogeographyJournal of Biogeography, Volume 39, Issue 3, March 2012

April M. H. Blakeslee, Irit Altman, A. Whitman Miller, James E. Byers, Caitlin E. Hamer, and Gregory M. Ruiz

“Aim: To use a comparative approach to understand parasite demographic patterns in native versus introduced populations, evaluating the potential roles of host invasion history and parasite life history.

“Location: North American east and west coasts with a focus on San Francisco Bay (SFB).

“Methods: Species richness and prevalence of trematode parasites were examined in the native and introduced ranges of two gastropod host species, Ilyanassa obsoleta and Littorina saxatilis. We divided the native range into the putative source area for introduction and areas to the north and south; we also sampled the overlapping introduced range in SFB. We dissected 14,781 snails from 103 populations and recorded the prevalence and identity of trematode parasites. We compared trematode species richness and prevalence across the hosts’ introduced and native ranges, and evaluated the influence of host availability on observed patterns.

“Results: Relative to the native range, both I. obsoleta and L. saxatilis have escaped (lost) parasites in SFB, and L. saxatilis demonstrated a greater reduction of trematode diversity and infection prevalence than I. obsoleta. This was not due to sampling inequalities between the hosts. Instead, rarefaction curves suggested complete capture of trematode species in native source and SFB subregions, except for L. saxatilis in SFB, where infection was extremely rare. For I. obsoleta, infection prevalence of trematodes using fish definitive hosts was significantly lower in SFB compared to the native range, unlike those using bird hosts. Host availability partly explained the presence of introduced trematodes in SFB.

“Main conclusions: Differential losses of parasite richness and prevalence for the two gastropod host species in their introduced range is probably the result of several mechanistic factors: time since introduction, propagule pressure, vector of introduction, and host availability. Moreover, the recent occurrence of L. saxatilis’ invasion and its active introduction vector suggest that its parasite diversity and distribution will probably increase over time. Our study suggests that host invasion history and parasite life history play key roles in the extent and diversity of trematodes transferred to introduced populations. Our results also provide vital information for understanding community-level influences of parasite introductions, as well as for disease ecology in general.”

Species’ Geographic Distributions through Time: Playing Catch-up with Changing Climates

Evolution: Education and OutreachEvolution: Education and Outreach, Published Online 02 March 2012

A. Townsend Peterson and Bruce S. Lieberman

“Species’ ranges are often treated as a fixed characteristic, rather than a fluid, ever-changing manifestation of their ecological requirements and dispersal abilities. Paleontologists generally have had a better appreciation of the changeable nature of species’ ranges than neontologists, but each perspective can improve by appreciating the other. Here, we provide an overview of paleontological and neontological perspectives on species’ geographic distributions, focusing on what can be learned about historical variations in distributions. In particular, we focus on enriching the field of phylogeography with a more explicit view of geography, taking into account variation through time in the geographic distribution of different environments, effectively integrating information from the fossil record, molecular genetics, and paleoclimatology. The cross-disciplinary view that would result offers novel perspectives on biogeography and macroevolution.”

Ecosystem Service Tradeoff Analysis Reveals the Value of Marine Spatial Planning for Multiple Ocean Uses

PNASPNAS, March 20, 2012 vol. 109 no. 12 4696-4701

Crow White, Benjamin S. Halpern, and Carrie V. Kappel

“Marine spatial planning (MSP) is an emerging responsibility of resource managers around the United States and elsewhere. A key proposed advantage of MSP is that it makes tradeoffs in resource use and sector (stakeholder group) values explicit, but doing so requires tools to assess tradeoffs. We extended tradeoff analyses from economics to simultaneously assess multiple ecosystem services and the values they provide to sectors using a robust, quantitative, and transparent framework. We used the framework to assess potential conflicts among offshore wind energy, commercial fishing, and whale-watching sectors in Massachusetts and identify and quantify the value from choosing optimal wind farm designs that minimize conflicts among these sectors. Most notably, we show that using MSP over conventional planning could prevent >$1 million dollars in losses to the incumbent fishery and whale-watching sectors and could generate >$10 billion in extra value to the energy sector. The value of MSP increased with the greater the number of sectors considered and the larger the area under management. Importantly, the framework can be applied even when sectors are not measured in dollars (e.g., conservation). Making tradeoffs explicit improves transparency in decision-making, helps avoid unnecessary conflicts attributable to perceived but weak tradeoffs, and focuses debate on finding the most efficient solutions to mitigate real tradeoffs and maximize sector values. Our analysis demonstrates the utility, feasibility, and value of MSP and provides timely support for the management transitions needed for society to address the challenges of an increasingly crowded ocean environment. ”

A Spatio-temporal Analysis of Fire Recurrence and Extent for Semi-arid Savanna Ecosystems in Southern Africa using Moderate-resolution Satellite Imagery

Journal of Environmental ManagementJournal of Environmental Management, Volume 100, 15 June 2012, Pages 72–85

Narcisa G. Pricope and Michael W. Binford


  • We analyze changes in fire regimes over the last decade in southern Africa.
  • We compare changes in fire frequencies, seasonality, and area burned annually.
  • We apply the analyses to five countries with different land uses and management.
  • We find significant increases in fire frequencies in all land-use categories.
  • These results are in line with drying trends in southern Africa.

“Savanna ecosystems are semi-arid and fire-prone. Increasing temperatures and decreasing precipitation in Southern Africa will probably have a series of strong impacts on the various components of fire regimes in these ecosystems that will, in turn, affect their ecology, structure, and function. This paper presents a geospatial analysis to quantify changes in fire frequency, seasonality and spatial distribution during the last decade and creates a fire return interval map for the core area of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, which spans five Southern African countries and is the largest cooperative multistate conservation region in the world. To disentangle the relative contribution of environmental variability from country-specific land management decisions in driving changes in fire regimes, we use two different products from the MODIS Terra platform (Active Fire and Burned Area products), TRMM precipitation data and the Multivariate ENSO Index data to analyze change in fire regimes among the five countries, differentiating between different land uses such as protected areas, forest reserves, and communal lands and accounting for specific changes in fire management policies. There are significant differences in fire frequencies between countries with more effective fire management (Botswana and Zimbabwe) and countries where anthropogenic, mainly early-dry season, burning is largely uncontrolled (Namibia, Angola, and Zambia), both within and outside protected areas, while all countries and land-use units show an overall increasing trend in fire occurrences. Large fire occurrences increased up to 200% in the period before the beginning of the natural fire season in Namibia, where a new prescribed burn policy was introduced in 2006, while the other countries show a slightly different shift in seasonality of increasing fire occurrences mainly during the dry season. The mean size of fires also increases significantly across all land uses despite increasing fire prevention efforts in most protected areas in the five countries. These findings can contribute to more effective transboundary natural resource and wildlife habitat management by providing a baseline assessment of fire return intervals across five countries with different fire management policies and have implications in the climate change arena.”

Managing Concurrent and Repeated Risks: Explaining the Reductions in Opium Production in Central Helmand Between 2008 and 2011

Managing Concurrent and Repeated Risks: Explaining the Reductions in Opium Production in Central Helmand Between 2008 and 2011 Published by the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, August 2011

David Mansfield

“This paper seeks to explore what factors have driven recent reductions in poppy cultivation in Helmand and how sustainable they are. It finds that while household concerns about food security because of high wheat prices were key in driving down poppy cultivation between 2008 and 2009, the coercive power of the Afghan state and international military forces has been significant in determining levels of cultivation in central Helmand in 2010 and 2011. Sustainability of these effects will vary among different communities.

Eradication delivery by year and force on ten year double cropping ability

Eradication delivery by year and force on ten year double cropping ability

“Broadly speaking, this research suggests that reductions in poppy cultivation are:

  • most sustainable among communities close to urban centres with access to diverse income opportunities, government support programmes and better security;
  • least sustainable among communities that have responded to the government’s poppy ban but lack viable alternatives and remain exposed to violence and intimidation by both sides in the conflict;
  • and non-existent among a growing number of communities in the desert north of the Boghra Canal where opium production has provided the means to own and cultivate land, and the Taliban is increasingly seen to provide a relatively secure environment for households to secure income and accumulate assets.”

Read the paper [PDF]