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PLoS One. 2014 Jan 8;9(1):e82898. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082898. eCollection 2014.

Global priorities for marine biodiversity conservation.

Author information

1
Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans, Conservation International, Arlington, Virginia, United States of America.
2
Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans, Conservation International, Arlington, Virginia, United States of America ; Department of Biology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
3
Oceanic Society, Ross, California, United States of America ; Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University Marine Laboratory, Beaufort, North Carolina, United States of America.
4
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Santa Barbara, California, United States of America ; Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California, United States of America ; Imperial College London, Ascot, United Kingdom.
5
Department of Biometry and Environmental System Analysis, Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg, Germany ; Centre de Synthèse et d'Analyse sur la Biodiversité (CESAB), Aix-en-Provence, France.
6
Global Seabird Programme, Birdlife International, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
7
Department of Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, United States of America ; Global Species Programme, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Gland, Switzerland.
8
Conservation International, Arlington, Virginia, United States of America.

Abstract

In recent decades, many marine populations have experienced major declines in abundance, but we still know little about where management interventions may help protect the highest levels of marine biodiversity. We used modeled spatial distribution data for nearly 12,500 species to quantify global patterns of species richness and two measures of endemism. By combining these data with spatial information on cumulative human impacts, we identified priority areas where marine biodiversity is most and least impacted by human activities, both within Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ). Our analyses highlighted places that are both accepted priorities for marine conservation like the Coral Triangle, as well as less well-known locations in the southwest Indian Ocean, western Pacific Ocean, Arctic and Antarctic Oceans, and within semi-enclosed seas like the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas. Within highly impacted priority areas, climate and fishing were the biggest stressors. Although new priorities may arise as we continue to improve marine species range datasets, results from this work are an essential first step in guiding limited resources to regions where investment could best sustain marine biodiversity.

PMID:
24416151
PMCID:
PMC3885410
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0082898
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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