Delevaux, Jade M.; Stamoulis, Kostantinos A.; Whittier, Robert; Jupiter, Stacy D.; Bremer, Leah L.; Friedlander, Alan M.; Kurashima, Natalie; Giddens, Jonatha; Winter, Kawika B.; Blaich-Vaughan, Mehana; Burnett, Kimberly M.; Geslani, Cheryl; Ticktin, Tamara. 2019. Place-based management can reduce human impacts on coral reefs in a changing climate. Ecological Applications. (Abstract) (Online version)
Declining natural resources have contributed to a cultural renaissance across the Pacific that seeks to revive customary ridgeâ€toâ€reef management approaches to protect freshwater and restore abundant coral reef fisheries. We applied a linked landâ€“sea modeling framework based on remote sensing and empirical data, which couples groundwater nutrient export and coral reef models at fine spatial resolution. This spatially explicit (60 Ã— 60 m) framework simultaneously tracks changes in multiple benthic and fish indicators as a function of communityâ€led marine closures, landâ€use and climate change scenarios. We applied this framework in HÄâ€˜ena and Kaâ€˜Å«pÅ«lehu, located at opposite ends of the Hawaiian Archipelago to investigate the effects of coastal development and marine closures on coral reefs in the face of climate change. Our results indicated that projected coastal development and bleaching can result in a significant decrease in benthic habitat quality and communityâ€led marine closures can result in a significant increase in fish biomass. In general, Kaâ€˜Å«pÅ«lehu is more vulnerable to landâ€based nutrients and coral bleaching than HÄâ€˜ena due to high coral cover and limited dilution and mixing from low rainfall and wave power, except for the shallow and waveâ€sheltered backâ€reef areas of HÄâ€˜ena, which support high coral cover and act as nursery habitat for fishes. By coupling spatially explicit landâ€“sea models with scenario planning, we identified priority areas on land where upgrading cesspools can reduce human impacts on coral reefs in the face of projected climate change impacts.