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Using siting algorithms in the design of marine reserve networks
Leslie, H.M.; Ruckelshaus, M.; Ball, I.R.; Andelman, S.; Possingham, H.P. (2003). Using siting algorithms in the design of marine reserve networks. Ecol. Appl. 13(1, Suppl.): S185-S198
In: Ecological Applications. Ecological Society of America: Tempe, AZ. ISSN 1051-0761, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Biodiversity; Conservation; Marine parks; Simulated annealing; Simulated annealing; ASW, USA, Florida, Florida Keys [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Leslie, H.M.
  • Ruckelshaus, M.
  • Ball, I.R.
  • Andelman, S.
  • Possingham, H.P.

    Using benthic habitat data from the Florida Keys (USA), we demonstratehow siting algorithms can help identify potential networks of marine reserves that comprehensivelyrepresent target habitat types. We applied a flexible optimization tool—simulatedannealing—to represent a fixed proportion of different marine habitat types withina geographic area. We investigated the relative influence of spatial information, planningunitsize, detail of habitat classification, and magnitude of the overall conservation goalon the resulting network scenarios. With this method, we were able to identify manyadequate reserve systems that met the conservation goals, e.g., representing at least 20%of each conservation target (i.e., habitat type) while fulfilling the overall aim of minimizingthe system area and perimeter. One of the most useful types of information provided bythis siting algorithm comes from an ‘‘irreplaceability analysis,’’ which is a count of thenumber of times unique planning units were included in reserve system scenarios. Thisanalysis indicated that many different combinations of sites produced networks that metthe conservation goals. While individual 1-km2 areas were fairly interchangeable, the irreplaceabilityanalysis highlighted larger areas within the planning region that were chosenconsistently to meet the goals incorporated into the algorithm. Additionally, we found thatreserve systems designed with a high degree of spatial clustering tended to have considerablyless perimeter and larger overall areas in reserve—a configuration that may bepreferable particularly for sociopolitical reasons. This exercise illustrates the value of usingthe simulated annealing algorithm to help site marine reserves: the approach makes efficientuse of available resources, can be used interactively by conservation decision makers, andoffers biologically suitable alternative networks from which an effective system of marinereserves can be crafted.

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