Ecological effects of full and partial protection in the crowded Mediterranean Sea: a regional meta-analysis

Giakoumi, Sylvaine, Scianna, Claudia, Plass-Johnson, Jeremiah, Micheli, Fiorenza, Grorud-Colvert, Kirsten, Thiriet, Pierre, Claudet, Joachim, Di Carlo, Giuseppe, Di Franco, Antonio, Gaines, Steven D., Garcia-Charton, Jose A., Lubchenco, Jane, Reimer, Jessica, Sala, Enric and Guidetti, Paolo (2017) Ecological effects of full and partial protection in the crowded Mediterranean Sea: a regional meta-analysis. Scientific Reports, 7 1: . doi:10.1038/s41598-017-08850-w

Author Giakoumi, Sylvaine
Scianna, Claudia
Plass-Johnson, Jeremiah
Micheli, Fiorenza
Grorud-Colvert, Kirsten
Thiriet, Pierre
Claudet, Joachim
Di Carlo, Giuseppe
Di Franco, Antonio
Gaines, Steven D.
Garcia-Charton, Jose A.
Lubchenco, Jane
Reimer, Jessica
Sala, Enric
Guidetti, Paolo
Title Ecological effects of full and partial protection in the crowded Mediterranean Sea: a regional meta-analysis
Journal name Scientific Reports   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2045-2322
Publication date 2017-08-21
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1038/s41598-017-08850-w
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 7
Issue 1
Total pages 12
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Language eng
Subject 1000 General
Abstract Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a cornerstone of marine conservation. Globally, the number and coverage of MPAs are increasing, but MPA implementation lags in many human-dominated regions. In areas with intense competition for space and resources, evaluation of the effects of MPAs is crucial to inform decisions. In the human-dominated Mediterranean Sea, fully protected areas occupy only 0.04% of its surface. We evaluated the impacts of full and partial protection on biomass and density of fish assemblages, some commercially important fishes, and sea urchins in 24 Mediterranean MPAs. We explored the relationships between the level of protection and MPA size, age, and enforcement. Results revealed significant positive effects of protection for fisheries target species and negative effects for urchins as their predators benefited from protection. Full protection provided stronger effects than partial protection. Benefits of full protection for fish biomass were only correlated with the level of MPA enforcement; fish density was higher in older, better enforced, and - interestingly - smaller MPAs. Our finding that even small, well-enforced, fully protected areas can have significant ecological effects is encouraging for "crowded" marine environments. However, more data are needed to evaluate sufficient MPA sizes for protecting populations of species with varying mobility levels.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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School of Biological Sciences Publications
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