Prioritizing coastal ecosystem stressors in the Northeast United States under increasing climate change
Coastal and marine ecosystems around the world are under threat from a growing number of anthropogenic impacts, including climate change. Resource managers, researchers, policy makers, and coastal community planners are tasked with identifying, developing, and monitoring strategies to reduce or reverse the ecological, economic and social impact of environmental stressors. These individuals must make decisions about how to prioritize and allocate finite resources to address these issues, all under conditions of significant uncertainty about which of these stressors to address. This paper presents the results of a survey and workshop designed to rank the impact of a series of stressors on four components of the marine and coastal ecosystems of the Northeast United States. The methodology described here – expert elicitation supplemented by workshop deliberations – proved to be relatively cost-effective, time-efficient, and informative for identifying priority stressors for the ecosystem components under consideration, both now and in the future.