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Does a no-take marine protected area benefit seahorses?


Harsati, D and Martin-Smith, K and Gladstone, W, Does a no-take marine protected area benefit seahorses?, PLoS One, 9, (8) Article e105462. ISSN 1932-6203 (2014) [Refereed Article]


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Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105462


Seahorses are iconic charismatic species that are often used to ‘champion’ marine conservation causes around the world. As they are threatened in many countries by over-exploitation and habitat loss, marine protected areas (MPAs) could help with their protection and recovery. MPAs may conserve seahorses through protecting essential habitats and removing fishing pressures. Populations of White’s seahorse, Hippocampus whitei, a species endemic to New South Wales, Australia, were monitored monthly from 2006 to 2009 using diver surveys at two sites within a no-take marine protected areas established in 1983, and at two control sites outside the no-take MPA sites. Predators of H. whitei were also identified and monitored. Hippocampus whitei were more abundant at the control sites. Seahorse predators (3 species of fish and 2 species of octopus) were more abundant within the no-take MPA sites. Seahorse and predator abundances were negatively correlated. Substantial variability in the seahorse population at one of the control sites reinforced the importance of long-term monitoring and use of multiple control sites to assess the outcomes of MPAs for seahorses. MPAs should be used cautiously to conserve seahorse populations as there is the risk of a negative impact through increased predator abundance.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Wildlife and habitat management
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Martin-Smith, K (Dr Keith Martin-Smith)
ID Code:96321
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:32
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2014-10-30
Last Modified:2015-04-02
Downloads:427 View Download Statistics

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