The use of historical ecology in marine conservation

Dr Josh Drew, from Columbia University in New York, just published this excellent blog about the importance of historical ecology to marine conservation. I have just recruited a PhD student to look into this very subject for North Sea plankton. Josh notes four key reasons why we need to understand an ecosystem’s historical ecology to make informed conservation decisions:

– It helps us set baselines for restoration
– It allows us create metrics for long term monitoring
– It provides us evidence to challenge long held paradigms
– It gives us a framework to evaluate cumulative stresses

This information is essential for ecosystem conservation. The full post is below. Enjoy!

Abigail, Plankton and Policy

The Drew Lab at Columbia University

We had a new paper out this week that I’m very excited about. This paper, headed by Ruth Thurstan, is the result of a symposium at the 2014 International Marine Conservation Congress in Scotland focusing on Historical Ecology. This is a field that I’ve been thinking a lot about, including running a class on it in the spring semester of 2015, and I’m convinced that this avenue of research has real and tangible benefits to ecologists and conservation biologists of all stripes.

Shark teeth from a Gilbertese weapon. These can be used to look at the historical ecology of predator communities Shark teeth from a Gilbertese weapon. These can be used to look at the historical ecology of predator communities

Our paper, entitled “Filling historical data gaps to foster solutions in marine conservation” was published, open access, in Ocean & Coastal Management and broadly looks at how historical ecological approaches can inform many aspects of marine conservation.

Historical Ecology in general uses data from non-traditional sources…

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About Abigail McQuatters-Gollop

Marine biologist, guitarist, cat lover, red wine drinker. I like plankton.
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