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HMSC Research Seminar-Assessing the Population-level Conservation Effects of Marine Protected Areas

Speaker: Dan Ovando, Postdoc, University of Washington

Topic: Assessing the Population-level Conservation Effects of Marine Protected Areas

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) cover 3-7% of the world’s ocean, up from less than 1% in the year 2000, and international commitments call for 10%, 30%, and even 50% coverage. The premise underlying MPA expansion is that they conserve biodiversity, habitats, and fished populations. While numerous studies show that MPAs produce conservation benefits inside their borders, many MPAs are also justified on the grounds that they confer conservation benefits to the broader population beyond their borders. We examine the conditions under which MPAs can provide population-level conservation benefits inside and outside their borders, and show that even in cases where the conservation benefits are large, they are inherently difficult to detect empirically. A network of MPAs was put in place in The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in 2003, with a goal of providing regional conservation and fishery benefits. Evidence indicates that the Channel Island MPAs have increased biomass densities inside the MPAs, but we are unable to find a clear effect of these same MPAs at the population level. MPA effect sizes less than 30% are likely to be difficult to detect (even when they are present), and the size of many MPA networks suggests that effect sizes may often be smaller than 30%. These results provide a novel assessment of the population-level effects of a large and iconic Marine Protected Area network, and provide guidance for communities charged with monitoring and adapting MPAs.

Link: Join Zoom Meeting

Thursday, July 2 at 3:30pm to 4:30pm

Virtual Event
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Lecture or Presentation

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Community, Faculty and Staff, Student





Hatfield Marine Science Center
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Cinamon Moffett

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