Designing connected marine reserves in the face of global warming

Álvarez-Romero, Jorge G., Munguía-Vega, Adrián, Beger, Maria, Mancha-Cisneros, Maria del Mar, Suárez-Castillo, Alvin N., Gurney, Georgina G., Pressey, Robert L., Gerber, Leah R., Morzaria-Luna, Hem Nalini, Reyes-Bonilla, Héctor, Adams, Vanessa M., Kolb, Melanie, Graham, Erin M., VanDerWal, Jeremy, Castillo-López, Alejandro, Hinojosa-Arango, Gustavo, Petatán-Ramírez, David, Moreno-Baez, Marcia, Godínez-Reyes, Carlos R., and Torre, Jorge (2018) Designing connected marine reserves in the face of global warming. Global Change Biology. pp. 1-21. (In Press)

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Abstract

Marine reserves are widely used to protect species important for conservation and fisheries and to help maintain ecological processes that sustain their populations, including recruitment and dispersal. Achieving these goals requires well-connected networks of marine reserves that maximize larval connectivity, thus allowing exchanges between populations and recolonization after local disturbances. However, global warming can disrupt connectivity by shortening potential dispersal pathways through changes in larval physiology. These changes can compromise the performance of marine reserve networks, thus requiring adjusting their design to account for ocean warming. To date, empirical approaches to marine prioritization have not considered larval connectivity as affected by global warming. Here, we develop a framework for designing marine reserve networks that integrates graph theory and changes in larval connectivity due to potential reductions in planktonic larval duration (PLD) associated with ocean warming, given current socioeconomic constraints. Using the Gulf of California as case study, we assess the benefits and costs of adjusting networks to account for connectivity, with and without ocean warming. We compare reserve networks designed to achieve representation of species and ecosystems with networks designed to also maximize connectivity under current and future ocean-warming scenarios. Our results indicate that current larval connectivity could be reduced significantly under ocean warming because of shortened PLDs. Given the potential changes in connectivity, we show that our graph-theoretical approach based on centrality (eigenvector and distance-weighted fragmentation) of habitat patches can help design better-connected marine reserve networks for the future with equivalent costs. We found that maintaining dispersal connectivity incidentally through representation-only reserve design is unlikely, particularly in regions with strong asymmetric patterns of dispersal connectivity. Our results support previous studies suggesting that, given potential reductions in PLD due to ocean warming, future marine reserve networks would require more and/or larger reserves in closer proximity to maintain larval connectivity.

Item ID: 51898
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: ecological network, ecological process, Gulf of California, larval dispersal, marine conservation, marine reserve network, ocean warming, systematic conservation planning
ISSN: 1365-2486
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), David and Lucille Packard Foundation (DLPF)
Projects and Grants: DLFP 2013-39400, DLFP 2015-62798, ARC Early Career Travel Grant, ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award CE110001014
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2018 00:25
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961303 Protected Conservation Areas in Marine Environments @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961308 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas at Regional or Larger Scales @ 20%
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