Ecosystem Service Indicators

Full Title: Indicators and assessment framework for ecological health and ecosystem services

Lead Investigator (Institution): Larry D. McKinney (Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi)

Co-investigators (Institution): Mark A. Harwell (Harwell Gentile & Associates, LC), John H. Gentile (Harwell Gentile & Associates, LC), Jace W. Tunnell (Mission Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve), Cristina Carollo (Harte Research Institute, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi), David Yoskowitz (Harte Research Institute, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi), Just Cebrian [Dauphin Island Sea Lab(Marine Environmental Sciences
Consortium)] and Kiersten Madden Stanzel (Mission Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve)

NOAA Technical Point of Contact: Becky Allee (

Award Amount: $398,349

Award Period: September 1, 2015 to August 31, 2017

Summary: An indicator is a measure of a component or process in an ecosystem that can serve as a proxy for overall condition of the ecosystem. This project will identify, develop, and evaluate ecological health and ecosystem services indicators and an associated assessment and decision framework. This process will further develop the use of indicators to support restoration and sustainable management of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem through three activities. The investigators will survey and evaluate existing ecological health and ecosystem services indicators including their links to human well-being and survey and evaluate assessment and decision frameworks for their applicability and utility in the Gulf of Mexico. This will include conducting workshops to solicit input from resource managers and scientists in the region. The investigators will then develop an integrated assessment and decision framework and associated indicators based on what they have learned tailored to management needs in the Gulf of Mexico. Lastly, the investigators will test the integrated approach they have developed to support management at the Mission Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve and evaluate its utility for use broadly in the Gulf of Mexico.