News Home Video Gallery Newsletters FishingBoating Features Photo Gallery Sail-World Australia Australian Cruising
Sail-World Australia Australian Cruising MarineBusiness-World


Sail-World.com : Proof that Marine Parks work

Proof that Marine Parks work

'Kimbe Island. The research was carried out in Kimbe Bay, New Britain in Papua New Guinea, a region of relatively pristine coral reefs where it is proposed to set up a network of marine reserves. IKONOS-2 image'    ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies ©

New evidence that networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) can play a big role in protecting threatened coral reef fish and other marine species from local extinction has been found by an international research team.

In a world-first experiment, the researchers used DNA fingerprinting to show that baby orange clownfish have remarkable homing abilities, with many finding their way back to home reefs after being swept out to sea as hatchlings.

In the process they discovered some baby clownfish had travelled to reefs as much as 35 kilometres distant from the reef where they were spawned – a spectacular feat considering they were only a few millimetres in length.

The research was carried out in Kimbe Bay, New Britain in Papua New Guinea, a region of relatively pristine coral reefs where it is proposed to set up a network of marine reserves.

'Basically, we found that MPA networks can help sustain resident fish populations both by local replenishment and by fish larvae coming in from other neighbouring reserves,' says Professor Geoff Jones of ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) and James Cook University.

'Using their parent’s DNA to identify where they had come from, we have been able to show that about 40 per cent of baby clownfish that settle in a marine reserve are those that have returned home. In addition, the parents within one marine reserve can explain up to 10 per cent of the baby fish settling in reserves 20-30km away.

'This shows not only how effective a marine protected area can be for conserving the breeding stock on a particular reef – but also how important it is to have a network of protected reefs at the right distance which can help to re-stock one another.'

In another first, the team has demonstrated the power of parental DNA analysis for measuring the health and viability of fish populations in marine protected areas.

Because orange clownfish live in sea anemones and because the locations of all the anemone clumps around Kimbe island were known, the team was able to collect DNA from 506 adult clownfish living around the island – which they believe to be its entire population.

They then tested juvenile fish which had recently returned from the open sea and settled on the reef in order to establish their parentage, finding that about 40 per cent were locally-bred while the remainder had come from other reefs.

'This level of recruitment to the home reef was remarkably stable over time. It shows both the value of having a protected area to maintain the local fish population – and also the importance of having a network of protected areas within a range that allows them to replenish one another’s fish populations,' Professor Jones says.

After they are hatched from the egg, the baby clownfish are swept out to sea on the local currents and then spend an average of 11 days trying to make their way back to their home reef or find a new one to settle on. In this time they may travel 20 or 30 kilometres from their home reef as the crow flies – and in one remarkable case, 35 kilometres. This indicates a tiny fish only 5mm long can travel 3km or more a day.

Clownfish eggs are tended by the male until they hatch. After hatching the tiny larvae spend 11 days in open water before they settle into adult habitat on the reef. Photo courtesy of Gerry Allen -  ARC Centre of?nid=55309 Excellence Coral Reef Studies ©   Click Here to view large photo

Other species, such as butterflyfish, spend up to 35 days at sea as babies and can potentially cover even greater distances. However, many butterflyfish babies also return to home reefs.

The project’s findings support the growing view that a network of marine reserves is more effective for maintaining a diversity of fish and other marine species than a single, isolated park or no-fishing area.

'The current theory holds that even quite low rates of migration between reefs are enough to prevent certain fish species from becoming locally extinct – and this research bears that out,' Professor Jones says.

'Given the mounting evidence worldwide that populations of many small reef fish are under threat, we think parental DNA analysis offers a new tool to help protect them.'

The research was conducted around Kimbe Bay in Papua New Guinea. Photo courtesy of Dr Glenn Almany, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies -  ARC Centre of?nid=55309 Excellence Coral Reef Studies ©   Click Here to view large photo

The tiny larvae of marine species such as the orange clownfish use their sense of smell to help find suitable adult habitat. Photo courtesy of Dr Simon Foale, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies -  ARC Centre of?nid=55309 Excellence Coral Reef Studies ©   Click Here to view large photo

The report Larval dispersal connects fish populations in a network of marine protected areas by Serge Planes (Perpignan University), Geoff Jones and Simon Thorrold (Woods Hole) is published in the latest edition of the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


by ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies


Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall


2:32 AM Tue 31 Mar 2009 GMT

Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
Environment and the ocean

Related News Stories:

27 Nov 2013  World Oceans Day appeals for funds
16 Nov 2013  Gigantic iceberg sails north from the Antarctic
09 Nov 2013  Sailing and swimming with manatees - Oceans Watch Essay
01 Nov 2013  OceansWatch: cruising sailors give something back in the South Pacific
23 Oct 2013  'The Ocean is Broken' - without fish, there can be no birds
13 Oct 2013  PlanetSolar reaches Paris after successful ocean study
02 Oct 2013  Monaco Yacht Show goes Green
07 Sep 2013  Great Pacific Garbage Patch - the real story
03 Sep 2013  World's largest solar yacht drops anchor after marine science quest
25 Aug 2013  Boat owners: cover vessels to deter seagulls

Power Boat News

Abbot Point onshore disposal by Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority,

Great Barrier Reef plan released for comment by Queensland Minister for Environment,

Brisbane Boat Show begins *Feature by Jeni Bone,

Southport Yacht Club’s annual Sail Past and Blessing of Fleet Ceremony
Gosport Grand Prix of the Sea finale to decide P1 champions
Camper & Nicholsons Yachts presents the Sagitta 42
GT15 and GT30 European Championships - Jelf takes to the podium twice
Marine Rescue crew saves cruiser in trouble in rough conditions
XCAT Series gets set to conquer another continent in 2015
Dangerous conditions for boaters on most of NSW coast
2014 Mandurah Boat Show - Third largest boat show in Australia
2014 Gold Coast International Marine Expo - Eye on the big picture
Mediterranean Grand Prix - Powerboat racing heavyweights head to Ibiza
Mediterranean Grand Prix - World Aquabike stars all set
Antarctic sea-level rising faster than global rate
Powerboat champions gear up for Honda RYA Youth RIB National final
Andrew Scott joins Superior as General Manager *Feature
2014 Gold Coast International Marine Expo - Fastest Jet Ski ever built
Best Birthday Party ever at Southport Yacht Club! *Feature
‘Hall of Fame’ status for Empire Marina *Feature
Girl power all set for Nottingham powerboat racing action
Cowes to Torquay Race 2014 - Intense activity in preparation
Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show - 13 things to See and do
Australian Offshore Superboat Champ - 15 Superboats in Coffs Harbour   
European première for Belize 54 Daybridge at Cannes Yachting Festival   
‘Fish Friendly’ accreditation for Sanctuary Cove Marina   
Plethora of Powerboat racing action this weekend   
Vicsail Boat show Open Day at Rushcutters Bay   
Marine15 - prospectus available online now + VIDEO *Feature   
Southport Yacht Club achieves Clean Marina certification + VIDEO *Feature   
Port Kembla Volunteers bring in 75 metre monster from 5nm offshore   
Gold Coast Int'l Marine Expo - Make every moment one to remember   
Dangerous conditions for boaters from Queensland border to Sydney   
4x4 Outdoors Show and Fishing and Boating Expo - Busy opening day   
Summerland 40 LR named Boat of the Year   
More new boats brand Brisbane Boat Show as a spectacular showcase   
Xiamen Int'l Boat Show 2014 moving to a new home   
Yamaha inspires students to succeed   
NSW EPA supports Marina Industry Environmental Accreditation   
Powerful Yanmar 12AY Diesel Series revealed   
Buy a slice of Solar Sailor history *Feature   
Swan celebrates sales success *Feature   
4x4 Outdoors Show and Fishing and Boating Expo on the horizon   

For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News


Switch Default Region to:

Social Media





New Zealand

United Kingdom

http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png   http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World






Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text


Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery


Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery





Privacy Policy



Cookie Policy



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT