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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Component

SummaryThe Galapagos Marine Reserve is home to at least 50 species of sharks and rays. Although these species are protected in the marine reserve, they are vulnerable to industrial fishing outside the protected waters, to unintentional bycatch by local fishers inside the reserve, and to illegal fishing. We are using sharks in this case as a proxy for biodiversity/ecosystem health.
SubtypeNatural Resource Unit
SectorMarine protected areas, Scientific Research and Conservation
Commons AggregationGuild
ExplanationThe GMR is home to 33 species of shark (see chapter by Hearn et al., 2014 for list - table 2.1)
Commons BoundariesVery unclear boundaries (1)
ExplanationMany sharks are highly migratory and frequently travel out of the GMR boundaries, and to other eastern Pacific islands
Commons Indicator["Ecosystem health and/or biodiversity"]
ExplanationSharks are high trophic level species, their high abundance is indicative of a healthy ecosystem. Hammerheads in particular have been shown through modeling studies to represent entire communities as an umbrella species (Hearn et al., 2013)
Commons Unit SizeLarge (4)
Environmental MediumOceanic
Inter Annual PredictabilityModerate (2)
ExplanationMigratory, but some species through to have important aggregation sites in GMR. Sharks are regularly recorded
Intra Annual PredictabilityModerate (2)
ExplanationSimilar intra-annual patterns between hammerheads, whale, and Galapagos sharks in northern bioregion: greater abundance in cooler months of the year (May-October). In warmers months abundance is greatly reduced.
Commons RenewabilityRenewable (1)
ExplanationBut many species slow to reproduce
ProductivityPoorly productive (1)
ExplanationMany species are long lived and slow to reproduce
Commons AccessibilitySomewhat accessible (2)
ExplanationAccessible with the right equipment and regularly seen on dives
Commons HeterogeneityModerate (2)
ExplanationMany species of shark found throughout the GMR. Some are found more commonly in certain regions, however presence of any one sharks species is unpredictable. Most common species hammerhead and the Galapagos sharks. (Hearn et al., 2013)
Commons MobilityHigh (3)
ExplanationSharks highly mobile
Commons Spatial Extent133000
ExplanationCoded as extent of GMR, but can migrate long distances to other eastern pacific islands
Technical SubstituteNo