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  • 1.
    Ammar, Yosr
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Novelty in social-ecological systems: understanding the past to plan the future2020Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Human activities are shaping the Earth system and creating novel properties in the intertwined Social-Ecological Systems (SES). Although novelty is acknowledged in SES theories, the concept of novelty is not well understood, and little mathematical formalization and empirical foundations have been made. Building on the theoretical frameworks of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) and concepts of novelty in ecology, this licentiate thesis suggests a first attempt to quantify novelty in a marine ecosystem, in a SES context. Here, I focus on the past emergence of novelty in a marine SES to better understand when and where novelty has emerged and which drivers affect this emergence. Novelty emerges in a CAS when it has moved beyond its historical range of variation. The historical state depends on the temporal and spatial scale as well as the context of the study. Building on the characteristics of CAS, novelty is multidimensional, emerges on a continuum, can be nonlinear, and follows baseline specific trajectories. It has been quantified as the degree of dissimilarity of a system relative to a specific baseline. I used the case of the Baltic Sea SES, where long-term data exists, and many ecological, political, and economic changes have been recorded. Here, I focus on structural changes of the system rather than interactions and feedbacks. Paper 1 focuses on the ecological novelty in the Baltic Sea and contributes as the first study that quantifies novelty in marine ecosystems and across different trophic levels. Results reveal that over the 35-year study-period (1980-2015), novelty has emerged following the pattern of change, but at a slower pace. It has emerged in complex temporal and spatial pattern of the tested abiotic and biotic components. Both abiotic and biotic novelty showed a higher rate of novelty in confined northern basins than in the Central Baltic Sea, which indicated that some areas are more susceptible to the rise of novelty than others. Temperature and salinity were identified as the main abiotic drivers of biotic novelty in the Baltic Sea. Paper 2 contributes as the first study to quantify socio-economic novelty in a marine SES. Socio-economic novelty in the Baltic Sea showed a change in the contribution to novelty from factors linked to local and regional management levels, i.e., fishing gears and commercial groups, to trades which are linked to international level. A high increase in imports and exports in recent years marked the fastest increase in novelty over the period studied. In the latter, novelty in terms of economic value of fishery products was higher than their novelty in quantity. Sweden, Denmark, and Poland have been the countries contributing most to the emergence of novelty in the studied period. This paper illustrates that understanding socio-economic novelty together with ecological novelty, may provide a better understanding of the complexity of marine SES. Although not all the characteristics of CAS could be captured by the methodological approach used in Paper 1 and 2, many have been identified and considered. However, this highlights the need for more methods that can capture different characteristics of CAS, such as interactions and feedbacks, and more knowledge on the emergence of novelty in SES. Understanding how novelty emerges, its processes in different SES components and across-scales, may reduce the risk of missing opportunities for biodiversity conservation, and of unintended management outcomes for long-term sustainability.

  • 2.
    Ammar, Yosr
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Novelty in the Anthropocene: Exploring past and future novelty in marine social-ecological systems2021Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Humans have become the major driving force of change, deeply affecting the Earth system and the biosphere. In marine ecosystems specifically, climate-related environmental changes and anthropogenic pressures (e.g., fishing, the introduction of new species, nutrient load) have altered the structures and functioning of social-ecological systems (SES). These changes have created novel, never encountered before, SES dynamics. Novelty, a natural process of SES dynamics, has accelerated due to human activities. On the one hand, novelty allows SES to adapt to change, including maintaining their functions and resilience. On the other hand, the fast-emerging novelty in the Anthropocene epoch is unpredictable and increases the uncertainty related to management and predicting models. Despite consensus on the need for acknowledging novelty in SES, there is much confusion associated with this concept. This thesis provides a unifying conceptualization of novelty in SES by linking Complex Adaptive Systems theories and ecological novelty concepts. The papers that make up this thesis are an empirical contribution to understanding novelty in marine SES in the past and future. Novelty was measured in multiple social and ecological components of the Baltic Sea SES across different temporal and spatial scales. Although novelty is important for SES adaptation to change, it can be a problem or a solution - depending on its rate, drivers, and scale. There is a need to foster novelty that could enhance SES resilience and sustainability, in order to achieve good environmental status in marine ecosystems and for human wellbeing.

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    Novelty in the Anthropocene: Exploring past and future novelty in marine social-ecological systems
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  • 3. Ammar, Yosr
    et al.
    Faxneld, Suzanne
    Sköld, Martin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics. Swedish Museum of Natural History, Sweden.
    Soerensen, Anne L.
    Long-term dataset for contaminants in fish, mussels, and bird eggs from the Baltic Sea2024In: Scientific Data, E-ISSN 2052-4463, Vol. 11, no 1, article id 400Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Widespread persistent contaminants are a global environmental problem. In the Baltic Sea, wildlife contamination was first noticed in the 1960s, prompting the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency to establish a comprehensive Swedish National Monitoring Programme for Contaminants in Marine Biota (MCoM) in 1978 run by the Swedish Museum of Natural History. Eight species have been analysed, four fish species (Atlantic herring, Atlantic cod, European perch, viviparous eelpout), one bivalve species (blue mussel), and egg from three bird species (common guillemot, common tern, Eurasian oystercatcher). Here, we present a dataset containing MCoM data from its start until 2021. It includes 36 sets of time-series, each analysed for more than 100 contaminants. The longest time-series is for common guillemot and starts in 1968. We describe the structure of MCoM including historic changes to the number of stations, sample treatment, analytical methods, instruments, and laboratories. The MCoM data is available at the Bolin Centre repository and on GitHub through our R package mcomDb. The latter will be updated yearly with new MCoM records.

  • 4.
    Ammar, Yosr
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Niiranen, Susa
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Otto, Saskia A.
    Möllmann, Christian
    Finsinger, Walter
    Blenckner, Thorsten
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    The rise of novelty in marine ecosystems: The Baltic Sea case2021In: Global Change Biology, ISSN 1354-1013, E-ISSN 1365-2486, Vol. 27, no 7, p. 1485-1499Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Global environmental changes have accelerated at an unprecedented rate in recent decades due to human activities. As a consequence, the incidence of novel abiotic conditions and biotic communities, which have been continuously emerging in the Earth system, has rapidly risen. Despite growing attention to the incidence and challenges posed by novelty in terrestrial ecosystems, novelty has not yet been quantified in marine ecosystems. Here, we measured for the rate of novelty (RoN) in abiotic conditions and community structure for three trophic levels, i.e., phytoplankton, zooplankton, and fish, in a large marine system - the Baltic Sea. We measured RoN as the degree of dissimilarity relative to a specific spatial and temporal baseline, and contrasted this with the rate of change as a measure of within-basin change over time. We found that over the past 35 years abiotic and biotic RoN showed complex dynamics varying in time and space, depending on the baseline conditions. RoN in abiotic conditions was smaller in the open Central Baltic Sea than in the Kattegat and the more enclosed Gulf of Bothnia, Gulf of Riga, and Gulf of Finland in the north. We found a similar spatial pattern for biotic assemblages, which resulted from changes in composition and stock size. We identified sea-surface temperature and salinity as key drivers of RoN in biotic communities. Hence, future environmental changes that are expected to affect the biogeochemistry of the Baltic Sea, may favor the rise of biotic novelty. Our results highlighted the need for a deeper understanding of novelty development in marine ecosystems, including interactions between species and trophic levels, ecosystem functioning under novel abiotic conditions, and considering novelty in future management interventions.

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  • 5.
    Ammar, Yosr
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Puntila-Dodd, Riikka
    Department of Aquatic Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
    Tomczak, Maciej T.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm University Baltic Sea Centre.
    Nyström, Magnus
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Blenckner, Thorsten
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Exploring future ecosystem novelty and resilience using the adaptive cycleManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Marine ecosystems worldwide are under unprecedented pressure from the impacts of climate change and human activities. Such pressure increased novelty in species assemblages, i.e., assemblages increasingly outside their historical range of variation. It may further rise in the future, and whether it will unfold and influence resilience remains unclear. Using the adaptive cycle, we explore the relationship between resilience and novelty under the compound effect of climate, nutrient load, and fishing management scenarios in the Finnish Archipelago Sea (FAS) future food web model. Novelty was measured as the minimum dissimilarity over time relative to a specific baseline. Ecological Network Analysis indices associated to the model: ascendancy, capacity, and overhead flow, were used as indicators of connectedness, potential, and resilience axes of the adaptive cycle. A model-based clustering method distinguished four regimes determined by the impact of the nutrient load and climate on the bottom-up dynamic of the FAS food web. Resilience decreased in regimes where higher and faster novelty emerged in response to warmer climate pathways. The number of reorganization phases of the adaptive cycle, characterized by the generation of novelty, was greater in regimes under low nutrient load management scenarios. We highlight the importance of understanding ecosystem reorganization and resilience in a growing Anthropogenic novelty to inform future management. 

  • 6.
    Ammar, Yosr
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Voss, Rudi
    Niiranen, Susa
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Blenckner, Thorsten
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Quantifying socio-economic novelty in fisheries social-ecological systems2022In: Fish and Fisheries, ISSN 1467-2960, E-ISSN 1467-2979, Vol. 23, no 2, p. 445-461Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Socio-economic development has shaped fisheries social-ecological systems (SES) worldwide across different scales. No work has yet undertaken how this development led to novel, not experienced before, systems structure in marine SES. Here, we quantify socio-economic novelty as the degree of dissimilarity relative to a specific spatiotemporal baseline in the Baltic Sea fisheries SES between 1975 and 2015. We used catch by "gears," catch by "commercial groups" and trade ("import" and "export") as respective indicators of novelty at national, regional and international governance levels. We found that socio-economic novelty increased over time nonlinearly in relation to the 1975–1979 baseline. The contribution to total novelty shifted from the dominance of “gears” and “commercial groups” in the late 1990s and early 2000s to “import” and “export” after the mid-2000s, i.e. from national and regional levels to the international level. The fastest increase in novelty occurred with the trade dominance shift, primarily related to monetary value rather than quantity. Spatially, novelty emerged with a large difference across countries, and a major contribution by Sweden, Denmark and Poland. We identified the influence of different management interventions and governance actions on the emergence of novelty in the Baltic SES. The decreasing socio-economic novelty at national and regional levels could indicate reduced variability due to management intervention in recent years which might decrease SES resilience to shocks. Calculating socio-economic novelty and studying its drivers at different scales could provide a better understanding of SES complexity and inform urgently needed adaptation and transformation towards sustainable future pathways. 

  • 7.
    Blenckner, Thorsten
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Ammar, Yosr
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Müller-Karulis, Bärbel
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm University Baltic Sea Centre.
    Niiranen, Susa
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Arneborg, Lars
    Li, Qiang
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    The Risk for Novel and Disappearing Environmental Conditions in the Baltic Sea2021In: Frontiers in Marine Science, E-ISSN 2296-7745, Vol. 8, article id 745722Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Future climate biogeochemical projections indicate large changes in the ocean with environmental conditions not experienced at present referred to as novel, or may even disappear. These climate-induced changes will most likely affect species distribution via changes in growth, behavior, evolution, dispersal, and species interactions. However, the future risk of novel and disappearing environmental conditions in the ocean is poorly understood, in particular for compound effects of climate and nutrient management changes. We map the compound risk of the occurrence of future novel and disappearing environmental conditions, analyze the outcome of climate and nutrient management scenarios for the world’s largest estuary, the Baltic Sea, and the potential consequences for three charismatic species. Overall, the future projections show, as expected, an increase in environmental novelty over time. The future nutrient reduction management that improves the eutrophication status of the Baltic Sea contributes to large novel and disappearing conditions. We show the consequences of novel and disappearing environmental conditions for fundamental niches of three charismatic species under different scenarios. This first step toward comprehensively analyzing environmental novelty and disappearing conditions for a marine system illustrates the urgent need to include novelty and disappearing projection outputs in Earth System Models. Our results further illustrate that adaptive management is needed to account for the emergence of novelty related to the interplay of multiple drivers. Overall, our analysis provides strong support for the expectation of novel ecological communities in marine systems, which may affect ecosystem services, and needs to be accounted for in sustainable future management plans of our oceans.

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