Marine Resilience

The Marine Resilience Program seeks to apply a resilience approach to marine social-ecological systems. Marine science has undergone a dramatic paradigm-shift in recent years, with increased recognition of the role of people in the dynamics of all marine ecosystems. In addition, marine ecology is scaling-up, fisheries science is becoming more ecological-based, and no-take areas are being used as adaptive tools for managing resilience.

The Marine Resilience program, initiated in 2004, has three focal areas: coral reefs, coastal oceans, and pelagic fisheries. An initial workshop, held at the Beijer Institute, Stockholm in October 2004, focused on the dynamics of three marine linked social-ecological systems (coral reefs, kelp beds and coastal fisheries). A second meeting was held in Cairns, Australia in August 2005. A third meeting "Social-ecological traps and transformations in marine fisheries" took place August 2006 in Maine.

Dr. Terry Hughes leads the RA's Marine Resilience program. Dr. Hughes is Scientific Director at the Centre for Coral Reef Biodiversity, James Cook University and the inaugural director of ARC Centre of Excellence - Innovative science for sustainable management of coral reef biodiversity.

Selected Publications:


Berkes, F, et al. (2006) ECOLOGY: Globalization, Roving Bandits, and Marine Resources. Science. Vol:311(5767). 1557-1558

Lebel, L., J. M. Anderies, B. Campbell, C. Folke, S. Hatfield-Dodds, T. P. Hughes. and J. Wilson. 2006. Governance and the capacity to manage resilience in regional social-ecological systems. Ecology and Society 11(1): 19. [online] URL:

Steneck, RS. (2006) Staying connected in a turbulent world. Science. Vol:311(5760). 480-481


W. N. Adger, et al. (2005) Social-ecological resilience to coastal disasters. Science. Vol:309(5737). 1036-1039

S. R. Connolly, et al. (2005) Community structure of corals and reef fishes at multiple scales. Science. Vol:309(5739). 1363-1365

C. Folke, et al. (2005) Adaptive governance of social-ecological systems. Annual Review of Environment and Resources. Vol:30(441-473

T. P. Hughes, et al. (2005) New paradigms for supporting the resilience of marine ecosystems. Trends in Ecology & Evolution. Vol:20(7). 380-386

J. M. Pandolfi. (2005) Are U.S. coral reefs on the slippery slope to slime? (vol 307, pg 1725, 2005). Science. Vol:308(5729). 1742-1743


D.R. Bellwood, T.P. Hughes, C. Folke, and M. Nyström. 2004. Confronting the coral reef crisis. Nature 429: 827-833.


Hughes TP, Baird AH, Bellwood DR, Card M, Connolly SR, Folke C, Grosberg R, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Jackson JBC, Kleypas J, Lough JM, Marshall P, Nyström M, Palumbi SR, Pandolfi JM, Rosen B and Roughgarden J (2003) Climate change, human impacts and the resilience of coral reefs. Science 301: 929-933.

Web Links:
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

The Nature Conservancy - Marine Conservation; Building Resilience into Protected Areas.


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