Journal article

Reconstructing Historical Marine Populations Reveals Major Decline of a Kelp Forest Ecosystem in Australia

Paul E Carnell, Michael J Keough



Managing changing ecosystems requires an understanding both of how the system is currently performing and of how current performance relates to long-term, often variable, natural dynamics. However, making such assessments usually relies on having long-term ecological datasets, leaving managers often reliant on assumptions because such information is relatively rare. This is particularly an issue in kelp forests, as these ecosystems are difficult to survey, and many monitoring programs are relatively recent (last 10–20 years). A historical time series was constructed of kelp (Ecklonia radiata) and sea urchin (Heliocidaris erythrogramma) populations using various field-collected datasets, begi..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

We thank P. Crockett, J. Ford, D. Chamberlain and C. Taylor for their field assistance. SRMP data used with the permission of Parks Victoria and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. Water quality data were supplied by A. Longmore from the Port Phillip Bay Environmental Monitoring Plan Nitrogen Monitoring Program. We also thank K. Mossop, J. Ford, P. Addison and the anonymous reviewers for the comments that greatly improved the manuscript. This study was funded by an Australian Research Council grant to M.J.K, a Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment to P.E.C, the Jasper Loftus-Hills award to P.E.C and an Australian Postgraduate Award to P.E.C.