Consequences of global shipping traffic for marine giants

Vanessa Pirotta*, Alana Grech, Ian D. Jonsen, William F. Laurance , Robert G. Harcourt

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    65 Citations (Scopus)
    33 Downloads (Pure)


    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1987
    Pages (from-to)39-47
    Number of pages9
    JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright by the Ecological Society of America. Article published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp. 39-47 by Vanessa Pirotta, Alana Grech, Ian D. Jonsen, William F. Laurance, Robert G. Harcourt. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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