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Marine Reserves Are Critical for Coral Reef Resilience

Due to the combined effect of human and natural disturbances, coral reefs are declining at an alarming rate. Researchers who studied the effects of various disturbances on reef communities of coral and fish found that those in ‘no-take’ marine reserves are less impacted and recover faster than those in reefs that are not located in marine protected areas.

Monday, April 4, 2016 11:03 am EDT
"Understanding the utility of no-take zones in conservation and management is key, but until now there was very little evidence that these no-take zones provided benefits for non-target or non-fished species, as well as wider ecosystem processes"

Due to the combined effect of human and natural disturbances, coral reefs are declining at an alarming rate. Researchers who studied the effects of various disturbances on reef communities of coral and fish found that those in ‘no-take’ marine reserves are less impacted and recover faster than those in reefs that are not located in marine protected areas.

“Understanding the utility of no-take zones in conservation and management is key, but until now there was very little evidence that these no-take zones provided benefits for non-target or non-fished species, as well as wider ecosystem processes,” said Dr. Camille Mellin, lead author of the Ecology Letters study. “Our research demonstrates the wide range of benefits that well-designed and well-managed no-take marine reserves can offer, and reinforces the idea that such marine reserves should be widely implemented and supported as a means of maintaining the integrity of coral reefs globally.”

Additional Information

Mellin, C., Aaron MacNeil, M., Cheal, A. J., Emslie, M. J. and Julian Caley, M. (2016), Marine protected areas increase resilience among coral reef communities. Ecol Lett. doi:10.1111/ele.12598

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