1 <h5>Introduction</h5> In tropical developing countries, the trade off between knowledge acquisition and conservation action—problematic in most marine ecosystems—becomes particularly acute. These nations have rich marine biodiversity, desperate human need, and few resources available for management. Conservation of marine biodiversity in these areas is a grave international concern because tropical marine ecosystems, especially coral reefs, contain some of the greatest species richness in the world  . Such marine systems also provide a crucial source of protein and income for coastal communities and for global consumption [2–4] . Within many countries, human desperation has mounted as population growth, coupled with mismanagement of marine resources and habitat destruction, has led to depleted coastal marine ecosystems  . The pressures are about to worsen as more resources are exported globally; one estimate is that 79% of the world's marine production will come from developing countries  . Yet few developing countries have the technical or financial capacity to undertake thorough biological research on their marine environments. Many developing countries are embracing marine protected areas (MPAs) as important management tools [7–10] . MPAs have been shown in some cases to increase sizes, densities, and biomass of exploited fishes [11,12] . Despite
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