Mr. Daniel Brumbaugh
Earth Institute Contact: Mr. Daniel Brumbaugh
This project seeks to integrate theory and data from oceanography, biology, and social sciences to address major questions about the design of marine reserve networks. The researchers plan to establish a general theoretical framework with linked circulation, population, habitat, and socioeconomic submodels. This structure will allow systematic exploration of several core questions, including: (1) what are the crucial cascades and feedbacks among physical, biological, and social systems that influence how reserve networks function? (2) What are the roles of different stakeholder groups, such as various fisher groups, local residents, tourists, etc, in this network function? and (3) how compatible are network systems based largely on criteria to promote local acceptability of reserves versus those more centrally optimized around biophysical criteria? In all questions, network function will be addressed through the effects on fisheries, biodiversity, and social/cultural systems. In this way, our analyses will be able to directly address and compare a range of common network goals.
The researchers, distributed among multiple institutions, are using The Bahamas as their study system. This country, an archipelago of hundreds of island, is currently in the process of expanding their set of marine protected areas (MPAs) into an interconnected network of marine reserves (to eventually include up to 40 sites). Because of this, several Bahamian government and conservation agencies are welcoming scientific contributions to their policy-making discussions. In comparison to many other Caribbean countries, marine resources in The Bahamas remain relatively intact because of the county's large size and relatively small population.
This project, taking advantage of special opportunities in The Bahamas, will develop new understanding about global phenomena, the anthropogenic degradation of reef ecosystems and the paradigmatic turn to marine reserves for better resource management. In exploring these concerns and answering the questions above, we also plan to support ongoing decision-making and educational activities in the Bahamas. We feel that this dual approach exemplifies the role of strategic (versus traditionally defined basic or applied) science to elucidate important processes while helping to solve problems.
Cross Cutting Themes:
Project Web Site:
American Museum of Natural History
College of The Bahamas
Perry Institute for Marine Science
Resources for the Future
University of Arizona
University of California, Davis
University of Exeter
University of Miami
National Science Foundation, NOAA NURP, and others