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Nat Commun. 2013;4:2688. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3688.

Cumulative human impacts on marine predators.

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1] Department of Ocean Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, California 95064, USA [2] Marine Conservation Institute, 14301 Arnold Drive, Suite 25, Glen Ellen, California 95442, USA [3] Hopkins Marine Station, Department of Biology, Stanford University, 120 Oceanview Boulevard, Pacific Grove, California 93950, USA [4] Center for Ocean Solutions, Stanford University, 99 Pacific Street, Suite 555E, Monterey, California 93940, USA.


Stressors associated with human activities interact in complex ways to affect marine ecosystems, yet we lack spatially explicit assessments of cumulative impacts on ecologically and economically key components such as marine predators. Here we develop a metric of cumulative utilization and impact (CUI) on marine predators by combining electronic tracking data of eight protected predator species (n=685 individuals) in the California Current Ecosystem with data on 24 anthropogenic stressors. We show significant variation in CUI with some of the highest impacts within US National Marine Sanctuaries. High variation in underlying species and cumulative impact distributions means that neither alone is sufficient for effective spatial management. Instead, comprehensive management approaches accounting for both cumulative human impacts and trade-offs among multiple stressors must be applied in planning the use of marine resources.

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