News FocusMarine Ecology

Picturing the Perfect Preserve

Science  12 Apr 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5566, pp. 245
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5566.245

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NEW YORK CITY --A growing number of scientists are turning to new mapping software to help them design networks of marine reserves that are both politically viable and ecologically effective. The programs enable planners to test thousands of possible arrangements for achieving conservation goals, such as preserving fragile coral reefs or shielding vulnerable spawning fish from nets. Just as important, cybermapping may allow reserve advocates to sidestep potentially disastrous political conflicts by flagging areas where a protected zone might draw opposition from anglers or other economic interests.