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Climate resilience in marine protected areas and the ‘Protection Paradox’

Bates, AE, Cooke, RSC, Duncan, MI, Edgar, GJ ORCID: 0000-0003-0833-9001, Bruno, JF, Benedetti-Cecchi, L, Cote, IM, Lefcheck, JS, Costello, MJ, Barrett, N ORCID: 0000-0002-6167-1356, Bird, TJ, Fenberg, PB and Stuart-Smith, RD ORCID: 0000-0002-8874-0083 2019 , 'Climate resilience in marine protected areas and the ‘Protection Paradox’' , Biological Conservation, vol. 236 , pp. 305-314 , doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2019.05.005.

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Abstract

Restricting human activities through Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is assumed to create more resilient biological communities with a greater capacity to resist andrecover following climate events. Here we review the evidence linking protection from local pressures (e.g., fishing and habitat destruction) with increased resilience.Despite strong theoretical underpinnings, studies have only rarely attributed resilience responses to the recovery of food webs and habitats, and increases in thediversity of communities and populations. When detected, resistance to ocean warming and recovery after extreme events in MPAs have small effect sizes against abackdrop of natural variability. By contrast, large die-offs are well described from MPAs following climate stress events. This may be in part because protection fromone set of pressures or drivers (such as fishing) can select for species that are highly sensitive to others (such as warming), creating a ‘Protection Paradox’. Given thatclimate change is overwhelming the resilience capacity of marine ecosystems, the only primary solution is to reduce carbon emissions. High-quality monitoring datain both space and time can also identify emergent resilience signals that do exist, in combination with adequate reference data to quantify the initial system state.This knowledge will allow networks of diverse protected areas to incorporate spatial refugia against climate change, and identify resilient biological components ofnatural systems. Sufficient spatial replication further offers insurance against losses in any given MPA, and the possibility for many weak signals of resilience toaccumulate.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Bates, AE and Cooke, RSC and Duncan, MI and Edgar, GJ and Bruno, JF and Benedetti-Cecchi, L and Cote, IM and Lefcheck, JS and Costello, MJ and Barrett, N and Bird, TJ and Fenberg, PB and Stuart-Smith, RD
Keywords: Reef Life Survey, citizen science, MPAs, reef fish, coral
Journal or Publication Title: Biological Conservation
Publisher: Elsevier Sci Ltd
ISSN: 0006-3207
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.biocon.2019.05.005
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 Elsevier Ltd.

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