Understanding and advancing natural resource management in the context of changing ocean conditions

Changing ocean conditions, such as ocean acidification, hypoxia, and ocean warming, are impacting marine ecosystems and posing a variety of immediate and future challenges for natural resource managers and affiliated industries. In order to successfully facilitate adaptation and mitigation responses to changing ocean conditions, research efforts and synthesis products should be developed in collaboration with resource managers and decision makers. Using interviews and surveys, we sought to advance collaborative science approaches by identifying the most pressing concerns, barriers, and research and monitoring needs of natural resource managers in Washington State, USA, where marine waters are particularly vulnerable to changing ocean conditions. Survey participants indicated that they are most concerned by ocean acidification, followed by water temperature and hypoxia. Our findings reveal a desire to prioritize laboratory and in situ studies to identify survival thresholds of ecologically or commercially important organisms, specifically zooplankton, fish, Dungeness crab, and conditions that promote harmful algal blooms. Scientific literature and in-person workshops and meetings were the preferred way for survey participants to learn about new science and affiliated results. Our findings highlight a need for continued and expanded monitoring and research efforts, the development of interpretive science products for resource managers, and enhanced communication between entities before information on changing ocean conditions can be effectively incorporated into resource management and policy decisions.

Keil K. E., Feifel K. M. & Russell N. B., in press. Understanding and advancing natural resource management in the context of changing ocean conditions. Coastal Management. Article.

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