The countries affected by the 2004 Asian tsunami contain the most diverse and extensive coral reefs and mangroves of the Indian Ocean, and some of the richest in the world. Not only are these ecosystems among the most threatened in the world, they also provide numerous essential ecosystem services.
It is thus not surprising that reefs and mangroves received widespread attention after the tsunami, with three principal questions posed: Are the tsunami's impacts on reefs and mangroves a further threat to their future survival? Did reefs and mangroves play a role in shoreline protection and reduce structural damage and human mortality? How could reconstruction efforts include actions to maintain these ecosystems and reduce further threats to them?Resource Type: Journal Papers
Coral reefs are the most biologically diverse of shallow water marine ecosystems but are being degraded worldwide by human activities and climate warming. Analyses of the geographic ranges of 3235 species of reef fish, corals, snails, and lobsters revealed that between 7.2 and 53.6 of each taxon have highly restricted ranges, rendering them vulnerable to extinction. Restricted-range species are clustered into centers of endemism, like those described for terrestrial taxa. The 10 richest centers of endemism cover 15.8 of the world's coral reefs (0.012 of the oceans) but include between 44.8 and 54.2 of the restricted-range species. Many occur in regions where reefs are being severely affected by people, potentially leading to numerous extinctions. Threatened centers of endemism are major biodiversity hotspots, and conservation efforts targeted toward them could help avert the loss of tropical reef biodiversity.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Biologists view Protected Areas (PAs) as natural areas established and managed primarily for the conservation of nature. However, many early Pas were established for aesthetic or socio-economic reasons and received little scientific input to their design. More recently, scientists have identified gaps in PA networks and various contemporary PAs have been established to provide for habitats and species in need of protection.
Scientists have also modelled minimum areas and population sizes that should be protected to prevent extinctions arising from demographic or chance causes. However, these theoretical ideals are difficult to put into practice, particularly as PAs increasingly face more immediate external threats. If scientists are to influence future PA design, and if PAs are to succeed in the long term, these concepts must be applied in practice. Therefore, sufficient protection must be integrated with human needs and aspirations in the design of future protected areas.
The threat posed to coral reefs by biological invasion is unlikely to diminish and should therefore be considered in analyses of the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Global and regional coral reef area statistics are of considerable value in fields ranging from global environmental change to fisheries to conservation. Although widely quoted, Smith's 1978 figure of 600 000rkm2 is only an approximate calculation. The World Conservation Monitoring Centre has prepared a new estimate of reef coverage by mapping emergent reef crest and very shallow reef systems. These data were rasterised, using 1rkm grid squares, as a means of reducing errors arising from variation in scale. Global and regional reef coverages were calculated from the resultant grid. The total global area is estimated at 255 000rkm2, considerably lower than many previous estimates. Variation in reef area estimates is, in part, a function of variation in reef definition.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Here we report on a new global system for coastal and shelf areas: the Marine Ecoregions of the World, or MEOW, a nested system of 12 realms, 62 provinces, and 232 ecoregions. This system provides considerably better spatial resolution than earlier global systems, yet it pre serves many common elements and can be cross - referenced to many regional biogeographic classifications. The designation of terrestrial ecoregions has revolutionized priority setting and planning for terrestrial conservation; we anticipate similar benefits from the use of a coherent and credible marine system.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The spatio-temporal distribution of fishing pressure on marine landscapes in offshore UK (England and Wales) waters is assessed, based on a time-series of fishing vessel monitoring system (VMS) data for UK and foreign fleets deploying beam and otter trawls, and scallop dredges. The results reveal that marine landscapes with coarse or mixed sediments and weak or moderate tide stress are heavily fished.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was created to prevent species becoming threatened through international trade. It generally prohibits international commercial trade in seriously threatened species but permits trade in a regulated manner in species vulnerable to exploitation but not yet at risk of extinction. CITES covers comparatively few marine taxa, reflecting the fact that most marine species have much greater ranges and fecundity than terrestrial species and so are more resilient to exploitation. The structure of CITES limits its utility as a conservation tool for marine species, but where other mechanisms fail or are absent, it plays a useful role, and it is particularly valuable as an international trade monitoring mechanism.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Demersal fish cannot be readily tracked using data loggers that provide satellite-based or light-based geolocation. Moreover, fish that are highly mobile within the water column cannot readily be located with other methods, such as the tidal location method (TLM). As an alternative, we describe a process that provides estimates of geographic location by simulating movement paths through geographic locations that match temperature and depth data recorded by data loggers.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Current global marine protection targets aim to protect 10–30% of marine habitats within the next 3–5 years. However, these targets were adopted without prior assessment of their achievability. Moreover, ability to monitor progress towards such targets has been constrained by a lack of robust data on marine protected areas. Here we present the results of the first explicitly marine-focused, global assessment of protected areas in relation to global marine protection targets.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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