AB 14:185-200 (2012)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00391

Comparison of methodologies to quantify the effects of age and area of marine reserves on the density and size of targeted species

Daniela Diaz Guisado1, Russell G. Cole2, Robert J. Davidson3, Debbie J. Freeman4, Shane Kelly5, Alison Macdiarmid6, Anjali Pande1,7, Rob Stewart6, Carl Struthers1,8, James J. Bell1, Jonathan P. A. Gardner1,*

1Centre for Marine Environmental & Economic Research, School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
2National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Nelson 7010, New Zealand
3Davidson Environmental Ltd, PO Box 958, Nelson 7040, New Zealand
4Department of Conservation, Research and Development Group, Wellington 6143, New Zealand
5Coastal and Aquatic Systems Ltd, Clevedon, Auckland 2248, New Zealand
6National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Wellington 6021, New Zealand
7Present address: Investigation and Diagnostic Centre, Biosecurity NZ, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, PO Box 40742, Wallaceville 0000, New Zealand
8Present address: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington 6011, New Zealand

ABSTRACT: We quantified the biological response of 2 exploited species to marine reserve (MR) protection by comparing meta-analysis results based on response ratio (RR) and Hedges’ g statistics. To determine the effect of MR area and age on biological responses, a RR analysis was performed on density and size data for both species from sites inside versus outside 13 MRs. Most MRs supported a greater density of larger individuals than unprotected areas. Linear and non-linear plots of MR age and area with respect to species-specific density and size were used to quantify the trajectories of the responses. In the RR meta-analysis but not in the Hedges’ g meta-analysis, MR age explained significant variation in the density and size of both species, while no effect of MR area was detected in either analysis. Comparison of the performance of RR with that of Hedges’ g revealed no overall evidence of a relationship between them, probably because the RR does not include an estimate of variance, whereas the Hedges’ g analysis does. While RR analysis is an appropriate alternative to Hedges’ g statistic meta-analysis assessments of MR effectiveness because of its ease of use and interpretation, we recommend that future RR analyses include both an estimate of variance and a test for ‘effect size’. Finally, we recommend that research be aimed at determining why different MRs produce different biological responses—that is, address why significant ‘effect size’ exists.

KEY WORDS: Response ratio · Meta-analysis · Marine conservation · Biological response · Marine management

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Cite this article as: Diaz Guisado D, Cole RG, Davidson RJ, Freeman DJ and others (2012) Comparison of methodologies to quantify the effects of age and area of marine reserves on the density and size of targeted species. Aquat Biol 14:185-200. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00391

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