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Type: Journal article
Title: Capturing expert uncertainty in spatial cumulative impact assessments
Author: Jones, A.
Doubleday, Z.
Prowse, T.
Wiltshire, K.
Deveney, M.
Ward, T.
Scrivens, S.
Cassey, P.
O'Connell, L.
Gillanders, B.
Citation: Scientific Reports, 2018; 8(1):1469-1-1469-13
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 2045-2322
Statement of
Alice R. Jones, Zoë A. Doubleday, Thomas A. A. Prowse, Kathryn H. Wiltshire, Marty R. Deveney, Tim Ward, Sally L. Scrivens, Phillip Cassey, Laura G. O, Connell, Bronwyn M. Gillanders
Abstract: Understanding the spatial distribution of human impacts on marine environments is necessary for maintaining healthy ecosystems and supporting 'blue economies'. Realistic assessments of impact must consider the cumulative impacts of multiple, coincident threats and the differing vulnerabilities of ecosystems to these threats. Expert knowledge is often used to assess impact in marine ecosystems because empirical data are lacking; however, this introduces uncertainty into the results. As part of a spatial cumulative impact assessment for Spencer Gulf, South Australia, we asked experts to estimate score ranges (best-case, most-likely and worst-case), which accounted for their uncertainty about the effect of 32 threats on eight ecosystems. Expert scores were combined with data on the spatial pattern and intensity of threats to generate cumulative impact maps based on each of the three scoring scenarios, as well as simulations and maps of uncertainty. We compared our method, which explicitly accounts for the experts' knowledge-based uncertainty, with other approaches and found that it provides smaller uncertainty bounds, leading to more constrained assessment results. Collecting these additional data on experts' knowledge-based uncertainty provides transparency and simplifies interpretation of the outputs from spatial cumulative impact assessments, facilitating their application for sustainable resource management and conservation.
Description: Published online: 23 January 2018
Rights: © The Author(s) 2018. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
RMID: 0030081228
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-19354-6
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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