The Role of Marine Protected Areas in Ecosystem-based Management

Principal Investigator(s): 

Robert Pavia and James Lindholm

Examining the Science and Politics of an Ocean Conservation Strategy

Recent reports by the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission recommend specific actions necessary to drive advances in ocean governance, including the use of marine protected areas (MPAs) as tools for ecosystem-based management. With coastal development, pollution, and resource extraction pressures on MPAs increasing, national and international efforts are focusing on developing MPAs in the context of the ecosystems, both terrestrial and marine, in which they occur.

We will conduct an NCEAS Distributed Graduate Seminar dedicated to clarifying the role of MPAs as tools for ecosystem-based management. The National Marine Sanctuary Program, one of the primary MPA management programs in U.S. Federal waters, will serve as a vehicle for this exploration. Graduate students from Hawaii to New Hampshire will examine how our growing scientific understanding of ecosystem processes within MPAs, and evolving ocean-observing capabilities, can allow us to manage MPAs as integral components of the ecosystems in which they reside.

More information about this research project.