Responses to marine reserves: Decreased dispersion of the sparid Pagrus auratus (snapper)

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Author(s)Parsons DM, Morrison MA, Slater MJ
Publication type Article
JournalBiological Conservation
ISSN (print)0006-3207
ISSN (electronic)1873-2917
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Quantifying the movement of exploited species inside marine reserves is a popular research topic, yet few studies have quantified movement inside and outside of reserves. If individuals inside reserves behave differently to those outside, this information should be incorporated into reserve design and in management efforts to avoid the selective removal of certain behaviors. We used acoustic telemetry to monitor the movements of the sparid Pagrus auratus (snapper) inside and outside a marine reserve (the Leigh Marine Reserve, north-eastern New Zealand). We tagged 39 snapper within an array of acoustic receivers that encompassed reserve and fished areas. Nineteen snapper were resident over a 5-month period; the remainder either left the array or died. Residential fish expressed two home range types. One group had uni-modal home ranges that on average encompassed c.900 m linear distance. All nine residential snapper from the reserve displayed this behavior, as well as five of ten residential fish from the non-reserve area. The second group (five fish, all from the non-reserve area) had home ranges with two separate modes (bi-modal home ranges), which on average encompassed c.2 100 m linear distance. We suggest that some aspect of the marine reserve environment encourages extreme residency by either the modification of individual behaviors or through the removal of selective exploitation. If true this suggests that reserves and populations of exploited animals may become dependent on the life history characteristics of the individuals they encourage or select for.
PublisherElsevier BV
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