Publications by: Fiorenza Micheli

Biological Reviews
May, 2013

Rod Fujita, John Lynham, Fiorenza Micheli, Pasha G. Feinberg, Luis Bourillón, Andrea Sáenz-Arroyo, and Alexander C. Markham.

Because conventional markets value only certain goods or services in the ocean (e.g. fish), other services provided by coastal and marine ecosystems that are not priced, paid for, or stewarded tend to become degraded. Conservation strategies aimed at protecting unvalued coastal ecosystem services through regulation or spatial management (e.g. Marine Protected Areas) can be effective but often result in lost revenue and adverse social impacts, which, in turn, create conflict and opposition. Here, we describe ‘ecomarkets’ – markets and financial tools – that could, under the right conditions, generate value for broad portfolios of coastal ecosystem services while maintaining ecosystem structure and function by addressing the unique problems of the coastal zone, including the lack of clear management and exclusion rights. We argue that efforts to overcome these obstacles are justified, because these deep changes will strongly complement policies and tools such as Marine Protected Areas, coastal spatial management, and regulation, thereby helping to bring coastal conservation to scale.

December, 2011

Gretchen E. Hofmann, Jennifer E. Smith, Kenneth S. Johnson, Uwe Send, Lisa A. Levin, Fiorenza Micheli, Adina Paytan, Nichole N. Price, Brittany Peterson, Yuichiro Takeshita, Paul G. Matson, Elizabeth Derse Crook, Kristy J. Kroeker, Maria Cristina Gambi, Emily B. Rivest, Christina A. Frieder, Pauline C. Yu, Todd R. Martz

The effect of Ocean Acidification (OA) on marine biota is quasi-predictable at best. While perturbation studies, in the form of incubations under elevated pCO2, reveal sensitivities and responses of individual species, one missing link in the OA story results from a chronic lack of pH data specific to a given species' natural habitat. Here, we present a compilation of continuous, high-resolution time series of upper ocean pH, collected using autonomous sensors, over a variety of ecosystems ranging from polar to tropical, open-ocean to coastal, kelp forest to coral reef. These observations reveal a continuum of month-long pH variability with standard deviations from 0.004 to 0.277 and ranges spanning 0.024 to 1.430 pH units. The nature of the observed variability was also highly site-dependent, with characteristic diel, semi-diurnal, and stochastic patterns of varying amplitudes. These biome-specific pH signatures disclose current levels of exposure to both high and low dissolved CO2, often demonstrating that resident organisms are already experiencing pH regimes that are not predicted until 2100. Our data provide a first step toward crystallizing the biophysical link between environmental history of pH exposure and physiological resilience of marine organisms to fluctuations in seawater CO2. Knowledge of this spatial and temporal variation in seawater chemistry allows us to improve the design of OA experiments: we can test organisms with a priori expectations of their tolerance guardrails, based on their natural range of exposure. Such hypothesis-testing will provide a deeper understanding of the effects of OA. Both intuitively simple to understand and powerfully informative, these and similar comparative time series can help guide management efforts to identify areas of marine habitat that can serve as refugia to acidification as well as areas that are particularly vulnerable to future ocean change.

Marine Policy
September, 2010

Melissa M. Foley, Benjamin S. Halpern, Fiorenza Micheli, Matthew H. Armsby, Margaret R. Caldwell, Caitlin M. Crain, Erin Prahler, Nicole Rohr, Deborah Sivas, Michael W. Beck, Mark H. Carr, Larry B. Crowder, J. Emmett Duffy, Sally D. Hacker, Karen L. McLeod, Stephen R. Palumbi, Charles H. Peterson, Helen M. Regan, Mary H. Ruckelshaus, Paul A. Sandifer, Robert S. Steneck

The declining health of marine ecosystems around the world is evidence that current piecemeal governance is inadequate to successfully support healthy coastal and ocean ecosystems and sustain human uses of the ocean. One proposed solution to this problem is ecosystem-based marine spatial planning (MSP), which is a process that informs the spatial distribution of activities in the ocean so that existing and emerging uses can be maintained, use conflicts reduced, and ecosystem health and services protected and sustained for future generations. Because a key goal of ecosystem-based MSP is to maintain the delivery of ecosystem services that humans want and need, it must be based on ecological principles that articulate the scientifically recognized attributes of healthy, functioning ecosystems. These principles should be incorporated into a decision-making framework with clearly defined targets for these ecological attributes. This paper identifies ecological principles for MSP based on a synthesis of previously suggested and/or operationalized principles, along with recommendations generated by a group of twenty ecologists and marine scientists with diverse backgrounds and perspectives on MSP. The proposed four main ecological principles to guide MSP—maintaining or restoring: native species diversity, habitat diversity and heterogeneity, key species, and connectivity—and two additional guidelines, the need to account for context and uncertainty, must be explicitly taken into account in the planning process. When applied in concert with social, economic, and governance principles, these ecological principles can inform the designation and siting of ocean uses and the management of activities in the ocean to maintain or restore healthy ecosystems, allow delivery of marine ecosystem services, and ensure sustainable economic and social benefits.

February, 2008

Benjamin S. Halpern, Shaun Walbridge, Kimberly A. Selkoe, Carrie V. Kappel, Fiorenza Micheli, Caterina D'Agrosa, John F. Bruno, Kenneth S. Casey, Colin Ebert, Helen E. Fox, Rod Fujita, Dennis Heinemann, Hunter S. Lenihan, Elizabeth M. P. Madin, Matthew T. Perry, Elizabeth R. Selig, Mark Spalding, Robert Steneck, Reg Watson

The management and conservation of the world's oceans require synthesis of spatial data on the distribution and intensity of human activities and the overlap of their impacts on marine ecosystems. We developed an ecosystem-specific, multiscale spatial model to synthesize 17 global data sets of anthropogenic drivers of ecological change for 20 marine ecosystems. Our analysis indicates that no area is unaffected by human influence and that a large fraction (41%) is strongly affected by multiple drivers. However, large areas of relatively little human impact remain, particularly near the poles. The analytical process and resulting maps provide flexible tools for regional and global efforts to allocate conservation resources; to implement ecosystem-based management; and to inform marine spatial planning, education, and basic research.

November, 2006

Boris Worm, Edward B. Barbier, Nicola Beaumont, J. Emmett Duffy, Carl Folke, Benjamin S. Halpern, Jeremy B. C. Jackson, Heike K. Lotze, Fiorenza Micheli, Stephen R. Palumbi, Enric Sala, Kimberly A. Selkoe, John J. Stachowicz, Reg Watson

Human-dominated marine ecosystems are experiencing accelerating loss of populations and species, with largely unknown consequences. We analyzed local experiments, long-term regional time series, and global fisheries data to test how biodiversity loss affects marine ecosystem services across temporal and spatial scales. Overall, rates of resource collapse increased and recovery potential, stability, and water quality decreased exponentially with declining diversity. Restoration of biodiversity, in contrast, increased productivity fourfold and decreased variability by 21%, on average. We conclude that marine biodiversity loss is increasingly impairing the ocean's capacity to provide food, maintain water quality, and recover from perturbations. Yet available data suggest that at this point, these trends are still reversible.

Biological Reviews

Rod Fujita, John Lynham, Fiorenza Micheli, Pasha G. Feinberg, Luis Bourillion, Andrea Saenz-Arroyo, Alexander C. Markham

This paper describes "ecomarkets"-markets and financial tools-that may help coastal managers and policy makers place a value on coastal ecosystem services.  The difficulties and challenges faced while creating "ecomarkets" is also discussed.

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