Send in the Marine Reserves
Marine Hotspots Could Be Key to Saving Endangered Ocean Species
Rainforests and savannah watering holes have long been recognized as biodiversity “hotspots,” where a wide array of species live and interact. Now, scientists have pulled together compelling data pointing to the existence of marine hotspots as well — ocean locations where a large number of endangered marine animals thrive, including tuna, swordfish, sharks, and turtles. In research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, German and Canadian scientists report that these hotspots tend to be found in areas where tropical and temperate oceans converge and where there are reefs. “This is like the watering holes in the Serengeti, where you have lions and leopards and gazelles and wildebeest and all species congregating at a relatively small spot,” said lead researcher Boris Worm. Designating the hotspots as marine reserves would be a highly efficient way to protect marine species, including threatened large predators, the scientists say.