Increase our knowledge and understanding of the mechanisms and impacts of environmental changes on marine species and ecosystems.
The National Ocean Policy establishes ecosystem-based management (EBM) as a foundational principle for ocean resource management in the United States. Understanding how environmental changes affect marine ecosystems provides the scientific underpinning of EBM and is crucial for sustaining marine fisheries, habitat, and biodiversity within healthy and productive ecosystems. Human activities and climate change can impact population connectivity and this needs to be taken into account when implementing management measures. The success of management measures (e.g., HAPCs, MPAs, and MPA networks) to protect, conserve, and restore marine habitats or populations hinges on the establishment of ecologically relevant boundaries that take into account propagule (spores, eggs, and larvae) connectivity, as well as the movements of juveniles and adults. A combination of retrospective and process studies, monitoring and modeling are required to advance our understanding of the impacts of environmental change. NOAA must understand the mechanisms by which environmental change impacts marine species and ecosystems to confidently predict or project the impacts. Without this mechanistic understanding, there is no basis for predictions or projections when conditions change, resulting in uncertain assessments and forecasts. Observations coupled with information from retrospective and process studies generate the necessary foundation for understanding environmental-ecosystem relationships. Combining this information with ecosystem models that include environmental forcing also contributes to understanding the mechanistic linkages between environmental forcing and species’ responses.
Decrease uncertainty in the forecasts generated from ecosystem models D
Develop analytical models and tools to understand and quantify impacts of environmental change in three large marine ecosystems D