Skip to main content

Biological effects within no-take marine reserves: a global synthesis

Lester et al.

Results show, on average, positive effects of reserve protection on the biomass, numerical density, species richness, and size of organisms within their boundaries which are remarkably similar to those of past syntheses despite a near doubling of data. New analyses indicate that (1) these results do not appear to be an artifact of reserves being sited in better locations; (2) results do not appear to be driven by displaced fishing effort outside of reserves; (3) contrary to often-made assertions, reserves have similar if not greater positive effects in temperate settings, at least for reef ecosystems; (4) even small reserves can produce significant biological responses irrespective of latitude, although more data are needed to test whether reserve effects scale with reserve size; and (5) effects of reserves vary for different taxonomic groups and for taxa with various characteristics, and not all species increase in response to reserve protection.