Regime shifts in the Northern Benguela ecosystem: Challenges for management

Johanna Heymans, Maciej Tomczak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
229 Downloads (Pure)


An existing Ecopath with Ecosim model of the Northern Benguela ecosystem for 1956, previously fitted to time series for 50 years, was used to describe the impact that the different pressures (fishing and climate drivers) had on the structure of the ecosystem. Ecological network analysis indices and Integrated Trend Assessment of the input data and model outputs were used to describe the changes in this ecosystem over time. We test the hypothesis that the system has been reorganised over the course of the past 50 years, probably due to the cumulative effects of overfishing and environmental drivers such as the Benguela Niño, showing two large changes, with a transition period between the early 1970s and the early 1980s. The ecosystem has moved into a new stable state and this reorganised system will need a large shift to change with the consequential change not necessarily being back towards the pre-existing system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-159
Number of pages8
JournalEcological Modelling
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2016


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