Funded by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, this is a project to increase understanding of how the level of management of marine protected areas (MPAs) can influence delivery of marine ecosystem services. This is being addressed using spatial stochastic modelling approaches, together with scaling techniques and case study analysis.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a key management tool to halt the global decline in marine biodiversity and fish stocks. The purpose of MPAs is to conserve marine species and habitats; this is achieved by restricting damaging human activities. The amount of restrictions varies from none (paper parks) to very high levels of protection. MPAs also provide benefits for society through provision of ecosystem services (ecosystem outputs that have human welfare value). These include the fish we eat, regulation of our climate by the sea and shoreline protection from erosion by coastal habitats.
Blue mussel beds provide a diverse range of ecosystem services including nutrient cycling, habitat formation, sediment regulation, food provision, prevention of coastal erosion and immobilsation of pollutants.