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Detecting conservation benefits in spatially protected fish populations with meta-analysis of long-term monitoring data
Ojeda-Martinez, C.; Bayle-Sempere, J.T.; Sanchez-Jerez, P.; Forcada, A.; Valle, C. (2007). Detecting conservation benefits in spatially protected fish populations with meta-analysis of long-term monitoring data. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 151(3): 1153-1161. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-006-0557-0
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Ojeda-Martinez, C.
  • Bayle-Sempere, J.T.
  • Sanchez-Jerez, P.
  • Forcada, A.
  • Valle, C.

Abstract
    Marine protected areas (MPA) produce a positive effect on fish populations, but this may be difficult to identify due to the high temporal variability of populations. Meta-analysis is an option for analysing data from different sources and sampling designs and it can address problems related to temporal and spatial variability in fish populations. We analysed fish abundance data from visual counts conducted in summer, from 1996 to 2002, in the MPA of Tabarca (Alicante, Spain). The results showed an overall positive effect of protection at the species and family levels. Overall abundance of fishes inside the reserve was, on average, 1.22 times higher than outside the reserve boundaries. Positive effect of protection was found for Boops boops, Diplodus annularis, Diplodus cervinus, Epinephelus marginatus, Epinephelus costae and Epinephelus aenus. Species of Labrids were not affected by protection, except for Thalassoma pavo and Symphodus ocellatus. Meta-analysis of temporal data allows evaluation of the protection MPA provide and is particularly useful when data sources have different experimental designs or sampling programs. The Tabarca MPA has benefited fish populations by increasing their abundance and we suggest that meta-analysis is a complementary tool for the management of MPAs.

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