Understanding the interdependence between healthy aquatic ecosystems and human social, economic, and cultural benefits is necessary to maximize the benefits of ecosystem management and to address trade-offs among ecosystem services, economic benefits, and human and ecosystem health. In this symposium, 11 presentations highlighted various aspects of coupled natural and human systems. Topics varied greatly and included viruses, fish and fisheries, ecosystem dynamics, economic impacts, risk perceptions, behavior and decision-making. Highlights included: (1) Challenges in invasive species management are the result of tensions that arise from uncertainty about interactions between natural and human systems. These tensions may be overcome through structured deliberations amongst agency officials, stakeholders, and researchers. (2) The natural and human systems framework can link human food security, nonindigenous aquaculture species, and wild fisheries in a dynamic and evolving system, as illustrated by the expanding tilapia cage aquaculture in Lake Victoria and its future sustainability and resilience under climate change. (3) A robust ecosystem modeling framework that incorporates physical, chemical, and food web processes and their interaction with social and economic factors can deepen understanding of nonindigenous species impacts on coupled human and natural systems, and help inform scenario-based management decisions. Read the abstracts here.
—Hongyan Zhang and Victoria Campbell-Arvai, University of Michigan; and Doran M. Mason and Edward Rutherford, NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory