Protecting connectivity promotes successful biodiversity and fisheries conservation

Luisa Fontoura, Stephanie D’agata, Majambo Gamoyo, Diego R. Barneche, Osmar J. Luiz, Elizabeth M. P. Madin, Linda Eggertsen, Joseph M. Maina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The global decline of coral reefs has led to calls for strategies that reconcile biodiversity conservation and fisheries benefits. Still, considerable gaps in our understanding of the spatial ecology of ecosystem services remain. We combined spatial information on larval dispersal networks and estimates of human pressure to test the importance of connectivity for ecosystem service provision. We found that reefs receiving larvae from highly connected dispersal corridors were associated with high fish species richness. Generally, larval “sinks” contained twice as much fish biomass as “sources” and exhibited greater resilience to human pressure when protected. Despite their potential to support biodiversity persistence and sustainable fisheries, up to 70% of important dispersal corridors, sinks, and source reefs remain unprotected, emphasizing the need for increased protection of networks of well-connected reefs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-340
JournalScience
Volume375
Issue number6578
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2022

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