Ecological Modelling Research Group Research Ecological Modelling Research Group

Ecological Modelling Research Group

Effects of Fishing on Coral Reefs

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Although recent work has also focused on the impact of fishing on the population viability of reef sharks, ongoing research in our group on the effects of fishing is focused mainly on the effect of no-take marine reserves on the dynamics of exploited populations and the associated fisheries. Currently, we are using empirical estimates of dispersal for a real reserve network in the central Great Barrier Reef to better quantify the demographic links between fished and no-take zones, and the impact of no-take zones on fishery yields. Were coral trout overfished before 33% of the Great Barrier Reef was designated as “no take” in 2004? What is the opportunity cost of not being able to fish in a no-take area, compared to the subsidy that large, unfished populations provide to nearby fished reefs? Can asymmetries in dispersal patterns be exploited to design no-take reserve networks more effectively? This work builds on earlier studies in our group, and by others, on the fisheries implications of no-take marine reserves.

Current Researchers:

  • Jess Hopf

  • Sean Connolly

Current Collaborators:

Recent Publications:

  • Robbins, W., M. Hisano, S. R. Connolly, and J. H. Choat. 2006. Ongoing collapse of coral reef shark populations. Current Biology 16: 2314-2319.

  • Almany, G. R., S. R. Connolly, D. D. Heath, J. D. Hogan, G. P. Jones, L. J. McCook, M. Mills, R. L. Pressey, D. H. Williamson. 2009. Connectivity, biodiversity conservation, and the design of marine reserve networks for coral reefs. Coral Reefs 28: 339-351.

  • Hisano, M., S.R. Connolly, and W.D. Robbins. 2011. Population growth rates of reef sharks with and without fishing on the Great Barrier Reef: robust estimation with multiple models. PLoS ONE 6: e25028, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025028.

  • Blowes, S.A. and S.R. Connolly. 2012. Risk-spreading, connectivity, and optimal reserve spacing. Ecological Applications 22: 311-321.

  • Chan, N.C.S., S.R. Connolly, and B.D. Mapstone. 2012. Effects of sex change on the implications of marine reserves for fisheries. Ecological Applications 22: 778-791.