Brooks Cassandra M.

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Cassandra M.

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  • Article
    Integrated observations and informatics improve understanding of changing marine ecosystems
    (Frontiers Media, 2018-11-16) Benson, Abigail ; Brooks, Cassandra M. ; Canonico, Gabrielle ; Duffy, J. Emmett ; Muller-Karger, Frank E. ; Sosik, Heidi M. ; Miloslavich, Patricia ; Klein, Eduardo
    Marine ecosystems have numerous benefits for human societies around the world and many policy initiatives now seek to maintain the health of these ecosystems. To enable wise decisions, up to date and accurate information on marine species and the state of the environment they live in is required. Moreover, this information needs to be openly accessible to build indicators and conduct timely assessments that decision makers can use. The questions and problems being addressed demand global-scale investigations, transdisciplinary science, and mechanisms to integrate and distribute data that otherwise would appear to be disparate. Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs) and marine Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs), conceptualized by the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON), respectively, guide observation of the ocean. Additionally, significant progress has been made to coordinate efforts between existing programs, such as the GOOS, MBON, and Ocean Biogeographic Information System collaboration agreement. Globally and nationally relevant indicators and assessments require increased sharing of data and analytical methods, sustained long-term and large-scale observations, and resources to dedicated to these tasks. We propose a vision and key tenets as a guiding framework for building a global integrated system for understanding marine biological diversity and processes to address policy and resource management needs. This framework includes: using EOVs and EBVs and implementing the guiding principles of Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable (FAIR) data and action ecology. In doing so, we can encourage relevant, rapid, and integrative scientific advancement that can be implemented by decision makers to maintain marine ecosystem health.
  • Article
    Marine ecosystem assessment for the Southern Ocean: birds and marine mammals in a changing climate
    (Frontiers Media, 2020-11-04) Bestley, Sophie ; Ropert-Coudert, Yan ; Bengtson Nash, Susan ; Brooks, Cassandra M. ; Cotté, Cédric ; Dewar, Meagan ; Friedlaender, Ari S. ; Jackson, Jennifer A. ; Labrousse, Sara ; Lowther, Andrew D. ; McMahon, Clive R. ; Phillips, Richard A. ; Pistorius, Pierre ; Puskic, Peter S. ; de Almeida Reis, Ana Olívia ; Reisinger, Ryan ; Santos, Mercedes ; Tarszisz, Esther ; Tixier, Paul ; Trathan, Phil N. ; Wege, Mia ; Wienecke, Barbara
    The massive number of seabirds (penguins and procellariiformes) and marine mammals (cetaceans and pinnipeds) – referred to here as top predators – is one of the most iconic components of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean. They play an important role as highly mobile consumers, structuring and connecting pelagic marine food webs and are widely studied relative to other taxa. Many birds and mammals establish dense breeding colonies or use haul-out sites, making them relatively easy to study. Cetaceans, however, spend their lives at sea and thus aspects of their life cycle are more complicated to monitor and study. Nevertheless, they all feed at sea and their reproductive success depends on the food availability in the marine environment, hence they are considered useful indicators of the state of the marine resources. In general, top predators have large body sizes that allow for instrumentation with miniature data-recording or transmitting devices to monitor their activities at sea. Development of scientific techniques to study reproduction and foraging of top predators has led to substantial scientific literature on their population trends, key biological parameters, migratory patterns, foraging and feeding ecology, and linkages with atmospheric or oceanographic dynamics, for a number of species and regions. We briefly summarize the vast literature on Southern Ocean top predators, focusing on the most recent syntheses. We also provide an overview on the key current and emerging pressures faced by these animals as a result of both natural and human causes. We recognize the overarching impact that environmental changes driven by climate change have on the ecology of these species. We also evaluate direct and indirect interactions between marine predators and other factors such as disease, pollution, land disturbance and the increasing pressure from global fisheries in the Southern Ocean. Where possible we consider the data availability for assessing the status and trends for each of these components, their capacity for resilience or recovery, effectiveness of management responses, risk likelihood of key impacts and future outlook.