Interactive effects of depth and marine protection on predation and herbivory patterns

  • Published source details Vergés A., Tomas F. & Ballesteros E. (2012) Interactive effects of depth and marine protection on predation and herbivory patterns. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 450, 55-65.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Cease or prohibit all types of fishing in a marine protected area

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation
  1. Cease or prohibit all types of fishing in a marine protected area

    A replicated, paired, site comparison study (year not stated) of three marine reserves in the Mediterranean Sea, Spain (Verges et al. 2012) found that prohibiting all fishing resulted in higher biomass of predatory, but similar biomass of herbivorous, fish inside one no-take marine reserve compared to outside unprotected areas, and similar biomass to two other marine reserves with a different level of protection from fishing. The total biomass of predatory fish was higher inside than outside (inside: 32,522, outside: 13,984 g/250m2) at the only no-take reserve (Catalunya) and was similar at the two other reserves (inside: 10,025–15,699, outside: 6,484–18,815 g/250m2). No effect of protection level was found on the total biomass of herbivorous fish at all three reserves (inside: 5,322–15,000, outside: 3,064–4,516), but it was influenced by an interaction of protection, depth and reserve region (data reported as statistical results). At each reserve, three sites were sampled inside and three outside the reserve boundaries, one at each depth of 5, 15 and 30 m (date or year of sampling unspecified). Fish were identified and counted by diver underwater visual survey along three, 50 × 5 m transects at each site. Herbivorous fish and fish that predate on sea urchins Paracentrotus lividus were recorded (see paper for list of families). The Catalunya reserve was protected since 1983 and prohibits all extractive activities. The other two reserves were protected since 1991 (Mallorca) and 1999 (Menorca) and permit some restricted commercial fishing.

    (Summarised by: Rosslyn McIntyre)

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