A General Model for Designing Networks of Marine Reserves

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Science  06 Dec 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5600, pp. 1991-1993
DOI: 10.1126/science.1075284

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There is debate concerning the most effective conservation of marine biodiversity, especially regarding the appropriate location, size, and connectivity of marine reserves. We describe a means of establishing marine reserve networks by using optimization algorithms and multiple levels of information on biodiversity, ecological processes (spawning, recruitment, and larval connectivity), and socioeconomic factors in the Gulf of California. A network covering 40% of rocky reef habitat can fulfill many conservation goals while reducing social conflict. This quantitative approach provides a powerful tool for decision-makers tasked with siting marine reserves.

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