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Parker S.R.,Fathom Five National Marine Park | Parker S.R.,University of Waterloo | Truscott J.,Fathom Five National Marine Park | Harpur C.,Fathom Five National Marine Park | Murphy S.D.,University of Waterloo
Natural Areas Journal | Year: 2015

Conservation zoning is a planning process that has been used within protected areas to spatially establish and communicate conservation goals and reduce user conflicts. Here, we explored a resilience-based approach to zoning in Fathom Five National Marine Park, Lake Huron, Canada, using the decision support tool Marxan with Zones, a command line program that we interfaced with our Geographic Information System (GIS). Conservation features were identified and organized into general themes of ecosystem structure, ecosystem function, and social structure. Target values for these features were set to achieve representativeness, replication, and connectivity goals, while minimizing social, political, and economic costs. Although 100 different near-optimal solutions were generated, we paid particular attention to the "best" and "summed" solutions. Implementation recommendations also included considerations for active learning, adaptive management, and good governance. The tools and methods provide an example for managers of other protected areas interested in maintaining and building ecosystem resilience.

Parker S.R.,Fathom Five National Marine Park | Parker S.R.,University of Waterloo | Harpur C.,Fathom Five National Marine Park | Murphy S.D.,University of Waterloo
Natural Areas Journal | Year: 2015

A resilient coastal wetland is naturally dynamic and responds to disturbances by maintaining the regimes defining structures and functions. Methods to monitor resilience have been difficult to develop, yet are essential to either prevent or actively navigate a regime shift. As others have reported, ecosystem behavior becomes more variable when resilience decreases and feedbacks begin to weaken. To advance the practice of conservation within protected areas, a resilience-based approach to monitoring was explored within Fathom Five National Marine Park, Canada. By means of a multivariate distance-based control chart, the variability of fish assemblages in eight coastal wetlands over an eight-year period (2005-2012) was monitored. The control chart identified occasions when variance in three of the park's wetlands deviated more than expected (i.e., acted "out of control"). To explain the exceedances. an ordination of fish assemblages was completed using principal components analysis (PCA) and redundancy analysis (RDA). Colonization by the invasive round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) and the prolonged period of low lake levels and stranding were discussed as possible explanations for the exceedances. In conclusion, the control chart and ordination methods provided valuable insight and understanding of wetland dynamics and were recommended as part of a long-term resilience-based approach to monitoring.

Hlevca B.,University of Toronto | Wells M.G.,University of Toronto | Parker S.,Fathom Five National Marine Park
Environmental Fluid Mechanics | Year: 2015

Lake water level fluctuations provide an important role in flushing shallow coastal embayments in the Great Lakes, especially if the embayment has a resonant response. Specifically, long-period waves (of periods 4–30 min) can excite resonance in coastal embayments, which greatly increases the flushing rates. We describe how resonance can explain the difference in responses of three shallow (depth≈2m) coastal embayments of Lake Ontario and Lake Huron to similar long-period waves. Higher frequency water level fluctuations were analyzed to determine the most influential frequencies within the embayments. Observations in two adjacent embayments in Lake Huron show dramatic differences between their amplified responses to identical forcing, while in Frenchman’s Bay the oscillations are damped for the whole forcing spectrum. We model the water level response of the shallow coastal embayments to lake long-period wave forcing using a driven Helmholtz harmonic resonator. We compare and find favourable agreement (R2=78%) between the amplification of water level fluctuations predicted by our model and field values for nearly enclosed embayments, where the Helmholtz mode dominates the energy of the oscillations. Additionally, strong peaks corresponding to the first three natural modes are observed in the water level oscillations of one of the Lake Huron embayments. This embayment has a wider entrance and its stronger amplified response can be explained using an analytical model based on an asymptotic theory of nonlinear resonance of free long-period oscillations induced by wind waves. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Wells M.,University of Toronto | Parker S.,Fathom Five National Marine Park
Journal of Great Lakes Research | Year: 2010

Measurements of the thermal stratification at 3 locations within Fathom Five National Marine Park in Lake Huron, Ontario during the summers of 2006 and 2007 found large oscillations in the position of the thermocline. These oscillations led to considerable variability in the temperature at a given depth, with frequent changes in temperature at a rate of 5°C per hour, and brief periods where temperatures changed at the rate of 10°C per hour. The thermal stress due to such fast rates of temperature change has been previously implicated in negative effects on many aquatic organisms. The thermocline was observed to move by as much as 20. m vertically, and had dominant periods of oscillation of 12, 17 and 24. h. The strongest temperature variability occurs in the depth range of 10-20. m, which accounts for 20% of the total lakebed area within Fathom Five. The temperature variability was lowest in deep regions well below the thermocline and at a sheltered area behind a reef. This variability was a ubiquitous feature of the water column of Fathom Five during the summer stratification, and the impact of these frequent short-term thermal fluctuations on benthic and fish habitat is discussed in this note. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

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