The International Research Fellowship Program enables U.S. scientists and engineers to conduct three to twenty-four months of research abroad. The program's awards provide opportunities for joint research, and the use of unique or complementary facilities, expertise and experimental conditions abroad.
This award will support an twenty-four month research fellowship by Dr. Glenn R. Almany to work with Dr. Geoffrey P. Jones at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia, and with Mr. Max Benjamin and Mr. Shannon Seeto at Mahonia Na Dari Conservation and Research Centre in Papua, New Guinea.
A majority of scientists and managers advocate a network of marine reserves to help rebuild depleted fisheries. One principal mechanism by which reserves can rebuild fisheries is the "spillover effect", whereby juveniles and adults emigrate from protected reserves to nearby fishing areas. Although there is indirect evidence that spillover occurs, little is known about the underlying mechanisms of this phenomenon. If we understand how ecological and behavioral factors influence spillover, we can predict which systems, habitats, and species are most likely to exhibit spillover before reserves are established. Only with such detailed insight can we effectively design and manage marine reserves established to help rebuild fisheries. The goals of this project are to document whether and under what circumstances spillover occurs, to determine which ecological and behavioral factors are correlated with spillover, and to document movement patterns of important food fishes over short (days to months) and long (years) time scales, and small (<100 meters) and large (kilometers) spatial scales. The PI will use acoustic telemetry to monitor the movements of individuals tagged within each of four fully-protected reserves and external tagging to document fish movement via tag returns and experimental trapping. The PI expects that increased movement will correlate with high fish density, large fish size, high predator density, high habitat connectivity, small reef size, and the reproductive season.
The coral reefs and marine reserves in Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea provide an ideal system in which to study spillover.