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      From principles to practice: a spatial approach to systematic conservation planning in the deep sea

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          Abstract

          Increases in the demand and price for industrial metals, combined with advances in technological capabilities have now made deep-sea mining more feasible and economically viable. In order to balance economic interests with the conservation of abyssal plain ecosystems, it is becoming increasingly important to develop a systematic approach to spatial management and zoning of the deep sea. Here, we describe an expert-driven systematic conservation planning process applied to inform science-based recommendations to the International Seabed Authority for a system of deep-sea marine protected areas (MPAs) to safeguard biodiversity and ecosystem function in an abyssal Pacific region targeted for nodule mining (e.g. the Clarion-Clipperton fracture zone, CCZ). Our use of geospatial analysis and expert opinion in forming the recommendations allowed us to stratify the proposed network by biophysical gradients, maximize the number of biologically unique seamounts within each subregion, and minimize socioeconomic impacts. The resulting proposal for an MPA network (nine replicate 400 × 400 km MPAs) covers 24% (1 440 000 km(2)) of the total CCZ planning region and serves as example of swift and pre-emptive conservation planning across an unprecedented area in the deep sea. As pressure from resource extraction increases in the future, the scientific guiding principles outlined in this research can serve as a basis for collaborative international approaches to ocean management.

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          Most cited references38

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          Designing marine reserve networks for both conservation and fisheries management.

          Marine protected areas (MPAs) that exclude fishing have been shown repeatedly to enhance the abundance, size, and diversity of species. These benefits, however, mean little to most marine species, because individual protected areas typically are small. To meet the larger-scale conservation challenges facing ocean ecosystems, several nations are expanding the benefits of individual protected areas by building networks of protected areas. Doing so successfully requires a detailed understanding of the ecological and physical characteristics of ocean ecosystems and the responses of humans to spatial closures. There has been enormous scientific interest in these topics, and frameworks for the design of MPA networks for meeting conservation and fishery management goals are emerging. Persistent in the literature is the perception of an inherent tradeoff between achieving conservation and fishery goals. Through a synthetic analysis across these conservation and bioeconomic studies, we construct guidelines for MPA network design that reduce or eliminate this tradeoff. We present size, spacing, location, and configuration guidelines for designing networks that simultaneously can enhance biological conservation and reduce fishery costs or even increase fishery yields and profits. Indeed, in some settings, a well-designed MPA network is critical to the optimal harvest strategy. When reserves benefit fisheries, the optimal area in reserves is moderately large (mode ≈30%). Assessing network design principals is limited currently by the absence of empirical data from large-scale networks. Emerging networks will soon rectify this constraint.
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            PROPAGULE DISPERSAL IN MARINE AND TERRESTRIAL ENVIRONMENTS: A COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE

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              Evidence for enhanced mixing over rough topography in the abyssal ocean

              The overturning circulation of the ocean plays an important role in modulating the Earth's climate. But whereas the mechanisms for the vertical transport of water into the deep ocean--deep water formation at high latitudes--and horizontal transport in ocean currents have been largely identified, it is not clear how the compensating vertical transport of water from the depths to the surface is accomplished. Turbulent mixing across surfaces of constant density is the only viable mechanism for reducing the density of the water and enabling it to rise. However, measurements of the internal wave field, the main source of energy for mixing, and of turbulent dissipation rates, have typically implied diffusivities across surfaces of equal density of only approximately 0.1 cm2 s(-1), too small to account for the return flow. Here we report measurements of tracer dispersion and turbulent energy dissipation in the Brazil basin that reveal diffusivities of 2-4 cm2 s(-1) at a depth of 500 m above abyssal hills on the flank of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and approximately 10 cm2 s(-1) nearer the bottom. This amount of mixing, probably driven by breaking internal waves that are generated by tidal currents flowing over the rough bathymetry, may be large enough to close the buoyancy budget for the Brazil basin and suggests a mechanism for closing the global overturning circulation.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
                Proc. R. Soc. B
                The Royal Society
                0962-8452
                1471-2954
                December 22 2013
                December 22 2013
                December 22 2013
                December 22 2013
                : 280
                : 1773
                : 20131684
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Geography, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, 445 Saunders Hall, 2424 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
                [2 ]NOAA Biogeography Branch, 1305 East-West Hwy, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA
                [3 ]Department of Biology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Edmondson Hall, 2538 McCarthy Mall, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
                [4 ]Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California at Santa Barbara, 2400 Bren Hall, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5131, USA
                [5 ]Center for Ocean Solutions, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University, 99 Pacific Street, Suite 555E, Monterey, CA 93940, USA
                [6 ]Department of Oceanography, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, 1000 Pope Road, Marine Science Building 205, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
                Article
                10.1098/rspb.2013.1684
                24197407
                ddb9cd9e-de45-4741-92ff-50ca1b629170
                © 2013
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