Philipp presenting at the Oxford University Biodiversity Resilience symposium

27 September, 2013

The biodiversity resilience symposium at Oxford University, October 2–4, 2013. - credit: Biodiversity Institute, Oxford University

Philipp is off to Oxford on Monday to present on the resilience of fished populations at the Biodiversity Resilience symposium. Phil’s talk is entitled: The end of the line? Patterns and mechanisms of resilience in overfished stocks.

“To have been invited to talk about ocean resilience in the company of established and renowned ecologists is fantastic”, says Phil. “I am incredibly excited to be discussing these recent findings and new perspectives with such a broad audience at the symposium.”

In a recent paper that appeared in the journal Science, Philipp and his colleagues found surprising patterns of resilience in most of the world’s overfished stocks, which allowed these stocks to recover faster than expected, under appropriate management.

Researchers have long focussed on the many negative impacts that fishing may have on natural populations: increased variability, mal-adaptive responses to selection pressure from fishing, or simply the severe reductions in biomass that a fish stock commonly undergoes. In his talk, Phil will be presenting patterns and mechanisms showing that fished populations are surprisingly resilient to fishing, as long as fisheries are managed in a responsible manner. Their resilience is largely a result of their ability to adapt their productivity to harvest conditions – fisheries are selecting for more productive stocks and stocks are adapting in response. Of course, this resilience is only within natural limits: extreme over-fishing inevitably leads to collapse of fished stocks.

More fundamentally, these mechanisms underscore that population dynamics in fished stocks are not governed by static parameters. Fishing itself, for instance, will change the productivity of a stock. These feedback loops remain a new frontier for fisheries management, and provide a fundamental challenge to the way that fisheries biologists think about fished populations.

Download Phil’s talk