Invertebrate health in marine protected areas (MPAs)

J Invertebr Pathol. 2021 Nov:186:107524. doi: 10.1016/j.jip.2020.107524. Epub 2020 Dec 24.


Marine protected areas (MPAs) consist of various categories of safeguarded areas in the marine environment, from semi-protected areas to total no take zones. The reported effects of MPAs are overwhelmingly positive, with numerous reports of fish size (biomass), abundance (recovery) and diversity increases, however, literature is lacking on the role and consequences of MPAs on parasite and disease dynamics, and in particular, invertebrate health. The implementation of MPAs has been known to alter trophic cascades and community dynamics, and with invertebrates commonly at the base of these systems, it is vital that their status is investigated. Overcrowding in areas closed to fishing is known to have parasitological consequences in some scenarios, and land/water use change has been known to alter host and vector communities, possibly elevating disease risk. Equally, reserves can be used as tools for alleviating impacts of marine disease. This review aims to consolidate extant literature and provide a comprehensive viewpoint on how invertebrates (and their health status) can be affected by MPAs, which are increasingly being implemented based on the relative urgency now being placed on protecting global biodiversity. In highlighting the paucity of knowledge surrounding MPAs and disease, especially that of the unenigmatic invertebrate groups, this review, published in the Special Issue on 'Invertebrates as One Health Sentinels', provides an opportunity for wide dissemination and provocation of further research in this area.

Keywords: Disease connectivity; Fisheries; Infection prevalence; Invertebrates; Marine conservation; Marine disease; Marine parasitology; Marine reserves; Parasites; Pathogens.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biodiversity*
  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Fisheries
  • Hunting
  • Invertebrates / physiology*