D. Mouillot, V. Parravicini, D.R. Bellwood, F. Leprieur, D. Huang, P.F. Cowman, C. Albouy, T.P. Hughes, W. Thuiller and F. Guilhaumon. Global marine protected areas do not secure the evolutionary history of tropical corals and fishes. Nat. Commun. 7:10359 doi: 10.1038/ncomms10359 (2016).
Marine scientists are calling for a re-think of how marine protected areas (MPAs) are planned and coordinated, following a global assessment of the conservation of tropical corals and fishes.
Researchers from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE), at James Cook University in Townsville, analysed the extent to which the evolutionary histories of corals and fishes are protected, rather than looking at individual species.
"Our interest was in evolutionary branches of the tree of life, rather than the traditional focus on rare, threatened or endemic species," said Professor David Bellwood from the Coral CoE.
"In particular we were interested in the longer branches, which represent the greater proportion of evolutionary history.
"When we looked at tropical Marine Protected Areas from that perspective, we found that protection of corals and fishes falls significantly short of the minimum conservation target of protecting 10 per cent of their geographic ranges.
"Just one sixteenth of hard corals species are afforded that minimum level of protection, and for fishes - the wrasses - less than a quarter reach minimum protection levels." lire la suite