The Micronesia challenge: assessing the relative contribution of stressors on coral reefs to facilitate science-to-management feedback

Houk, Peter, Camacho, Rodney, Johnson, Steven, McLean, Matthew, Maxin, Selino, Anson, Jorg, Joseph, Eugene, Nedlic, Osamu, Luckymis, Marston, Adams, Katrina, Hess, Don, Kabua, Emma, Yalon, Anthony, Buthung, Eva, Graham, Curtis, Leberer, Trina, Taylor, Brett, and van Woesik, Robert (2015) The Micronesia challenge: assessing the relative contribution of stressors on coral reefs to facilitate science-to-management feedback. PLoS ONE, 10 (6). e0130823. pp. 1-17.

[img]
Preview
PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview
View at Publisher Website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0...
 
22
87


Abstract

Fishing and pollution are chronic stressors that can prolong recovery of coral reefs and contribute to ecosystem decline. While this premise is generally accepted, management interventions are complicated because the contributions from individual stressors are difficult to distinguish. The present study examined the extent to which fishing pressure and pollution predicted progress towards the Micronesia Challenge, an international conservation strategy initiated by the political leaders of 6 nations to conserve at least 30% of marine resources by 2020. The analyses were rooted in a defined measure of coral-reef-ecosystem condition, comprised of biological metrics that described functional processes on coral reefs. We report that only 42% of the major reef habitats exceeded the ecosystem-condition threshold established by the Micronesia Challenge. Fishing pressure acting alone on outer reefs, or in combination with pollution in some lagoons, best predicted both the decline and variance in ecosystem condition. High variances among ecosystem-condition scores reflected the large gaps between the best and worst reefs, and suggested that the current scores were unlikely to remain stable through time because of low redundancy. Accounting for the presence of marine protected area (MPA) networks in statistical models did little to improve the models' predictive capabilities, suggesting limited efficacy of MPAs when grouped together across the region. Yet, localized benefits of MPAs existed and are expected to increase over time. Sensitivity analyses suggested that (i) grazing by large herbivores, (ii) high functional diversity of herbivores, and (iii) high predator biomass were most sensitive to fishing pressure, and were required for high ecosystem-condition scores. Linking comprehensive fisheries management policies with these sensitive metrics, and targeting the management of pollution, will strengthen the Micronesia Challenge and preserve ecosystem services that coral reefs provide to societies in the face of climate change.

Item ID: 39245
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Keywords: coral reefs, ecosystems, marine fish, habitats, conservation science, fishes, pollution, marine conservation
Additional Information:

© 2015 Houk et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funders: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Margaret A. Cargill Foundation
Projects and Grants: NOAA NA11NOS482001
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2015 06:01
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 40%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology) @ 60%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 87
Last 12 Months: 25
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page