Moving Targets: Mobile Species and MPA Networks in a Changing Ocean (PhD Project)
As a signatory to the UN Conservation of Biological Diversity agreement, Canada is required to expand its MPA coverage from 1% to 10% of its territorial waters by 2020. By taking into account the movements of marine species at different stages in their lives and interactions between predators and prey, MPAs carefully placed into a network can ensure species are adequately protected. This maximises both the conservation and fishery benefits that MPAs can offer.
My PhD seeks to develop a framework for MPA network design in Atlantic Canada, with a focus on 3 interacting migratory species; capelin – a species which is recognised nationally and internationally as important in marine ecosystems due to its central role in the food web and has suffered rapid population declines, cod – a keystone predator and commercially important species which relies heavily on capelin and has failed to recover from overfishing despite a moratorium being introduced in the early 1990s, and seabird species afforded protection under the Migratory Birds Convention Act (1994), such as common murres and puffins which support their chicks with capelin foraged during the breeding season.