Integrating Paleo and Historical Data into Coral Reef Management and Policy

About this Working Group: Studies using paleoecological and historical data can inform coral reef management and policy by providing accurate ecological baselines and by pinpointing the timing, magnitude, and drivers of ecosystem declines. However, these studies have rarely been incorporated into policy and management frameworks. This working group will bring together coral reef paleontologists, historical ecologists, fish biologists, benthic ecologists, managers, and conservation practitioners to develop a plan for incorporating long-term ecological data into decision-making to advance the sustainable management of reef ecosystems. Our group will focus on Caribbean coral reefs, a geography with an abundance of historical ecological data and a track record of collaboration between reef scientists and managers. This spirit of collaboration is enhanced by the immediacy of conservation needs for reef ecosystems in this region. We will focus on the application of long-term data to two pressing management issues for Caribbean coral reefs, which together address the most pressing top-down (i.e. fishing) and bottom-up (i.e. nutrient pollution) drivers of ecosystem change.

Principal investigators

Katie Cramer
Julie Ann Wrigley Institute of Sustainability
Arizona State University

Loren McClenachan
Department of Environmental Studies
Colby College


About CPN Working Groups: The Conservation Paleobiology Network (CPN) sponsors working groups focused on research questions that integrate conservation paleobiologists, academic partners, wildlife managers, and stakeholders to develop effective strategies for translating products of historical research into conservation and management actions. Each working group includes meetings to develop approaches to research or applications. Working groups should engage key interest groups (conservation paleobiologists, archaeologists, environmental historians, federal and state management officers, and stakeholders) and contribute to the broader mission of the CPN of establishing conservation paleobiology as both a basic and applied discipline. Outcomes may include publications or other products developed by working groups, tutorials and lectures contributed to the CPN webinars, and/or proposals to funding agencies to support further activities. The working group panel oversees solicitation, selection, development and assessment of working groups.