Historically, overfishing was viewed as declines of single species or stocks, but in recent years there has been increasing recognition of the importance of the marine communities within which fisheries are prosecuted. This research moves beyond the perspective of population ecology and explores fishery problems from the perspective of community ecology. Community ecology explicitly recognizes and takes account of interactions between different stocks and species. This viewpoint creates a greater appreciation of the unintended effects of fishing.
It is one thing, however, to recognize the potential for unintended consequences, and quite another to figure out how to do something about it. The work of the Nearshore Marine Ecology Team directly tackles this issue and requires us to deal with dynamically complicated worlds and a network of interactions to solve real-world problems.