Abstract: Overfishing and climate change threaten marine biodiversity and fisheries worldwide. Addressing these problems is particularly critical in areas of high species richness and endemicity, such as the Midriff Islands, Gulf of California, where livelihoods of coastal communities are negatively affected by depletion of fish stocks and potential loss of valuable species due to climate change. Our study aimed to develop a practical approach to design networks of marine reserves that consider ecological connectivity and the effects of climate change. We used up-to-date data/models on marine species distribution and ecological connectivity, as well as current systematic conservation planning methods to design and test alternative reserve networks that achieve three objectives: represent biodiversity (species and habitats) associated with rocky reefs; minimise costs to fishers and/or maximise benefits to commercial fisheries; and account for ecological connectivity and predicted ecological changes wrought by climate change. To achieve our objectives, we developed and tested alternative methods to incorporate connectivity based on readily-available data and tools. To provide practical guidance to real-world marine planning exercises, we discuss the benefits and limitations of our approach, such as the assumptions underpinning our treatment of connectivity and climate change in the spatial prioritisation and the adequacy of our outputs to guide on-ground implementation of actions.
Biography: Jorge was born and grew up in Mexico City, where he studied Biology at the National University of Mexico. He completed his PhD in the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, where he is now a postdoctoral research fellow. Jorge’s broad research interest regards planning for the sustainable use of natural resources to achieve biodiversity conservation and development objectives. In particular, he is interested in advancing systematic conservation planning theory and practice through the integration of terrestrial and marine conservation planning initiatives. Other areas of interest and previous work experience include prioritising invasive species management, conservation planning for endangered species, wildlife trade, and catchment and river plume modelling. He is currently working on three applied research projects: prioritizing management actions to achieve multiple objectives in northern Australia; exploring the use of social network analysis to inform regional conservation planning, and collaborating with researchers, agencies and local NGOs to design a network of marine reserves in the Gulf of California, Mexico.