Marine reserves are an emerging management tool, and can serve as examples of the practical application of basic marine ecology. Although some aspects of reserve science are well known, new information is badly needed in at least two major areas: the impact that reserves have on their surrounding ecosystems, and how we can use complex ecological and environmental data to inform management decisions. We describe the application of four new tools being used in oceanography and marine ecology to help design ocean reserves. Ocean sensing charts the dynamics of ocean environments, allowing us to see physical connections between protected and non-protected areas. The indirect monitoring of species dispersal through chemical tags and genetic comparisons can help us to map population movements and measure the spread of species. Computer-based mapping programs enable us to use GIS databases in management decisions, and give multiple stakeholders access to powerful decision-making tools. Together, these methods describe ecosystem patterns over spatial and temporal scales that are directly relevant to conservation and ecosystem management.
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment – Ecological Society of America
Published: Mar 1, 2003
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