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Laura J. Falkenberg, Sean D. Connell and Bayden D. Russell Disrupting the effects of synergies between stressors: improved water quality dampens the effects of future CO2 on a marine habitat Journal of Applied Ecology 50

Article first published online: 20 DEC 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12019

As stressors accumulate across global to local scales, some combine to produce synergistic effects which cause changes of disproportionate ecological magnitude. While strong synergies attract heavy scrutiny, there remains substantial merit in assessing whether their influence can be ameliorated by managing a contributing stressor. Of note, we show that by reducing a locally determined stressor (nutrients), its synergistic effects with a globally determined stressor (CO2 enrichment) on a key taxon (turf algae) may be substantially reduced. These results suggest that in the face of changing climate (e.g. ocean acidification), the management of local stressors (e.g. water pollution) may have a greater contribution in determining the dominant state than current thinking allows.

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