About this Research Topic
Many continental shelf ecosystems support high-value fisheries with a long history of exploitation. The management and monitoring of these ecosystems in many regions has produced a substantial database on their structure and functioning and led to the development of policies for their sustainable use. Yet despite this, we still have limited understanding of ecosystem variability, species and ecosystem responses to change, and this may be mediated by climate change. Some ecosystems that ostensibly appear very similar can respond quite differently to pressures such as fishing and climate change. Understanding how these drivers, singly and in combination, affect stock size, production, and energy flow through the system will provide insight into the commonalities and differences of the underlying mechanisms of observed ecosystem changes. This is critical both to understand system response to the various drivers, but also to project response to new stressors, to develop future scenarios and to manage for the future. Developing this understanding requires a combination of data compilation, novel analytical approaches, and ecological modeling.
We invite papers that explore marine ecosystem variability and the relative roles of environment, climate, fishing and trophic dynamics in marine ecosystems and implications for future management. These questions can be addressed at the individual ecosystem level and through comparative process studies, and should:
- explore ecosystem variability over time and space
- explore the major linkages, interactions and dependencies between and within human and ocean systems
- use novel analytical techniques to explore these questions
- explore the combined effects of fishing and global change
- provide insight into how these dynamics can help inform sustainable management strategies
Finally, we propose to address the following question: “What is limiting our understanding of ecosystem variability? Implications for fisheries management.”
Keywords: Ecosystem variability, climate change, fishing, response, fisheries management
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.