How can knowledge of ecosystems be integrated with the economic value of natural resources?

Understanding the role of human management on ecosystem structure and function requires an interdisciplinary framework. As such, ecosystems are increasingly viewed as social-ecological systems (SES); in this approach, human livelihood is often explicitly and tightly coupled to the structure and function of ecosystems. Furthermore, the explicit consideration of humans as a part of the ecosystem in SES frameworks allows for a direct and more complete investigation of biotic-abiotic system interactions. One SES of global importance is the marine coastal ecosystem. For example, through their structure and function, coastal marine ecosystems provide important ecosystem services that benefit humans including: 1) raw materials and food; 2) water purification; 3) erosion control; and 4) maintenance of fisheries. The results of the research will inform management decisions.

Date: 2015 - Present
Location: Downeast Maine
Organization: University of New England
Collaborators: This project was lead by Eric Chapman in collaboration with Dr. Carrie Byron at the University of New England, Dr. Di Jin at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Dr. Tracey Dalton at the University of Rhode Island.