NCEAS Project 10281

Conservation planning for ecosystem functioning: Testing predictions of ecological effectiveness for marine predators (EBM)

  • Daniel F. Doak
  • James A. Estes
  • Terrie Williams
  • J. Timothy Wootton

Ecosystem Based Management Web Site

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Working Group3rd—6th March 2006Participant List  
Working Group13th—17th October 2006Participant List  
Working Group9th—12th March 2007Participant List  
Working Group3rd—7th November 2007Participant List  
Working Group25th—29th April 2008Participant List  
Working Group9th—13th May 2009Participant List  

At a major symposium on marine ecosystem-based management at the 2005 AAAS meetings, one of the three principal themes deemed critical for future progress was interaction web dynamics┬┐the way in which species interact with one another and their physical environment. In particular, the scientific basis for marine ecosystem-based management must better incorporate understanding of the influences of multiple predator species on interaction web dynamics. These interactions are increasingly recognized as critical to the maintenance and restoration of marine communities and hence to the planning of marine reserves and other conservation strategies. Our working group will directly tackle this important issue, asking what approaches are most successful in estimating the interaction strength, also termed ecological effectiveness, of predator species on nearshore communities and how to use limited information on these effects to best conduct conservation planning in these ecosystems. We will focus our initial efforts on three extremely well-studied predator guilds of West Coast, near shore communities: sea otters in kelp forests; predatory whelks in mid-intertidal benthic communities, and wading shore birds in high to mid intertidal communities. For each of these very different systems, extensive data exist on the effects of predator abundance, physiology, and individual behavior. We will assemble these diverse data sets and use them to develop detailed interaction models as well as more broad-brush models that may be applicable to less-well-studied communities. Our overall goal is to use these models to ask what aspects of predator physiology and behavior, and what aspects of prey community structure, most determine the ecological effectiveness of predators and thus must be understood in order to plan viable marine conservation strategies.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Doak, Daniel F.; Estes, James A.; Halpern, Benjamin S.; Jacob, Ute; Lindberg, David R.; Lovvorn, James R.; Monson, Daniel H.; Tinker, M. Timothy; Williams, Terrie; Wootton, J. Timothy; Carroll, Ian; Emmerson, Mark C.; Micheli, Fiorenza; Novak, Mark. 2008. Understanding and predicting ecological dynamics: Are major surprises inevitable?. Ecology. Pages 952-961.
Data Set Emmerson, Mark C. 2009. Trophic interactions of the Ythan Estuary. (Online version)
Journal Article Novak, Mark; Wootton, J. Timothy; Doak, Daniel F.; Emmerson, Mark C.; Estes, James A.; Tinker, M. Timothy. 2011. Predicting community responses to perturbations in the face of imperfect knowledge and network complexity. Ecology. Vol: 92. Pages 836-846. (Online version)
Data Set Wootton, J. Timothy. 2009. Tatoosh Intertidal Biomass and Diet Parameter Estimates. (Online version)