Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Science of Marine Reserves

There is a new publication out by PISCO (The Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans) that summarizes the science supporting marine reserves (also known as no-take marine protected areas, or MPAs). It is an easy-to-read document that explains the research that has been conducted on the effects of marine reserves.

The effects of MPAs on biomass and densities of fishes, invertebrates and seaweeds have been studied for several years, and the results are encouraging.

A global review of the studies revealed that fishes, invertebrates and seaweeds had the following average increases inside marine reserves:

1. Biomass, or the mass of animals and plants, increased an average of 446%
2. Density, or the number of plants or animals in a given area, increased an average of 166%
3. Body size of animals increased an average of 28%
4. Species diversity, or the number of species, increased an average of 21% in the sample area.

A complete copy of the report can be downloaded at

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