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A multi-scale biophysical model to inform regional management of coral reefs in the western Philippines and South China Sea


Melbourne-Thomas, J and Johnson, CR and Alino, PM and Geronimo, RC and Villanoy, CL and Gurney, G, A multi-scale biophysical model to inform regional management of coral reefs in the western Philippines and South China Sea, Environmental Modelling and Software, 26, (1) pp. 66-82. ISSN 1364-8152 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2010.03.033


The health and functioning of coral reef ecosystems worldwide is in decline, and in the face of increasing anthropogenic stress, the rate of decline of these important ecosystems is set to accelerate. Mitigation strategies at regional scales are costly, but nevertheless critical, as reef systems are highly connected across regions by ocean transport of both larval propagules and pollutants. It is essential that these strategies are informed by sound science, but the inherent complexity of coral reef systems confers significant challenges for scientists and managers. Models are useful tools for dealing with complexity and can inform decision making for coral reef management. We develop a spatially explicit biophysical model for a general coral reef system. The model couples dynamics from local (102 m) to regional (106 m) scales, and explicitly incorporates larval connectivity patterns derived from sophisticated larval dispersal models. Here, we instantiate and validate the model for coral reefs in the Philippines region of the South China Sea. We demonstrate how the model can be used in decision support for coral reef management by presenting two examples of regional-scale scenario projection relating to key management issues in the Philippines: (i) marine reserve design and the recovery of fish stocks; and (ii) synergistic effects between coral bleaching and poor water quality. These scenarios highlight the importance of considering multiple stressors to reef health and patterns of larval connectivity in regional-scale management decisions

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:CORSET; Coral reef; Regional scale; Decision support; Ecosystem model; Management; Connectivity; Philippines; South China Sea
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Melbourne-Thomas, J (Dr Jessica Melbourne-Thomas)
UTAS Author:Johnson, CR (Professor Craig Johnson)
UTAS Author:Gurney, G (Ms Georgina Gurney)
ID Code:64664
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:44
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2010-08-16
Last Modified:2012-04-11
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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