Theoretical Ecology

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 117–127 | Cite as

Spillover from marine reserves related to mechanisms of population regulation

  • Julie B. KellnerEmail author
  • Roger M. Nisbet
  • Steven D. Gaines
Original Paper


Spillover of fish from marine reserves to adjacent harvested waters may be mediated by density-independent movement, density-dependent movement, or both. If dispersal is by random movement, populations within the reserve must be regulated by density-dependent population growth (DDG). Density-dependent movement (DDM) can also regulate the population if accelerated emigration from a reserve to the surrounding fishing grounds leads to substantially increased mortality. Using spatially explicit models, we show that stock per unit area is bounded for DDG and increases with size for DDM. With DDG, spillover rate per unit area of reserve is maximized with reserves around 50% larger in linear dimension than the minimum size for population persistence. With DDM, spillover per unit area of reserve increases with reserve size. The results highlight the need for the mechanism of population regulation to be incorporated into theoretical and empirical investigations of marine reserve ecology.


Spillover Density-dependent movement Population regulation Persistence Marine protected area Fishery yields 



Support was provided by the Coastal Toxicology Lead Campus Component of the University of California Toxic Substances Research and Teaching Program, the University of California – Santa Barbara, US NSF (grant DEB01-08450), Santa Barbara Coastal Long Term Ecological Research, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) funded primarily by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. This is PISCO contribution number 282. The authors thank Bruce Kendall, Bob Warner, Shaun Belward, and Elizaveta Pachepsky for helpful discussions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie B. Kellner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Roger M. Nisbet
    • 2
  • Steven D. Gaines
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science and PolicyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  3. 3.Marine Science InstituteUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

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