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  • 1. Barnes, Michele L.
    et al.
    Bodin, Örjan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    McClanahan, Tim R.
    Kittinger, John N.
    Hoey, Andrew S.
    Gaoue, Orou G.
    Graham, Nicholas A. J.
    Social-ecological alignment and ecological conditions in coral reefs2019In: Nature Communications, ISSN 2041-1723, E-ISSN 2041-1723, Vol. 10, article id 2039Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Complex social-ecological interactions underpin many environmental problems. To help capture this complexity, we advance an interdisciplinary network modeling framework to identify important relationships between people and nature that can influence environmental conditions. Drawing on comprehensive social and ecological data from five coral reef fishing communities in Kenya; including interviews with 648 fishers, underwater visual census data of reef ecosystem condition, and time-series landings data; we show that positive ecological conditions are associated with 'social-ecological network closure' - i.e., fully linked and thus closed network structures between social actors and ecological resources. Our results suggest that when fishers facing common dilemmas form cooperative communication ties with direct resource competitors, they may achieve positive gains in reef fish biomass and functional richness. Our work provides key empirical insight to a growing body of research on social-ecological alignment, and helps to advance an integrative framework that can be applied empirically in different social-ecological contexts.

  • 2. Donovan, Mary K.
    et al.
    Friedlander, Alan M.
    Lecky, Joey
    Jouffray, Jean-Baptiste
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden.
    Williams, Gareth J.
    Wedding, Lisa M.
    Crowder, Larry B.
    Erickson, Ashley L.
    Graham, Nick A. J.
    Gove, Jamison M.
    Kappel, Carrie V.
    Karr, Kendra
    Kittinger, John N.
    Norström, Albert V.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Nyström, Magnus
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Oleson, Kirsten L. L.
    Stamoulis, Kostantinos A.
    White, Crow
    Williams, Ivor D.
    Selkoe, Kimberly A.
    Combining fish and benthic communities into multiple regimes reveals complex reef dynamics2018In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 8, article id 16943Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Coral reefs worldwide face an uncertain future with many reefs reported to transition from being dominated by corals to macroalgae. However, given the complexity and diversity of the ecosystem, research on how regimes vary spatially and temporally is needed. Reef regimes are most often characterised by their benthic components; however, complex dynamics are associated with losses and gains in both fish and benthic assemblages. To capture this complexity, we synthesised 3,345 surveys from Hawai'i to define reef regimes in terms of both fish and benthic assemblages. Model-based clustering revealed five distinct regimes that varied ecologically, and were spatially heterogeneous by island, depth and exposure. We identified a regime characteristic of a degraded state with low coral cover and fish biomass, one that had low coral but high fish biomass, as well as three other regimes that varied significantly in their ecology but were previously considered a single coral dominated regime. Analyses of time series data reflected complex system dynamics, with multiple transitions among regimes that were a function of both local and global stressors. Coupling fish and benthic communities into reef regimes to capture complex dynamics holds promise for monitoring reef change and guiding ecosystem-based management of coral reefs.

  • 3. Fulton, Christopher J.
    et al.
    Abesamis, Rene A.
    Berkström, Charlotte
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden.
    Depczynski, Martial
    Graham, Nicholas A. J.
    Holmes, Thomas H.
    Kulbicki, Michel
    Noble, Mae M.
    Radford, Ben T.
    Tano, Stina
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
    Tinkler, Paul
    Wernberg, Thomas
    Wilson, Shaun K.
    Form and function of tropical macroalgal reefs in the Anthropocene2019In: Functional Ecology, ISSN 0269-8463, E-ISSN 1365-2435, Vol. 33, no 6, p. 989-999Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Tropical reefs have been subjected to a range of anthropogenic pressures such as global climate change, overfishing and eutrophication that have raised questions about the prominence of macroalgae on tropical reefs, whether they pose a threat to biodiversity, and how they may influence the function of tropical marine ecosystems. We synthesise current understanding of the structure and function of tropical macroalgal reefs and how they may support various ecosystem goods and services. We then forecast how key stressors may alter the role of macroalgal reefs in tropical seascapes of the Anthropocene. High levels of primary productivity from tropical canopy macroalgae, which rivals that of other key producers (e.g., corals and turf algae), can be widely dispersed across tropical seascapes to provide a boost of secondary productivity in a range of biomes that include coral reefs, and support periodic harvests of macroalgal biomass for industrial and agricultural uses. Complex macroalgal reefs that comprise a mixture of canopy and understorey taxa can also provide key habitats for a diverse community of epifauna, as well as juvenile and adult fishes that are the basis for important tropical fisheries. Key macroalgal taxa (e.g., Sargassum) that form complex macroalgal reefs are likely to be sensitive to future climate change. Increases in maximum sea temperature, in particular, could depress biomass production and/or drive phenological shifts in canopy formation that will affect their capacity to support tropical marine ecosystems. Macroalgal reefs can support a suite of tropical marine ecosystem functions when embedded within an interconnected mosaic of habitat types. Habitat connectivity is, therefore, essential if we are to maintain tropical marine biodiversity alongside key ecosystem goods and services. Consequently, complex macroalgal reefs should be treated as a key ecological asset in strategies for the conservation and management of diverse tropical seascapes. A plain language summary is available for this article.

  • 4.
    Jouffray, Jean-Baptiste
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Royal Swedish Academy of Science, Sweden.
    Wedding, Lisa M.
    Norström, Albert V.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Donovan, Mary K.
    Williams, Gareth J.
    Crowder, Larry B.
    Erickson, Ashley L.
    Friedlander, Alan M.
    Graham, Nicholas A. J.
    Gove, Jamison M.
    Kappel, Carrie V.
    Kittinger, John N.
    Lecky, Joey
    Oleson, Kirsten L. L.
    Selkoe, Kimberly A.
    White, Crow
    Williams, Ivor D.
    Nyström, Magnus
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Parsing human and biophysical drivers of coral reef regimes2019In: 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)
    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.

  • 5. Mcleod, Elizabeth
    et al.
    Anthony, Kenneth R. N.
    Mumby, Peter J.
    Maynard, Jeffrey
    Beeden, Roger
    Graham, Nicholas A. J.
    Heron, Scott F.
    Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove
    Jupiter, Stacy
    MacGowan, Petra
    Mangubhai, Sangeeta
    Marshall, Nadine
    Marshall, Paul A.
    McClanahan, Tim R.
    Mcleod, Karen
    Nyström, Magnus
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Obura, David
    Parker, Britt
    Possingham, Hugh P.
    Salm, Rodney V.
    Tamelander, Jerker
    The future of resilience-based management in coral reef ecosystems2019In: Journal of Environmental Management, ISSN 0301-4797, E-ISSN 1095-8630, Vol. 233, p. 291-301Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Resilience underpins the sustainability of both ecological and social systems. Extensive loss of reef corals following recent mass bleaching events have challenged the notion that support of system resilience is a viable reef management strategy. While resilience-based management (RBM) cannot prevent the damaging effects of major disturbances, such as mass bleaching events, it can support natural processes that promote resistance and recovery. Here, we review the potential of RBM to help sustain coral reefs in the 21st century. We explore the scope for supporting resilience through existing management approaches and emerging technologies and discuss their opportunities and limitations in a changing climate. We argue that for RBM to be effective in a changing world, reef management strategies need to involve both existing and new interventions that together reduce stress, support the fitness of populations and species, and help people and economies to adapt to a highly altered ecosystem.

  • 6. Williams, Gareth J.
    et al.
    Graham, Nicholas A. J.
    Jouffray, Jean-Baptiste
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden.
    Norström, Albert V.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Nyström, Magnus
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Gove, Jamison M.
    Heenan, Adel
    Wedding, Lisa M.
    Coral reef ecology in the Anthropocene2019In: Functional Ecology, ISSN 0269-8463, E-ISSN 1365-2435, Vol. 33, no 6, p. 1014-1022Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We are in the Anthropocene-an epoch where humans are the dominant force of planetary change. Ecosystems increasingly reflect rapid human-induced, socioeconomic and cultural selection rather than being a product of their surrounding natural biophysical setting. This poses the intriguing question: To what extent do existing ecological paradigms capture and explain the current ecological patterns and processes we observe? We argue that, although biophysical drivers still influence ecosystem structure and function at particular scales, their ability to offer predictive capacity over coupled social-ecological systems is increasingly compromised as we move further into the Anthropocene. Traditionally, the dynamics of coral reefs have been studied in response to their proximate drivers of change rather than their underlying socioeconomic and cultural drivers. We hypothesise this is limiting our ability to accurately predict spatial and temporal changes in coral reef ecosystem structure and function. We propose social-ecological macroecology as a novel approach within the field of coral reef ecology to a) identify the interactive effects of biophysical and socioeconomic and cultural drivers of coral reef ecosystems across spatial and temporal scales; b) test the robustness of existing coral reef paradigms; c) explore whether existing paradigms can be adapted to capture the dynamics of contemporary coral reefs; and d) if they cannot, develop novel coral reef social-ecological paradigms, where human dynamics are part of the paradigms rather than the drivers of them. Human socioeconomic and cultural processes must become embedded in coral reef ecological theory and practice as much as biophysical processes are today if we are to predict and manage these systems successfully in this era of rapid change. This necessary shift in our approach to coral reef ecology will be challenging and will require truly interdisciplinary collaborations between the natural and social sciences. A plain language summary is available for this article.

  • 7. Woodhead, Anna J.
    et al.
    Hicks, Christina C.
    Norström, Albert V.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Williams, Gareth J.
    Graham, Nicholas A. J.
    Coral reef ecosystem services in the Anthropocene2019In: Functional Ecology, ISSN 0269-8463, E-ISSN 1365-2435, Vol. 33, no 6, p. 1023-1034Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Coral reefs underpin a range of ecosystem goods and services that contribute to the well-being of millions of people. However, tropical coral reefs in the Anthropocene are likely to be functionally different from reefs in the past. In this perspective piece, we ask, what does the Anthropocene mean for the provision of ecosystem services from coral reefs? First, we provide examples of the provisioning, regulating, cultural and supporting services underpinned by coral reef ecosystems. We conclude that coral reef ecosystem service research has lagged behind multidisciplinary advances in broader ecosystem services science, such as an explicit recognition that interactions between social and ecological systems underpin ecosystem services. Second, drawing on tools from functional ecology, we outline how these social-ecological relationships can be incorporated into a mechanistic understanding of service provision and how this might be used to anticipate future changes in coral reef ecosystem services. Finally, we explore the emergence of novel reef ecosystem services, for example from tropicalized coastlines, or through changing technological connections to coral reefs. Indeed, when services are conceived as coming from social-ecological system dynamics, novelty in services can emerge from elements of the interactions between people and the ecosystem. This synthesis of the coral reef ecosystem services literature suggests the field is poorly prepared to understand the changing service provision anticipated in the Anthropocene. A new research agenda is needed that better connects reef functional ecology to ecosystem service provision. This research agenda should embrace more holistic approaches to ecosystem service research, recognizing them as co-produced by ecosystems and society. Importantly, the likelihood of novel ecosystem service configurations requires further conceptualization and empirical assessment. As with current ecosystem services, the loss or gain of services will not affect all people equally and must be understood in the context in which they occur. With the uncertainty surrounding the future of coral reefs in the Anthropocene, research exploring how the benefits to people change will be of great importance. A is available for this article.

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