Designing marine reserves for interacting species: insights from theory.
Baskett, Marissa*,1, Micheli, Fiorenza2, Levin, Simon1, 1 Princeton University, Princeton, NJ2 Stanford University, Stanford, CA
ABSTRACT- The primary goals of marine reserves include protecting biodiversity and ecosystem structure. Therefore, a multispecies approach to designing and monitoring reserve networks is necessary. To gain insight into how the interactions between species in marine communities may affect reserve design, we present a series of simple models: a competition-colonization model, a Lotka-Volterra competition model, two- to four-species predator-prey simulations, and a resource-based trophic model with prey size refugia. Taken together, the models indicate the importance of harvest dynamics outside reserves and before reserve establishment to their design and monitoring. In particular, in models of reserves designed to protect a single species, the conservative assumption is that areas outside reserves are uninhabitable; however, accounting for dynamics outside reserves may be necessary for a multispecies approach because of the potential for unfished predators or competitors outside reserves to negatively impact protected populations. In addition, accounting for interactions such as strong competition may increase the reserve size necessary to protect populations, and key dynamics such as prey size refugia are important to predicting community response to reserve establishment. These models highlight the importance of species interactions for effective reserve design and provide guidelines for how this complexity can begin to be incorporated into conservation planning.
Key words: marine reserve design, interspecific interactions, theoretical ecology
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