Timing anthropogenic stressors to mitigate their impact on marine ecosystem resilience

Wu, Paul Pao-Yen, Mengersen, Kerrie, McMahon, Kathryn, Kendrick, Gary A., Chartrand, Katie, York, Paul H., Rasheed, Michael A., and Caley, M. Julian (2017) Timing anthropogenic stressors to mitigate their impact on marine ecosystem resilience. Nature Communications, 8.

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Abstract

Better mitigation of anthropogenic stressors on marine ecosystems is urgently needed to address increasing biodiversity losses worldwide. We explore opportunities for stressor mitigation using whole-of-systems modelling of ecological resilience, accounting for complex interactions between stressors, their timing and duration, background environmental conditions and biological processes. We then search for ecological windows, times when stressors minimally impact ecological resilience, defined here as risk, recovery and resistance. We show for 28 globally distributed seagrass meadows that stressor scheduling that exploits ecological windows for dredging campaigns can achieve up to a fourfold reduction in recovery time and 35% reduction in extinction risk. While the timing and length of windows vary among sites to some degree, global trends indicate favourable windows in autumn and winter. Our results demonstrate that resilience is dynamic with respect to space, time and stressor, varying most strongly with: (i) the life history of the seagrass genus, and (ii) the duration and timing of the impacting stress.

Item ID: 50133
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: seagrass; development; dynamic bayesian model; dredging; resilience
Additional Information:

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

ISSN: 2041-1723
Funders: Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), Edith Cowan University (ECU), Western Australian Marine Science Institute (WAMSI), Gladstone Ports Corporation, North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP), Chevron Australia, Woodside Energy, BHP Billiton
Projects and Grants: QUT/AIMS Environmental Informatics Programme, ECU Visiting Fellow Grant, WAMSI Dredging Science Node, Theme 9
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2017 02:40
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 60%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960903 Coastal and Estuarine Water Management @ 50%
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