Graeme S. Cumming

Graeme S. Cumming
James Cook University · ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

D. Phil. (Oxon)

About

316
Publications
155,921
Reads
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Citations
Introduction
I am an ecologist by training. I have a wide range of interests, centered on spatial aspects of ecology and the relevance of broad-scale pattern-process dynamics for ecosystem (and social-ecological system) function and resilience. I am also interested in the applications of landscape ecology and complexity theory to conservation and the sustainable management of natural resources. On this site: I don't have time to give feedback on articles - please accept my apologies in advance for ignoring these requests. I am also under threat of being excluded for violation of copyright (sharing my own articles publicly, go figure) so please ask for copies. Again, for time reasons I cannot personalise every response, but I'm happy to share and appreciate your interest in my work.
Additional affiliations
July 2015 - present
James Cook University
Position
  • Professor
October 2010 - December 2010
Cirad - La recherche agronomique pour le développement
Position
  • visiting researcher
January 2006 - June 2015
University of Cape Town
Position
  • Pola Pasvolsky Chair in Conservation Biology
Description
  • Landscape and community ecology, interdisciplinary research. Waterbirds, parasites and pathogens, spatial resilience, protected areas.
Education
August 1996 - August 1999
University of Oxford
Field of study
  • Zoology

Publications

Publications (316)
Article
Full-text available
Landscape ecology has a high potential to contribute to sustainability in the interactions of people and nature. Landscape ecologists have already made considerable progress towards a more general understanding of the relevance of spatial variation for ecosystems. Incorporating the complexities of societies and economies into landscape ecology anal...
Chapter
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Although the growing field of research on social-ecological systems (SESs) deals with some of the most important questions of our time, the study of SESs lacks an overarching theoretical framework. The development of such a framework is desirable because it would greatly improve our ability to generalize from individual case studies, to distinguish...
Article
Social-ecological systems research suffers from a disconnect between hierarchical (top-down or bottom-up) and network (peer-to-peer) analyses. The concept of the heterarchy unifies these perspectives in a single framework. Here, I review the history and application of 'heterarchy' in neuroscience, ecology, archaeology, multiagent control systems, b...
Article
Ecosystems influence human societies, leading people to manage ecosystems for human benefit. Poor environmental management can lead to reduced ecological resilience and social–ecological collapse. We review research on resilience and collapse across different systems and propose a unifying social–ecological framework based on (i) a clear definition...
Article
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Scientists understand how global ecological degradation is occurring but not why it seems to be so difficult to reverse. We used national-level data and a mathematical model to provide an empirical test of the hypothesis that national economies display two distinct economic regimes that are maintained by self-reinforcing feedbacks between natural r...
Article
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Social-ecological systems (SES) research has emerged as an important area of sustainability science, informing and supporting pressing issues of transformation towards more sustainable, just and equitable futures. To date, much SES research has been done in or from the Global North, where the challenges and contexts for supporting sustainability tr...
Article
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Context Connectivity between habitat patches is vital for ecological processes at multiple scales. Traditional metrics do not measure the scales at which individual habitat patches contribute to the overall ecological connectivity of the landscape. Connectivity has previously been evaluated at several different scales based on the dispersal capabil...
Article
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Under global environmental change, understanding the interactions between people and nature has become critical for human survival. Comparative research can identify trends within social-ecological systems providing key insights for both environmental and developmental research. Island systems, with clear land boundaries, have been proposed as idea...
Article
A minimal social-ecological model, based on the robustness framework, suggests a typology of six different kinds of social-ecological mismatch and a set of general hypotheses about how they might arise.
Article
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Actors across all economic sectors of society will need to adapt to cope with the accelerating impacts of climate change. However, little information is currently available about how microeconomic actors are adapting to climate change and how best to support these adaptations. We reviewed the empirical literature to provide an overview of (1) the c...
Article
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Aim Movement is integral to the distribution and abundance of wildlife. We undertook an experimental test of the navigation capacity of Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiacus to better understand the movements of moult‐migratory waterfowl and the implications of navigation capacity for their ecology. Location Southern Africa. In June 2015, we transl...
Article
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Context Recent efforts to apply sustainability concepts to entire landscapes have seen increasing interest in approaches that connect socioeconomic and biophysical systems. Evaluating these connections through a cultural ecosystem services lens clarifies how different spatiotemporal scales and levels of organisation influence the production of cult...
Article
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Feedbacks between people and ecosystems are central to the study of social–ecological systems (SES) but remain poorly understood. It is commonly assumed that changes in ecosystems leading to a reduction in ecosystem services will trigger human responses that seek to restore service provision. Other responses are possible, however, but remain less s...
Article
Small-scale fisheries are important for the livelihoods and food security of millions of people in low-income countries. Sustainably managing these dynamic social-ecological systems requires understanding links between ecosystems and human well-being: the focus of ecosystem service approaches. However, in-depth exploration of how co-production and...
Article
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Remote sensing products are widely used in ecology and environmental science to understand how surfaces are composed and configured in a landscape and how they change through time. Land cover maps that describe the nature of habitats available to organisms have become critical tools in the study of anthropogenic impacts, such as fragmentation, on b...
Article
Research on ecosystem services has focused primarily on questions of availability or supply and often assumes a single human community of identical beneficiaries. However, how people perceive and experience ecosystem services can differ by socio-demographic characteristics such as material wealth, gender, education, and age. Equitable environmental...
Article
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The community dynamics of organisms that exhibit multi‐scale responses to habitat change are poorly understood. We quantified changes in species diversity and the functional composition of a waterbird community over two iterations of a repeated transition, the annual drying‐down of arid‐region Lake Ngami, Botswana. We used our data to test three th...
Chapter
Coral reefs are extremely vulnerable to human-induced climate change. Most notably, increasing ocean temperatures are causing increasing incidence and severity of mass coral bleaching. There have been three major episodes of mass-bleaching on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in just the last 5 years, corresponding with extreme temperatures in 2...
Article
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As habitats change, highly specialised species may die or be forced to relocate. However, some obligate coral-dwelling damselfishes appear to survive the localized extinction of their primary habitat, branching coral, caused by coral bleaching. To address this apparent paradox, we documented the spatial behaviour of obligate coral-dwellers in relat...
Article
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Lasting community-based governance of common-pool resources depends on communities self-organizing to monitor compliance with rules. Monitoring serves an important function in community-based governance by establishing conditions for long-term cooperation, but the factors that foster its provision are poorly understood. We have analysed data from 1...
Article
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Marine capture fishery resources are declining, and demand for them is rising. These trends are suspected to incite conflict, but their effects have not been quantitatively examined. We applied a multi‐model ensemble approach to a global database of international fishery conflicts between 1974 and 2016 to test the supply‐induced scarcity hypothesis...
Article
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Urbanization profoundly transforms ecosystems and the bundles of services they provide to people. The relationship between urbanization and how ecosystem services are produced together to form bundles has received increased research interest. However, there is limited understanding of how people’s perceptions of the benefits they receive from ecosy...
Preprint
Full-text available
Context: Recent efforts to apply sustainability concepts to entire landscapes have seen increasing interest in approaches that connect socioeconomic and biophysical aspects of landscape change. Evaluating these connections through a cultural ecosystem services lens clarifies how different spatiotemporal scales and levels of organisation influence t...
Article
Full-text available
Many coastal communities depend on ecosystems for goods and services that contribute to human well‐being. As long‐standing interactions between people and nature are modified by global environmental change, dynamic and diversified livelihood strategies that enable seasonal adaptation will be critical for vulnerable coastal communities. However, the...
Article
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Urbanization is a key driver of social and environmental change world‐wide. However, our understanding of its impacts on the multidimensional well‐being benefits that people obtain from ecosystems remains limited. We explored how the well‐being contributions from land‐ and seascapes varied with urbanization level in the Solomon Islands, a fast‐urba...
Article
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Access mechanisms can determine the benefits that people derive from a given ecosystem service supply. However, compared to ecosystem service availability, access has received little research attention. The relative importance of availability compared to access in limiting ecosystem service benefits is even less well understood. In cities, the obse...
Article
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ContextLandscape sustainability emerges from interactions between linked human and natural systems. Many of these interactions are mediated by institutions (e.g., rules, laws, customs, traditions), most of which are themselves spatially defined entities that both generate and respond to spatial variation in the landscape. However, the spatial dynam...
Article
Conserving biodiversity in the long term will depend in part on the capacity of Protected Areas (PAs) to cope with cross-scale, social-ecological disturbances and changes, which are becoming more frequent in a highly connected world. Direct threats to biodiversity within PAs and their interactions with broader-scale threats are both likely to vary...
Article
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Forests both support biodiversity and provide a wide range of benefits to people at multiple scales. Global and national remote sensing analyses of drivers of forest change generally focus on broad-scale influences on area (composition), ignoring arrangement (configuration). To explore meso-scale relationships, we compared forest composition and co...
Article
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There is increasing evidence that non-reef habitats in the seascape surrounding coral reefs are widely used by reef-associated fishes. However, our understanding of seascape use in the Indo-Pacific region is incomplete due to its large geographical range and as a consequence, considerable environmental variation (e.g. tidal regimes). We used remote...
Article
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The management of natural resources creates feedbacks between ecosystems and societies, both of which exist at characteristic scales. Theory predicts that sustainability is higher when governance and management scales align with scales of ecological heterogeneity. We analyzed the areas of institutions (10,030 permissions from 7,478 permits in the G...
Article
Institutions are vital to the sustainability of social-ecological systems, balancing individual and group interests and coordinating responses to change. Ecological decline and social conflict in many places, however, indicate that our understanding and fostering of effective institutions for natural resource management is still lacking. We assess...
Article
Urbanization entails social, economic and environmental changes that can transform how people relate to nature and disconnect them from it, with consequences for their wellbeing. The impacts of urbanization on human-nature relationships viewed through people’s ecosystem service (ES) preferences are however poorly understood, especially in the rapid...
Article
Ecologists have long studied patterns, directions and tempos of change, but there is a pressing need to extend current understanding to empirical observations of abrupt changes as climate warming accelerates. Abrupt changes in ecological systems (ACES)—changes that are fast in time or fast relative to their drivers—are ubiquitous and increasing in...
Article
Coral reefs around the world have recently been decimated by successive years of worldwide mass bleaching linked to global climate change and the increasing incidence of marine heatwaves. Coral reef scientists, managers, and users are struggling to come to terms with the impacts of what is a very large-scale and seemingly unmanageable driver of cha...
Article
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Secondary contact and hybridization between recently diverged taxa have been increasing due to anthropogenic changes to the environment. Determining whether secondary contact leads to gene flow between species is important for understanding both the evolutionary consequences of such events (i.e. genetic swamping, speciation reversal, hybrid speciat...
Article
Full text: https://rdcu.be/bVy8H | https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-019-0412-1 | doi: 10.1038/s41893-019-0412-1 | Regional and global assessments periodically update what we know, and highlight what remains to be known, about the linkages between people and nature that both define and depend upon the state of the environment. To guide resear...
Article
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Bird atlases have become an important source of distribution data for broad-scale analyses in ecology, biogeography and conservation. However, national bird atlases are undertaken in different ways in different countries, usually with little formal assessment of alternatives. Existing research suggests that the differences in accuracy between line...
Article
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Researchers and decision-makers lack a shared understanding of resilience, and practical applications in environmental resource management are rare. Here, we define social-ecological resilience as a property of social-ecological systems that includes at least three main characteristics — resistance, recovery and robustness (the ‘three Rs’). We defi...
Article
The global degradation of natural ecosystems is leading to an increased focus on interventionist management and habitat restoration. On coral reefs, a foremost example of this trend is the extensive culling of crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster spp.), which are native to coral reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific. At high densities, following popul...
Article
Increasing numbers of large marine protected areas (LMPAs) are being added to the global conservation estate, raising new challenges for marine social-ecological management and biodiversity conservation. To better understand the importance of spatial heterogeneity and scale in managing LMPAs, we undertook a quantitative, spatially explicit analysis...
Article
Many far-ranging species depend heavily on relatively small or temporary resources within a heterogeneous landscape. For waterfowl, most species rely on deep, permanent waterbodies as refugia from predators during annual flightless molt periods when synchronous loss and regrowth of the flight feathers occurs. The movements of ducks to and from mol...
Article
Achieving effective, sustainable environmental governance requires a better understanding of the causes and consequences of the complex patterns of interdependencies connecting people and ecosystems within and across scales. Network approaches for conceptualizing and analysing these interdependencies offer one promising solution. Here, we present t...
Article
Marine ecology seeks to understand the factors that shape biological communities. Progress towards this goal has been hampered by habitat‐centric approaches that ignore the influence of the wider seascape. Coral reef fishes may use non‐reef habitats (e.g. mangrove and seagrass) extensively, yet most studies have focused on within‐reef attributes or...
Article
The world's coral reefs are rapidly transforming, with decreasing coral cover and new species configurations. These new Anthropocene reefs pose a challenge for conservation; we can no longer rely on established management plans and actions designed to maintain the status quo when coral reef habitats, and the challenges they faced, were very differe...
Article
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The relationship between diversity and resilience is relatively well‐established for ecological systems, but remains much less explored for socio‐economic systems. Institutional diversity can have particular relevance for protected areas, whose managerial responses to environmental change depend on their legal basis, ability to make and enforce rul...
Article
1.Globally, many ecosystems are being challenged and transformed by anthropogenic climate change. Future ecosystem configurations will be heavily influenced by the critical ecological functions that affect resilience. Robust measures of these functions will thus be essential for understanding and responding to ecological change. 2.Coral reefs are e...
Article
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Views that protected area (PA) expansion relies predominantly on land purchased by government are increasingly being challenged. The inclusion of privately owned PAs (PPAs) in national conservation strategies is now commonplace, but little is known about their long‐term persistence and how it compares to that of state‐owned PAs. We undertook the fi...
Article
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We described the geographic distribution of 82 haemosporidian lineages (Plasmodium, Haemoproteus, and Leucocytozoon) in the cattle egret sampled in five countries in central-western and southern Africa. Seventy-three lineages have not previously been reported. We determined the prevalence of three haemosporidians in the samples. We investigated the...
Data
Bird species that showed 100% similarity with new lineages described in cattle egret. BLASTN tool was used to compare the similarity among the Plasmodium, Haemoproteus, and Leucocytozoon cyt-b sequences obtained from the B. ibis samples and sequences of cyt-b lineages deposited in the MalAvi database. Lineages were classified as generalists when in...
Data
Bayesian phylogenetic tree to identify lineages of Leucocytozoon. All morphospecies used to identify these genera were downloaded from MalAvi (Bensch et al., 2009) and GenBank databases. (DOCX)
Data
Geographic coordinates of African sites where blood samples were collected from cattle egret nestlings. Blood was collected from nestlings in breeding colonies. N is total number of birds sampled per colony. (DOCX)
Article
Urbanization can profoundly alter socioecological relationships, but its influence on how people perceive and value ecosystem services (ES) is poorly understood. We reviewed an emerging literature in which sociocultural valuation of ES is compared among urban and rural dwellers. This research suggests that, although regulating and cultural ES were...
Article
Full-text available
1.Biodiversity conservation relies heavily on protected areas (PAs). However, in locations that are desirable for agriculture, industry, or human habitation (e.g., lowland habitats on fertile soils, coastal zones), land is often privately owned and state‐owned PAs tend to be under‐represented. Despite the potentially disproportionate contribution t...
Article
Effects of species diversity on population and community stability (or more precisely, the effects of species richness on temporal variability) have been studied for several decades, but there have been no large‐scale tests in natural communities of predictions from theory. We used 91 data sets including plants, fish, small mammals, zooplankton, bi...
Article
Similar patterns of parasite prevalence in animal communities may be driven by a range of different mechanisms. The influences of host heterogeneity and host–parasite interactions in host community assemblages are poorly understood. We sampled birds at 27 wetlands in South Africa to compare four hypotheses explaining how host community heterogeneit...
Article
As changes in the environment have brought wild and domestic animals into closer proximity, cross-species disease transmission has become a major concern in wildlife conservation. The worldwide impacts of tick-borne diseases require an understanding of pathogen transmission dynamics across different host species. Livestock are often kept near prote...
Article
The ecosystem services (ES) concept can frame the value of protected areas (PAs) to society and identify management actions that bridge biodiversity conservation and human benefits. In this special issue on ES flows to and from southern African PAs we consider two themes: (1) water as a biophysical and social-ecological connector; and (2) cross-sca...
Article
Full-text available
Conflict over marine fishery resources is a growing security concern. Experts expect that global changes in our climate, food systems and oceans may spark or exacerbate resource conflicts. An initial scan of 803 relevant papers and subsequent intensive review of 31 fisheries conflict studies, focused on subnational and international conflicts, sugg...
Article
Protected areas connect socio-economic and ecological systems through their provision of ecosystem goods and services. Analysis of ecosystem services allows the expression of ecological benefits in economic terms. However, cultural services, such as recreation opportunities, have proved difficult to quantify. An important challenge for the analysis...
Preprint
Full-text available
Parasite conservation is a rapidly growing field at the intersection of ecology, epidemiology, parasitology, and public health. The overwhelming diversity of parasitic life on earth, and recent work showing that parasites and other symbionts face severe extinction risk, necessitates infrastructure for parasite conservation assessments. Here, we des...