Researchers who studied the effects of various disturbances on reef communities of coral and fish found that those in 'no-take' marine reserves are less impacted and recover faster than those in reefs that are not located in marine protected areas.
"Understanding the utility of no-take zones in conservation and management is key, but until now there was very little evidence that these no-take zones provided benefits for non-target or non-fished species, as well as wider ecosystem processes," said Dr. Camille Mellin, lead author of the Ecology Letters study.
"Our research demonstrates the wide range of benefits that well-designed and well-managed no-take marine reserves can offer, and reinforces the idea that such marine reserves should be widely implemented and supported as a means of maintaining the integrity of coral reefs globally."
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Camille Mellin et al. Marine protected areas increase resilience among coral reef communities, Ecology Letters (2016). DOI: 10.1111/ele.12598