Cumulative human impacts on marine predators

Nat Commun. 2013:4:2688. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3688.


Stressors associated with human activities interact in complex ways to affect marine ecosystems, yet we lack spatially explicit assessments of cumulative impacts on ecologically and economically key components such as marine predators. Here we develop a metric of cumulative utilization and impact (CUI) on marine predators by combining electronic tracking data of eight protected predator species (n=685 individuals) in the California Current Ecosystem with data on 24 anthropogenic stressors. We show significant variation in CUI with some of the highest impacts within US National Marine Sanctuaries. High variation in underlying species and cumulative impact distributions means that neither alone is sufficient for effective spatial management. Instead, comprehensive management approaches accounting for both cumulative human impacts and trade-offs among multiple stressors must be applied in planning the use of marine resources.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Migration*
  • Animals
  • Birds
  • California
  • Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Ecology
  • Ecosystem
  • Geography
  • Human Activities*
  • Humans
  • Marine Biology
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Population Dynamics*
  • Predatory Behavior / physiology*
  • Sea Lions
  • Seals, Earless
  • Species Specificity
  • Turtles
  • Whales