Increased connectivity and depth improve the effectiveness of marine reserves

Goetze, Jordan, Wilson, Shaun, Radford, Ben, Fisher, Rebecca, Langlois, Tim J., Monk, Jacquomo, Knott, Nathan A., Malcolm, Hamish, Currey-Randall, Leanne M., Ierodiaconou, Daniel, Harasti, David, Barrett, Neville, Babcock, Russell, Bosch, Nestor E., Brock, Danny, Claudet, Joachim, Clough, Jock, Fairclough, David, Heupel, Michelle R., Holmes, Thomas H., Huveneers, Charlie, Jordan, Alan R., McLean, Dianne, Meekan, Mark, Miller, David, Newman, Stephen J., Rees, Matthew J., Roberts, Kelsey E., Saunders, Benjamin J., Speed, Conrad W., Travers, Michael J., Treml, Eric, Whitmarsh, Sasha K., Wakefield, Corey B., and Harvey, Euan S. (2021) Increased connectivity and depth improve the effectiveness of marine reserves. Global Change Biology, 27 (15). pp. 3432-3447.

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Marine reserves are a key tool for the conservation of marine biodiversity, yet only ~2.5% of the world's oceans are protected. The integration of marine reserves into connected networks representing all habitats has been encouraged by international agreements, yet the benefits of this design has not been tested empirically. Australia has one of the largest systems of marine reserves, providing a rare opportunity to assess how connectivity influences conservation success. An Australia-wide dataset was collected using baited remote underwater video systems deployed across a depth range from 0 to 100 m to assess the effectiveness of marine reserves for protecting teleosts subject to commercial and recreational fishing. A meta-analytical comparison of 73 fished species within 91 marine reserves found that, on average, marine reserves had 28% greater abundance and 53% greater biomass of fished species compared to adjacent areas open to fishing. However, benefits of protection were not observed across all reserves (heterogeneity), so full subsets generalized additive modelling was used to consider factors that influence marine reserve effectiveness, including distance-based and ecological metrics of connectivity among reserves. Our results suggest that increased connectivity and depth improve the aforementioned marine reserve benefits and that these factors should be considered to optimize such benefits over time. We provide important guidance on factors to consider when implementing marine reserves for the purpose of increasing the abundance and size of fished species, given the expected increase in coverage globally. We show that marine reserves that are highly protected (no-take) and designed to optimize connectivity, size and depth range can provide an effective conservation strategy for fished species in temperate and tropical waters within an overarching marine biodiversity conservation framework.

Item ID: 79905
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2486
Copyright Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. © 2021 The Authors. Global Change Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2023 02:16
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180504 Marine biodiversity @ 40%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180501 Assessment and management of benthic marine ecosystems @ 30%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180507 Rehabilitation or conservation of marine environments @ 30%
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