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.

Project Timeline

Ongoing project

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Project Contacts

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Samantha Andrews
PhD student // Memorial University
I am a marine conservation biologist/ecologist who is fascinated by those mobile marine critters that travel throughout the ocean. Whether they are migratory or nomadic, we can use spatial ecology and movement ecology to understand more about mobile species, and ultimately manage our interactions with them better than we are. What really gets me excited is the idea of dynamic ocean management – using as near to real time data as possible to provide conservation benefits and/or improve fishery management, and marine protected area networks to enhance and protect species at vulnerable places, and at vulnerable life stages.

When I’m not busy doing my own science, I don my science communicator/engager hat and can be found talking to people or writing about the ocean, its inhabitants, and marine science in all its splendor.

Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram
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