Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 8487
Title: Marine reserves can enhance ecological resilience
Author: Lewis Barnett, Marissa L. Baskett
Publication Year: 2015
Journal: Ecology Letters
DOI: 10.1111/ele.12524
Keywords: alternative stable states, cultivation effect, depensation, ecological resilience, marine protected area, Sebastes, spatial management,

The goals of ecosystem-based management (EBM) include protecting ecological resilience, the magnitude of a perturbation that a community can withstand and remain in a given state. As a tool to achieve this goal, no-take marine reserves may enhance resilience by protecting source populations or reduce it by concentrating fishing in harvested areas. Here we test whether spatial management with marine reserves can increase ecological resilience compared to nonspatial (conventional) management using a dynamic model of a simplified fish community with structured predation and competition that causes alternative stable states. Relative to nonspatial management, reserves increase the resilience of the desired (predator-dominated) equilibrium state in both stochastic and deterministic environments, especially under intensive fishing. As a result, spatial management also increases the feasibility of restoring degraded (competitor-dominated) systems, particularly if combined with culling of competitors or stock enhancement of adult predators.  

Theme: Ecosystem approach to improve management of marine resources
Foci: Describe the interaction between human activities, particularly harvest of marine resources, and ecosystem function.
Characterize ecological interactions (e.g. predation, competition, parasitism, disease, etc.) within and among species.