Reserves as tools for alleviating impacts of marine disease

Lamb, Joleah B., Wenger, Amelia S., Devlin, Michelle J., Ceccarelli, Daniela M., Williamson, David H., and Willis, Bette L. (2016) Reserves as tools for alleviating impacts of marine disease. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 371 (1689). pp. 1-11.

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Abstract

Marine protected areas can prevent over-exploitation, but their effect on marine diseases is less clear. We examined how marine reserves can reduce diseases affecting reef-building corals following acute and chronic disturbances. One year after a severe tropical cyclone, corals inside reserves had sevenfold lower levels of disease than those in non-reserves. Similarly, disease prevalence was threefold lower on reserve reefs following chronic exposure to terrestrial run-off from a degraded river catchment, when exposure duration was below the long-term site average. Examination of 35 predictor variables indicated that lower levels of derelict fishing line and injured corals inside reserves were correlated with lower levels of coral disease in both case studies, signifying that successful disease mitigation occurs when activities that damage reefs are restricted. Conversely, reserves were ineffective in moderating disease when sites were exposed to higher than average levels of run-off, demonstrating that reductions in water quality undermine resilience afforded by reserve protection. In addition to implementing protected areas, we highlight that disease management efforts should also target improving water quality and limiting anthropogenic activities that cause injury.

Item ID: 43486
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: coral disease, marine protected areas, no-take reserve, pollution run-off, resilience, water quality
ISSN: 1471-2970
Funders: National Environmental Research Program (NERP), Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), Nature Conservancy, Cornell University, Australian Research Council (ARC), TropWATER
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2016 04:17
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050199 Ecological Applications not elsewhere classified @ 20%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069902 Global Change Biology @ 20%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 60%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969902 Marine Oceanic Processes (excl. Climate Related) @ 20%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9610 Natural Hazards > 961006 Natural Hazards in Marine Environments @ 30%
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