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Assessing Reef Experts’ Baseline and Values Regarding the Florida Keys Coral Reef Ecosystem. Implications for Historical Ecological Knowledge of the Region

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dc.contributor.advisor Jonas, Rober
dc.contributor.author Muldrow, Milton
dc.creator Muldrow, Milton
dc.date.accessioned 2017-01-29T01:16:39Z
dc.date.available 2017-01-29T01:16:39Z
dc.date.issued 2016
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/1920/10607
dc.description.abstract The coral reef ecosystem of the Florida Keys has experienced a significant and rapid decline over the past several decades. This study was designed to test the “shifting baselines hypothesis,” first proposed by Daniel Pauly in 1995 which details a concern that each generation of fisheries scientist accepts as a baseline the stock size and species composition that occurred at the beginning of their careers. The study also examined experts’ views on critical marine affairs involving the reef, as well as their observations of habitat change over time. Snowball sampling was utilized in which 54 interviews were conducted. A response rate of 48% was achieved representing 2256 minutes of testimony. Correlation statistics were used to analyze respondent age and experience and a potential relationship with respondent baselines. The majority of experts interviewed (96%) were scientists. Baselines for the Florida Keys bank reef ecosystem were established based on respondent testimony. Independent of age, experience, or affiliation, respondents agreed that the baseline for the Florida Keys bank reef was approximately 33% cover and 44 years before present. Seventy percent of respondents reported never witnessing a reef dominated by Acropora sp., while 96% of respondents over the age of 60 reported experiencing Acropora sp.-dominated reefs. This demonstrated a dramatic difference in interaction with the coral reef from one generation of experts to the next, but still a high level of consensus regarding baselines. Marine protected areas (MPAs) were deemed effective for fish conservation, but not for coral reefs. The experts appreciated the value of MPAs, but believed that MPAs alone would not solve the problem of coral reef decline. They lacked optimism regarding human’s ability to manage and restore coral reefs, as nearly one-third of respondents suggested reef management is not able to influence percent coral cover.
dc.format.extent 227 pages
dc.language.iso en
dc.rights Copyright 2016 Milton Muldrow
dc.subject Environmental science en_US
dc.subject Public policy en_US
dc.subject coral reef en_US
dc.subject fknms en_US
dc.subject florida keys en_US
dc.subject phantom ecology en_US
dc.subject restoration en_US
dc.subject shifting baselines en_US
dc.title Assessing Reef Experts’ Baseline and Values Regarding the Florida Keys Coral Reef Ecosystem. Implications for Historical Ecological Knowledge of the Region
dc.type Dissertation
thesis.degree.level Ph.D.
thesis.degree.discipline Environmental Science and Policy
thesis.degree.grantor George Mason University


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