MEPS 513:155-169 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10987

Combining multispecies home range and distribution models aids assessment of MPA effectiveness

David Abecasis1,*, Pedro Afonso2,3, Karim Erzini1

1Centre of Marine Sciences (CCMAR), University of the Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
2Institute of Marine Research, Department of Oceanography and Fisheries, University of the Azores, 9901-862 Horta, Portugal
3Laboratory of Robotics and Systems in Engineering and Science (LARSyS), Avenida Rovisco Pais, 1, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Marine protected areas (MPAs) are today’s most important tools for the spatial management and conservation of marine species. Yet, the true protection that they provide to individual fish is unknown, leading to uncertainty associated with MPA effectiveness. In this study, conducted in a recently established coastal MPA in Portugal, we combined the results of individual home range estimation and population distribution models for 3 species of commercial importance and contrasting life histories to infer (1) the size of suitable areas where they would be fully protected and (2) the vulnerability to fishing mortality of each species. Results show that the relationship between MPA size and effective protection is strongly modulated by both the species’ home range and the distribution of suitable habitat inside and outside the MPA. This approach provides a better insight into the true potential of MPAs in effectively protecting marine species, since it can reveal the size and location of the areas where protection is most effective and a clear, quantitative estimation of the vulnerability to fishing throughout an entire MPA.


KEY WORDS: Cuttlefish · Maxent · Marine reserve · Sole · Vulnerability to fishing · White seabream


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Cite this article as: Abecasis D, Afonso P, Erzini K (2014) Combining multispecies home range and distribution models aids assessment of MPA effectiveness. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 513:155-169. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10987

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