This webinar originally aired on 3 November 2016.
The state of California established a statewide network of marine protected areas through the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) process. Managers and scientists must now figure out how to employ adaptive management of these MPAs (i.e., to compare outcomes to predicted effects, a requirement of the act). The first step was to initiate baseline monitoring of sites inside the new MPAs and at select reference sites outside of them. Next, with support from California Sea Grant, researchers developed computer models for adaptive management of Central California's MPAs for commercially and recreationally important species such as blue rockfish, black rockfish, lingcod, and cabezon. The spatial population models incorporated what is known about species' larval dispersals, adult movement patterns, and key species interactions to simulate how fish populations might respond to spatial closures and other factors, such as fishing pressure outside the no-fishing zones. Output from the simulations has provided insights on how soon managers should expect to see increases in fish population abundances and when and why there may be time lags in some species’ responses, given factors such as pre-MPA fishing pressure and pre-MPA fish population abundance. The models also offer predictions for how much individual fish sizes might be expected to increase over time. Yet other computational modeling focused on determining "spill-over" distances for MPAs and their implications for siting monitoring reference sites. The scientists report that simply comparing sites inside and outside MPAs can produce misleading results and that consistent evaluation of each over time is more important for accurate assessments of MPA performance than comparing inside and outside MPAs at a set time. This group is working collaboratively with state wildlife managers to develop the science necessary to monitor and adaptively manage the state’s new MPAs.
This webinar will be presented by Louis Botsford of the University of California, Davis, and it was co-sponsored by the NOAA National MPA Center, MPA News, and the EBM Tools Network (co-coordinated by NatureServe and OpenChannels.org).