Connectivity is Everything

Citation data:

Gulf and Caribbean Research, Vol: 29, Issue: 1, Page: ii-xix

Publication Year:
2018
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Repository URL:
https://aquila.usm.edu/gcr/vol29/iss1/10
DOI:
10.18785/gcr.2901.10
Author(s):
Richard S. Appeldoorn
Publisher(s):
University of Southern Mississippi
Tags:
Ontogenetic migration; MPA design; ecosystem-based management; habitat connectivity; coral reef fishes
article description
Here I review some of the changes that have occurred in coral reef fisheries, both in the priority focus areas and in the methods and resources available, as viewed through the personal perspective of my 37 years working in Puerto Rico. The development of marine protected areas (MPAs), especially no-take areas, as management tools and the expansion of fisheries management beyond populations to embrace ecosystem-based management (EBM) are both driven by (i) the expansion of stressors, including fishing, beyond the effective capacity of most agencies and (ii) the close linkages between fisheries resources and their supporting habitat. Underlying both is the maintenance of the productive capacity of the coral reef ecosystem. Understanding what makes an ecosystem productive requires knowledge on all the pieces, how they are connected and the processes determining the direction and rates of flow (of nutrients, individuals, biomass, ecological function) through the seascape. Principles of connectivity are thus critical for the design of MPAs, MPA networks, and maintaining productivity through EBM.