Seascape ecology: identifying research priorities for an emerging ocean sustainability science

Type Article
Date 2021-03
Language English
Author(s) Pittman S. J.1, 2, Yates K. L.3, Bouchet P. J.4, 5, Alvarez-Berastegui D.6, Andrefouet S.7, Bell S. S.8, Berkstrom C.9, 10, Bostrom C.11, Brown C. J.12, Connolly R. M.13, Devillers R.14, Eggleston D.15, Gilby B. L.16, Gullstrom M.17, Halpern B. S.18, 19, Hidalgo M.20, Holstein D.21, Hovel K.22, Huettmann F.23, Jackson E. L.24, James W. R.25, Kellner J. B.26, Kot C. Y.27, Lecours V28, Lepczyk C.29, Nagelkerken I30, 31, Nelson J.21, Olds A. D.16, Santos R. O.32, Scales K. L.16, Schneider D. C.33, Schilling H. T.34, 35, Simenstad C.36, Suthers I. M.34, 35, Treml E. A.37, Wedding L. M.1, Yates P.35, 38, Young M.37
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Oxford, Sch Geog & Environm, Oxford Seascape Ecol Lab, Oxford OX1 3QY, England.
2 : Project Seascape CIC, Plymouth PL2 1RP, Devon, England.
3 : Univ Salford, Sch Sci, Manchester M5 4WT, Lancs, England.
4 : Univ St Andrews, Sch Math & Stat, St Andrews KY16 9SS, KY, Scotland.
5 : Univ St Andrews, Ctr Res Ecol & Environm Modelling, St Andrews KY16 9LZ, KY, Scotland.
6 : Balearic Isl Coastal Observing & Forecasting Syst, Palma De Mallorca 07121, Mallorca, Spain.
7 : Univ Nouvelle Caledonie, Inst Rech Dev, Univ La Reunion, Ctr Natl Rech Sci,UMR 9220 ENTROPIE,IFREMER, Noumea, New Caledonia.
8 : Univ S Florida, Dept Integrat Biol, Florida, FL 33620 USA.
9 : Swedish Univ Agr Sci, Inst Coastal Res, Dept Aquat Resources, Skolgatan 6, S-74242 Oregrund, Sweden.
10 : Stockholm Univ, Dept Ecol Environm & Plant Sci DEEP, S-10691 Stockholm, Sweden.
11 : Abo Akad Univ, Environm & Marine Biol, Artillerigatan 6, Turku 20520, Finland.
12 : Dalhousie Univ, Dept Oceanog, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada.
13 : Griffith Univ, Sch Environm & Sci, Australian Rivers Inst Coast & Estuaries, Queensland, Qld 4222, Australia.
14 : Univ Montpellier, Univ Antilles, Univ Guyane, Univ Renion,Inst Rech Dev,UMR 228 ESPACE DEV,IRD, F-34393 Montpellier, France.
15 : North Carolina State Univ, Dept Marine Earth Atmospher Sci, Raleigh, NC 27695 USA.
16 : Univ Sunshine Coast, Sch Sci & Engn, Maroochydore, Qld 4558, Australia.
17 : Sodertorn Univ, Sch Nat Sci Technol & Environm Studies, S-14189 Huddinge, Sweden.
18 : Univ Calif Santa Barbara, Natl Ctr Ecol Anal & Synth, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 USA.
19 : Univ Calif Santa Barbara, Bren Sch Environm Sci & Management, Santa Barbara, CA 93106 USA.
20 : Ctr Oceanogrf Balears, Inst Espanol Oceanograf, Ecosyst Oceanog Grp GRECO, Palma De Mallorca 07015, Mallorca, Spain.
21 : Louisiana State Univ, Dept Oceanog & Coastal Sci, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 USA.
22 : San Diego State Univ, Coastal & Marine Inst, Dept Biol, San Diego, CA 92101 USA.
23 : Univ Alaska Fairbanks, Inst Arctic Biol, Biol & Wildlife Dept, EWHALE Lab, Fairbanks, AK 99775 USA.
24 : Cent Queensland Univ, Coastal Marine Ecosyst Res Ctr, Gladstone, Qld 4680, Australia.
25 : Univ Louisiana, Dept Biol, Lafayette, LA 70504 USA.
26 : Int Council Explorat Sea ICES, DK-1553 Copenhagen V, Denmark.
27 : Duke Univ, Nicholas Sch Environm, Marine Geospatial Ecol Lab, Beaufort, NC 28516 USA.
28 : Univ Florida, Sch Forest Resources & Conservat, Geomat Program & Fisheries & Aquat Sci Program, Florida, FL 32611 USA.
29 : Auburn Univ, Sch Forestry & Wildlife Sci, Auburn, AL 36849 USA.
30 : Univ Adelaide, Sch Biol Sci, Southern Seas Ecol Labs, South Australia, SA 5005, Australia.
31 : Univ Adelaide, Environm Inst, Southern Seas Ecol Labs, South Australia, SA 5005, Australia.
32 : Florida Int Univ, Inst Environm, Miami, FL 33199 USA.
33 : Mem Univ Newfoundland, Dept Ocean Sci, Newfoundland, NF A1B 3X7, Canada.
34 : Univ New South Wales, Sch Biol Earth Environm Sci, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
35 : Sydney Inst Marine Sci, Mosman, NSW 2088, Australia.
36 : Univ Washington, Sch Aquat & Fishery Sci, Seattle, WA 98195 USA.
37 : Deakin Univ, Ctr Integrat Ecol, Sch Life & Environm Sci, Victoria, Vic 3216, Australia.
38 : Dept Agr Water & Environm, Marine & Freshwater Species Conservat Biodivers C, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.
Source Marine Ecology Progress Series (0171-8630) (Inter-research), 2021-03 , Vol. 663 , P. 1-29
DOI 10.3354/meps13661
WOS© Times Cited 17
Keyword(s) Research priorities, Ecosystem-based management, Sustainability science, Connectivity, Restoration, Spatial patterns

Seascape ecology, the marine-centric counterpart to landscape ecology, is rapidly emerging as an interdisciplinary and spatially explicit ecological science with relevance to marine management, bio-diversity conservation, and restoration. While important progress in this field has been made in the past decade, there has been no coherent prioritisation of key research questions to help set the future research agenda for seascape ecology. We used a 2-stage modified Delphi method to solicit applied research questions from academic experts in seascape ecology and then asked respondents to identify priority questions across 9 interrelated research themes using 2 rounds of selection. We also invited senior management/conservation practitioners to prioritise the same research questions. Analyses highlighted congruence and discrepancies in perceived priorities for applied research. Themes related to both ecological concepts and management practice, and those identified as priorities include seascape change, seascape connectivity, spatial and temporal scale, ecosystem-based management, and emerging technologies and metrics. Highest-priority questions (upper tercile) received 50% agreement between respondent groups, and lowest priorities (lower tercile) received 58% agreement. Across all 3 priority tiers, 36 of the 55 questions were within a +/- 10% band of agreement. We present the most important applied research questions as determined by the proportion of votes received. For each theme, we provide a synthesis of the research challenges and the potential role of seascape ecology. These priority questions and themes serve as a roadmap for advancing applied seascape ecology during, and beyond, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

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Pittman S. J., Yates K. L., Bouchet P. J., Alvarez-Berastegui D., Andrefouet S., Bell S. S., Berkstrom C., Bostrom C., Brown C. J., Connolly R. M., Devillers R., Eggleston D., Gilby B. L., Gullstrom M., Halpern B. S., Hidalgo M., Holstein D., Hovel K., Huettmann F., Jackson E. L., James W. R., Kellner J. B., Kot C. Y., Lecours V, Lepczyk C., Nagelkerken I, Nelson J., Olds A. D., Santos R. O., Scales K. L., Schneider D. C., Schilling H. T., Simenstad C., Suthers I. M., Treml E. A., Wedding L. M., Yates P., Young M. (2021). Seascape ecology: identifying research priorities for an emerging ocean sustainability science. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 663, 1-29. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :