Ecological vulnerability of the chondrichthyan fauna of southern Australia to the stressors of climate change, fishing and other anthropogenic hazards

Terence I. Walker, Robert W. Day, Cynthia A. Awruch, Justin D. Bell, Juan Matias Braccini, Derek R. Dapp, Licia Finotto, Lorenz H. Frick, Karla C. Garcés-García, Leonardo Guida, Charlie Huveneers, Camila L. Martins, Bastien E.A. Rochowski, Javier Tovar-Ávila, Fabian I. Trinnie, Richard D. Reina

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    6 Citations (Scopus)
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    We develop a potentially widely applicable framework for analysing the vulnerability, resilience risk and exposure of chondrichthyan species to all types of anthropogenic stressors in the marine environment. The approach combines the three components of widely applied vulnerability analysis (exposure, sensitivity and adaptability) (ESA) with three components (exposure, susceptibility and productivity) (ESP) of our adaptation of productivity–susceptibility analysis (PSA). We apply our 12-step ESA‒ESP analysis to evaluate the vulnerability (risk of a marked reduction of the population) of each of 132 chondrichthyan species in the Exclusive Economic Zone of southern Australia. The vulnerability relates to a species’ resilience to a spatial (or suitability) reduction of its habitats from exposure to up to eight climate change stressors. Vulnerability also relates to anthropogenic mortality added to natural mortality from exposure to the stressors of five types of fishing and seven other types of anthropogenic hazards. We use biological attributes as risk factors to evaluate risk related to resilience at the species or higher taxonomic level. We evaluate each species’ exposure to anthropogenic stressors by assigning it to one of six ecological groups based on its lifestyle (demersal versus pelagic) and habitat, defined by bathymetric range and substrates. We evaluate vulnerability for 11 scenarios: 2000–2006 when fishing effort peaked; 2018 following a decade of fisheries management reforms; low, medium and high standard future carbon dioxide equivalent emissions scenarios; and their six possible climate–fishing combinations. Our results demonstrate the value of refugia from fishing and how climate change exacerbates the risks from fishing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1105-1135
    Number of pages31
    Issue number5
    Early online dateJun 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


    • adaptive capacity
    • ecological risk assessment
    • ecological sensitivity
    • productivity and susceptibility analysis
    • resilience
    • stress exposure


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