Connectivity, biodiversity conservation and the design of marine reserve networks for coral reefs

Almany, G. R., Connolly, S. R., Heath, D. D., Hogan, J. D., Jones, G. P., McCook, L. J., Mills, M., Pressey, R. L. and Williamson, D. H. (2009) Connectivity, biodiversity conservation and the design of marine reserve networks for coral reefs. Coral Reefs, 28 2: 339-351. doi:10.1007/s00338-009-0484-x

Author Almany, G. R.
Connolly, S. R.
Heath, D. D.
Hogan, J. D.
Jones, G. P.
McCook, L. J.
Mills, M.
Pressey, R. L.
Williamson, D. H.
Title Connectivity, biodiversity conservation and the design of marine reserve networks for coral reefs
Journal name Coral Reefs   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0722-4028
Publication date 2009-06-01
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00338-009-0484-x
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 28
Issue 2
Start page 339
End page 351
Total pages 13
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Abstract Networks of no-take reserves are important for protecting coral reef biodiversity from climate change and other human impacts. Ensuring that reserve populations are connected to each other and non-reserve populations by larval dispersal allows for recovery from disturbance and is a key aspect of resilience. In general, connectivity between reserves should increase as the distance between them decreases. However, enhancing connectivity may often tradeoff against a network’s ability to representatively sample the system’s natural variability. This “representation” objective is typically measured in terms of species richness or diversity of habitats, but has other important elements (e.g., minimizing the risk that multiple reserves will be impacted by catastrophic events). Such representation objectives tend to be better achieved as reserves become more widely spaced. Thus, optimizing the location, size and spacing of reserves requires both an understanding of larval dispersal and explicit consideration of how well the network represents the broader system; indeed the lack of an integrated theory for optimizing tradeoffs between connectivity and representation objectives has inhibited the incorporation of connectivity into reserve selection algorithms. This article addresses these issues by (1) updating general recommendations for the location, size and spacing of reserves based on emerging data on larval dispersal in corals and reef fishes, and on considerations for maintaining genetic diversity; (2) using a spatial analysis of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to examine potential tradeoffs between connectivity and representation of biodiversity and (3) describing a framework for incorporating environmental fluctuations into the conceptualization of the tradeoff between connectivity and representation, and that expresses both in a common, demographically meaningful currency, thus making optimization possible.
Keyword Conservation planning
Great Barrier Reef
Larval dispersal
Marine protected area
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Global Change Institute Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 162 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 180 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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