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Bioenergetics, overcompensation, and the source–sink status of marine reserves

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Abstract:

One of the hypothesized functions of marine protected areas (MPAs) is to serve as sources of biomass, with biomass spilling over from the reserve into neighbouring, harvested areas. We argue that the net larval flow (from or to the marine reserve) depends on between-area differences in the population-level biomass production rate, whereas the direction of adult flow depends on differences in the biomass standing stock. Hence, an important question is whether population-level biomass production increases (overcompensation) or decreases (undercompensation) with increased per capita mortality. We show that in a consumer–resource context, the source–sink status of an MPA may depend on the details of the individual-level bioenergetics, as well as on the dispersal rates of larvae and adults. We compare two classic bioenergetic models (net-production vs. gross-production allocation). The net-production model predicts that population-level reproduction may increase with mortality (overcompensation), whereas gross-production allocation always results in undercompensation. We show that models often implicitly assume gross-production allocation, thus potentially overestimating the capacity of MPAs to source unprotected areas. We briefly discuss results of two other models (a simplified, logistic model and a size-structured model), suggesting that the relation between overcompensation and the larval sink status of MPAs is general.

Une des fonctions présumées des zones de protection marine (« MPA ») est de servir de source de biomasse, cette biomasse débordant alors de la réserve vers les zones exploitées adjacentes. Nous soutenons que le flux net de larves (depuis ou vers la réserve marine) dépend des différences entre les deux zones du taux de production de la biomasse au niveau de la population, alors que la direction du flux des adultes dépend des différences de biomasse des stocks. Cela soulève une question importante à savoir si la production de biomasse au niveau de la population augmente (surcompensation) ou diminue (sous-compensation) en fonction d’une augmentation de la mortalité par individu. Nous démontrons que, dans un contexte de consommateurs et de ressources, le statut de source ou de piège d’une MPA peut dépendre des détails de la bioénergétique au niveau individuel, mais aussi des taux de dispersion des larves et des adultes. Nous comparons deux modèles bioénergétiques classiques (allocation de la production nette ou de la production brute). Le modèle de production nette prédit que la reproduction au niveau de la population peut augmenter en fonction de la mortalité (surcompensation), alors que l’allocation de la production brute entraîne toujours une sous-compensation. Nous montrons que les modèles présupposent souvent une allocation de la production brute, surestimant ainsi la capacité des MPA d’alimenter les zones non protégées. Nous discutons brièvement des résultats de deux autres modèles (un modèle logistique simple et un modèle structuré en fonction de la taille) et nous croyons que la relation entre la surcompensation et le statut des MPA comme pièges pour les larves est une relation générale.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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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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