3D spatial conservation prioritisation: Accounting for depth in marine environments

Venegas-Li, Rubén, Levin, Noam, Possingham, Hugh and Kark, Salit (2017) 3D spatial conservation prioritisation: Accounting for depth in marine environments. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 9 3: 773-784. doi:10.1111/2041-210X.12896

Author Venegas-Li, Rubén
Levin, Noam
Possingham, Hugh
Kark, Salit
Title 3D spatial conservation prioritisation: Accounting for depth in marine environments
Journal name Methods in Ecology and Evolution   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2041-210X
Publication date 2017-09-18
Year available 2018
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/2041-210X.12896
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 9
Issue 3
Start page 773
End page 784
Total pages 12
Place of publication West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Subject 1105 Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
2302 Ecological Modelling
Abstract While marine environments are three-dimensional (3D) in nature, current approaches and tools for planning and prioritising actions in the ocean are predominantly two dimensional. Here, we develop a novel 3D marine spatial conservation prioritisation approach, which explicitly accounts for the inherent vertical heterogeneity of the ocean. This enables both vertical and horizontal spatial prioritisation to be performed simultaneously. To our knowledge, this is the first endeavour to develop prioritisation of conservation actions in 3D. We applied the 3D spatial conservation prioritisation approach to the Mediterranean Sea as a case study. We first subdivided the Mediterranean Sea into 3D planning units by assigning them a z coordinate (representing depth). We further partitioned these 3D planning units vertically into three depth layers; this allowed us to quantify biodiversity (1,011 species and 19 geomorphic features) and the cost of conservation actions at different depths. We adapted the prioritisation software Marxan to identify 3D networks of sites where biodiversity conservation targets are achieved for the minimum cost. Using the 3D approach presented here, we identified networks of sites where conservation targets for all biodiversity features were achieved. Importantly, these networks included areas of the ocean where only particular depth layers along the water column were identified as priorities for conservation. The 3D approach also proved to be more cost-efficient than the traditional 2D approach. Spatial priorities within the networks of sites selected were considerably different when comparing the 2D and 3D approaches. Prioritising in 3D allows conservation and marine spatial planners to target specific threats to specific conservation features, at specific depths in the ocean. This provides a platform to further integrate systematic conservation planning into the wider ongoing and future marine spatial planning and ocean zoning processes.
Keyword 3D planning
marine conservation
systematic conservation planning
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Biological Sciences Publications
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
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Created: Thu, 22 Mar 2018, 23:46:58 EST