Abstract: A key step in comprehensive conservation planning is classifying a planning region into spatial units (e.g. bioregions), each with distinct environmental and biological characteristics. These bioregions then act as biodiversity surrogates, allowing managers to protect the many different aspects of biodiversity by protecting a portion of each bioregion. Yet when using these subdivisions to guide protected area placement, many aspects of biology, such as unrecorded species and internal heterogeneity, are not considered. My thesis aims to use the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park as a case study to investigate these facets of conservation-oriented biogeographic classification. I will recreate the bioregions for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park using expanded species distribution data, and compare these to the existing bioregions used for the 2004 zoning. I will also investigate the effect of unrecorded species, assess internal bioregion heterogeneity, and analyze how that affects their conservation utility.
Biography: Danielle is a PhD candidate at James Cook University investigating aspects of statistical classification of conservation regions, and the implications for management, under the guidance of Professors Bob Pressey and Sean Connolly, and Dr. Tom Bridge. She graduated with an Honors Bachelor of Science and Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in 2011 from Oregon State University, Oregon, USA. She also received her Master of Science in Marine Resource Management from Oregon State University, in 2013.