An individual-based model for reviewing marine reserves in the light of fisheries-induced evolution in mobility and size at maturation

Tanja Miethe*, Jon Pitchford, Calvin Dytham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Size-selective fishing mortality may induce evolutionary changes to smaller size at maturation in fish stocks. Marine reserves can be a useful management tool dealing with the ecological and evolutionary effects of fisheries. We examine the effect of size-selective harvesting and the implementation of marine reserves on the evolution of size at maturation using individual-based models. The mobility of individual fish is included as an evolving trait to account for possible behavioural changes in dispersal patterns. The evolutionary change in maturation size can be prevented inside the reserve, leading to higher abundance there. The results show the benefit of reserves on yield, especially at intermediate movement probability. Reserve implementation may cause mobility of individuals to decrease, increasing the possibility of local adaptation in maturation strategy. Evolutionary changes in mobility through marine reserve implementation increase the protection from evolution to small maturation size within the reserve, but may lead to overestimation of yield benefits due to reduced spill-over.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-162
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Northwest Atlantic Fishery Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • Dispersal
  • IBM
  • Open population
  • Protected area
  • Stage-structured model

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