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Parsing human and biophysical drivers of coral reef regimes
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Royal Swedish Academy of Science, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4105-6372
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0706-9233
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Number of Authors: 182019 (English)In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, E-ISSN 1471-2954, Vol. 286, no 1896, article id 20182544Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Coral reefs worldwide face unprecedented cumulative anthropogenic effects of interacting local human pressures, global climate change and distal social processes. Reefs are also bound by the natural biophysical environment within which they exist. In this context, a key challenge for effective management is understanding how anthropogenic and biophysical conditions interact to drive distinct coral reef configurations. Here, we use machine learning to conduct explanatory predictions on reef ecosystems defined by both fish and benthic communities. Drawing on the most spatially extensive dataset available across the Hawaiian archipelago-20 anthropogenic and biophysical predictors over 620 survey sites-we model the occurrence of four distinct reef regimes and provide a novel approach to quantify the relative influence of human and environmental variables in shaping reef ecosystems. Our findings highlight the nuances of what underpins different coral reef regimes, the overwhelming importance of biophysical predictors and how a reef's natural setting may either expand or narrow the opportunity space for management interventions. The methods developed through this study can help inform reef practitioners and hold promises for replication across a broad range of ecosystems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 286, no 1896, article id 20182544
Keywords [en]
boosted regression trees, ecology, Hawai'i, interactions, management, regime shift
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-169311DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.2544ISI: 000465431000015PubMedID: 30963937OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-169311DiVA, id: diva2:1319392
Available from: 2019-05-31 Created: 2019-05-31 Last updated: 2020-02-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Anthropocene Ocean: Risks and opportunities for global sustainability
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Anthropocene Ocean: Risks and opportunities for global sustainability
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Humans have become a dominant force of planetary change. This epoch, referred to as the Anthropocene, implies profound alterations to the Earth’s marine and terrestrial ecosystems upon which so many people depend. In particular, the prospect of a new era of blue growth poses unprecedented sustainability and governance challenges for the ocean, as marine ecosystems face cumulative pressures from local human impacts, global climate change and distal socioeconomic drivers. Exploring what the Anthropocene means for the ocean and its capacity to support human societies in a sustainable and equitable way represents a critical challenge.

This thesis consists of five papers and relies on a mixed-methods approach that includes quantitative and qualitative analyses, transdisciplinary practices, literature reviews and knowledge syntheses. Paper I looks at the relative influence of anthropogenic and biophysical interactions in explaining the occurrence of multiple coral reef regimes across the Hawaiian archipelago. It highlights the nuances of what underpins different regimes and how a reef’s natural setting may either limit or favour successful management interventions. Paper II synthesises the diversity of ocean claims, reviews their impacts, and describes their trajectory as the blue acceleration – a new phase in humanity’s use of the ocean that exhibits a phenomenal rate of change over the last 30 years. Paper III builds on the identification of the world’s largest seafood corporations and reports on a global experiment to test whether these companies have an interest and ability to take on a leadership role for ocean stewardship. The study shows that scientists can play a critical role in this process by linking knowledge to action. Paper IV investigates how finance can promote seafood sustainability. It identifies where different financial mechanisms are most salient along a seafood firm’s development trajectory and discusses three leverage points that could redirect capital towards more sustainable practices: bank loans, stock exchange listing rules, and shareholder activism. Paper V introduces the global production ecosystem (GPE) as a framework that integrates multiple sectors across land and sea to explore the cumulative transformation of the Earth’s biosphere. It shows that the GPE is characterised by hyper-connectivity, global homogenisation and weak feedbacks, which erode resilience and create conditions for new risks to emerge and interact.

Collectively, the five papers suggest that the Anthropocene ocean may be as much about upwelling and parrotfish grazing as it is about bank loans and intensified crop monocultures. The thesis provides novel conceptual and mechanistic ways to link ecosystems to their distal socioeconomic drivers and offers a useful contribution to both academic and policy discussions on how to approach ocean sustainability in the 21st century.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, 2019. p. 67
Keywords
Anthropocene, Coral reef, Finance, Globalisation, Ocean, Resilience, Seafood, Social-ecological system, Sustainability, Transdisciplinarity, Transnational corporation
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-176280 (URN)978-91-7797-929-6 (ISBN)978-91-7797-930-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-01-17, Vivi Täckholmsalen (Q-salen), NPQ-huset, Svante Arrhenius väg 20, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2015-743
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript.

Available from: 2019-12-18 Created: 2019-11-27 Last updated: 2020-05-20Bibliographically approved

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