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  • Hays_etal_BPMS_review_REVISION_submitted_27_August_2020

    Accepted author manuscript, 1.22 MB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 15/10/21

DOI

  • Graeme C. Hays
    Deakin University, Victoria
  • Heather Koldewey
    Zoological Society of London
  • Jessica J. Meeuwig
    University of Western Australia
  • M.J. Attrill
    University of Plymouth
  • Shanta Barley
    University of Western Australia
  • Daniel Bayley
    University College London
  • Cassandra E. . Benkwitt
    Lancaster University
  • Barbara Block
    Stanford University
  • Robert J. Schallert
    Stanford University
  • Aaron B Carlisle
    University of Delaware
  • Pete Carr
    University of Exeter
  • Taylor K Chapple
    Oregon State University
  • Claire Collins
    Zoological Society of London
  • Clara Diaz
    University of Plymouth
  • Nicholas Dunn
    Zoological Society of London
  • Robert B. Dunbar
    Stanford University
  • Dannielle S. Eager
    University of Plymouth
  • Julian Engel
    OceanMind Limited
  • Clare B. Embling
    University of Plymouth
  • Nicole Esteban
    Swansea University
  • Francesco Ferretti
    Virginia Tech, Blacksburg
  • Nicola L. Foster
    University of Plymouth
  • Robin Freeman
    Zoological Society of London
  • Matthew Gollock
    Zoological Society of London
  • Nicholas A.J Graham
    Lancaster University
  • Joanna L. Harris
    University of Plymouth
  • Catherine E.I. Head
    Zoological Society of London
  • Phil Hosegood
    University of Plymouth
  • Kerry L. Howell
    University of Plymouth
  • Nigel E. Hussey
    University of Windsor, Ontario
  • David M.P. Jacoby
    Zoological Society of London
  • Rachel Jones
    Zoological Society of London
  • Ines D. Lange
    University of Exeter
  • Tom B. Letessier
    University of Western Australia
  • Emma Levey
    Zoological Society of London
  • Mathilde Lindhart
    Stanford University
  • Jamie M. McDevitt-Irwin
    Stanford University
  • Mark G Meekan
    University of Western Australia
  • Fiorenza Micheli
    Stanford University
  • Andrew Mogg
    Natural Environment Research Council National Facility for Scientific Diving
  • Jeanne A. Mortimer
    University of Florida
  • David Mucciarone
    Stanford University
  • Malcolm A. Nicoll
    Zoological Society of London
  • Ana Nuno
    University of Exeter
  • Chris T. Perry
    University of Exeter
  • Jyodee Sannassy Pilly
  • Stephen G. Preston
    University of Oxford
  • Alex J. Rattray
    Deakin University, Victoria
  • Edward Robinson
    Plymouth University
  • Ronan Roche
  • Melissa Schiele
    Zoological Society of London
  • Emma V. Sheehan
    University of Plymouth
  • Anne Sheppard
    University of Warwick
  • Charles Sheppard
    University of Warwick
  • Adrian L. Smith
    University of Oxford
  • Bradley Soule
    OceanMind Limited
  • Mark Spalding
    University of Cambridge
  • Guy M.W. Stevens
    Manta Trust
  • Margaux Steyaert
    Zoological Society of London
  • Sarah Stiffel
    University of Oxford
  • Brett Taylor
    Stanford University
  • David M. Tickler
    University of Western Australia
  • Alice M. Trevail
    University of Exeter
  • Pablo Trueba
    OceanMind Limited
  • John Turner
  • Stephen Votier
    University of Exeter
  • Bry Wilson
    University of Oxford
  • Gareth Williams
  • Benjamin J. Williamson
    Institute of BIological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen
  • Michael J. Williamson
    Zoological Society of London
  • Hannah Wood
    Zoological Society of London
  • David J. Curnick
    Zoological Society of London
Given the recent trend towards establishing very large marine protected areas (MPAs) and the high potential of these to contribute to global conservation targets, we review outcomes of the last decade of marine conservation research in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), one of the largest MPAs in the world. The BIOT MPA consists of the atolls of the Chagos Archipelago, interspersed with, and surrounded by, deep oceanic waters. Islands around the atoll rims serve as nesting grounds for sea birds. Extensive and diverse shallow and mesophotic reef habitats provide essential habitat and feeding grounds for all marine life, and the absence of local human impacts may improve recovery after coral bleaching events. Census data have shown recent increases in the abundance of sea turtles, high numbers of nesting seabirds and high fish abundance, at least some of which is linked to the lack of recent harvesting. For
example, across the archipelago the annual number of green turtle nests (Chelonia mydas) is ~20,500 and increasing and the number of seabirds is ~1 million. Animal tracking studies have shown that some taxa breed and/or forage consistently within the MPA (e.g. some reef fishes, elasmobranchs and seabirds), suggesting the MPA has the potential to provide long-term protection. In contrast, post-nesting green turtles travel up to 4000 km to distant foraging sites, so the protected beaches in the Chagos Archipelago provide a nesting sanctuary for individuals that forage across an ocean basin and several geopolitical borders. Surveys using divers and underwater video systems show high habitat diversity and abundant marine life on all trophic levels. For example, coral cover can be as high as 40-50%. Ecological studies are shedding light on how remote ecosystems function, connect to each other and respond to climate driven stressors compared to other locations that are more locally impacted. However, important threats to this MPA have been identified, particularly global heating events, and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing activity, which considerably impact both reef and pelagic fishes.

Keywords

  • VLMPA, biologging, conservation, marine megafauna, shark, coral reefs, Aichi targets, seamounts
Original languageEnglish
Article numberMABI-D-20-00262R1
JournalMarine Biology
Early online date14 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Oct 2020
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