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The potential of trait-based approaches to contribute to marine conservation

The potential of trait-based approaches to contribute to marine conservation
The potential of trait-based approaches to contribute to marine conservation
The value of diversity metrics to represent ecological communities and inform broad-scale conservation objectives and policy has often been subject to debate and uncertainty [1] and [2]. In practice, diversity metrics are important in setting management and conservation priorities, just as economic indices contribute to global monetary and financial policies. Thus, key challenges for ecologists are to identify new ways to view and summarise patterns in biodiversity and improve on the metrics available for management purposes. In a recent paper on functional diversity patterns in reef fishes [3], we highlighted the potential of new insights gained from functional trait-based approaches to inform marine management, stressing the need to develop and refine biodiversity measures that are linked to ecology (rather than taxonomy). We used a unique, fisheries-independent reef fish identity and abundance dataset, collected using standardised methods from equatorial to high latitude regions all over the world, to provide the first global view of the distribution of individuals amongst species (including a measure of evenness) and functional traits amongst marine communities. A recent paper by Robinson et al. [4] published in Marine Policy criticised the use of our evenness index as a measure of biodiversity, and questioned the use of functional trait-based metrics derived from surveys of standardised areas for decisions relating to broad-scale management of marine systems. In this paper we respond to Robinson et al. and rebut their claims related to sampling bias and broad-scale applicability of trait-based approaches.
Evenness, Functional diversity, Macroecology, Marine fish, Reef ecosystems, Underwater visual census (UVC)
148-150
Stuart-Smith, Rick D.
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Bates, Amanda E.
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Lefcheck, Jonathan S.
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Emmett Duffy, J.
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Baker, Susan C.
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Thomson, Russell J.
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Stuart-Smith, Jemina F.
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Hill, Nicole A.
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Kininmonth, Stuart J.
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Airoldi, Laura
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Becerro, Mikel A.
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Campbell, Stuart J.
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Dawson, Terence P.
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Navarrete, Sergio A.
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Soler, German
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Strain, Elisabeth M.A.
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Willis, Trevor J.
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Edgar, Graham J.
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Stuart-Smith, Rick D.
0c540bfd-5366-4a45-9cef-b3b2afa9ac44
Bates, Amanda E.
a96e267d-6d22-4232-b7ed-ce4e448a2a34
Lefcheck, Jonathan S.
ad04f6a4-674b-4b6b-b05b-0b15ffd4c07e
Emmett Duffy, J.
f779967c-e9d2-47dd-82e8-d6cec6179715
Baker, Susan C.
c84e3191-45b8-44b4-9479-ffa6181cd628
Thomson, Russell J.
4f657e83-ba26-4797-a828-29afa04553c6
Stuart-Smith, Jemina F.
79a1ac8f-29f9-4913-9261-d8a190c01656
Hill, Nicole A.
86adc1be-02ea-4373-8009-524c56816744
Kininmonth, Stuart J.
57546a0e-c2fb-424b-9fe5-2f49933c76ab
Airoldi, Laura
fca75828-1c89-4e78-838f-ea6e952dff5e
Becerro, Mikel A.
c8786968-1c32-4d0e-93d9-5e9bd8068f9a
Campbell, Stuart J.
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Dawson, Terence P.
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Navarrete, Sergio A.
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Soler, German
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Strain, Elisabeth M.A.
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Willis, Trevor J.
b53efbe1-9d7c-4ef1-9198-13a0a731c59c
Edgar, Graham J.
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Stuart-Smith, Rick D., Bates, Amanda E., Lefcheck, Jonathan S., Emmett Duffy, J., Baker, Susan C., Thomson, Russell J., Stuart-Smith, Jemina F., Hill, Nicole A., Kininmonth, Stuart J., Airoldi, Laura, Becerro, Mikel A., Campbell, Stuart J., Dawson, Terence P., Navarrete, Sergio A., Soler, German, Strain, Elisabeth M.A., Willis, Trevor J. and Edgar, Graham J. (2015) The potential of trait-based approaches to contribute to marine conservation. Marine Policy, 51, 148-150. (doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2014.07.002).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The value of diversity metrics to represent ecological communities and inform broad-scale conservation objectives and policy has often been subject to debate and uncertainty [1] and [2]. In practice, diversity metrics are important in setting management and conservation priorities, just as economic indices contribute to global monetary and financial policies. Thus, key challenges for ecologists are to identify new ways to view and summarise patterns in biodiversity and improve on the metrics available for management purposes. In a recent paper on functional diversity patterns in reef fishes [3], we highlighted the potential of new insights gained from functional trait-based approaches to inform marine management, stressing the need to develop and refine biodiversity measures that are linked to ecology (rather than taxonomy). We used a unique, fisheries-independent reef fish identity and abundance dataset, collected using standardised methods from equatorial to high latitude regions all over the world, to provide the first global view of the distribution of individuals amongst species (including a measure of evenness) and functional traits amongst marine communities. A recent paper by Robinson et al. [4] published in Marine Policy criticised the use of our evenness index as a measure of biodiversity, and questioned the use of functional trait-based metrics derived from surveys of standardised areas for decisions relating to broad-scale management of marine systems. In this paper we respond to Robinson et al. and rebut their claims related to sampling bias and broad-scale applicability of trait-based approaches.

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More information

Published date: January 2015
Keywords: Evenness, Functional diversity, Macroecology, Marine fish, Reef ecosystems, Underwater visual census (UVC)
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 369119
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/369119
PURE UUID: de209c2a-bb5c-4d83-b42a-bf975a15c038

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Date deposited: 17 Sep 2014 13:35
Last modified: 08 Jan 2022 00:31

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Contributors

Author: Rick D. Stuart-Smith
Author: Amanda E. Bates
Author: Jonathan S. Lefcheck
Author: J. Emmett Duffy
Author: Susan C. Baker
Author: Russell J. Thomson
Author: Jemina F. Stuart-Smith
Author: Nicole A. Hill
Author: Stuart J. Kininmonth
Author: Laura Airoldi
Author: Mikel A. Becerro
Author: Stuart J. Campbell
Author: Terence P. Dawson
Author: Sergio A. Navarrete
Author: German Soler
Author: Elisabeth M.A. Strain
Author: Trevor J. Willis
Author: Graham J. Edgar

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