To understand complex fisheries, researchers must think outside their boxes
Traditional approaches are insufficient, social-ecological systems thinking can better capture complex interactions between people and ecosystems
• Interactions between humans and marine environments have still not received adequate scientific attention
• In their paper, Lindkvist and her co-authors present a selection of analytical methods that add value in fisheries research
• Specifically, they showcase various aspects of statistical modelling, dynamic modelling, network analysis, qualitative analysis and controlled behavioural experiments, and how these methods may be combined in methods portfolios
MORE METHODS IN ONE BASKET: By expanding their methods portfolios, researchers will be better equipped to study the complex interactions shaping fisheries and thus contribute to finding solutions for sustainable fisheries management.
This is the conclusion from a paper recently published by centre researcher Emilie Lindkvist and colleagues Kara Pellowe, Elizabeth Drury O’Neill, Blanca González-Mon, Caroline Schill, Nanda Wijermans, Örjan Bodin, together with several other collaborators from around the world.
The paper, published in the journal Fish and Fisheries, argues that research that combines quantitative and qualitative analytical methods are necessary to understand, develop and achieve sustainable fisheries.
Collaborations among researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and other stakeholders are essential to better understand and support the fisheries communities.
Emilie Lindkvist, lead author
Despite significant developments in understanding ecological and social aspects of fisheries, the interactions between humans and marine environments have still not received adequate attention.
This is where social-ecological systems research comes in. It includes approaches and methods that can capture those interactions. In their paper, Lindkvist and her co-authors present a selection of analytical methods to highlight their added value as well as their complementarity in fisheries research.
Specifically, they explain various aspects of statistical modelling, dynamic modelling, network analysis, qualitative analysis and controlled behavioural experiments. These aspects are the methods involved, objectives, type of data input, outputs, strengths and weaknesses.
Start with what you know best
The paper also emphasises the importance of reflexivity and dealing with tensions when entering uncharted methods territory.
Reflexivity can be understood as the critical examination of how the researchers themselves shape and influence scientific processes and outcomes.
Tensions can arise from integrations or combinations of various data or methods that come with their own set of assumptions.
To deal with both aspects, the authors suggest that researchers start with the methods they know best and to be open about any biases, strengths and weaknesses that come with them.
Next, they may consider other methods that complement their primary methods in order to develop a more holistic lens through which to view their study system.
“By continuously developing our method portfolios, researchers will be better equipped to treat fisheries as the complex, adaptive systems they are,” co-author Pellowe concludes.
Lindkvist, E., Pellowe, K.E., Alexander, S.M., Drury O'Neil, E. et.al. 2022. Untangling social–ecological interactions: A methods portfolio approach to tackling contemporary sustainability challenges in fisheries. Fish and fisheries, https://doi.org/10.1111/faf.12678
News & events
Research news | 2024-02-20
Having good neighbours and few top predators make predatory fish populations more resilient
A regime shift is gradually spreading through the archipelagos of the Swedish Baltic Sea coast, where shallow bays, previously dominated by pike and perch have one by one become dominated by one of their prey species, the three-spined stickleback.
Research news | 2024-02-08
Eating new plant-based foods can be good for the environment, your health and your economy
Replacing animal-source foods with plant-based alternatives or whole foods decreases environmental impact, meets nutrition recommendations, and can be cost-competitive with the current average Swedish diet
Research news | 2024-01-29
Bird AI and sailing drones – green game changers for marine ecosystems
Groups of guillemots on an island in the Baltic Sea have unknowingly inspired how marine research can be done. Two AI-powered research projects can change how to monitor marine ecosystems – and potentially manage them in real-time
Research news | 2024-01-24
Centralised social networks can hinder innovation by making decision-making too similar
Social systems where influence is centred around one or two individuals can lead to pack mentality and groupthink in farming communities
Research news | 2024-01-23
Planetary Commons: Fostering global cooperation to safeguard critical Earth system functions
We should look at tipping elements of the Earth system as global commons, argue researchers in a new paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Research news | 2024-01-22
Soy: A world journey from success to uncertainty
From a bean valued for its multitude of functions in ancient China to one of the most traded agricultural commodities of the modern world: the soybean has gone through dramatic changes throughout the millennia.