Progress towards developing a fisheries management strategy for data-limited species in Peru (Nov 3)

A majority of fisheries around the world lack the data and/or capacity to be scientifically assessed and managed. Scientifically assessed fish stocks are in better shape than those that are not, with small-scale, unassessed fisheries in worse shape with declining trends. While most of the assessment and management practices have been developed for large-scale, data-rich fisheries, there are many emerging options available for data and capacity limited fisheries. However, there is a challenge in navigating all of the available options, given their differences in data requirements, outputs, costs, and meeting different objectives. To address this, the SNAP Data-limited Fisheries working group is nearing completion of a Decision Support System (DSS) for data- and capacity-limited fisheries. The DSS is a process oriented approach to selecting the three components of a management strategy: 1) a monitoring plan; 2) assessment of the status of the resource; and 3) management decision rules. The DSS allows users to characterize the unique attributes of their fishery through a series of questions, which narrows down the management strategy options to those most cost-effective and relevant to the fishery.

In this round-table, I will present our progress towards applying this framework for a set of data-limited fisheries in Peru: 1) the Lorna Drum (Sciaena deliciosa) fishery; and 2) the Chita (Anisotremus scapularis) fishery. The project will be presented in the context of the Peruvian case study, but I hope this will stimulate discussion around the broader application of this framework and the use of decision support systems.

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Dawn Dougherty
NCEAS Data-limited Fisheries SNAP Working Group

Protecting and predicting genetic diversity of whole communities – a case study of Hawaiian reefs

Conservation strategies increasingly call for preserving areas of high genetic diversity. This shift necessitates a look beyond single-species studies toward methods to predict and map community-level trends in genetic diversity. Theory suggests that genetic diversity primarily responds to habitat area and isolation, but ecology particular to each species nevertheless modify spatial patterns across co-distributed species. The balance and sources of convergent and divergent forces shaping genetic diversity of a community are largely unexplored.  With data for 47 reef species sampled across 16 Hawaiian Islands, we test a suite of hypotheses about drivers of biodiversity with a novel metric representing the emergent genetic diversity of the community. Results reassuringly support foundational theory on the relationship of diversity to habitat, but also suggest intriguing eco-genetic feedbacks and concerning signs that thermal stress has effected the genetic resilience of the whole reef community. I discuss the implications of these results for managing and protecting genetic diversity at the community level.

Kimberley Selkoe

Center Associate, NCEAS, UCSB /
Associate Research Biologist, Marine Science Institute, UCSB


Transitions of social-ecological subsistence systems in the Arctic

In this round-table, I will discuss how global change are transforming small-scale, native, resource-dependent communities in the Arctic. These social-ecological systems are increasingly exposed to global warming, industrial development and globalization, which subsequently alter the local SES dynamics. Subsistence use of fish and wildlife is a cornerstone in these communities. This traditional utilization of natural resources are commonly assumed to be donor-controlled, in which the users do not control the resource level but adapt to the fluctuating availability of fish and wildlife. A combination of increased harvest efficiency through the introduction of new technology, increased resource demand through population increase and commercialization, and reduced resource stocks by exogenous pressures such as climate change, is likely to increase the pressure on the stocks of fish and wildlife. The result could be a transition of the SES from a provisioning action situation, where the collective challenge is to secure subsistence on a local scale, to an appropriation action situation where the collective challenge is to avoid overuse of a common-pool resource on the scale of the resource stock. We applied cross-national comparison of Arctic Alaska, Canada and Greenland, synthesized secondary data from documents, official statistics and grey and scientific literature, and asked: What are the evidence for SES transitions in the Arctic? Which exogenous pressures are associated with transitions, and what conditions might prevent transitions? How does the transitions change the focus and sustainability challenges faced by the governance systems?

Although the results I will present are from the Arctic, I hope the talk will stimulate a more general discussion on how global change might transform local social-ecological systems.

Dr Per Fauchald

NCEAS visiting scientist

Senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research


What kind of science do we need to create sustainable pathways in the Arctic? (Oct 14)

Globalization processes coupled to the new sea transport routes, resource and infrastructure development and market integration are changing the arctic social-ecological systems at an accelerating pace. The increase in global connectedness will change the local resource-use systems thereby altering landscapes, fish and wildlife populations, and other ecosystem services important to Arctic people. While there is a rich body of research focusing on the direct effects of global warming and adaptions to climate-related changes, we have a limited understanding about how globalization and the adoption of new lifestyles, practices, technologies and institutional innovations could influence causal pathways and sustainability in the Arctic. Despite of these large gaps in understanding, researchers are expected to deliver knowledge that could enable actions and adaptations to environmental changes.

In this roundtable, I hope to spur an informal discussion about what kinds of science are needed and which research gaps we need to fill before providing reliable advice about sustainable pathways. While I will briefly introduce sustainability challenges in the Arctic by presenting the Belmont Forum project CONNECT, this roundtable will benefit from the participants broad experience from research outside the Arctic. I also encourage participants to bring their mobile or laptop in case we will use interactive polling to facilitate discussions (no software need to be installed).

Dr. Vera Helene Hausner
NCEAS Visiting Scientist
Associate Professor in Sustainability Science, UiT-The Arctic University of Norway

NCEAS / UCSB role as the new LTER Network Communications Office (Oct 7)

The National Science Foundation recently awarded the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network Communications Office (NCO) to UCSB and NCEAS (PI Frank Davis; Co-PIs Carol Blanchette, Jenn Caselle, Stacy Rebich Hespanha, Matt Jones, and Mark Schildhauer). The NCO is conceived as an integrated set of activities in three areas – Communication and Outreach, Synthesis Research, and Education and Training – that builds on NCEAS’ longstanding relationship with LTER scientists, leverages existing staff capacity and infrastructure, and takes advantage of UCSB’s strengths and resources in ecology, environmental science and management, environmental communication and media, and environmental informatics.

In this Roundtable I will summarize the key feaures of the NCO and what it will mean for NCEAS, UCSB, and the broader LTER community. I will leave ample time for discussion of NCO needs and priorities.

Frank W. Davis
Director, NCEAS
Professor, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, UCSB