A species approach to marine ecosystem conservation
1. The concept of integrated ecosystem conservation is widely supported as a framework to achieve sustainable management of biodiversity. However, paucity of data and limited methodological tools reduce its application in approaches that integrate scientific knowledge, enhance international cooperation, and promote a rationale that appeals to stakeholders.2. The landscape species concept (LS), a species-based conservation planning tool developed for patterns and processes of terrestrial conservation, is applied to the Extended Patagonian Marine Ecosystem (E-PME) in the SW Atlantic. The E-PME encompasses the Patagonian continental shelf, shelf break front and part of the Argentine Basin (ca. 3000000km(2)).3. This ecosystem is influenced by oceanographic patterns of currents and bathymetry as well as by the overlapping geographies of national and international conventions, including those that govern use of the High Seas. The interactions of these oceanographic and jurisdictional structures, and the distribution and seasonal movements of biological species, drive present conservation opportunities and threats.4. Here, an analysis of 33 candidate species in terms of their area requirements, heterogeneity of their habitat use, vulnerability to threats, ecological functions, and socioeconomic importance is reported, and a suite of 'seascape species' is developed around which to build conservation efforts. Preliminary geographic representations of the human and biological aspects of the seascape are provided, and how their spatial intersection affects conservation approaches is discussed.5. The application of a focal species approach in an ecosystem framework complements space-habitat perspectives (e.g. the Large Marine Ecosystem concept) and may lead to more efficient planning of marine protected areas.
Authors: Campagna, Claudio, Sanderson, Eric W., Coppolillo, Peter B., Falabella, Valeria, Piola, Alberto R., Strindberg, Samantha, Croxall, John P.
1 January, 2008
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems / 17