Addressing climate-driven changes in marine systems requires integration of ecology, conservation and social science

Friday 11 May, 2018
3.00pm - 4:00pm
UNSW Mathews Building, Theatre D

Climate change is driving a pervasive global redistribution of the planet’s species, with manifest implications from genes to ecosystems across multiple temporal and spatial scales. Species redistribution defies conservation paradigms that focus on restoring systems to a baseline and challenges management strategies, which are often static and based on human-dictated boundaries drawn in the past. Likewise, changes in distribution of marine resources create difficulties, particularly when species cross jurisdictional boundaries and where historical catch rates and assessment processes may no longer be appropriate. Moreover, we are still a long way from understanding the suite of mechanisms and processes underlying the high variation in rate and magnitude of shifts. Building on that uncertainty, we have even less understanding of how species redistribution will drive changes in ecological communities and further complicate aspirations of ecosystem-based management. Climate-driven species redistribution therefore presents intriguing ecological challenges to unravel, as well as fundamental philosophical questions and urgent issues related to conservation, food security, Indigenous and local livelihoods, and many other aspects of human well-being. This presentation will highlight some of the key questions for climate-driven species redistribution in marine systems in the context of ecology, conservation, natural resource management and social science. Understanding range shifts from ecological, physiological, genetic and biogeographical perspectives is essential for informing and designing conservation and natural resource management strategies for a changing future. However, for species redistribution research to support development of relevant adaptive strategies and policy decisions adequately, studies need to take an interdisciplinary approach and must recognise and value stakeholders.

Biography: Gretta Pecl is a Professor of marine ecology. Her research includes detecting and understanding the mechanisms behind species range extensions, and population and fishery responses to environmental change. She was instrumental in the development of the citizen science model Redmap for ecological monitoring and community engagement. Professor Pecl is a Fulbright Fellow, an ARC future fellow and a University of Tasmania 'Rising Star'. She is currently working with international colleagues on a Global Network of Marine Hotspots. She is internationally renowned for her innovative work on the biology and ecology of cephalopods. She is also Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, and the Director of the Centre for Marine Socioecology.

Host: Evolution and Ecology Research Centre