Structure, connectivity and resilience of an exploited kelp ecosystem: towards sustainable ecosystem-based fisheries management

NERC-funded researchers have begun a series of collaborative projects with partners in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru to develop understanding of the social and economic role of biodiversity in Latin America, and how it can be managed more sustainably. One of the four projects will focus on kelp ecosystems and will provide underpinning scientific knowledge to support sustainable ecosystem-based fisheries management.

The collaborative 3-year project involving a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from the UK, Chile and Peru, including the MBA's Dan Smale, will commence with a kick-off meeting and visits to study sites at the end of May. The project will examine the ecological structure and functioning of socioeconomically important kelp forest ecosystems in South America. The ultimate aim of the project is to better understand environmental, ecological and social drivers of kelp deforestation and to improve sustainable management of an important regional fishery.

Kelp forests are some of the most productive and diverse habitats on Earth, but like many natural ecosystems are under threat from human impacts. In Chile many people make a living by harvesting kelp and associated species from the region’s kelp forests and Peru is interested in developing a kelp fishery. Better management of these kelp forests is required to prevent their degradation and fragmentation, and to improve their ability to support sustainable economic growth. This project will examine how factors, including natural environmental variability, climate change and regional management practices, influence the ability of kelp forests to tolerate and recover from exploitation. This project will also work with local communities to explore the use of traditional knowledge and bottom-up approaches to support sustainable fisheries management.

UK partners: Pippa Moore, Aberystwyth University, Dan Smale MBA, Mike Burrows, SAMS.

South American lead partners: Chile: Alejandro Perez Matus, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile; Peru: Roberto Uribe, Instituto Del Mar Del Peru (IMARPE)

Find out more about collaborative projects to advance understanding of biodiversity in Latin America.

Keywords: Kelp, ecosystem, socioeconomic, 

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May 20, 2019 By guba