Main content area

Evaluating changes in marine communities that provide ecosystem services through comparative assessments of community indicators

Kleisner, Kristin M., Coll, Marta, Lynam, Christopher P., Bundy, Alida, Shannon, Lynne, Shin, Yunne-Jai, Boldt, Jennifer L., Maria F., Borges, Diallo, Ibrahima, Fox, Clive, Gascuel, Didier, Heymans, Johanna J., Juan Jordá, Maria J., Jouffre, Didier, Large, Scott I., Marshall, Kristin N., Ojaveer, Henn, Piroddi, Chiara, Tam, Jorge, Torres, Maria A., Travers-Trolet, Morgane, Tsagarakis, Konstantinos, van der Meeren, Gro I., Zador, Stephani
Ecosystem services 2015 v.16 pp. 413-429
biomass, ecosystem services, fisheries, human population, longevity, marine ecosystems, predatory fish, seafoods, trophic levels
Fisheries provide critical provisioning services, especially given increasing human population. Understanding where marine communities are declining provides an indication of ecosystems of concern and highlights potential conflicts between seafood provisioning from wild fisheries and other ecosystem services. Here we use the nonparametric statistic, Kendall׳s tau, to assess trends in biomass of exploited marine species across a range of ecosystems. The proportion of ‘Non-Declining Exploited Species’ (NDES) is compared among ecosystems and to three community-level indicators that provide a gauge of the ability of a marine ecosystem to function both in provisioning and as a regulating service: survey-based mean trophic level, proportion of predatory fish, and mean life span. In some ecosystems, NDES corresponds to states and temporal trajectories of the community indicators, indicating deteriorating conditions in both the exploited community and in the overall community. However differences illustrate the necessity of using multiple ecological indicators to reflect the state of the ecosystem. For each ecosystem, we discuss patterns in NDES with respect to the community-level indicators and present results in the context of ecosystem-specific drivers. We conclude that using NDES requires context-specific supporting information in order to provide guidance within a management framework.