Focal Component: Ecological Integrity

California Current Ecosystem Component

 

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Nested conceptual model of the California Current ecosystem, centered on biodiversity. The Overview illustrates relationships to key environmental drivers; habitat influences; and human activities. Please select one of the tabs listed above.

Overview

Ecological integrity is intended to measure the species composition, diversity, and functional organization of the ecosystem.

The indicators reported in this section are designed to be integrative, community-based measures that draw information from across the taxonomic spectrum. Indicators specific to individual ecological components also provide information that can influence ecological integrity and are covered in other sections of this report.

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Environmental Drivers

Biodiversity describes some aspects of ecosystem structure. Biodiversity can be important for ecosystem function with more diverse ecosystems sometimes showing higher resilience, resistance and stability. Productivity is positively correlated with biodiversity in some systems.

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Habitat Influences

Habitat influences biodiversity through habitat quantity, quality and diversity. Species-area relationships are fundamental to the quantity-biodiversity association with larger areas supporting higher biodiversity. Low quality habitats generally support few species. Habitat diversity creates more local assemblages, which leads to higher regional diversity.

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Human Activities

Human activities through pressures like demand for sea food, fishing harvest and wildlife viewing may drive changes in biodiversity affecting both richness and evenness directly or through changes to habitat via trawling and other activities.

Indicator Data

 

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The current suite of indicators designed to monitor ecological integrity focus on biodiversity and trophic structure, including: diversity, mean trophic level, scavenger biomass, jellyfish biomass, copepod species biomass anomalies, and indices of pelagic forage availability.

Ecological Integrity