Implementing the Ecosystem Approach in marine ecosystems is moving from preliminary steps—dedicated to defining the optimal features for indicators and developing efficient indicator frameworks—towards an operational phase where multisector marine management decisions are executed using this information. Within this operational context, emergent ecosystem properties are becoming quite promising as they have been demonstrated to be globally widespread and repeatable, and to be quite effective in detecting significant state variations of complex systems. Biomass accumulation across TLs (CumB‐TL) combines two important emergent properties of an ecosystem (energy flow, in terms of transfer efficiency, and storage, expressed as biomass), both amenable to detecting rapid ecosystem change. However, for further application, it is crucial to understand which types of drivers an indicator is sensitive to and how robust it is in relation to modifications of the external conditions and/or the system state. Here we address some outstanding questions of these CumB‐TL curves related to their sensitivity to various drivers by carrying out a global scale assessment (using data from 62 LMEs) over six decades (1950–2010). We confirm the consistency of the S‐pattern across all the LMEs, independent from latitude, ecosystem, environmental conditions, and stress level. The dynamics of the curve shape showed a tendency to stretch (i.e. decrease of steepness), in the presence of external disturbance and conversely to increase in steepness and shift towards higher TL in the case of recovery from stressed conditions. Our results suggest the presence of three main types of ecosystem dynamics, those showing an almost continuous increase in ecological state over time, those showing a continuous decrease in ecological state over time, and finally those showing a mixed behaviour flipping between recovering and degrading phases. These robust patterns suggest that the CumB‐TL curve approach has some useful properties for use in further advancing the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach, allowing us to detect the state of a given marine ecosystem based on the dynamics of its curve shape, by using readily available time series data. The value of being able to identify conditions that might require management actions is quite high and, in many respects, represents the main objective in the context of an Ecosystem Approach, with large applications for detecting and responding to global changes in marine ecosystems.

Cumulative biomass curves describe past and present conditions of Large Marine Ecosystems

Libralato S;
2019

Abstract

Implementing the Ecosystem Approach in marine ecosystems is moving from preliminary steps—dedicated to defining the optimal features for indicators and developing efficient indicator frameworks—towards an operational phase where multisector marine management decisions are executed using this information. Within this operational context, emergent ecosystem properties are becoming quite promising as they have been demonstrated to be globally widespread and repeatable, and to be quite effective in detecting significant state variations of complex systems. Biomass accumulation across TLs (CumB‐TL) combines two important emergent properties of an ecosystem (energy flow, in terms of transfer efficiency, and storage, expressed as biomass), both amenable to detecting rapid ecosystem change. However, for further application, it is crucial to understand which types of drivers an indicator is sensitive to and how robust it is in relation to modifications of the external conditions and/or the system state. Here we address some outstanding questions of these CumB‐TL curves related to their sensitivity to various drivers by carrying out a global scale assessment (using data from 62 LMEs) over six decades (1950–2010). We confirm the consistency of the S‐pattern across all the LMEs, independent from latitude, ecosystem, environmental conditions, and stress level. The dynamics of the curve shape showed a tendency to stretch (i.e. decrease of steepness), in the presence of external disturbance and conversely to increase in steepness and shift towards higher TL in the case of recovery from stressed conditions. Our results suggest the presence of three main types of ecosystem dynamics, those showing an almost continuous increase in ecological state over time, those showing a continuous decrease in ecological state over time, and finally those showing a mixed behaviour flipping between recovering and degrading phases. These robust patterns suggest that the CumB‐TL curve approach has some useful properties for use in further advancing the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach, allowing us to detect the state of a given marine ecosystem based on the dynamics of its curve shape, by using readily available time series data. The value of being able to identify conditions that might require management actions is quite high and, in many respects, represents the main objective in the context of an Ecosystem Approach, with large applications for detecting and responding to global changes in marine ecosystems.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.14083/2076
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