As the field of conservation physiology develops and becomes increasingly integrated with ecology and conservation science, the fundamental concept of scale is being recognized as important, particularly for ensuring that physiological knowledge is contextualized in a manner most relevant to policy makers, conservation practitioners and stakeholders. Failure to consider the importance of scale in conservation physiology-both the challenges and the opportunities that it creates-will impede the ability of this discipline to generate the scientific understanding needed to contribute to meaningful conservation outcomes. Here, we have focused on five aspects of scale: biological, spatial, temporal, allometric and phylogenetic. We also considered the scale of policy and policy application relevant to those five types of scale as well as the merits of upscaling and downscaling to explore and address conservation problems. Although relevant to all systems (e.g. freshwater, terrestrial) we have used examples from the marine realm, with a particular emphasis on fishes, given the fact that there is existing discourse regarding scale and its relevance for marine conservation and management. Our synthesis revealed that all five aspects of scale are relevant to conservation physiology, with many aspects inherently linked. It is apparent that there are both opportunities and challenges afforded by working across scales but, to understand mechanisms underlying conservation problems, it is essential to consider scale of all sorts and to work across scales to the greatest extent possible. Moreover, given that the scales in biological processes will often not match policy and management scales, conservation physiology needs to show how it is relevant to aspects at different policy/ management scales, change the scales at which policy/management intervention is applied or be prepared to be ignored.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Body size, Downscaling, Marine, Scale, Upscaling
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1093/conphys/cou024
Journal Conservation Physiology
Citation
Cooke, S.J, Killen, S.S. (Shaun S.), Metcalfe, J.D. (Julian D.), McKenzie, D.J. (David J.), Mouillot, D. (David), Jørgensen, C. (Christian), & Peck, M.A. (Myron A.). (2014). Conservation physiology across scales: Insights from the marine realm. Conservation Physiology, 2(1). doi:10.1093/conphys/cou024