Socio-environmental synthesis

I am part of a working group funded by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) under their Graduate Student Pursuit (GSP) program. We are investigating the relative contributions of ecological and management variables to 'ecological surprises'. We are studying three case studies of ecological surprise: the cod fishery collapse in the Bay of Fundy, the outbreak of mountain pine beetle in British Columbia and the continued eutrophication of Lake Champlain.

We are interested in determining the role that the ecological system (e.g., climate, resources) and management system (e.g., monitoring program, quotas) played in these 'ecological surprises'. For this research we define surprise as a situation where governance results in social-ecological system behavior that is qualitatively different from what was anticipated (adapted from Gunderson 2003).

Team members: Steven Alexander (Co-PI), Jeremy Pittman (Co-PI), Heather Haig, Karen Filbee-Dexter, Matt Burke  & Celia Symons

Paper: Filbee-Dexter, K., Pittman J., Haig, H.A., Alexander S.M., Symons C.C., and Burke, M.J. Ecological surprise: concept, synthesis, and social dimensions. In press at Ecosphere.


Bay of Fundy
From cod collapse to lobster glut, we are examining how management has influenced marine phase shifts in Atlantic Canada.

Lake Champlain
Balancing urbanization and agriculture, we are examining how management influences lake health in a transboundary basin.

Mountain Pine Beetle
Maintaining rural wellbeing and forest ecosystems, we are examining how management influenced the Mountain Pine Beetle outbreak