Can Dungeness crab and eelgrass help improve management of our marine resources?

February 16, 2008

Putting theory into practice to manage complex and closely linked social and ecological systems along our coasts is a challenge, but one NOAA researcher Anne Guerry says can be addressed by a new approach to managing the value of our ocean resources.

Guerry will discuss the use of ecosystem services, the benefits that people obtain from ecosystems, in managing marine resources in her AAAS presentation "Ecosystem Services Provided by the Nearshore in Puget Sound: An Analysis of Change." Puget Sound is home to 200 species of fish, 26 species of marine mammals, and over 625 species of seaweed, as well as 3.5 million people. How well the marine systems in Puget Sound function is directly linked to the region's quality of life and economy.

Guerry and colleagues focused on Dungeness crab harvests and the distribution of eelgrass, which sequesters or stores carbon from greenhouse emissions, as models to illustrate how changes in nearshore habitats and various management scenarios can affect these ecosystem services. By examining various scenarios that are based on real choices facing decision-makers, the team can compare the effects of various management decisions on the delivery of these services.

For example, Guerry's team gathered basic life history information about Dungeness crab and data on its abundance and harvests in the region. Using a model of the crab populations in the sound, they examined its sensitivity to changes in nearshore habitats and the resulting changes in harvestable crab. Those changes can ultimately be translated to changes in the dollar value of the crab harvest, and tracked through economic models to changes in other sectors of the economy.

The researchers also examined the ecosystem service of carbon storage provided by eelgrass habitats in the nearshore region of Puget Sound and the potential for it to change under different management scenarios. They mapped current known distributions of eelgrass, looked at known historical distributions and places where eelgrass has the potential to grow. Next they mapped various human impacts on eelgrass habitats, from shoreline armoring with bulkheads to overwater structures that block light and mechanical damage by dredging.

"Making ecosystem services a useful concept to Puget Sound ecosystem management requires basic research on how services vary across the region and how they might be affected by alternative management schemes," Guerry said. "The principles we use in Puget Sound can be applied to other regions."
-end-


NOAA Research

Related Ecosystem Services Articles from Brightsurf:

Seagrass restoration speeds recovery of ecosystem services
The reintroduction of seagrass into Virginia's coastal bays is one of the great success stories in marine restoration.

Cover crop mixtures must be 'farm-tuned' to provide maximum ecosystem services
Penn State researchers, in a recent study, were surprised to learn that they could take the exact same number of seeds from the same plants, put them in agricultural fields across the Mid-Atlantic region and get profoundly different stands of cover crops a few months later.

Cover crop roots are an essential key to understanding ecosystem services
To judge the overall effectiveness of cover crops and choose those offering the most ecosystem services, agricultural scientists must consider the plants' roots as well as above-ground biomass, according to Penn State researchers who tested the characteristics of cover crop roots in three monocultures and one mixture.

Unparalleled inventory of the human gut ecosystem
Scientists gathered and published over 200 000 genomes from the human gut microbiome.

Cycad plants provide an important 'ecosystem service'
A study published in the June 2020 edition of the peer-reviewed journal Horticulturae shows that cycads, which are in decline and among the world's most threatened group of plants, provide an important service to their neighboring organisms.

More ecosystem engineers create stability, preventing extinctions
Biological builders like beavers, elephants, and shipworms re-engineer their environments.

Ecosystem degradation could raise risk of pandemics
Environmental destruction may make pandemics more likely and less manageable, new research suggests.

Improving the operation and performance of Wi-Fi networks for the 5G/6G ecosystem
An article published in the advanced online edition of the journal Computer Communications shows that the use of machine learning can improve the operation and performance of the Wi-Fi networks of the future, those of the 5G/6G ecosystem.

Ten years of ecosystem services matrix: Review of a (r)evolution
One of the methods to assess Ecosystem Services (ES) - the benefits people obtain from ecosystems: the ES Matrix approach, has been increasingly used in the last decade.

A lost world and extinct ecosystem
The field study site of Pinnacle Point, South Africa, sits at the center of the earliest evidence for symbolic behavior, complex pyrotechnology, projectile weapons, and the first use of foods from the sea, both geographically and scientifically, having contributed much on the evolutionary road to being a modern human.

Read More: Ecosystem Services News and Ecosystem Services Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.