Title

Context Dependence: A Conceptual Approach for Understanding the Habitat Relationships of Coastal Marine Fauna

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

American Institute of Biological Sciences; Oxford University Press

Abstract

Coastal habitats, such as seagrasses, mangroves, rocky and coral reefs, salt marshes, and kelp forests, sustain many key fish and invertebrate populations around the globe. Our understanding of how animals use these broadly defined habitat types is typically derived from a few well-studied regions and is often extrapolated to similar habitats elsewhere. As a result, a working understanding of their habitat importance is often based on information derived from other regions and environmental contexts. Contexts such as tidal range, rainfall, and local geomorphology may fundamentally alter animal–habitat relationships, and there is growing evidence that broadly defined habitat types such as “mangroves” or “salt marsh” may show predictable spatial and temporal variation in habitat function in relation to these environmental drivers. In the present article, we develop a framework for systematically examining contextual predictability to define the geographic transferability of animal–habitat relationships, to guide ongoing research, conservation, and management actions in these systems.

First Page

986

Last Page

1004

DOI

10.1093/biosci/biaa100

Publication Date

10-2020

Department

Marine and Environmental Sciences

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