Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 14, Issue 13, pp 3151–3168 | Cite as

A Test of the Higher-Taxon Approach in the Identification of Candidate Sites for Marine Reserves

  • William Gladstone
  • Timothy Alexander


Alternatives to species-level identification have been advocated as one solution to the problem of selecting marine reserves with limited information on the distribution of marine biodiversity.This study evaluated the effects on selection of candidate sites for marine reserves from using the higher-taxon approach as a surrogate for species-level identification of intertidal molluscs and rocky reef fishes. These effects were evaluated by determining the percentage of species included in candidate reserves identified from genus-, family- and order-level data by a complementarity-based reserve selection algorithm, and by testing for correlations between the irreplaceability values of locations. Candidate reserves identified from genus- and family-level data of intertidal molluscs included a similar percentage of all species as the reserves identified from species-level data. Candidate reserves selected from genus- and family-level data of rocky reef fishes included, respectively, 3–7% and 14–23% fewer species than reserves selected from species-level data. When the reserve identification process was constrained by a practical planning limit (a maximum of 20% locations able to be reserved) the reserves selected from genus- and family-level data of intertidal molluscs, and genus-level data of rocky reef fishes, included a similar percentage of species as the reserves identified from species-level data. Irreplaceability values of locations for species, genera and families of intertidal molluscs were highly correlated, and irreplaceability values of locations for species and genera of rocky reef fishes were highly correlated. This study suggests that genus- and family-level data for intertidal molluscs, and genus-level data for rocky reef fishes, are suitable surrogates for species in the identification of candidate sites for marine reserves.

Key words:

Biodiversity survey Intertidal rocky shore Irreplaceability Marine protected area Molluscs Rocky reef fishes Species richness 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Sustainable Use of Coasts and Catchments, School of Applied SciencesUniversity of Newcastle (Ourimbah Campus)OurimbahAustralia

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