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Mapping species richness and human impact drivers to inform global pelagic conservation prioritisation


Trebilco, R and Halpern, BS and Mills Flemming, J and Field, C and Blanchard, W and Worm, B, Mapping species richness and human impact drivers to inform global pelagic conservation prioritisation, Biological Conservation, 144, (5) pp. 1758-1766. ISSN 0006-3207 (2011) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2011.02.024


Given the widely recognized need to better protect the oceans but limited resources to do so, methods for prioritizing potential protected area sites are important. This is particularly true for the open oceans, where few protected areas currently exist and data availability is limited. Here, we examine the relationship between the distributions of tuna and billfish species richness (an indicator of pelagic biodiversity), the human impact drivers of fishing pressure (quantified as cumulative removals) and sea surface temperature increase (quantified as the increase in large positive anomalies) in tropical to temperate oceans at the scale of a 5נ5 grid. We investigate relationships using Generalised Additive Models and Regression Tree analysis, and identify the top 50 "hotspot" cells for species richness and each of the two impact drivers. We find that both impact drivers significantly overlap with high species richness, but relationships are complex, non-linear and ocean-basin specific. Higher fishing pressure is associated with higher species richness in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and this overlap is particularly prominent in the central Pacific, and in the Indian Ocean around Sri Lanka. In the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, species richness is generally higher in areas that have seen lower levels of change in sea surface temperature and only one cell, near Easter Island, is a hotspot for species richness and sea surface temperature increase. While species richness and impact drivers overlap in some areas, there are many areas with high species richness and limited apparent impact. This suggests that area-based conservation strategies that aim to protect areas of high pelagic biodiversity may be achievable with limited displacement of fishing effort.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:marine conservation, pelagic, prioritisation, hotspots, biogeography, sea surface temperature, longlining, fishing, tuna
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Rehabilitation or conservation of marine environments
UTAS Author:Trebilco, R (Dr Rowan Trebilco)
ID Code:101965
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:40
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2015-07-21
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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