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Resilience of aquatic systems: Review and management implications

Pelletier, Marguerite C., Ebersole, Joe, Mulvaney, Kate, Rashleigh, Brenda, Gutierrez, Mary Nicole, Chintala, Marnita, Kuhn, Anne, Molina, Marirosa, Bagley, Mark, Lane, Chuck
Aquatic sciences 2020 v.82 no.2 pp. 44
adaptive management, aquatic ecosystems, biodiversity, collaborative management, habitat connectivity, monitoring, social environment, stakeholders
Our understanding of how ecosystems function has changed from an equilibria-based view to one that recognizes the dynamic, fluctuating, nonlinear nature of aquatic systems. This current understanding requires that we manage systems for resilience. In this review, we examine how resilience has been defined, measured and applied in aquatic systems, and more broadly, in the socioecological systems in which they are embedded. Our review reveals the importance of managing stressors adversely impacting aquatic system resilience, as well as understanding the environmental and climatic cycles and changes impacting aquatic resources. Aquatic resilience may be enhanced by maintaining and enhancing habitat connectivity as well as functional redundancy and physical and biological diversity. Resilience in aquatic socioecological system may be enhanced by understanding and fostering linkages between the social and ecological subsystems, promoting equity among stakeholders, and understanding how the system is impacted by factors within and outside the area of immediate interest. Management for resilience requires implementation of adaptive and preferably collaborative management. Implementation of adaptive management for resilience will require an effective monitoring framework to detect key changes in the coupled socioecological system. Research is needed to (1) develop sensitive indicators and monitoring designs, (2) disentangle complex multi-scalar interactions and feedbacks, and (3) generalize lessons learned across aquatic ecosystems and apply them in new contexts.