Article offers guidance on implementing EBM

EBM requires development of a common vision among stakeholders and practitioners, according to an article in the August 2007 issue of the journal Frontiers of Ecology and the Environment. Researchers Heather Leslie and Karen McLeod argue that successful EBM demands dialogue on whether emphasis should be on ecosystem health or human well-being. Flexibility and adaptation are key, they write, and governance needs to be on multiple, nested and operational scales. Their recommendations include the sharing of examples of EBM success and agreement on how to measure EBM success. The authors conclude that the scientific community can respond to EBM challenges by addressing critical research needs, building interdisciplinary scientific capacity and communicating existing scientific knowledge.

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Heather M. Leslie:
Karen L. McLeod:

(For a PDF copy of their article "Confronting the challenges of implementing marine ecosystem-based management", contact the authors.)

Study finds broad decline of coral ecosystems

Loss of coral cover is more widespread and occurring faster than previously believed, according to an analysis of more than 2600 coral reef ecosystems located in the Indian and Pacific oceans. Marine biologist John Bruno and graduate student Elizabeth Selig of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (U.S.), compiled more than 6000 independent surveys spanning four decades, and found that more than 3000 square kilometers of living coral reef have been lost each year since 1997. The annual rate of coral cover loss across the region is 2%, or nearly five times the pace of rainforest loss worldwide. The article "Regional Decline of Coral Cover in the Indo-Pacific: Timing, Extent and Subregional Comparisons," appears in the August 2007 edition of the free journal PLoS ONE, at

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John Bruno:

Forecast tool may be useful for EBM

A new simulation model for ocean forecasts in Australian waters may provide useful data for EBM around the globe. Using supercomputers, the US$12 million BLUElink project simulates marine physical processes to produce ocean-analysis and prediction charts. "The data provided by BLUElink on ocean conditions is an important input for an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management," says Chris Wilcox, senior research scientist at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). BLUElink forecasts are expected to provide data on coastal and ocean currents and eddies, surface and subsurface ocean properties, ecological sustainability, and regional and global climate conditions, among other factors. CSIRO also is developing an ocean-atmosphere model for coastal and continental-shelf analysis. The BLUElink project website is

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Chris Wilcox:

Survey assesses need for EBM tools

Results of a survey on what EBM practitioners need in terms of tools and capacity-building were released in September 2007. Respondents shared what they considered to be the most severe problems for implementing EBM; the most critical needs for planning and implementing EBM; the importance of increasing awareness of EBM tools; and other insights. The Web and phone survey was prepared by Intelligent Marine Planning ( and the EBM Tools Network ( The report can be downloaded at

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Dan Dorfman:
Sarah Carr (EBM Tools Network):

Ask the Expert: What does "ecosystem" mean in the context of EBM?

By Leanne Fernandes, Director, Earth to Ocean, Townsville, Queensland, Australia. E-mail: (Fernandes managed a multi-year process, the Representative Areas Program, to rezone the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park [GBRMP].)

If one is aiming for EBM, then one needs an idea of what is intended by an ecosystem. From a management perspective, the definition needs to be politically, legally (jurisdictionally), socially and ecologically sensible. This is likely to mean scientific compromise, presuming that science could give one a perfect geographical definition of an ecosystem in any one location….

(For Fernandes' full response, including why GBRMP relied on "bioregions" rather than habitats as the basis for rezoning, click here.)

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