A multi-scale biophysical model to inform regional management of coral reefs in the western Philippines and South China Sea

Melbourne-Thomas, J., Johnson, C.R., Aliño, P.M., Geronimo, R.C., Villanoy, C.L., and Gurney, G.G. (2011) A multi-scale biophysical model to inform regional management of coral reefs in the western Philippines and South China Sea. Environmental Modelling & Software, 26 (1). pp. 66-82.

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Abstract

The health and functioning of coral reef ecosystems worldwide is in decline, and in the face of increasing anthropogenic stress, the rate of decline of these important ecosystems is set to accelerate. Mitigation strategies at regional scales are costly, but nevertheless critical, as reef systems are highly connected across regions by ocean transport of both larval propagules and pollutants. It is essential that these strategies are informed by sound science, but the inherent complexity of coral reef systems confers significant challenges for scientists and managers. Models are useful tools for dealing with complexity and can inform decision making for coral reef management. We develop a spatially explicit biophysical model for a general coral reef system. The model couples dynamics from local (102 m) to regional (106 m) scales, and explicitly incorporates larval connectivity patterns derived from sophisticated larval dispersal models. Here, we instantiate and validate the model for coral reefs in the Philippines region of the South China Sea. We demonstrate how the model can be used in decision support for coral reef management by presenting two examples of regional-scale scenario projection relating to key management issues in the Philippines: (i) marine reserve design and the recovery of fish stocks; and (ii) synergistic effects between coral bleaching and poor water quality. These scenarios highlight the importance of considering multiple stressors to reef health and patterns of larval connectivity in regional-scale management decisions.

Item ID: 42347
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: CORSET, coral reef, regional scale, decision support, ecosystem model, management connectivity, Philippines, South China Sea
ISSN: 1873-6726
Funders: Coral Reef Targeted Research and Capacity Building for Management Program, CSIRO-UTAS
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2016 00:25
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960701 Coastal and Marine Management Policy @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960604 Environmental Management Systems @ 50%
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