The July 2016 article in the ICES Journal of Marine Science “Seascapes as a new vernacular for ocean monitoring, management and conservation” defines how new seascape models which can characterize both the spatial heterogeneity of the dynamic fluid environment and other technologies that sample the diversity of marine life can guide conservation, policy, and management strategies.
Maria Kavanaugh, researcher with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Sanctuaries MBON co-investigator is the lead developer of the MBON seascapes initiative. Kavanaugh and MBON researchers Francisco Chavez, Frank Muller-Karger, Scott Doney along with Matthew Oliver and Ricardo Letelier contribute to this rapidly evolving framework, addressing key issues and outlining future opportunities in the ICES article.
Marine ecosystems face multiple stressors associated with global change, including warming, reduced oxygen, reduced pH, and reduced productivity. Projecting future change is problematic because individual pressures may have different and/or overlapping spatial footprints or affect ecosystems differently at local and global scales. Furthermore, shifting geographies make it difficult for managers and policy makers to adapt to, plan for, or mitigate the multiple stressors on pelagic ecosystems. The authors propose five recommendations which would focus seascape ecology research in the near-term to better support biodiversity. The recommendations include:
- Develop and test ecological theories;
- Increase spatial, temporal, and spectral scales;
- Merge observations with regional and global marine ecosystem models;
- Integrate organismal level observations; and
- Complement existing management tools and embed seascape ecology and classifications into existing networks