Ecological Principles

  • 1. Accounting for Species Diversity

    Species diversity is a measure of the number and types of species that occupy an area. Highly diverse ecosystems tend to be more productive and resilient, and numerous studeis have documented the connection between the loss of species diversity and the loss of ecosystem functioning.

  • 2. Accounting for Habitat Diversity and Heterogeneity

    Habitat diversity is a measure of the number and types of habitats that are found within an area. Habitat heterogeneity is defined as the spatial arrangement of those habitats. High habitat diversity and heterogeneity help to increase the successful movement of individuals, nutrients, and important food sources between habitat types; increase species diversity; and increase food web stability.

  • 3. Accounting for Connectivity

    Connectivity is defined as the movement of individuals or materials (e.g., nutrients) between populations and habitats. Connectivity between habitats and populations increases productivity and resilience, and helps ecosystems recover from natural and human disturbances.

  • 4. Accounting for Key Species

    Key species are individual species or a group of species that have a disproportionately strong impact on ecosystem structure and function, and may include foundation species, keystone species, top predators, or basal prey. Healthy populations of key species allow for stable, resilient ecosystems by creating habitat for other species, influencing community dynamics, and driving food web structure.

  • 5. Accounting for Climate Change

    Climate change in the ocean includes a suite of system changes, including increased sea surface temperature, altered ocean circulation, and rising sea level.