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A multi-scale biophysical model to inform regional management of coral reefs in the western Philippines and South China Sea


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Melbourne-Thomas, J, Johnson, CR, Alino, PM, Geronimo, RC, Villanoy, CL and Gurney, GG 2011 , 'A multi-scale biophysical model to inform regional management of coral reefs in the western Philippines and South China Sea' , Environmental Modelling & Software, vol. 26 , pp. 66-82 , doi: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2010.03.033.

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The health and functioning of coral reef ecosystems worldwide is in decline, and in the face of increasing
anthropogenic stress, the rate of decline of these important ecosystems is set to accelerate. Mitigation
strategies at regional scales are costly, but nevertheless critical, as reef systems are highly connected
across regions by ocean transport of both larval propagules and pollutants. It is essential that these
strategies are informed by sound science, but the inherent complexity of coral reef systems confers
significant challenges for scientists and managers. Models are useful tools for dealing with complexity
and can inform decision making for coral reef management.
We develop a spatially explicit biophysical model for a general coral reef system. The model couples
dynamics from local (102 m) to regional (106 m) scales, and explicitly incorporates larval connectivity
patterns derived from sophisticated larval dispersal models. Here, we instantiate and validate the model
for coral reefs in the Philippines region of the South China Sea. We demonstrate how the model can be
used in decision support for coral reef management by presenting two examples of regional-scale
scenario projection relating to key management issues in the Philippines: (i) marine reserve design and
the recovery of fish stocks; and (ii) synergistic effects between coral bleaching and poor water quality.
These scenarios highlight the importance of considering multiple stressors to reef health and patterns of
larval connectivity in regional-scale management decisions.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Melbourne-Thomas, J and Johnson, CR and Alino, PM and Geronimo, RC and Villanoy, CL and Gurney, GG
Keywords: CORSET Coral reef Regional scale Decision support Ecosystem model Management Connectivity Philippines South China Sea
Journal or Publication Title: Environmental Modelling & Software
ISSN: 1364-8152
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2010.03.033
Additional Information:

Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

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