MPA Science Corner: The Blue Paradox - Measuring coral connectivity among MPAs - Why vertical zoning might not protect the seabed - Reducing underwater noise

MPA News

These recent articles on MPA-related science and policy are all free to access.

Article: McDermott, G. R. et al. “The blue paradox: Preemptive overfishing in marine reserves.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 1802862115 (2018)

Finding: This study examines evidence of what the authors term the “blue paradox” – that fishers’ anticipation of an impending no-take marine reserve can trigger an unintended race to fish in the soon-to-be-closed area, leading to overextraction.


Article: Lequeux, B. D., et al. “Coral connectivity between equatorial eastern Pacific marine protected areas: A biophysical modeling approach.” PLOS ONE 13, e0202995 (2018)

Finding: Existing MPAs in the equatorial eastern Pacific region form a relatively well-connected network for corals: at least 40% of coral larvae released per year from these MPAs should stay within the network. But more coastal MPAs are needed to improve the connectivity.


Article: O'Leary, B. C. & Roberts, C. M. “Ecological connectivity across ocean depths: Implications for protected area design.” Global Ecology and Conservation 15, e00431 (2018)

Finding: This study examines emerging evidence that upper-ocean communities and processes are linked in multiple ways to seabed ecology. The authors conclude that vertical zoning of MPAs – in which the seabed is protected but fishing is allowed in waters above – fails to safeguard an intact deep sea ecosystem.


Article: Gabriele, C. M., et al. “Underwater Acoustic Ecology Metrics in an Alaska Marine Protected Area Reveal Marine Mammal Communication Masking and Management Alternatives.” Frontiers in Marine Science 5, (2018)

Finding: Modeling of underwater noise in Glacier Bay National Park (US) indicates that typical vessel traffic causes substantial communication losses for whales and seals. However, synchronizing the arrivals and departures of ships could lessen some losses.


For a free, weekly list of the latest publications on ocean planning and management, including MPAs, subscribe to the OpenChannels Literature Update here.

In addition, OCTO – the organization that produces MPA News and OpenChannels – also runs MarXiv, the free research repository for marine conservation science and marine climate change science. Each week the MarXiv team produces brief, one-page summaries of selected papers in its repository for an audience of managers and policymakers. Share your research in MarXiv now and we may summarize your paper, too!

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