Larval connectivity and ecological coherence of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Kattegat-Skagerrak region
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are considered effective instrument to mitigate the loss of biodiversity in the sea. However, the management of MPA-networks is challenged by a lack of information of habitat distribution, and of how populations are connected between habitats and MPAs through dispersal of pelagic larval stages. In this study, the effect of larval connectivity on the ecological coherence of the MPA-networks in the Kattegat-Skagerrak area of the North Sea is investigated with special focus on the OSPAR-MPAs. By using biophysical models, the larval dispersal and connectivity of benthic organisms in the Kattegat-Skagerrak area is assessed. The report also aims to assess if a series of new model tools can be applied to identify optimal MPA-networks for benthic communities, and evaluate the existing MPA-networks with regards to larval connectivity. This report was prepared on request by the Swedish Agency for Water and Marine Management.
Marine protected areas