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Species-area relationships and marine conservation
Neigel, J.E. (2003). Species-area relationships and marine conservation. Ecol. Appl. 13(1, Suppl.): S138-S145
In: Ecological Applications. Ecological Society of America: Tempe, AZ. ISSN 1051-0761, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Biodiversity; Design; Marine parks; Marine

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  • Neigel, J.E.

    The species-area relationship (SPAR) was the central paradigm for theemerging science of reserve design in the 1970s and early 1980s. The apparent consistencyof the SPAR for natural areas suggested that it could be used to predict the number ofspecies that would be maintained within the isolated confines of a nature reserve. Thisproposed use of the SPAR led to heated debates about how best to partition space amongreserves. However, by the end of the 1980s, the SPAR was no longer a central issue inreserve design. There was too much uncertainty about the underlying causes of the SPARto trust that it would hold for reserves. The SPAR was also inappropriate for the designof single-species reserves and thus did not answer the traditional needs of wildlife managers.Ecologists subsequently focused their reserve-design efforts on the management of individualpopulations to reduce the probability of extinction and the loss of genetic variation.Nevertheless, because the SPAR does not require detailed knowledge of the requirementsof individual species, it is still used to estimate local species richness and to predict theeffects of habitat loss and fragmentation on biodiversity. These applications of the SPARmay be especially useful in the design of marine reserves, which often differ in purposefrom conventional terrestrial reserves and may require fundamentally different approaches.

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