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Complex habitat boosts scallop recruitment in a fully protected marine reserve

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JournalMarine Biology
DatePublished - Aug 2011
Issue number8
Volume158
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)1767-1780
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This study investigated the effects of a fully protected marine reserve on commercially valuable scallops and benthic habitats in Lamlash Bay, Isle of Arran, United Kingdom. Dive surveys found the abundance of juvenile scallops to be greater within the marine reserve than outside. A novel multivariate approach, based upon neural networks and generalised linear models, revealed the greater abundance of juveniles to be related to the greater presence of macroalgae and maerl within the reserve boundaries. This complex habitat appeared to have positively encouraged spat settlement. In contrast, the density of adult scallops did not differ between the two treatments, possibly due to the short duration of protection. However, the age, size and biomass of adult scallops were significantly greater within the reserve. Overall, this study suggests that the newly created marine reserve is already providing benefits which are flowing back to species targeted by fisheries, emphasising the importance of marine reserves in ecosystem-based management of fisheries.

    Research areas

  • CHLAMYS-OPERCULARIS L, ISLE-OF-MAN, PECTEN-MAXIMUS, AEQUIPECTEN-OPERCULARIS, POPULATION-DYNAMICS, FISHERY-MANAGEMENT, GADUS-MORHUA, CLOSED AREAS, GEORGES BANK, IRISH SEA

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