UBC Research Data

Data from: Evolution of movement rate increases the effectiveness of marine reserves for the conservation of pelagic fishes Mee, Jonathan A.; Otto, Sarah P.; Pauly, Daniel


Current debates about the efficacy of no-take marine reserves (MR) in protecting large pelagic fish such as tuna and sharks have usually not considered the evolutionary dimension of this issue, which emerges because the propensity to swim away from a given place, like any other biological trait, will probably vary in a heritable fashion among individuals. Here, based on spatially-explicit simulations, we investigated whether selection to remain in MRs to avoid higher fishing mortality can lead to the evolution of more philopatric fish. Our simulations, which covered a range of life histories among tuna species (skipjack tuna vs. Atlantic Bluefin tuna) and shark species (great white sharks vs. spiny dogfish) suggested that MRs were most effective at maintaining viable population sizes when movement distances were lowest. Decreased movement rate evolved following the establishment of marine reserves, and this evolution occurred more rapidly with higher fishing pressure. Evolutionary reductions in movement rate led to increases in within-reserve population sizes over the course of the 50 years following MR establishment, although this varied among life-histories, with skipjack responding fastest and great white sharks slowest. Our results suggest the evolution of decreased movement can augment the efficacy of marine reserves, especially for species, such as skipjack tuna, with relatively short generation times. Even when movement rates did not evolve substantially over 50 years (e.g., given long generation times or little heritable variation), marine reserves were an effective tool for the conservation of fish populations when mean movement rates were low or MRs were large.; Usage notes
R code for simulations involving non-migratory pelagic speciesgrid_model_Skip_Dog_displaced.R
R code for simulations involving migratory pelagic speciesgrid_model_Blue_White_displaced.R

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