A review of the ecological effectiveness of subtidal marine reserves in Central California, Part I: Synopsis of scientific investigations

Starr, Richard M. and Carr, Mark H. and Caselle, Jennifer and Estes, James A. and Pomeroy, Caroline and Syms, Craig and VenTresca, David A. and Yoklavich, Mary M. (2004) A review of the ecological effectiveness of subtidal marine reserves in Central California, Part I: Synopsis of scientific investigations. Silver Spring, MD, NOAA/National Ocean Service/Marine Sanctuaries Division, (Marine Sanctuaries Conservation Series, MSD-04)

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Marine reserves, often referred to as no-take MPAs, are defined as areas within which human activities that can result in the removal or alteration of biotic and abiotic components of an ecosystem are prohibited or greatly restricted (NRC 2001). Activities typically curtailed within a marine reserve are extraction of organisms (e.g., commercial and recreational fishing, kelp harvesting, commercial collecting), mariculture, and those activities that can alter oceanographic or geologic attributes of the habitat (e.g., mining, shore-based industrial-related intake and discharges of seawater and effluent). Usually, marine reserves are established to conserve biodiversity or enhance nearby fishery resources. Thus, goals and objectives of marine reserves can be inferred, even if they are not specifically articulated at the time of reserve formation. In this report, we review information about the effectiveness of the three marine reserves in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (Hopkins Marine Life Refuge, Point Lobos Ecological Reserve, Big Creek Ecological Reserve), and the one in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (the natural area on the north side of East Anacapa Island). Our efforts to objectively evaluate reserves in Central California relative to reserve theory were greatly hampered for four primary reasons; (1) few of the existing marine reserves were created with clearly articulated goals or objectives, (2) relatively few studies of the ecological consequences of existing reserves have been conducted, (3) no studies to date encompass the spatial and temporal scope needed to identify ecosystem-wide effects of reserve protection, and (4) there are almost no studies that describe the social and economic consequences of existing reserves. To overcome these obstacles, we used several methods to evaluate the effectiveness of subtidal marine reserves in Central California. We first conducted a literature review to find out what research has been conducted in all marine reserves in Central California (Appendix 1). We then reviewed the scientific literature that relates to marine reserve theory to help define criteria to use as benchmarks for evaluation. A recent National Research Council (2001) report summarized expected reserve benefits and provided the criteria we used for evaluation of effectiveness. The next step was to identify the research projects in this region that collected information in a way that enabled us to evaluate reserve theory relative to marine reserves in Central California. Chapters 1-4 in this report provide summaries of those research projects. Contained within these chapters are evaluations of reserve effectiveness for meeting specific objectives. As few studies exist that pertain to reserve theory in Central California, we reviewed studies of marine reserves in other temperate and tropical ecosystems to determine if there were lessons to be learned from other parts of the world (Chapter 5). We also included a discussion of social and economic considerations germane to the public policy decision-making processes associated with marine reserves (Chapter 6). After reviewing all of these resources, we provided a summary of the ecological benefits that could be expected from existing reserves in Central California. The summary is presented in Part II of this report. (PDF contains 133 pages.)

Item Type: Monograph or Serial Issue
Title: A review of the ecological effectiveness of subtidal marine reserves in Central California, Part I: Synopsis of scientific investigations
Personal Creator/Author:
Starr, Richard M.
Carr, Mark H.
Caselle, Jennifer
Estes, James A.
Pomeroy, Caroline
Syms, Craig
VenTresca, David A.
Yoklavich, Mary M.
Series Name: Marine Sanctuaries Conservation Series
Number: MSD-04
Date: 2004
Publisher: NOAA/National Ocean Service/Marine Sanctuaries Division
Place of Publication: Silver Spring, MD
Issuing Agency: United States National Ocean Service
Subjects: Conservation
Item ID: 2348
Depositing User: Patti M. Marraro
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2009 19:15
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 19:11
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/2348

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