Marine scientists are calling for a re-think of how marine protected areas (MPAs) are planned and coordinated, following a global assessment of the conservation of tropical corals and fishes.
Researchers from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE), at James Cook University in Townsville, analysed the extent to which the evolutionary histories of corals and fishes are protected, rather than looking at individual species.
“Our interest was in evolutionary branches of the tree of life, rather than the traditional focus on rare, threatened or endemic species,” said Professor David Bellwood from the Coral CoE.
“In particular we were interested in the longer branches, which represent the greater proportion of evolutionary history.
“When we looked at tropical Marine Protected Areas from that perspective, we found that protection of corals and fishes falls significantly short of the minimum conservation target of protecting 10 per cent of their geographic ranges.
“Just one sixteenth of hard corals species are afforded that minimum level of protection, and for fishes – the wrasses – less than a quarter reach minimum protection levels.”
Professor Bellwood said that while it was still useful to focus on the conservation of rare, threatened and endemic species, planning protected areas around evolutionary history helped provide a deeper perspective.
“In effect, we are looking at protecting the reef equivalent of cultural heritage, the critically important history of living organisms,” he said.
“It is not just species that need protection but the genetic history that they contain. In a changing world this evolutionary diversity is likely to be increasingly important, as reefs respond to new challenges.
The researchers found that the shortfall in protection for corals was greatest in the Atlantic and the Eastern Pacific.
For fishes, the highest concentrations of poor protection are in the Western Indian Ocean and the Central Pacific.
“Even though our estimates are highly conservative, the inescapable conclusion is that most evolutionary branches of the tree of life on coral reefs are inadequately protected by the current system of Marine Protected Areas,” Professor Bellwood said.
The Latest on: Marine protected areas
via Google News
The Latest on: Marine protected areas
- Talks on High Seas Treaty Address Marine Genetic Resources, Environmental Impact Assessmentson September 5, 2019 at 10:33 am
measures such as area-based management tools, including marine protected areas; environmental impact assessments; and capacity building and the transfer of marine technology. Based on discussions in ...
- Underwater soundscapes reveal differences in marine environmentson September 5, 2019 at 12:47 am
even in areas considered protected, a new study from Oregon State University shows. Using underwater acoustic monitors, researchers listened in on Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary off the ...
- What Values Do Tourists Place on a Marine Protected Area? White Shark Cage-Dive Tourists and the Neptune Islandson September 4, 2019 at 3:43 pm
Management of protected areas is as much about understanding how society values these resources as it is about understanding ecological processes. Yet, in comparison to standard ecosystem monitoring ...
- Mumbai fisherman strikes a balance for marine conservationon September 1, 2019 at 10:52 am
are regularly spotted. “The idea is to develop more protected marine areas to enhance security for this ecosystem to thrive,” said Nakhawa. According to the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute ...
- Five new marine areas earmarkedon August 30, 2019 at 5:54 pm
PETALING JAYA: Five new marine protected areas (MPAs) have been proposed in four states in a bid to ramp up protection of marine life, the Fisheries Department revealed. MPAs cover both marine parks ...
- New paper shows evidence of tuna spawning in marine protected areason August 30, 2019 at 6:47 am
New research showed that there is evidence of tuna spawning inside the large marine protected area of the Phoenix Islands in the Pacific nation of Kiribati. The research conducted by MIT and the Woods ...
- Britannia Protects the Waves: £7 million extra funding to protect UK marine lifeon August 27, 2019 at 6:26 am
The additional £7 million will mean our world-leading protection of Marine Protected Areas can continue and expand, supporting the protection of key species such as turtles, whales, fish, seabirds and ...
- More frequent Sarangani Bay monitoring planned with over 200 marine mammals — and trash — spottedon August 27, 2019 at 6:12 am
PASU-SBPS PHOTO FIVE TYPES of marine mammals, numbering over 200 ... Resources Region 12 (DENR-12), but “patches of garbage” were also seen in the protected area. In a news release, DENR-12 said the ...
- Largest marine protected area in Atlantic Ocean will soon be officialon August 26, 2019 at 2:51 pm
The nearly 170,000 square miles of ocean around Ascension Island, one of the world’s most pristine and biodiverse ocean ecosystems, will soon be officially protected. From the surface, Ascension ...
- Government of Canada identifies a marine area of interest for protection off the coast of Nunavuton August 26, 2019 at 11:55 am
Establishing protected areas in our oceans is critical to preserving marine life. These areas promote healthy and resilient ecosystems in the face of pollution, climate change and overfishing. After ...
via Bing News