Klinger, Terrie Friday Harbor Laboratories, University of Washington, Friday Harbor, Washington.
Last reviewed:June 2018
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- Population assessment
- Mitigation, recovery, and restoration
- Marine protected areas
- Monitoring programs
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The management of marine species and ecosystems to prevent their decline and extinction. As in terrestrial conservation, the goal of marine conservation is to protect biodiversity and ecosystem function through the preservation of species, populations, and habitats (Fig. 1). The importance of conserving marine species and ecosystems is growing as a consequence of human activities. Negative impacts on marine biological systems are caused by such actions as overfishing; overutilization, degradation, and loss of coastal and marine habitats; introduction of nonnative (invasive) species; and intensification of global climate change, which alters oceanic circulation and disrupts existing trophic relationships. Such factors contribute to species decline and extinction in the sea. The growing human population puts direct pressure on marine biological resources through extraction of food and natural resources from the ocean; conversion of coastal habitats for housing, marinas, and other purposes; use of waterways for shipping and recreational purposes; intentional and unintentional translocation of exotic marine species; and pollution of coastal waters and their underlying sediments. In addition, humans put indirect pressure on coastal and marine systems through runoff, erosion, pollution, and eutrophication from terrestrial sources. Additional indirect pressures are imposed on marine systems, and on the entire biosphere, by the production of atmospheric emissions that contribute to global warming and increased penetration of ultraviolet radiation. Marine conservation biologists seek to reduce the negative effects of all these factors by conducting directed research and helping to develop management strategies for particular species, communities, habitats, or ecosystems. See also: Biodiversity; Conservation (species); Conservation of resources; Ecology; Ecosystem; Global climate change; Global warming; Invasion ecology; Marine ecology; Oceanography
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