Abstract: The effective management of marine ecosystems requires strategies that reduce ongoing biodiversity loss with limited conservation resources. Systematic conservation planning provides a powerful framework to foster conservation and optimise allocation of conservation resources. However, conservation planning in the marine realm has mostly accounted for representation of static elements of biodiversity within a network of marine protected areas (MPAs). My PhD project aimed to improve the integration of ecological and threatening processes related to the long-term maintenance of biodiversity, such as larval connectivity and climate warming. By using Brazilian coral reefs as a case study, I developed methodological approaches to MPA network design that improve upon previous approaches to marine conservation for persistence in many ways: (i) by demonstrating how to formulate conservation objectives to specifically address connectivity and climate changes processes; (ii) by interpreting and combining modelling tools with MPA network design that help make conservation planning more informative; and (iii) by showing the value of setting these conservation objectives from the outset of planning. My thesis is that stronger methodological frameworks will operationalize their integration and improve conservation outcomes in the sea.
Bio: Rafael became an oceanographer in 2005 after finishing his undergraduate studies at Federal University of Vitoria, a public research university in Vitoria (central coast of Brazil). He undertook his MSc (Zoology) at the same university working on zooplankton ecology related to tidal regimes in a tropical estuary. Since 2007, Rafael has been working at the Federal Agency for Biodiversity Conservation in Brazil, when he became passionate about marine conservation. He got involved in developing many conservation strategies including the design and management of marine reserves and formulation of the Brazilian National List of Threatened Species. In late 2011, he started pursuing his PhD, which investigates better ways to designing functional network of marine reserves.