Marine protected areas shifting, require more flexible protection

By on March 1, 2012

Because of changing ocean conditions attributed to climate change, some species in marine protected areas (MPAs) have relocated to other areas. Some have shifted as much as three kilometers in the past 50 years, and researchers predict that some MPAs could move 300 more kilometers in the next 50 years. This means scientists may need to assess a new, more flexible, distribution of MPAs. Technological advances in marine science presented at a recent American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting will allow improved ocean modeling and observation to view the changes associated with shifted MPAs so solutions can be implemented.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association designates Marine Protected Areas as places that need widespread, permanent protection and observation. There are nearly 1,600 MPAs which include sanctuaries, parks, preserves or natural areas.


Image credit: Georgia Tech Research News

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