Marine Ecosystem-Based Management in Practice

Posted on: 8/16/2022 - Updated on: 9/14/2022

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Recognizing the declining health of the world’s oceans, policymakers, managers and scientists have called for expanded efforts at ecosystem-based management in marine and coastal systems (MEBM).

In many places in North America and around the world, collaborative, adaptive planning and management processes have developed to enable scientists, managers and stakeholders to move beyond management of single species and single user groups to incorporate complexity, consider larger scales and longer timeframes, and incorporate measures of ecosystem integrity.

Marine Ecosystem-Based Management seeks to manage marine resources in ways that protect ecosystem health while providing the ecosystem services needed by people. Rather than focusing solely on a single species or resource, MEBM incorporates science and balances the demands of user groups in a manner that produces management strategies that are more likely to be sustainable than traditional approaches.

This website provides an overview of ecosystem-based management in the context of marine-coastal ecosystems as well as 20 full-length case studies and 45 case snapshots that illustrate various goals, strategies, and cross-cutting issues:

Dr. Julia Wondolleck and Dr. Steven Yaffee (University of Michigan) and Dr. Heather Leslie and Dr. Leila Sievanen (Brown University) and Dr. Lisa Campbell (Duke University) headed the research teams. Additional insights about ecosystem management can be found at the University of Michigan Ecosystem Management Initiative website and the Leslie Lab at Brown University.


Dr. Steven Yaffee

Managing Organizations

University of Michigan, Brown University & Duke University 

Managing Organizations

University of Michigan is one of the top universities of the world, a diverse public institution of higher learning, fostering excellence in research.

Home of the Blue Devils, Duke University has about 13,000 undergraduate and graduate students and a world-class faculty helping to expand the frontiers of knowledge. The university has a strong commitment to applying knowledge in service to society, both near its North Carolina campus and around the world.

Sustainable Duke - Duke University seeks to attain and maintain a place of leadership in all that we do. This includes leadership in environmental stewardship and sustainability on campus, in our medical institutions, and in the larger community of which we are a part.