Articles on marine protected areas

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Whitespotted surgeonfish (Acanthurus guttatus), found in the Indo-Pacific, crop the upper portion of algae while feeding, preventing macroalgae from becoming established on reefs. Kevin Lino/NOAA

Understanding the conditions that foster coral reefs’ caretaker fishes

Plant-eating fish control the spread of seaweed and algae on coral reefs. New research explaining why populations of these fish vary from site to site could lead to better reef protection strategies.
Steven Morgan deploys ABLE robots in a swimming pool to test how well their programs simulate larval behavior. University of California, Davis

Underwater robots help scientists see where marine larvae go and how they get there

Most ocean species start out as larvae drifting with currents. Using underwater robots, scientists have found that larvae use swimming motions to affect their course and reach suitable places to grow.
Despite the high concentration of sharks in Cocos, some species have declined in number – a signal on the effectiveness of marine preserves. Genna Marie Robustelli

Shark-counting divers off Costa Rica reveal limits of marine reserves

Divers at the famed Cocos site off Costa Rica record declines in a number of shark species – a sign that marine preserves are limited protection against illegal fishing.
Kakadu National Park is Australia’s largest – but we need to make sure parks are actually protecting wildlife from threats. Rita Willaert/Flickr

We have more parks than ever, so why is wildlife still vanishing?

While we can never know for sure, an extraordinary number of animals and plants are threatened with extinction — up to a third of all mammals and over a tenth of all birds. And the problem is getting worse…
Coral reef ecosystem off Palmyra Atoll part of newly expanded Marine National Monument. Jim Maragos/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Pacific Remote Islands protection not just a drop in the ocean

This fall, President Obama signed a proclamation that created the biggest marine reserve in the world. By extending the protective boundaries around Wake Island, Jarvis Island and Johnston Atoll from 50…
Australia’s Commonwealth marine parks were designed to protect marine life, including important foraging areas for sea birds.

Marine park review looks set to repeat past mistakes

In June 2012 the Labor government announced the “world’s largest” system of marine parks, adding 2.3 million square kilometres and taking the overall size of Australia’s Commonwealth marine reserves to…

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