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UM-led research team contributes to the management of South Florida coastal environments
Date:7/18/2014

adapting to the impacts of climate on the sustainability of coastal ecosystem services."

South Florida has one of the most diverse ocean and coastal ecosystems in the United States, and is economically important to the local and state economy for tourism, commercial and recreational fishing, SCUBA diving, and other ocean-related jobs. The South Florida marine environment has degraded over the last century due to upstream and local human activity and coastal development. Sea-level rise and climate change are additional stressors that will put the long-term health of South Florida's valuable coastal resources at further risk over the coming century.

The study team, which included over 50 researchers from academia, state and federal government, was comprised of ecological scientists as well as "human dimension" scientists, such as economists, sociologists, and cultural anthropologists to evaluate the societal aspects of ecosystem management and protection. The coastal region studied included the waters from Martin County south to the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas, the Southwest marine environment in the Gulf of Mexico from Lee County south to Florida Bay.

"Our large, collaborative team developed a conceptual modeling framework that explicitly focuses on the benefits humans receive from the ecosystem," said Ortner. "The framework includes ecological indicators as well as human dimensions indicators to assess the level of services human society is receiving and wishes to continue to receive from the ecosystem, such as recreational opportunity and economic gain."

The new conceptual framework allows natural resource managers to track how the ecological and human requirements are being satisfied and provides a flexible highly adaptive approach that allows for pubic involvement in the decision-making process. The MARES process is designed to reach a science-based consensus on the defining characteristics and fundamental
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Contact: Diana Udel
dudel@rsmas.miami.edu
786-256-4446
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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