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Increased connectivity and depth improve the effectiveness of marine reserves


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Goetze, JS, Wilson, S, Radford, B, Fisher, R, Langlois, TJ, Monk, J ORCID: 0000-0002-1874-0619, Knott, NA, Malcolm, H, Currey-Randall, LM, Ierodiaconou, D, Harasti, D, Barrett, N ORCID: 0000-0002-6167-1356, Babcock, RC, Bosch, NE, Brock, D, Claudet, J, Clough, J, Fairclough, DV, Heupel, MR, Holmes, TH, Huveneers, C, Jordan, AR, McLean, D, Meekan, M, Miller, D, Newman, SJ, Rees, MJ, Roberts, KE, Saunders, BJ, Speed, CW, Travers, MJ, Treml, E, Whitmarsh, SK, Wakefield, CB and Harvey, ES 2021 , 'Increased connectivity and depth improve the effectiveness of marine reserves' , Global Change Biology , pp. 1-16 , doi: 10.1111/gcb.15635.

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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 Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Goetze, JS and Wilson, S and Radford, B and Fisher, R and Langlois, TJ and Monk, J and Knott, NA and Malcolm, H and Currey-Randall, LM and Ierodiaconou, D and Harasti, D and Barrett, N and Babcock, RC and Bosch, NE and Brock, D and Claudet, J and Clough, J and Fairclough, DV and Heupel, MR and Holmes, TH and Huveneers, C and Jordan, AR and McLean, D and Meekan, M and Miller, D and Newman, SJ and Rees, MJ and Roberts, KE and Saunders, BJ and Speed, CW and Travers, MJ and Treml, E and Whitmarsh, SK and Wakefield, CB and Harvey, ES
Keywords: stereo BRUV, fish monitoring, no-take marine reserve, connectivity, fully protected areas, marine conservation, marine protected areas, marine reserve design, marine reserve effectiveness, meta-analysis, sanctuaries
Journal or Publication Title: Global Change Biology
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
ISSN: 1354-1013
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/gcb.15635
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2021 The Authors. Global Change Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution inany medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

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