EBM Toolbox: Tools for Determining Marine Connectivity

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Editor's note: The goal of The EBM Toolbox is to promote awareness of tools for facilitating EBM processes. It is brought to you by the EBM Tools Network (www.ebmtools.org), a voluntary alliance of tool users, developers, and training providers.

By Sarah Carr

Marine connectivity refers to the concept that areas in the ocean are linked through the exchange of organisms (larvae, adults) or non-living things (nutrients, sediment). When areas are connected, management decisions for one area may also affect the other areas. Tools for modeling this connectivity include:

  • Aus-ConnIe (www.per.marine.csiro.au/aus-connie), which maps statistics on particle diffusion over time and can be used to predict larval dispersal, recruitment, and contaminant dispersion around Australasia and Southeast Asia; and
  • Marine Geospatial Ecology Tools (http://code.env.duke.edu/projects/mget), which include an ArcGIS tool for modeling dispersal of larvae between patches of suitable habitat (such as coral reefs) by ocean currents.

As connectivity is variable among locations and species, managers should consult with experts and literature in their region before using tools. Learn more about these tools and related resources at www.ebmtools.org/faqs.html (FAQ #9).

(Sarah Carr is coordinator for the EBM Tools Network. Learn more about EBM tools and sign up for Network updates at www.ebmtools.org.)

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