- 1.Four macroalgal, four macroinvertebrate and eight fish species were surveyed at eight sites (three inside, five outside the proposed reserve) over three years before the establishment of the Taputeranga Marine Reserve (MR) on Cook Strait (Wellington, New Zealand). This baseline data set was used to estimate temporal and spatial variability in size and abundance of these taxa, and will be used to quantify taxon-specific changes in size and abundance once the MR is established.
- 2.Statistically significant differences in size and/or abundance were observed for many taxa among the sites. These differences are consistent with the existence of a natural environmental gradient from the west (entrance to Cook Strait) to the east (Wellington Harbour). This gradient highlights the importance of conducting a pre-reserve baseline survey at multiple sites and over multiple years to better understand the conservation or fisheries benefits that MRs are expected to deliver.
- 3.Two macroalgal, one macroinvertebrate, and six fish species showed statistically significant seasonal variation in abundance. Subsequent multi-taxa monitoring needs to include a seasonal component to capture this natural variability.
- 4.This multi-site and multi-year data set represents one of the most comprehensive and robust baseline data sets available anywhere in the world. It will be used to quantify the ecological changes associated with a newly established full no-take marine reserve. Ongoing monitoring will enhance understanding of the sizes and abundances of key taxa, allow a detailed determination of the conservation effects of reserve establishment, and inform management decisions for Wellington's south coast.
Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.