SS1.10 Marine Protected Areas: Critical tools for Marine Biodiversity Conservation
Date: Monday, June 10, 2002
Time: 3:45:00 PM
Location: Esquimalt
 
YakimishynJL, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada, jennyak@office.geog.uvic.ca
Robinson, C, , Parks Canada Agency, Vancouver, Canada, Cliff_Robinson@pch.gc.ca
 
DIVERSITY OF FISH ASSEMBLAGES IN EELGRASS BEDS OF PACIFIC RIM NATIONAL PARK RESERVE OF CANADA, BRITISH COLUMBIA
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Marine protected areas can play an important role in conserving representative biodiversity in coastal areas. It is frequently assumed that inclusion of highly visible coastal ecosystems, such as eelgrass beds (Zostera marina), automatically meets conservation criteria. It remains unclear in the literature however, if eelgrass beds in BC are equivalent spatially and temporally in their roles supporting biodiversity. In this study, we have examined fish assemblages in eelgrass beds within and outside the boundaries of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. More than 40 fish species were identified among all sites combined, with an average of 15 species found in any one bed. The 12 most abundant fish species, including threespine sticklebacks, shiner perch, kelp clingfish, staghorn sculpins, and bay pipefish were found ubiquitously among the 6 beds. Each bed appears to have a relatively unique assemblage of 5-10 rare fish species. Temporally, fish species richness decreased on average from May to September. Additional sampling of fish assemblages and eelgrass bed structure is required to more fully understand the role this marine protected area plays in conserving eelgrass fish biodiversity.