Human impacts on connectivity in marine and freshwater ecosystems assessed using graph theory: A review

Saunders, Megan I., Brown, Christopher J., Foley, Melissa M., Febria, Catherine M., Albright, Rebecca, Mehling, Molly G., Kavanaugh, Maria T. and Burfeind, Dana D. (2016) Human impacts on connectivity in marine and freshwater ecosystems assessed using graph theory: A review. Marine and Freshwater Research, 67 3: 277-290. doi:10.1071/MF14358


Author Saunders, Megan I.
Brown, Christopher J.
Foley, Melissa M.
Febria, Catherine M.
Albright, Rebecca
Mehling, Molly G.
Kavanaugh, Maria T.
Burfeind, Dana D.
Title Human impacts on connectivity in marine and freshwater ecosystems assessed using graph theory: A review
Journal name Marine and Freshwater Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1323-1650
1448-6059
Publication date 2016
Year available 2015
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1071/MF14358
Volume 67
Issue 3
Start page 277
End page 290
Total pages 14
Place of publication Clayton, VIC Australia
Publisher CSIRO
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract Human activities are altering the processes that connect organisms within and among habitats and populations in marine and freshwater (aquatic) ecosystems. Connectivity can be quantified using graph theory, where habitats or populations are represented by ‘nodes’ and dispersal is represented by ‘links’. This approach spans discipline and systemic divides, facilitating identification of generalities in human impacts. We conducted a review of studies that have used graph theory to quantify spatial functional connectivity in aquatic ecosystems. The search identified 42 studies published in 2000–14. We assessed whether each study quantified the impacts of (1) habitat alteration (loss, alteration to links, and gain), (2) human movements causing species introductions, (3) overharvesting and (4) climate change (warming temperatures, altered circulation or hydrology, sea-level rise) and ocean acidification. In freshwater systems habitat alteration was the most commonly studied stressor, whereas in marine systems overharvesting, in terms of larval dispersal among protected areas, was most commonly addressed. Few studies have directly assessed effects of climate change, suggesting an important area of future research. Graph representations of connectivity revealed similarities across different impacts and systems, suggesting common strategies for conservation management. We suggest future research directions for studies of aquatic connectivity to inform conservation management of aquatic ecosystems.
Keyword anthropogenic stressors
aquatic ecosystems
ecological networks
functional connectivity
landscape connectivity
metapopulation dynamics.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Global Change Institute Publications
Official 2016 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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