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Enric Sala

Historical exploitation of the Mediterranean Sea and the absence of rigorous baselines makes it difficult to evaluate the current health of the marine ecosystems and the efficacy of conservation actions at the ecosystem level. Here we establish the first current baseline and gradient of ecosystem structure of nearshore rocky reefs at the Mediterranean scale. We conducted underwater surveys in 14 marine protected areas and 18 open access sites across the Mediterranean, and across a 31-fold range of fish biomass (from 3.8 to 118 g m-2). Our data showed remarkable variation in the structure of rocky reef ecosystems. Multivariate analysis showed three alternative community states: (1) large fish biomass and reefs dominated...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: PLoS ONE
1. An expedition to Salas y Gómez and Easter islands was conducted to develop a comprehensive baseline of the nearshore marine ecosystem, to survey seamounts of the recently created Motu Motiro Hiva Marine Park (MMHMP) – a no-take marine reserve of 150 000 km2 – and to compare these results with Easter Island where the marine ecosystem is similar but has no marine protection. 2. Live coral cover was surprisingly high at both Easter Island (53%) and Salas y Gómez (44%), especially considering their sub-tropical location, high wave energy environments, and geographic isolation. 3. Endemic and regionally-endemic species comprised 77% of the fish abundance at Easter Island and 73% at Salas y Gómez. Fish biomass at Salas...
Fishes at Isla del Coco National Park, Costa Rica, were surveyed as part of a larger scientific expedition to the area in September 2009. The average total biomass of nearshore fishes was 7.8 tonnes per ha, among the largest observed in the tropics, with apex predators such as sharks, jacks, and groupers accounting for nearly 40% of the total biomass. The abundance of reef and pelagic sharks, particularly large aggregations of threatened species such as the scalloped hammerhead shark (up to 42 hammerheads ha-1) and large schools of jacks and snappers show the capacity for high biomass in unfished ecosystems in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. However, the abundance of hammerhead and reef whitetip sharks appears to...
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