I explore methods to incorporate dynamic processes into reserve design. Many reserve systems currently in place incorporated static patterns of biodiversity during the design process. This is inherently problematic: patterns of biodiversity fluctuate across space and time, and reserves systems that do not consider these dynamics risk becoming outdated and ineffective. For example, reserves designed to incorporate species’ movements over time are more likely to offer long-term protection than reserves designed to incorporate species occurrences at one point in time.
One of the barriers to conservation planning for dynamic processes is the definition of useful surrogates that reflect processes’ spatial dimensions and requirements for management. My research focuses on the integration of GIS and remote sensing products to define surrogates that retain information on spatial and temporal variability. I use time-series of remotely sensed variables – or derived products such as species distribution models – to quantify how features move over space and time.These time-series analyses give insight into trends in the near-future, and allow for management decisions informed by the ways in which a changing climate affects resources of conservation interest.
Bob Pressey (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Scott Heron (NOAA Coral Reef Watch; Marine Geophysical Laboratory, JCU)
Dani Ceccarelli (Marine Ecology Consultant)
Alistair Hobday (CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere)
Steve Schill (TNC, Brigham Young University)
Ben Kilham (Black Bear Ecologist)
Welch H, Pressey RL, Heron SF, Ceccarelli D, Hobday AJ. Regimes of chlorophyll-a in the Coral Sea: implications for evaluating adequacy of marine protected areas. Ecography. doi: 10.1111/ecog.01450
Welch H. 2016. Three ways to improve U.S. marine protected areas. PLOS Blogs.
GIS and remote sensing lab: Analyzing historical chlorophyll-a trends in the Caribbean (click here for accompanying data)