Dr Damon Bolton
Associate Lecturer
Contact details:
+61 2 9385 3447

Room 570
Biological Sciences Building (D26)
UNSW, Kensington 2052

Member of the Applied Marine and Estuarine Ecology Lab (AMEE)


GEOS3911 Environmental Impact Assessment

GEOS3921 Coastal Resource Management

 Indirect Effects of Marine Protected Areas

In a rapidly changing world, protecting biodiversity has become a major concern to ecologists. In addition to natural stressors, anthropogenic activities can lead to increased stress on many ecosystems. Minimising anthropogenic impact has been achieved in the terrestrial biome with the wide spread and accepted use of national parks. In contrast the marine environment has received little protection, and the relatively recent use of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is still a highly political topic. To date the scientific literature has focused predominantly on the benefits individual species (particularly commercially important species) gain from protection, while leaving a gap on how well MPAs preserve biodiversity at an ecosystem level (Garcia-Charton et al. 2008). Overharvesting as well as protection of higher level predators or economically targeted species can have consequences on lower trophic levels, thereby influencing biodiversity within entire ecosystems. My research will aim to address the knowledge gap regarding MPAs ability to protect biodiversity on an ecosystem level by exploring the indirect effects no-take marine areas within MPAs have on benthic fouling communities. Focusing primarily on the role altered predation pressure has on sessile invertebrate and algal communities, a significant proportion of biodiversity within this ecosystem. This study will also add to ecological theory by expanding on trophic interactions within human altered marine systems which may influence MPA design.