, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 153-175

Marine biodiversity: patterns, threats and conservation needs

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Abstract

Marine biodiversity is higher in benthic rather than pelagic systems, and in coasts rather than the open ocean since there is a greater range of habitats near the coast. The highest species diversity occurs in the Indonesian archipelago and decreases radially from there. The terrestrial pattern of increasing diversity from poles to tropics occurs from the Arctic to the tropics but does not seem to occur in the southern hemisphere where diversity is high at high latitides. Losses of marine diversity are highest in coastal areas largely as a result of conflicting uses of coastal habitats. The best way to conserve marine diversity is to conserve habitat and landscape diversity in the coastal area. Marine protected areas are only a part of the conservation strategy needed. It is suggested that a framework for coastal conservation is integrated coastal area management where one of the primary goals is sustainable use of coastal biodiversity.