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Sarah Roberts is a Postdoctoral researcher in Janet Nye's lab at UNC. She completed her PhD in Duke University’s Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab. She also obtained her M.E.M degree in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University. Her PhD research examines the effects of climate, benthic habitat, and cyclical oscillations on the Mid and South Atlantic Bight ecosystems.
Single species distribution models (SSDMs) are typically used to understand and predict the distribution and abundance of marine fish by fitting distribution models for each species independently to a combination of abiotic environmental variables. However, species abundances and distributions are influenced by abiotic environmental preferences as...
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are valuable tools for marine conservation that aim to limit human impacts on marine systems and protect valuable species or habitats. However, as species distributions shift due to ocean warming, acidification, and oxygen depletion from climate change, the areas originally designated under MPAs may bear little resembl...
Analyses of the impacts of climate change on ﬁsh species have primarily considered dynamic oceanographic variables that are the output of predictive models, yet ﬁsh species distributions are determined by much more than just variables such as ocean temperature. Functionally diverse species are differentially inﬂuenced by oceanographic as well as ph...
As anthropogenic climate change increases the temperatures of the world’s oceans, the survival rates, spatial distributions, and phenology of marine species are affected. Additionally, cyclical climate oscillations, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), influence species presences throughout the Atlantic Basin. We evaluate the potential eff...
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an important tool in the context of marine spatial planning where resources are managed according to specific regulations that typically focus on conservation and sustainable harvesting. Marine species are shifting their distribution because of climate change towards colder waters, potentially compromising the benefits and management objectives of currently established MPAs. Therefore, it remains unclear what is the long-term effectiveness of MPAs for conservation, fisheries, and reliant communities under a changing climate. We propose to use MPAs as an example of marine spatial planning to explore the ecological, economic and social implications of climate change in the world’s oceans. More specifically, we aim to (1) quantify the impacts that shifts in species distribution due to climate change will have on the current economic value of MPAs worldwide, and (2) investigate the socioeconomic implications of these species shifts to local communities that depend on MPAs for ecotourism, generated income, and food security. Overall, we will link a species distribution dataset with relevant fisheries economics indices, eco-tourism uses of MPAs, and food security information for indigenous communities, and further couple this database with MPA coverage information. Finally, we will focus on four case studies to identify social impacts and locally relevant policy options based on their ecological, social, and economic context. Although we focus on MPAs and fisheries, the development and testing of this framework can inform different types of spatial planning and inform policy towards the design of effective adaptive management solutions under a changing climate.