1. Fletcher, P.J., M. Spranger, and P.B. Ortner. Using boundary organizations to address complex environmental issues: Case study of the NOAA-AOML Sea Grant liaison position. NOAA Technical Memorandum, OAR-AOML-106, 8 pp., 2017

    Abstract:

    Boundary organizations can provide a critical link in the management of natural resources. We explore the 20-year evolution of a Sea Grant liaison position structured to act as a boundary organization linking academic, government, and non-governmental organizations to facilitate a common understanding of the South Florida ecosystem and to better inform decision making. The narrative includes the initial concept for the liaison position and how its role evolved over time due to the availability of funding, changes in management structure, and institutional support for the position. We conclude that, as a boundary organization, this liaison position served a genuine need; the products and services co-produced from it through extension education and outreach activities have been useful to the South Florida community.

  2. Hendee, J.C., J. Halas, P.J. Fletcher, M. Jankulak, and L.J. Gramer. Expansion of the Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS) network throughout the Caribbean. Proceedings, 13th International Coral Reef Symposium, June 19-24, 2016, Honolulu, HI. International Society for Reef Studies, 526-531, 2016

    Abstract:

    The NOAA Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS) network is a growing number of oceanographic and meteorological monitoring stations situated at coral reef areas of critical concern. The near real-time data from these stations are archived at NOAA and form the basis of daily ecological forecasts for coral bleaching, hydrodynamic events, and other marine environmental events of interest to environmental managers, researchers, and the public. The network began over 15 years ago with NOAA funding as a station in the Bahamas, and grew to include stations in Puerto Rico, St. Croix, Saipan, and with other sources of funding, Jamaica and Little Cayman. However, storms and other realities resulted in the destruction or removal of all of those stations, excluding Little Cayman, which continues operating today as a new buoy design. A new collaboration between NOAA and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center has resulted in the expansion of the network to include two stations each in Belize, Tobago, and the Dominican Republic, plus one in Barbados. Each of these sites has required collaborations among each country's environmental managers and agencies before agreement as to where to place the stations and as to who would be conducting maintenance. The second phase will include four to six new stations among these likely candidates: Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bonaire, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Grenadines, Montserrat, San Andres, St. Kitts & Nevis, and St. Lucia & St. Vincent.

  3. Fletcher, P.J., M. Spranger, J.C. Hendee, Y. Li, M. Clark, and G.A. Kiker. Decision tools for coral reef managers: Using participatory decision support to integrate potential climate impacts and informed decision making. Global Ecology and Conservation, 4:491-504, doi:10.1016/j.gecco.2015.09.003 2015

    Abstract:

    The decline in coral reef health presents a complex management issue. While several causes of decline have been identified and are under continued study, it is often difficult to discern management actions necessary to address multiple near- and far-field stressors to these ecosystems. As a result, resource managers seek tools to improve the understanding of ecosystem condition and to develop management responses to reduce local and regional pressures in the wake of larger, global impacts. A research study conducted from 2010 to 2014 in southeast Florida, USA consisted of two objectives: (1) conduct a needs assessment survey with coral reef and marine resource managers to identify data needs and the preferred design and delivery of climate information; and (2) develop and evaluate prototype decision support tools. The needs assessment process was helpful for identifying the types of climate information managers would like to obtain to inform decision making and to specify the preferred format for the delivery of that information. Three prototype tools were evaluated by managers using pre/post surveys that included hands-on tutorials to explore the functionality of each. Manager responses were recorded using a five-point scale with 1 being No or Not Useful to 5 being Absolutely or Very Useful. The median responses rated the usefulness of the tools (4), if they would consider using the tool (4), and if they would recommend using the tool to other managers (4 or 5). The median response for increasing a manager’s knowledge about climate impacts after completing a tutorial of each of the climate tools was a 3 (moderately useful). Of the managers surveyed in the pre/post-survey, all but one stated they believed they would use the decision support tools in the future with the single response due to wealth of data availability in their institution.

  4. Cook, G.S., P.J. Fletcher, and C.R. Kelble. Towards marine ecosystem based management in South Florida: Investigating the connections among ecosystem pressures, states, and services in a complex coastal system. Ecological Indicators, 44:26-39, doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2013.10.026 2014

    Abstract:

    Marine ecosystem based management plans are gaining popularity with natural resource managers, but examples of their successful implementation remain few. The complexity inherent in marine ecosystems presents a major obstacle to understanding how individual ecosystem pressures impact multiple ecosystem states that in turn impact the provisioning of ecosystem services. To create and implement successful ecosystem based management plans will require tools for understanding these processes. Over the past three years integrated conceptual ecosystem models of the coastal marine environment have been developed as part of the Marine and Estuarine Goal Setting for South Florida (MARES) project. Here we use these conceptual models in conjunction with a modified DPSIR model, expert opinion and matrix-based analyses to explore the direct and indirect relative impact of 12 ecosystem pressures on 11 ecosystem states and 11 ecosystem services identified through MARES. Within the South Florida coastal ecosystem the most pervasive pressures were freshwater delivery, temperature effects of climate change, and impacts of climate change on weather. For the study region the least pervasive pressures were recreational fishing, commercial fishing, and invasive species. The most at risk ecosystem states, as determined by cumulative impacts were fish and shellfish, protected species, and marine birds. By the same measure, the least at risk states were oyster reefs and inshore flats. The most at risk ecosystem services were existence of a natural system, pristine wilderness experience, and non-extractive recreation. The least impacted ecosystem services were commercial extraction, recreational fishing and climate stability. When the relative direct and indirect (i.e., including state to state interactions) impacts of ecosystem pressures were traced to individual ecosystem services, it was apparent that within the study domain a lack of freshwater delivery to coastal estuaries was the predominant pressure, and recreational fishing had the lowest relative impact on the provisioning of ecosystem services. Through this expert opinion analysis and exploration of the interaction strength among various ecosystem pressures, states, and ecosystem services, we can begin to understand the diverse manners in which ecosystem services are impacted by various pressures. In so doing we provide a tool for resource managers to understand the trade-offs among individual user groups and the possible impact on provisioning of ecosystem services that may occur when considering various management strategies.

  5. Fletcher, P.J., C.R. Kelble, W.K. Nuttle, and G.A. Kiker. Using the integrated ecosystem assessment framework to build consensus and transfer information to managers. Ecological Indicators, 44:11-25, doi:10.1016/ j.ecolind.2014.03.024 2014

    Abstract:

    Ecosystem-based management is widely regarded as a method to improve the way we manage our coastal marine resources and ecosystems. Effective ecosystem-based management relies upon synthesizing our scientific knowledge and transferring this knowledge into management actions. Integrated ecosystem assessment is a framework to conduct this scientific synthesis and transfer information to resource managers. Portions of the framework were applied to build consensus on the focal ecosystem components and processes that are characteristic of a sustainable South Florida coastal ecosystem that is producing ecosystem services at the level society desires. Consensus was developed through facilitated meetings that aimed to conceptualize the ecosystem, develop ecosystem indicators, and conduct risk analysis. Resource managers, researchers, academics, and non-governmental organizations participated in these meetings and contributed to the synthesis of science and a myriad of science communications to transfer information to decision makers and the public. A proof of concept Bayesian Belief Network was developed to explore integrating the results of this assessment into an interactive management scenario evaluation tool. The four year effort resulted in the development of a research and management coordination network in South Florida that should provide the foundation for implementing ecosystem-based resource management across multiple agencies.

  6. Ogden, J.C., J.D. Baldwin, O.L. Bass, J.A. Browder, M.I. Cook, P.C. Frederick, P.E. Frezza, R.A. Galvez, A.B. Hodgson, K.D. Meyer, L.D. Oberhofer, A.F. Paul, P.J. Fletcher, S.M. Davis, and J.J. Lorenz. Waterbirds as indicators of ecosystem health in the coastal marine habitats of southern Florida: 1. Selection and justification for a suite of indicator species. Ecological Indicators, 44:148-163, doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2014.03.007 2014

    Abstract:

    The coastal marine environment is currently under threat from many anthropogenic pressures that were identified by the MARES project. Indicators of ecosystem health are needed so that targets can be set to guide protection and restoration efforts. Species of birds that are dependent on coastal habitats are ubiquitous along the coasts of southern Florida. Generally referred to as waterbirds, these species, although not all taxonomically related, share a common dependency on the marine environment for food, nesting habitat, or both. A suite of waterbirds was selected based on their perceived sensitivity to pressures in multiple coastal habitat types. The list of species was refined on the basis of a review of life history for characteristics that might make the species particularly vulnerable. Each selected species was then evaluated for sensitivity to the identified pressures using a hierarchical assessment that took into account the sensitivity, severity, and the temporal and spatial scales of the indicator to the given pressures. The selected suite of indicators was collectively sensitive to all the pressures except one.

  7. Ogden, J.C., J.D. Baldwin, O.L. Bass, J.A. Browder, M.I. Cook, P.C. Frederick, P.E. Frezza, R.A. Galvez, A.B. Hodgson, K.D. Meyer, L.D. Oberhofer, A.F. Paul, P.J. Fletcher, S.M. Davis, and J.J. Lorenz. Waterbirds as indicators of ecosystem health in the coastal marine habitats of southern Florida: 2. Conceptual ecological models. Ecological Indicators, 44:128-147, doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2014.03.008 2014

    Abstract:

    In our companion manuscript we identified 11 waterbirds as indicators of various pressures on the coastal marine ecosystems of southern Florida. Here, we identify the habitats on which these species depend and the ecological linkages that make them representative of those habitats. Through the use of conceptual ecological models (CEMs), we develop tools that can be used by managers/decision makers to evaluate the health of the various habitats in order to rectify myriad problems that are occurring or will possibly occur in the future such that the valuable ecosystem services provided by these habitats can be maximized. We also demonstrate the practical use of these tools by documenting data availability, benchmarks, and scientific needs for each species.

  8. Ortner, P.B., P.J. Fletcher, and C.R. Kelble. Introduction to tools to support ecosystem based management of South Florida’s coastal resources. Ecological Indicators, 44:2-5, doi:10.1016/ j.ecolind.2014.04.020 2014

    Abstract:

  9. Kelble, C.R., D.K. Loomis, S. Lovelace, W.K. Nuttle, P.B. Ortner, P. Fletcher, G.S. Cook, J.J. Lorenz, and J.N. Boyer. The EBM-DPSER conceptual model: Integrating ecosystem services into the DPSIR framework. PLoS ONE, 8(8):e70766, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070766 2013

    Abstract:

    There is a pressing need to integrate biophysical and human dimensions science to better inform holistic ecosystem management supporting the transition from single species or single-sector management to multi-sector ecosystem-based management. Ecosystem-based management should focus upon ecosystem services, since they reflect societal goals, values, desires, and benefits. The inclusion of ecosystem services into holistic management strategies improves management by better capturing the diversity of positive and negative human-natural interactions and making explicit the benefits to society. To facilitate this inclusion, we propose a conceptual model that merges the broadly applied Driver, Pressure, State, Impact, and Response (DPSIR) conceptual model with ecosystem services yielding a Driver, Pressure, State, Ecosystem service, and Response (EBM-DPSER) conceptual model. The impact module in traditional DPSIR models focuses attention upon negative anthropomorphic impacts on the ecosystem; by replacing impacts with ecosystem services the EBM-DPSER model incorporates not only negative, but also positive changes in the ecosystem. Responses occur as a result of changes in ecosystem services and include inter alia management actions directed at proactively altering human population or individual behavior and infrastructure to meet societal goals. The EBM-DPSER conceptual model was applied to the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas marine ecosystem as a case study to illustrate how it can inform management decisions. This case study captures our system-level understanding and results in a more holistic representation of ecosystem and human society interactions, thus improving our ability to identify trade-offs. The EBM-DPSER model should be a useful operational tool for implementing EBM, in that it fully integrates our knowledge of all ecosystem components while focusing management attention upon those aspects of the ecosystem most important to human society and does so within a framework already familiar to resource managers.

  10. Nuttle, W.K., and P.J. Fletcher (eds.). Integrated conceptual ecosystem model development for the Florida Keys/Dry Tortugas coastal marine ecosystem. NOAA Technical Memorandum, OAR-AOML-101/NOS-NCCOS-161, 91 pp., 2013

    Abstract:

    The overall goal of the MARine and Estuarine goal Setting (MARES) project for South Florida is “to reach a science-based consensus about the defining characteristics and fundamental regulating processes of a South Florida coastal marine ecosystem that is both sustainable and capable of providing the diverse ecosystem services upon which our society depends.” Through participation in a systematic process of reaching such a consensus, science can contribute more directly and effectively to the critical decisions being made by both policy makers and by natural resource and environmental management agencies. The document that follows briefly describes the MARES project and this systematic process. It then describes in considerable detail the resulting output from the first two steps in the process, the development of conceptual diagrams and an Integrated Conceptual Ecosystem Model (ICEM) for the first subregion to be addressed by MARES, the Florida Keys/Dry Tortugas (FK/DT). What follows with regard to the FK/DT is the input received from more than 60 scientists, agency resource managers, and representatives of environmental organizations beginning with a workshop held December 9-10, 2009 at Florida International University in Miami, Florida.

  11. Nuttle, W.K., and P.J. Fletcher (eds.). Integrated conceptual ecosystem model development for the southeast Florida coastal marine ecosystem. NOAA Technical Memorandum, OAR-AOML-103/NOS-NCCOS-163, 125 pp., 2013

    Abstract:

    The overall goal of the MARES (MARine and Estuarine goal Setting) project for South ­Florida is “to reach a science-based consensus about the defining characteristics and fundamental ­regulating processes of a South Florida coastal marine ecosystem that is both sustainable and capable of providing the diverse ecosystem services upon which our society depends.” Through participation in a systematic process of reaching such a consensus, science can contribute more directly and effectively to the critical decisions being made both by policy makers and by ­natural resource and environmental management agencies. The document that follows briefly describes MARES overall and this systematic process. It then describes in considerable detail  the resulting output from the first step in the process, the development of an Integrated ­Conceptual Ecosystem Model (ICEM) for the third subregion to be addressed by MARES, the Southeast Florida Coast (SEFC). What follows with regard to the SEFC relies upon the input received from more than 60 scientists, agency resource managers, and representatives of ­environmental organizations during workshops held throughout 2009–2012 in South Florida.

  12. Nuttle, W.K., and P.J. Fletcher (eds.). Integrated conceptual ecosystem model development for the Southwest Florida Shelf coastal marine ecosystem. NOAA Technical Memorandum, OAR-AOML-102/NOS-NCCOS-162, 108 pp., 2013

    Abstract:

    The overall goal of the MARine and Estuarine goal Setting (MARES) project for South Florida is “to reach a science-based consensus about the defining characteristics and fundamental regulating processes of a South Florida coastal marine ecosystem that is both sustainable and capable of providing the diverse ecosystem services upon which our society depends.” Through participation in a systematic process of reaching such a consensus, science can contribute more directly and effectively to the critical decisions being made by both policy makers and by natural resource and environmental management agencies. The document that follows briefly describes the MARES project and this systematic process. It then describes in considerable detail the resulting output from the first two steps in the process, the development of conceptual diagrams and an integrated conceptual ecosystem model (ICEM) for the second subregion to be addressed by MARES, the Southwest Florida Shelf (SWFS). What follows with regard to the SWFS is the input received from more than 60 scientists, agency resource managers, and representatives of environmental organizations beginning with a workshop held August 19-20, 2010 at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida.

  13. Fletcher, P.J., and J.C. Hendee. Coral reef and marine resource manager climate information needs assessment for the Florida Reef tract. NOAA Technical Memorandum, OAR-AOML-100, 20 pp., 2012

    Abstract:

    This report summarizes the results of a needs assessment conducted with 15 marine resource managers in southeast Florida from December 2011 through May 2012. The purpose of the front-end assessment is to identify the type of climate data needed and the preferred delivery of this information to the target audience (Witkin and Altschuld, 1995). The needs assessment was developed using the methodology from the NOAA/Coastal Services Center (CSC) Product Design and Evaluation training program (NOAA/CSC, 2003). The results can be used to further develop climate-based science communications.

  14. Fletcher, P.J., and W.L. Kruczynski. Coral reefs and hardbottom habitats. In Tropical Connections: South Florida's Marine Environment, W.L. Kruczynski and P.J. Fletcher (eds.). IAN Press, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD, 13, 2012

    Abstract: No abstract.

  15. Fletcher, P.J., W.L. Kruczynski, and T.E. Lodge. Coastal lagoons and bays. In Tropical Connections: South Florida's Marine Environment, W.L. Kruczynski and P.J. Fletcher (eds.). IAN Press, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD, 12, 2012

    Abstract: No abstract.

  16. Fletcher, P.J., W.L. Kruczynski, and T.E. Lodge. Mangrove communities. In Tropical Connections: South Florida's Marine Environment, W.L. Kruczynski and P.J. Fletcher (eds.). IAN Press, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD, 11, 2012

    Abstract: No abstract.

  17. Fletcher, P.J., W.L. Kruczynski, and T.E. Lodge. Tropical hardwood hammocks. In Tropical Connections: South Florida's Marine Environment, W.L. Kruczynski and P.J. Fletcher (eds.). IAN Press, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD, 10, 2012

    Abstract: No abstract.

  18. Kruczynski, W.L., and P.J. Fletcher (eds.). Tropical Connections: South Florida's Marine Environment. IAN Press, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD, 492 pp., 2012

    Abstract: No abstract.

  19. Kruczynski, W.L., and P.J. Fletcher. Geological time with major evolutionary events in the fossil record. In Tropical Connections: South Florida's Marine Environment, W.L. Kruczynski and P.J. Fletcher (eds.). IAN Press, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD, 19, 2012

    Abstract: No abstract.

  20. Kruczynski, W.L., and P.J. Fletcher. Humans have significantly impacted south Florida and the Florida Keys. In Tropical Connections: South Florida's Marine Environment, W.L. Kruczynski and P.J. Fletcher (eds.). IAN Press, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD, 26-29, 2012

    Abstract: No abstract.

  21. Kruczynski, W.L., and P.J. Fletcher. Major hurricanes can have major impacts on marine environments. In Tropical Connections: South Florida's Marine Environment, W.L. Kruczynski and P.J. Fletcher (eds.). IAN Press, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD, 44-45, 2012

    Abstract: No abstract.

  22. Kruczynski, W.L., and P.J. Fletcher. Many planktonic larvae use tidal currents to migrate or maintain their position. In Tropical Connections: South Florida's Marine Environment, W.L. Kruczynski and P.J. Fletcher (eds.). IAN Press, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD, 85, 2012

    Abstract: No abstract.

  23. Kruczynski, W.L., and P.J. Fletcher. There are five species of sea turtles in south Florida. In Tropical Connections: South Florida's Marine Environment, W.L. Kruczynski and P.J. Fletcher (eds.). IAN Press, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD, 367-368, 2012

    Abstract: No abstract.

  24. Kruczynski, W.L., and P.J. Fletcher. You can help to lessen impacts to the environment. In Tropical Connections: South Florida's Marine Environment, W.L. Kruczynski and P.J. Fletcher (eds.). IAN Press, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD, 55, 2012

    Abstract: No abstract.

  25. Kruczynski, W.L., P.J. Fletcher, and N. Dorst. Hurricanes and tropical storms are regular features in south Florida. In Tropical Connections: South Florida's Marine Environment, W.L. Kruczynski and P.J. Fletcher (eds.). IAN Press, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD, 44-45, 2012

    Abstract: No abstract.

  26. Wanless, H., W.L. Kruczynski, and P.J. Fletcher. Climate change will have several potential impacts to south Florida. In Tropical Connections: South Florida's Marine Environment, W.L. Kruczynski and P.J. Fletcher (eds.). IAN Press, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD, 35, 2012

    Abstract: No abstract.

  27. Fletcher, P.J., and S. Mulki. Training video for water quality sampling and analysis. In Water Quality Concepts, Sampling, and Analysis, Y. Li and K. Migliaccio (eds.). CRC Press, Boca Raton, 313-323, doi:10.1201/b10157-16 2011

    Abstract: No abstract.