Editor Leah Gerber
Marine population connectivity identifies ecological neighbors for conservation planning in the Coral Triangle
Article first published online: 6 JUL 2012
©2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 5, Issue 6, pages 441–449, December 2012
How to Cite
Treml, E. A. and Halpin, P. N. (2012), Marine population connectivity identifies ecological neighbors for conservation planning in the Coral Triangle. Conservation Letters, 5: 441–449. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2012.00260.x
- Issue published online: 11 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 6 JUL 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 11 JUN 2012 02:29PM EST
- Received , 31 January 2012 , Accepted , 7 May 2012
- coral reef;
- Coral Triangle;
- network analysis
Robust conservation plans seek to accommodate functional connectivity by establishing regional priorities and through decisions regarding the size and placement of protected areas. In marine systems, connectivity refers to the ecological linkages (primarily larval dispersal) between populations and protected areas. Unfortunately, connectivity data for the majority of populations are unavailable, requiring managers to rely on expert knowledge and general "scale" and "distance" guidelines. We present a novel approach for integrating model-based connectivity estimates into the conservation planning framework. We quantify multispecies connectivity across the Indo-Pacific and demonstrate how this informs conservation planning in the Coral Triangle across three levels: countries, ecoregions, and priority seascapes. The emergent network structure of ecological linkages between planning regions complements the current bioregionalization across the Coral Triangle. This new ecological network perspective will help (re)define partnerships and assist in coordinating policy actions, ultimately leading to a more effective planning process.