Evaluating Management Strategies to Optimize Coral Reef Ecosystem Services

Short Description
Scientists from NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, Hawai‘i Division of Aquatic Resources, and The Nature Conservancy evaluated how different management strategies would benefit the coastal marine ecosystem and coral reef health at Puakō, in Hawai‘i.
Resource Type
Peer-Reviewed Research


Red slate pencil urchin on the reef at Hawaii Island, Hawaii

Red slate pencil urchin (Heterocentrotus mamillatus) on the reef at Hawaii Island, Hawaii (Photo: NOAA Fisheries).

Earlier declines in marine resources, combined with current fishing pressures and devastating coral mortality in 2015, have resulted in a degraded coral reef ecosystem state at Puakō in west Hawaiʹi. Changes to resource management are needed to facilitate recovery of ecosystem functions and services. We developed an ecosystem model to evaluate the performance of alternative management scenarios at Puakō in the provisioning of ecosystem services to human users (marine tourists, recreational fishers) and enhancing the reef's ability to recover from pressures (resilience). Outcomes of the continuation of current management plus five alternative management scenarios were compared under both high and low coral-bleaching related mortality over a 15-year time span.


Weijerman M, Gove JM, Williams ID, Walsh WJ, Minton D, Polovina JJ. Evaluating management strategies to optimise coral reef ecosystem services. (Published in the Journal of Applied Ecology).