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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Relationships between mobile macroinvertebrates and reef structure in a temperate marine reserve

Published source details

Alexander T., Barrett N., Haddon M. & Edgar G. (2009) Relationships between mobile macroinvertebrates and reef structure in a temperate marine reserve. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 389, 31-44


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Designate a Marine Protected Area and prohibit all types of fishing Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

A before-and-after, site comparison study in 1992–2007 in twelves rocky sites in the Tasman Sea, Australia (Alexander et al. 2009) found that over the 15 years after designating and enforcing a marine protected area prohibiting all fishing, mobile macroinvertebrate species richness remained stable at protected sites but decreased at fished sites, while overall abundance did not change at any sites. Before enforcement, total macroinvertebrate species richness was lower at protected sites (11 species) compared to fished sites (16). After 15 years, species richness remained stable within protected sites (10–12) but had decreased in fished sites to similar levels (13–14). Before enforcement, overall mobile macroinvertebrate abundance was lower at protected sites (330–560 individuals/site) than fished sites (760–1,030) and remained similar at all sites over 15 years (protected: 375–430; fished: 625–820). This pattern was due to opposing changes in abundances of specific groups and species (see paper for details). In addition, abundance of blacklip abalone Haliotis rubra decreased over time inside the protected sites relative to fished sites, while abundance of southern rock lobsters Jasus edwardsii increased in protected sites but decreased in fished sites (data not provided). An area within Maria Island National Park was declared a no-take area in 1991 and closed to all fishing. In spring 2006 and autumn 2007, a diver visually identified and counted all mobile macroinvertebrates (echinoderms, crustaceans, and molluscs >1 cm) along four 50 m transects at six sites inside and six outside the no-take area (5 m water depth). Data were compared to historical surveys in spring and autumn 1992 before effective enforcement. 

(Summarised by Anaëlle Lemasson & Laura Pettit)