Senior Lecturer

Theme leader, Governance of coastal and marine systems

+46 8 674 70 77



Staff profile

Magnus Nyström is Associate professor and Senior Lecturer for the centre


He also shares the leadership of the theme Governance and ecosystem management of coastal and marine systems at the centre.

His research is focused on the effects from human interventions, such as climate change, overfishing (including trade) and pollution, on ecosystem functions and processes - and how this impacts on resilience in ecological and social-ecological systems.

The research also embraces identifying information gaps and developing resilience as a conceptual and operational framework to guide conservation and management activities.

His work has primarily been conducted in Southeast Asia, Eastern Africa, and the Caribbean. Magnus is the leader of a group of coral reef scientists working on related issues.

Close collaborators include several researchers from James Cook University Australia, among others.


Publications by Nyström, Magnus

Masked, diluted and drowned out: How global seafood trade weakens signals from marine ecosystems

Crona, B.I., T.M. Daw, W. Swartz, A.V. Norström, M. Nyström, M. Thyresson, C. Folke, J. Hentati-Sundberg, H. Österblom, L. Deutsch, M. Troell

2015 - Journal / article

Nearly 40% of seafood is traded internationally and an even bigger proportion is affected by international trade, yet scholarship on marine fisheries has focused on global trends in stocks and catches, or on dynamics of individual fisheries, with limited attention to the link between individual fisheries, global trade and distant consumers. This paper examines the usefulness of fish price as a feedback signal to consumers about the state of fisheries and marine ecosystems. We suggest that the current nature of fisheries systems and global markets prevent transmission of such price signals from source fisheries to consumers. We propose several mechanisms that combine to weaken price signals, and present one example – the North Sea cod – to show how these mechanisms can be tested. The lack of a reliable price feedback to consumers represents a challenge for sustainable fisheries governance. We therefore propose three complimentary approaches to address the missing feedback: (i) strengthening information flow through improved traceability and visibility of individual fishers to consumers, (ii) capitalizing on the changing seafood trade structures and (iii) bypassing and complementing market mechanisms by directly targeting citizens and political actors regarding marine environmental issues through publicity and information campaigns. These strategies each have limitations and thus need to be pursued together to address the challenge of sustainability in global marine fisheries.

Management applications of discontinuity theory

Angeler, D.G., C.R. Allen, C. Barichievy, T. Eason, A.S. Garmestani, N.A.J. Graham, D. Granholm, L.H. Gunderson, M. Knutson, K.L. Nash, R.J. Nelson, M. Nyström, T.L. Spanbauer, C.A. Stow, S.M. Sundstrom

2015 - Journal / article

Human impacts on the environment are multifaceted and can occur across distinct spatiotemporal scales. Ecological responses to environmental change are therefore difficult to predict, and entail large degrees of uncertainty. Such uncertainty requires robust tools for management to sustain ecosystem goods and services and maintain resilient ecosystems. We propose an approach based on discontinuity theory that accounts for patterns and processes at distinct spatial and temporal scales, an inherent property of ecological systems. Discontinuity theory has not been applied in natural resource management and could therefore improve ecosystem management because it explicitly accounts for ecological complexity. Synthesis and application s. We highlight the application of discontinuity approaches for meeting management goals. Specifically, discontinuity approaches have significant potential to measure and thus understand the resilience of ecosystems, to objectively identify critical scales of space and time in ecological systems at which human impact might be most severe, to provide warning indicators of regime change, to help predict and understand biological invasions and extinctions and to focus monitoring efforts. Discontinuity theory can complement current approaches, providing a broader paradigm for ecological management and conservation.

Identifying multiple coral reef regimes and their drivers across the Hawaiian archipelago

Jouffray, J.-B., M. Nyström, A.V. Norström, I.D. Williams, L.M. Wedding, J.N. Kittinger, G.J. Williams

2015 - Journal / article

Loss of coral reef resilience can lead to dramatic changes in benthic structure, often called regime shifts, which significantly alter ecosystem processes and functioning. In the face of global change and increasing direct human impacts, there is an urgent need to anticipate and prevent undesirable regime shifts and, conversely, to reverse shifts in already degraded reef systems. Such challenges require a better understanding of the human and natural drivers that support or undermine different reef regimes. The Hawaiian archipelago extends across a wide gradient of natural and anthropogenic conditions and provides us a unique opportunity to investigate the relationships between multiple reef regimes, their dynamics and potential drivers. We applied a combination of exploratory ordination methods and inferential statistics to one of the most comprehensive coral reef datasets available in order to detect, visualize and define potential multiple ecosystem regimes. This study demonstrates the existence of three distinct reef regimes dominated by hard corals, turf algae or macroalgae. Results from boosted regression trees show nonlinear patterns among predictors that help to explain the occurrence of these regimes, and highlight herbivore biomass as the key driver in addition to effluent, latitude and depth.

Operationalizing resilience for adaptive coral reef management under global environmental change

Anthony, K.R.N., P.A. Marshall, A. Abdulla, R. Beeden, C. Bergh, R. Black, C.M. Eakin, E.T. Game, M. Gooch, N.A.J. Graham, A. Green, S.F. Heron, R. van Hooidonk, C. Knowland, S. Mangubhai, N. Marshall, J.A. Maynard, P. Mcginnity, E. Mcleod, P.J. Mumby, M. Nyström, D. Obura, J. Oliver, H.P. Possingham, R.L. Pressey, G.P. Rowlands, J. Tamelander, D. Wachenfeld, S. Wear

2015 - Journal / article

Cumulative pressures from global climate and ocean change combined with multiple regional and local-scale stressors pose fundamental challenges to coral reef managers worldwide. Understanding how cumulative stressors affect coral reef vulnerability is critical for successful reef conservation now and in the future. In this review, we present the case that strategically managing for increased ecological resilience (capacity for stress resistance and recovery) can reduce coral reef vulnerability (risk of net decline) up to a point. Specifically, we propose an operational framework for identifying effective management levers to enhance resilience and support management decisions that reduce reef vulnerability. Building on a system understanding of biological and ecological processes that drive resilience of coral reefs in different environmental and socio-economic settings, we present an Adaptive Resilience-Based management (ARBM) framework and suggest a set of guidelines for how and where resilience can be enhanced via management interventions. We argue that press-type stressors (pollution, sedimentation, overfishing, ocean warming and acidification) are key threats to coral reef resilience by affecting processes underpinning resistance and recovery, while pulse-type (acute) stressors (e.g. storms, bleaching events, crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks) increase the demand for resilience. We apply the framework to a set of example problems for Caribbean and Indo-Pacific reefs. A combined strategy of active risk reduction and resilience support is needed, informed by key management objectives, knowledge of reef ecosystem processes and consideration of environmental and social drivers. As climate change and ocean acidification erode the resilience and increase the vulnerability of coral reefs globally, successful adaptive management of coral reefs will become increasingly difficult. Given limited resources, on-the-ground solutions are likely to focus increasingly on actions that support resilience at finer spatial scales, and that are tightly linked to ecosystem goods and services.

Nyström, Magnus

Stockholm Resilience Centre is a collaboration between Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Stockholm Resilience Centre
Stockholm University, Kräftriket 2B
Phone: +46 8 674 70 70

Organisation number: 202100-3062
VAT No: SE202100306201