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Study finds marine protected areas inadequate for protecting fish and ocean ecology
Date:8/28/2014

maps for 6,316 tropical reef fish species. Human threats such as fishing, pollution, and climate change were also included in the analyses.

What the authors found was that many areas with threatened but functionally important fish were found outside of existing marine protected areas. Also, the study examined other vulnerabilities such as taxonomic sensitivity (the number of threatened species in a fish assemblage or community) and functional sensitivity (the number of functions in danger of being lost because of external threats).

From a regional perspective, the analysis revealed that species richness "hotspots" are located in the Indo-Australian Archipelago and the Caribbean. Species-rich areas for short-ranged fish were located in peripheral zones in the Atlantic as well as the Indo-Pacific.

Areas of high vulnerability included the coastal waters of Chile, the eastern tropical Pacific, and the eastern Atlantic Ocean, areas where comparatively few fish species perform vital environmental functions with few or no redundancies or species that fill similar roles.

"Protecting the ecological services that fish populations provide for coastal habitats is as important as protecting wildlife species themselves," said Dr. Caleb McClennen, Executive Director of WCS's Marine Program. "This decision theory framework can help marine managers make recommendations about where to place marine protected areas that expand and protect the ocean's ability to provide key services."


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Contact: John Delaney
jdelaney@wcs.org
718-220-3275
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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