Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is commonly applied to achieve sustainable use of marine resources. For EBM, regular ecosystem-wide assessments of changes in environmental or ecological status are essential components, as well as assessments of the effects of management measures. Assessments are typically carried out using indicators. A major challenge for the usage of indicators in EBM is trophic interactions as these may influence indicator responses. Trophic interactions can also shape trade-offs between management targets, because they modify and mediate the effects of pressures on ecosystems. Characterization of such interactions is in turn a challenge when testing the usability of indicators. Climate variability and climate change may also impact indicators directly, as well as indirectly through trophic interactions. Together, these effects may alter interpretation of indicators in assessments and evaluation of management measures.
We developed indicator networks – statistical models of coupled indicators – to identify links representing trophic interactions between proposed food-web indicators, under multiple anthropogenic pressures and climate variables, using two basins in the Baltic Sea as a case study. We used the networks to simulate future indicator responses under different fishing, eutrophication and climate change scenarios. Responsiveness to fishing and eutrophication differed between indicators and across basins. Almost all indicators were highly dependent on climatic conditions, and differences in indicator trajectories >10% were found only in comparisons of future climates. In some cases, effects of nutrient load and climate scenarios counteracted each other, altering how management measures manifested in the indicators.
Research news | 2020-07-22
Why rotating and diversifying crops can help keep the corn rootworm away
Research news | 2020-07-19
Should the ocean system collapse, the resultant crisis would be as devastating as the COVID-19 crisis
Research news | 2020-06-29
Researchers debunk five illusions about forests and forest management. With it comes the hope for change
Research news | 2020-06-25
The complex interactions among the planetary boundaries can be challenging to grasp, but they play a critical role in the resilience of society’s responses to urgent global pressures. The SRC–L’Oreal research collaboration is focusing on the challenge of tackling multiple issues at once, in resilient ways.
Research news | 2020-06-25
Benchmarking the Swedish diet relative to global and national environmental targets shows more action on sustainable dietary shifts and more research needed
Research news | 2020-06-23
A blanket solution for persistent poverty does not exist. Researchers present three insights for action