Climate and anthropogenic change in aquatic environments: a cross ecosystem perspective

Julie E. Keister, D. Lani Pascual, Jessica L. Clasen, Kristine N. Hopfensperger, Noreen Kelly, Joel K. Llopiz, Serena M. Moseman, and Laura E. Petes

Full Citation: Julie E. Keister, D. Lani Pascual, Jessica L. Clasen, Kristine N. Hopfensperger, Noreen Kelly, Joel K. Llopiz, Serena M. Moseman, and Laura E. Petes. 2010. Climate and anthropogenic change in aquatic environments: a cross ecosystem perspective, p. 1-16. In P.F. Kemp [ed.], Eco-DAS VIII Symposium Proceedings. ASLO. [doi:10.4319/ecodas.2010.978-0-9845591-1-4.1]

ABSTRACT: In an effort to foster collaboration among researchers across diverse ecosystems, a group of early career scientists whose interests span the aquatic sciences, convened at the University of Hawai`i to participate in the 2008 Eco-DAS symposium. During a break out session of the symposium in which participants were charged with discussing how to best approach mitigation of climate and anthropogenic threats to aquatic ecosystems, participants concluded that effective mitigation will depend upon prioritizing threats across ecosystems. These priorities were documented using a thought experiment in which participants defined their ecosystem of expertise, and then ranked the highest-priority threats to them. Results revealed that marine (open ocean, deep sea, coastal oceans, and rocky intertidal) researchers ranked climate-related impacts (i.e., temperature and ocean acidification) as the highest priority threats whereas estuarine, marsh, wetland, stream, and lake/reservoir researchers ranked the direct anthropogenic impacts of land-use change and nutrient inputs (eutrophication) highest. With such a diverse group, it became apparent that working across ecosystems is limited by issues ranging from a lack of large-scale, long-term monitoring to provide baseline data, to broader questions of how changes in one ecosystem cascade across interconnected ecosystems. Here we summarize the discussions, offer insight into the rankings for specific ecosystems, and propose ideas of how past, current, and future research can be used to support a cross-ecosystem perspective on climate and anthropogenic change.