Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 3, pp 485–488 | Cite as

Marine extinctions and conservation

  • John C. BriggsEmail author
Review, Concept, and Synthesis


In contrast to the large number of terrestrial extinctions that have taken place over the past 12,000 years, there have apparently been very few marine extinctions. But these small losses should not be reason for complacency. During the past 50 years, government supported, commercial fishing has resulted in the collapse of about a thousand populations that once supplied most of the world’s seafood. For the collapsed species, now existing as small remnants of their former population sizes, the future is bleak. They suffer from loss of genetic diversity, inbreeding depression, and depensation. Because marine species were eliminated by historic climatic changes, continued global warming is likely to result in the extinction of small populations that already have a precarious existence. They may be considered evidence of an extinction debt that must be paid as the climate change becomes more severe. For some of the remnant species, extinction can be avoided if there is a rapid management conversion to the use of more marine protected areas (MPAs) and extensive ocean zoning where fishing is prohibited.


Coral Reef Marine Species Marine Protected Area Bluefin Tuna Relict Population 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I wish to thank Brian W. Bowen for his useful suggestions and E. A. Hanni for her proof reading assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Fisheries and WildlifeOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.IndioUSA

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