Global synthesis on marine regime shifts: drivers and impacts

Regime shifts often have substantial impacts on ecosystem services and human well-being, but are typically difficult to predict and costly to reverse. To  assess the vulnerability of marine ecosystems to regime shifts and their potential consequences, we synthesized scientific literature for 13 types of marine regime shifts. We then used network science to conduct an analysis of co-occurrence of drivers and ecosystem service impacts. The results show that regime shifts are caused by multiple drivers in non-random patterns. Similarly, the impacts of regime shifts on ecosystem services and ecosystem health occur in non-random clusters. These clusters provide “checklists” for managing drivers and considering risks on ecosystem-services, based on the regime shift type. Finally, our findings highlight the need for coordinated actions across multiple drivers and scales to reduce the risk of marine regime shifts. – Rocha et al. 2015

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