Regime shifts in the marine ecosystem, the Black and the Baltic Sea

Friday seminar by Marcos Llope



Marine systems are subject to sudden large-scale reorganizations known as regimes shifts which lead the whole ecosystem to a new configuration characterized by a group of species other than those that used to dominate the system earlier. These abrupt changes have obvious ecological implications (structure, function) and often profound negative socio-economic consequences for the societies dependent upon them. In recent years, much effort is being put into identifying their external drivers, the feedbacks that keep the systems locked in each regime, and into estimating the thresholds beyond which the ecosystem tips over. An improved understanding of these processes is necessary for the best management of the ecosystems if we aim to increase the resilience of those desirable states and so prevent systems from shifting or if we are to reverse unfavourable regimes. One way of gaining insight into the nature of this phenomenon is to study different but comparable systems through the same approach. The Black and the Baltic Sea are two data-rich marine systems where remarkable regime shifts have been reported. In this presentation these two ecosystems are examined together by applying the same methodology to their time series.

Marcos Llope
Instituto Español de Oceanografía
Centro Oceanográfico de Cádiz
Cádiz (Andalucía)

Published Feb. 3, 2012 3:45 PM