The Future Species of Anthropocene Seas

Nicholas K. Dulvy, Holly K. Kindsvater

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


Averting extinctions in an increasingly affluent and populated world is the challenge of our generation. The defining features of geological epochs are the mass turnover and extinction of species, genera, and families. The oceans of the Anthropocene epoch face a multitude of problems, competing demands, and diagnoses of solutions. Here, we argue the most pressing problem is the risk of losing populations and species in the Anthropocene. A key challenge is that our interpretation of species' status depends on what we care about and value. The prevailing mindset has been unbelieving of the possibility of marine extinctions; indeed, only the local extinction of sawfishes in South Africa has been documented in real time. Unseen and unmanaged, more than a 100 local, regional, and global extinctions have been detected retrospectively half a century after the fact. Looking to the future, we need to develop approaches to diagnose and manage marine species, recognizing a wider range of perspectives on what our future oceans could look like. To this end, we show that we can prioritize populations and species for intervention using simple rules of thumb grounded in evolutionary ecology. Finally, we conclude that a pressing, but overlooked, need is to protect species to avoid extinctions, thus securing the full portfolio of biodiversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConservation for the Anthropocene Ocean
Subtitle of host publicationInterdisciplinary Science in Support of Nature and People
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9780128092989
ISBN (Print)9780128053751
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


  • Aichi target
  • Bycatch
  • CMS
  • Defaunation
  • Life history
  • Marine protected area
  • Red list
  • Trade-off
  • Traits

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Future Species of Anthropocene Seas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this