Biological effects within no-take marine reserves: a global synthesis

  • Published source details Lester S., Halpern B., Grorud-Colvert K., Lubchenco J., Ruttenberg B., Gaines S., Airamé S. & Warner R. (2009) Biological effects within no-take marine reserves: a global synthesis. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 384, 33-46.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Designate a Marine Protected Area and prohibit all types of fishing

Action Link
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation
  1. Designate a Marine Protected Area and prohibit all types of fishing

    A systematic review of 149 studies published between 1977 and 2006 of no-take marine reserves across the world (Lester et al. 2009) found that inside marine protected areas prohibiting all fishing, invertebrate biomass, abundance, and size were greater, but species richness was not, compared to unprotected areas outside. Inside the reserves, average biomass increased by 752%, average abundance by 176%, and average size by 26%, compared to outside the reserve. Species richness decreased by a non-significant <5% inside compared to outside the reserves. When analysed by species group, molluscs and arthropods had the greatest increases (molluscs: +240% (non-significant) biomass, +422% abundance, +33% size; arthropods: +889% biomass, +323% abundance, +33% size), while there were no significant changes for any metrics for echinoderms or cnidaria. Species highly targeted by fisheries had the greatest increases in abundance (+385%) and biomass (+820%) in the reserves. The selected studies compared invertebrate abundance, biomass, size, and species richness for 124 reserves across 29 countries. Selected studies included comparisons of before-and-after the reserves were established, and comparisons of inside vs outside the reserves. A meta-analysis was performed on the selected studies.

    (Summarised by: Anaëlle Lemasson)

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