NCEAS Project 12476

Predicting baseline, current, and future distributions and abundances of apex predators on coral reefs

  • Julia K. Baum

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Postdoctoral Fellow1st January 2010—15th August 2011Participant List  

Predators can exert important controls on ecosystem structure and function, but are being rapidly depleted from the world’s oceans. Remote Pacific islands harbor many of the world’s remaining coral reef apex predator populations, yet little is know about these species and they are increasingly threatened by fishing pressure. My research aims to advance understanding of the ecological, physical, and anthropogenic factors that determine the abundance of these species on reefs across the Pacific, by integrating existing regional-scale spatially-explicit data into predictive species distribution models (SDMs). Robust, cross-validated models will then be used to predict geographically comprehensive predator distributions and abundances across the Pacific, to hindcast quantitative baselines for these species, and to forecast potential changes in their populations over the coming decades based on alternative management scenarios. Employing SDMs at the regional-scale in the ocean represents a novel application of these models. This research is timely, given the recent designation of many of remote Pacific reefs as U.S. national monuments. Research findings will be communicated to NOAA scientists and conservation practitioners with the aim of informing policy decisions for shark conservation.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Hutchings, Jeffrey A.; Minto, Coilin; Ricard, Daniel; Baum, Julia K.; Jensen, Olaf P. 2010. Trends in the abundance of marine fishes. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Vol: 67(8). Pages 1205-1210.
Journal Article Nadon, Marc O.; Baum, Julia K.; Williams, Ivor D.; McPherson, Jana; Zgliczynski, Brian J.; Richards, Benjamin L.; Schroeder, Robert E.; Brainard, Russell E. 2012. Re-creating missing population baselines for Pacific Reef sharks. Conservation Biology. Vol: 26(3). Pages 493-503. (Online version)