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Optimizing Marine Protected Area Networks: The effects of climate change on larval dispersal and connectivity

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Optimizing Marine Protected Area Networks: The effects of climate change on larval dispersal and connectivity

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A changing climate will make the conservation of marine biodiversity increasingly difficult as policies designed for current climatic conditions may not reflect those in the future. Larval dispersal and movements among populations is a crucial factor in planning networks of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) as it greatly affects population persistence and recovery. I will present some of my work quantifying larval behavior in the laboratory, to using a biophysical larval dispersal model (ROMS/LTRANS, etc) to identify patterns of larval connectivity in the present and future climate scenarios. Identifying mechanisms that drive larval dispersal and connectivity, quantifying their sensitivity to climate change, and incorporating this into planning strategies are key to developing networks of MPAs which have sound design principles that consider population connectivity and are more robust to the effects of climate change.

A changing climate will make the conservation of marine biodiversity increasingly difficult as policies designed for current climatic conditions may not reflect those in the future. Larval dispersal and movements among populations is a crucial factor in planning networks of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) as it greatly affects population persistence and recovery. I will present some of my work quantifying larval behavior in the laboratory, to using a biophysical larval dispersal model (ROMS/LTRANS, etc) to identify patterns of larval connectivity in the present and future climate scenarios. Identifying mechanisms that drive larval dispersal and connectivity, quantifying their sensitivity to climate change, and incorporating this into planning strategies are key to developing networks of MPAs which have sound design principles that consider population connectivity and are more robust to the effects of climate change.

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Optimizing Marine Protected Area Networks: The effects of climate change on larval dispersal and connectivity

  1. 1. Optimizing Marine Protected Area Networks: The effects of climate change on larval dispersal and connectivity Rémi Daigle @RemiDaigle
  2. 2. Outline: ● Background and motivation ● My PhD research: ○ Swimming behaviours vs invertebrate larval distribution ● Postdoctoral Research: ○ Evaluation of larval behaviour ○ Sea cucumber larval dispersal ○ MPA optimization ○ BEST-MPA ● Future Directions ● Discussion!
  3. 3. But the new Canadian Government is pretty awesome... In the mandate letter from our PM to DFO: “Work with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to increase the proportion of Canada’s marine and coastal areas that are protected – to five percent by 2017, and ten percent by 2020 – supported by new investments in community consultation and science.”
  4. 4. Meeting deadlines VS ‘paper parks’
  5. 5. Convenvention on Biological Diversity Guidelines in the CBD: ● Ecologically and biologically significant areas ● Representativity ● Connectivity ● Replicated ecological features ● Adequate and viable sites Grad-student Remi’s guidelines ● Connectivity ● Other stuff...
  6. 6. In the beginning...
  7. 7. Being small larvae in a big ocean CURRENT CURRENT
  8. 8. You just can’t put a GPS on larvae!
  9. 9. Vertical distribution vs Temperature ● Behaviour varies by species ● Observing behaviours enables modelling!
  10. 10. Spatial co-localization
  11. 11. Patch size = tidal excursion
  12. 12. What is more important? Bio-physical interactions: ● Larval swimming behaviours ● Planktonic larval duration ● Larval release site ● Timing
  13. 13. Larval dispersal can be modelled!
  14. 14. Physics > Biology (and that hurts me)
  15. 15. Enter: charismatic megafauna Giant California sea cucumber
  16. 16. The ‘cucumber’ questions: How does climate change affect larval dispersal? ● Dispersal distance? ● Degree of connectivity? ● Connectivity patterns Identify “hotspots” of climate change sensitivity ● Limited to physical dispersal process
  17. 17. The physical model: Covers entire BC coast and a bit of USA Years: ● Present: 1998-2007 ● Future: 2068-2077 (labelled 2098-2107)
  18. 18. The physical model: Covers entire BC coast and a bit of USA Years: ● Present: 1998-2007 ● Future: 1968-1977 Series: ● A: genetic sites (daily: June-July)
  19. 19. The physical model: Covers entire BC coast and a bit of USA Years: ● Present: 1998-2007 ● Future: 1968-1977 Series: ● A: genetic sites (daily: June-July) ● G: Habitat grid sites (daily: June-July)
  20. 20. The physical model: Covers entire BC coast and a bit of USA Years: ● Present: 1998-2007 ● Future: 1968-1977 Series: ● A: genetic sites (daily: June-July) ● G: Habitat grid sites (daily: June-July) ● S: seasonal grid sites (bi-weekly: Jan-Aug)
  21. 21. Biology wins!
  22. 22. Connectivity: Dispersal distance mapped
  23. 23. Connectivity: Connected nodes mapped
  24. 24. Connectivity: ‘infomap’ clustering
  25. 25. Connectivity: ‘infomap’ clustering
  26. 26. Connectivity: ‘infomap’ clustering
  27. 27. Connectivity: ‘infomap’ clustering
  28. 28. Descriptive summary ● Dispersal distance will be more affected by temperature than by flow regime ● Changes in flow regime will increase the level of population connectivity ● Hotspots: ○ Between southern Haida Gwaii - Mainland ○ West coast Vancouver Island ○ Maybe northern SOG
  29. 29. BCMCA Ecological: ● Seabirds ● Fish ● Invertebrates ● Marine mammals ● Physical ● Plants
  30. 30. BCMCA Human Use: ● Commercial fishing ● Sport Fishing ● Ocean energy ● Shipping ● Tenures ● Tourism & Recreation
  31. 31. MPA planning Compare the effectiveness of MPA networks: ● Status quo ● Designed from human+ecological data from BCMCA MARXAN analysis ● BCMCA+connectivity layer Include spatially variable connectivity information into MARXAN analysis
  32. 32. So what!? BEST-MPA
  33. 33. Good Planning = Economic Benefit!
  34. 34. Future work: Putting the multi- in multi-approach ● Does the genetic data support the biophysical model results? (Amanda Xuereb) ● Can we formulate theory that describes population persistence? (Ridouan Bani) ○ Negative covariance in connectivity = negative covariance in population fluctuations ● Can we include connectivity in a meaningful way into MPA planning (MARXAN)? (Cassidy D’Aloia) ● Expand connectivity coverage for Atlantic Canada, and complete BEST-MPA case study in BC (me)
  35. 35. Questions/Discussion Focus on physical aspects of connectivity appropriate? How to measure ‘success’ of connectivity? Should MPA’s be climate refugia, or pathways to cooler climates? How can (Canadian) scientist best position their science to provide useful advice?

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