Socio-Ecological Dynamics Of Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems And Conservation Opinion Propagation
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The Caribbean coral reef ecosystem has experienced a long history of deterioration due to various stressors. For instance, over-fishing of parrotfish - an important grazer of macroalgae that can prevent destructive overgrowth of macroalgae - has threatened reef ecosystems in recent decades and stimulated conservation efforts such as the formation of marine protected areas. Here we develop a mathematical model of coupled socio-ecological interactions between reef dynamics and conservation opinion dynamics to better understand how natural and human factors interact individually and in combination to determine coral reef cover. We find that the coupling opinion and reef systems generates complex dynamics that are difficult to anticipate without use of a model. For instance, instead of converging to a stable state of constant coral cover and conservationist opinion, the system can oscillate between low and high live coral cover as human opinion oscillates in a boom-bust cycle between complacency and concern. Out of various possible parameter manipulations, we also find that raising awareness of coral reef endangerment best avoids counter-productive nonlinear feedbacks and always increases and stabilizes live coral reef cover. In conclusion, an improved understanding of coupled opinion-reef dynamics under anthrogenic stressors is possible using coupled socio-ecological models, and such models should be further researched.
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Vivek A. Thampi, Madhur Anand, Chris T. Bauch (2018). Socio-Ecological Dynamics Of Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems And Conservation Opinion Propagation. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/13106
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