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Monitoring the resilience of a no take marine reserve to a range extending species using benthic imagery
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  • Nicholas Perkins,
  • Geoffrey Hosack,
  • Scott Foster,
  • Jacquomo Monk,
  • Neville Barrett
Nicholas Perkins
University of Tasmania
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Geoffrey Hosack
CSIRO
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Scott Foster
CSIRO
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Jacquomo Monk
University of Tasmania
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Neville Barrett
University of Tasmania
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Abstract

Global climate change is driving the redistribution of marine species and thereby potentially restructuring endemic communities. Understanding whether conservation measures can confer resilience to ecosystems is therefore a management priority. Here, we utilise a time-series of benthic imagery to examine the resilience of a no-take marine reserve (NTR) to the establishment of barrens habitat formed by a range extending urchin species. We find evidence for a strong reserve effect, with a doubling in the odds of presence of barrens outside the NTR. However, we find a concerning trajectory of increasing barrens cover in both the reference areas and the NTR over time. Thus, whereas the reserve is demonstrating resistance to the establishment of barrens, there is currently no evidence of recovery. Continuation of the current monitoring program is required to assess whether the NTR can provide long term protection from a catastrophic phase shift and to inform adaptive management.

Peer review status:Published

12 Aug 2020Published in PLOS ONE volume 15 issue 8 on pages e0237257. 10.1371/journal.pone.0237257