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Detection, interpretation, prediction and management of environmental disturbances: some roles for experimental marine ecology
Underwood, A.J. (1996). Detection, interpretation, prediction and management of environmental disturbances: some roles for experimental marine ecology. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 200(1-2): 1-27. hdl.handle.net/10.1016/S0022-0981(96)02637-8
In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Elsevier: New York. ISSN 0022-0981, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine
Author keywords
    Ecology; Environmental sampling; Impacts; Management; Predicting

Author  Top 
  • Underwood, A.J.

Abstract
    Experimental studies have been an increasing component of recent marine ecology. Experimental tests of logically constructed hypotheses have been valuable in advancing ecological understanding and should be used more widely in environmental issues. Some contributions from ecology to marine environmental assessment are briefly considered here. Such contributions include recent developments in univariate and multivariate analyses for detecting and quantifying environmental impacts. New research is needed to increase power of tests to detect responses to disturbance and to provide better understanding of appropriate taxonomic resolution. We also need new procedures for assessment when no data are available before an impact. Interpreting environmental change requires field experimentation and use of actual impacts as experiments to test the interpretations used in descriptive studies. Better ecological inputs are also needed where effects of disturbances are being predicted — including much more attention to the power of studies to detect effects and relationships between power and the precautionary principle. Finally, more ecological insight will help programmes of restoration or rehabilitation of damaged habitats. Ecological inputs are needed into ideas about what to restore, how to facilitate successional processes and how to assess recovery. Ecologists can profit from the scale of environmental disturbances (as experiments) and have much more to offer to environmental managers than is often made available.

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