sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Boats for Sale MarineBusiness-World Sail-World Racing Cruising Int Magnetic Is RW Photo Gallery FishingBoating
Sail-World.com : Endangered species are like Movie Stars - Charlie Sheens and Tom Hanks
Endangered species are like Movie Stars - Charlie Sheens and Tom Hanks

'Scientists challenge theory on protection of threatened species'    Australian Institute of Marine Studies (AIMS)

Instead of simply concentrating conservation efforts on threatened species, resource managers and policymakers should consider ecosystem-wide impacts, say a group of scientists.

A new analysis published in ¬Conservation Biology challenges a widely accepted theory that protecting threatened species with unique functional roles is synonymous with protecting ecosystems. In fact, the study's subject, the bumphead parrotfish, is a prime example of a threatened species that, in high numbers, can damage its surroundings.

Bumphead parrotfish become a threat to living corals when overfishing reduces the shark population. -  Jenny Huang  
Among the nine authors of the study are four members of the Stanford faculty and one graduate student.

Instead of simply concentrating conservation efforts on the bumphead or any other threatened species, resource managers and policymakers should consider these species' diverse impacts and the forces that mediate them, according to the study's authors.

'It's pretty hard to get it right if you just focus on one thing,' said co-author Rob Dunbar, the W.M. Keck Professor in Stanford's School of Earth Sciences and senior fellow, by courtesy, at the Stanford Woods Institute. 'What matters is a species' role in an ecosystem,' said co-author Doug Bird, a Stanford Woods Institute-affiliated senior research scientist in anthropology. People and their impacts on the natural world are part of this calculus.

'The key ecological players in natural ecosystems perform multiple functions,' said co-author Fiorenza Micheli, a biology professor affiliated with the Stanford Woods Institute and Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station. 'Basically they wear many hats. It is the sum of these diverse roles that determines their overall influence on the ecosystem.'

Good and bad effects
The researchers are careful to emphasize that their findings should not be interpreted as justification for rolling back protections of endangered species, or that threatened species commonly affect ecosystems in negative ways.

'Most species deliver a suite of impacts on ecosystems that could be construed as both positive and negative,' said lead author Douglas McCauley, a former doctoral student at Hopkins Marine Station and current assistant professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

'I think about the suggestion that all endangered species must be 'good' for the environment the same way I think about expectations that movie stars should all be good citizens.

Movie stars are just people. Endangered species are just species. In the world of endangered species there are Charlie Sheens and there are Tom Hankses, and everything in between.'

Scientists challenge theory on protection of threatened species -  ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies ©  


Working in Palmyra Atoll, a relatively untouched marine wilderness about 1,000 miles south of Hawaii, the Stanford researchers studied bumpheads, abundant in the study area but increasingly rare elsewhere in the world.

Like any species, the bumphead has positive and negative impacts on coral reefs. For example, the fish eats dead coral and fast-growing algae, freeing up space for new corals to generate. But it also eats living coral, thereby reducing coral diversity, abundance and size.

In a healthy ecosystem, predators such as sharks play a key role in modulating the intensity of these effects on corals. Where sharks are abundant, bumpheads avoid high-diversity coral reef areas and their negative impacts are minimized.

If shark populations continue to drop due to overfishing, bumpheads will likely continue to damage corals. This, in turn, could lead to a die-off of coral-dependent sea life that many people depend on for their food and livelihoods.

'There are many reasons to not hunt sharks, but people probably weren't thinking it could affect the reefs,' Dunbar said. 'It's about understanding pathways.'

'Conservation efforts should aim to protect and restore the whole ecosystem, including top predators such as sharks, and the complex web of direct and indirect relations that link large marine animals all the way to corals,' Micheli added.

Ecosystems more fragile
Climate change and other widespread impacts have made ecosystems more fragile than ever, McCauley said. 'The rules of resiliency are changing. By acidifying the marine environment and turning up ocean temperatures, we have created a future that is going to be incredibly challenging for corals. Suddenly, natural stressors that mattered little before, like the munching of mega-parrotfish, may indeed matter and will need to be accommodated in our plans for reef management in coming decades.'

The point is to collect as much information as possible about an ecosystem and its key players in order to ensure more effective conservation efforts, McCauley said. 'Frank characterizations of the diversity of a species' ecosystem impacts – good and bad – will lead to more informed decisions about the management of species populations and the ecosystems in which they are embedded.'

Still, McCauley stressed, bumpheads' impacts pale in comparison to human impacts. 'We can and should make more room for some of these natural stressors by reducing our own impacts on reefs.'

The five Stanford co-authors are Eleanor Power, graduate student in anthropology; Doug Bird, senior research scientist in anthropology; Bill Durham, Bing Professor in Human Biology and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment; Dunbar and Micheli. Also co-authors are McCauley and Hillary Young of the University of California Santa Barbara; Roger Guevara of the Departamento de Biología Evolutiva, Instituto de Ecología AC, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico; and Gareth Williams of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif.

This research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Stanford Woods Institute's Environmental Venture Projects (EVP) program.


by Rob Jordan


  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=125159

8:14 AM Sun 3 Aug 2014GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







Sail-World Cruising News - local and the World

Dangerous conditions forecast for NSW boaters by Roads and Maritime Services,


The Galley Guys take on the Vancouver International Boat Show by Greg Nicoll with Frank Leffelaar and Friends,


Are you ready to enter that marina? by Captain John Jamieson, Florida














Remember to properly dispose of obsolete distress beacons by Australian Maritime Safety Authority,




World ARC fleet bids farewell to Bali by World Cruising Club,






















World ARC crews in Bali by World Cruising Club,


Could your sailing navigation use a tune-up? by Captain John Jamieson, Florida












Shedding light on the life of former lighthouse keepers + Video by Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority,








The Boat Cookbook
Indian Ocean-wide tsunami exercise to test readiness
Blue Planet Odyssey - Aventura makes landfall at St John’s
Round the World racer joins Southern Pacific Inflatables
New exhibition explores role of Royal Australian Navy in WWI
18 anti-piracy weapons for ships to fight pirates
World ARC fleet now arriving in Bali
Skysol Frame Large: A new shading solution for sunroofs
Governor’s Cup Yacht race - Great for cruisers and racers alike
EU Naval flagship- frigate assist yacht twice maydays in pirate zone
Australian Maritime Safety Authority coordinates rescue of solo sailor
An offer a Galley Guy cannot refuse
Dinghy Safety - More to think about
Southport Yacht Club’s annual Sail Past and Blessing of Fleet Ceremony
World ARC fleet to enter Indian Ocean for the first time
Pack this sailing gear for 'hands-free' lighting
New earlier date for ICA’s Cruising Prep Seminar proving popular
World ARC fleet departs Darwin under full sail
Techno-Sciences chosen for AUS/NZ MEOSAR Infrastructure Deployment
Marine Rescue crew saves cruiser in trouble in rough conditions
2014 Mandurah Boat Show - Third largest boat show in Australia   
Blue Planet Odyssey - Northwest Passage gate opens   
World ARC participants tour Litchfield National Park   
Africa Europe Challenge introduces 'Spectator's Package'   
Wanted youth circumnavigators on a 'Voyage of Imagination'   
The crowd-pleasing comforts of catamaran cruising   
Death by Dinghy   
'Sailing Stones' of Death Valley seen in action for the first time   
20 coral species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act   
Shanghai to San Francisco in under 2 hours via supersonic sub   
Last chance to win a yacht worth $250,000   
A case of crossed wires? A shocking situation!   
How amazingly awe-inspiring the Arctic really is   
New atlas provides thorough audit of marine life in the Southern Ocean   
Canal Boating in the Alsace with the Galley Guys   
Dangerous conditions for boaters from Queensland border to Sydney   
World ARC fleet arrives in Darwin   
Scarlet Runner circumnavigated the globe   
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Rock stars of sea take to catwalk   
Dangers of the Dinghy trip back to your boat   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph, contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW Cru SH
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT