Connectivity structures populations, communities and ecosystems in the sea. The extent of connectivity is, therefore, predicted to also influence the outcomes of conservation initiatives, such as marine reserves. We reviewed the published evidence of how important seascape connectivity (i.e. landscape connectivity in the sea) is for marine conservation outcomes. In the majority of cases, greater seascape connectivity inside reserves translated into better conservation outcomes (i.e. enhanced productivity and diversity). Research on reserve performance is, however, most often conducted separately from research on connectivity, resulting in few studies (< 5% of all studies of seascape connectivity) that have quantified how connectivity modifies reserve effects on populations, assemblages, or ecosystem functioning in seascapes. Nevertheless, evidence for positive effects of connectivity on reserve performance is geographically widespread, encompassing studies in the Caribbean Sea, Florida Keys and western Pacific Ocean. Given that research rarely connects the effects of connectivity and reserves, our thesis is that stronger linkages between landscape ecology and marine spatial planning are likely to improve conservation outcomes in the sea. The key science challenge is to identify the full range of ecological functions that are modulated by connectivity and the spatial scale over which these functions enhance conservation outcomes.



Olds, A. D., University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia, aolds@usc.edu.au

Connolly, R. M., Griffith University, Australia

Pitt, K. A., Griffith University, Australia

Pittman, S. J., National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA

Maxwell, P. S., Healthy Waterways, Australia

Huijbers, C. M., Griffith University, Australia

Moore, B. R., Secretariat of the Pacific Community, New Caledonia

Albert, S., University of Queensland, Australia

Rissik, D., National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Australia

Babcock, R. C., Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia

Schlacher, T. A., University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia


Oral presentation

Session #:71
Date: 06/23/2016
Time: 13:45
Location: 302 A/B

Presentation is given by student: No