Cooperation in coupled natural-human systems: Its emergence and importance
Results/Conclusions: lines of research will be shown. First, new spatial data sets, such as vessel monitoring system data, logbook and observer data are being mined for information about levels of cooperation amongst fishers on the US west coast. Combined with interview data, a deeper understanding of the economic risks fishers are exposed to is gained, as well as the collective action agreements fishers make to minimize their exposure to risk. Second, foraging theory and agent-based simulations of fish and fishers are shedding light on the ecological settings in which we find cooperation, and on the emergent topology of fishing fleet social networks. Third, theory from evolutionary biology can be used to identify cooperative strategies that are stable in the long run, and which are resistant to free riders who act selfishly. In such situations we find that self-organized cooperatives must harvest at higher rates than is optimal in order to ensure the stability of their collective action agreement. In sum, this interdisciplinary research of coupled natural-human systems is aimed at improving our understanding of how these systems self organize into sustainable and stable states. The ultimate goal is to apply this knowledge across systems and at a variety of scales, to provide a pathway for sustainability now and in the future.