Ecosystem design as an avenue for improving services provided by carbonate producing marine ecosystems

Hildegard Westphal, Gary N. Murphy, Steve S. Doo, Thomas Mann, Alexander Petrovic, Christiane Schmidt, Marleen Stuhr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Ecosystem Design (ED) is an approach for constructing habitats that places human needs for ecosystem services at the center of intervention, with the overarching goal of establishing self-sustaining habitats which require limited management. This concept was originally developed for use in mangrove ecosystems, and is understandably controversial, as it markedly diverges from other protection approaches that assign human use a minor priority or exclude it. However, the advantage of ED lies within the considered implementation of these designed ecosystems, thus preserving human benefits from potential later disturbances. Here, we outline the concept of ED in tropical carbonate depositional systems and discuss potential applications to aid ecosystem services such as beach nourishment and protection of coastlines and reef islands at risk from environmental and climate change, CO2 sequestration, food production, and tourism. Biological carbonate sediment production is a crucial source of stability of reef islands and reef-rimmed coastlines. Careful implementation of designed carbonate depositional ecosystems could help counterbalance sea-level rise and manage documented erosion effects of coastal constructions. Importantly, adhering to the core ethos of ED, careful dynamic assessments which provide a balanced approach to maximizing ecosystem services (e.g., carbonate production), should identify and avoid any potential damages to existing functioning ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e12785
StatePublished - Jan 20 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine
  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Ecosystem design as an avenue for improving services provided by carbonate producing marine ecosystems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this