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Oceanographic connectivity among marine protected areas on the north coast of British Columbia, Canada

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The main objective of our study was to use a three-dimensional oceanographic simulation model to understand connectivity among the proposed Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area (GHNMCA) and 10 other proposed or existing marine protected areas (MPAs) on the north Pacific coast of Canada. The simulations were conducted using passive particles placed at three depths and vertically migrating particles for 30 or 90 days in late winter. Simulated surface particle dispersion was found to be consistent with winter ocean current observations made from analysis of satellite imagery, current mooring, and drifter data. The GHNMCA would contribute to a network of MPAs because it supplies and receives particles from other MPAs in northern British Columbia. Model simulations also indicate that the greatest source of particles to GHNMCA originate from 30-m and not 2-m flows. Finally, the simulated mean daily dispersal rate of 2.0 km·day–1 would allow fish and invertebrates to self-seed northern portions of the GHNMCA in winter. Together, the GHNMCA and other MPAs appear to contribute a large percentage of particles to non-MPA regions in northern Hecate Strait, which may be considered a particle sink in winter.

L'objectif principal de notre étude est de comprendre, à l'aide d'un modèle océanique tridimensionnel de simulation, la connectivité entre l'aire marine nationale de conservation Gwaii Haanas (GHNMCA) et 10 autres zones marines protégées (MPA) actuelles ou proposées sur la côte pacifique nord du Canada. Les simulations se sont faites à l'aide de particules passives placées à trois profondeurs et de particules à migration verticale pendant des périodes de 30 ou de 90 jours en fin d'hiver. La dispersion simulée des particules en surface correspond aux observations des courants d'hiver faites au moyen d'imagerie satellite et aux données de courant provenant de bouées amarrées et dérivantes. L'aire GHNMCA contribuerait au réseau des MPA, car elle émet des particules vers les autres zones du nord de la Colombie-Britannique et en reçoit d'elles en retour. Les simulations du modèle indiquent que les courants à 30 m et non ceux à 2 m sont la source principale de particules pour GHNMCA. Enfin, le taux de dispersion moyen simulé de 2,0 km·jour–1 permettrait aux poissons et aux invertébrés de coloniser eux-mêmes les portions nordiques de GHNMCA en hiver. Ensemble, GHNMCA et les autres MPA semblent fournir un pourcentage important des particules aux régions qui ne sont pas des MPA dans le nord du détroit d'Hécate, qui peut être considéré comme un drain pour les particules en hiver.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2005

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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