Quantifying the conservation value of seascape connectivity: a global synthesis

Olds, Andrew D., Connolly, Rod M., Pitt, Kylie A., Pittman, Simon J., Maxwell, Paul S., Huijbers, Chantal M., Moore, Brad R., Albert, Simon, Rissik, David, Babcock, Russell C. and Schlacher, Thomas A. (2016) Quantifying the conservation value of seascape connectivity: a global synthesis. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 25 1: 3-15. doi:10.1111/geb.12388

Author Olds, Andrew D.
Connolly, Rod M.
Pitt, Kylie A.
Pittman, Simon J.
Maxwell, Paul S.
Huijbers, Chantal M.
Moore, Brad R.
Albert, Simon
Rissik, David
Babcock, Russell C.
Schlacher, Thomas A.
Title Quantifying the conservation value of seascape connectivity: a global synthesis
Journal name Global Ecology and Biogeography   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1466-8238
Publication date 2016-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/geb.12388
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 25
Issue 1
Start page 3
End page 15
Total pages 13
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Connectivity structures populations, communities and ecosystems in the sea. The extent of connectivity is, therefore, predicted to also influence the outcomes of conservation initiatives, such as marine reserves. Here we review the published evidence about how important seascape connectivity (i.e. landscape connectivity in the sea) is for marine conservation outcomes.


We analysed the global literature on the effects of seascape connectivity on reserve performance.

In the majority of cases, greater seascape connectivity inside reserves translates into better conservation outcomes (i.e. enhanced productivity and diversity). Research on reserve performance is, however, most often conducted separately from research on connectivity, resulting in few studies (< 5% of all studies of seascape connectivity) that have quantified how connectivity modifies reserve effects on populations, assemblages or ecosystem functioning in seascapes. Nevertheless, evidence for positive effects of connectivity on reserve performance is geographically widespread, encompassing studies in the Caribbean Sea, Florida Keys and western Pacific Ocean.

Main conclusions
Given that research rarely connects the effects of connectivity and reserves, our thesis is that stronger linkages between landscape ecology and marine spatial planning are likely to improve conservation outcomes in the sea. The key science challenge is to identify the full range of ecological functions that are modulated by connectivity and the spatial scale over which these functions enhance conservation outcomes.
Keyword Conservation planning
Ecological processes
Ecosystem functioning
Landscape ecology
Marine reserves
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Civil Engineering Publications
Official 2016 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 3 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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