Contest: “Most Beautiful MPA Office in the World”

Some MPA managers, planners, and conservationists work in relatively plain office buildings. But others work in beachfront villas, or on-the-water ranger stations, or in an actual royal castle (as WWF Sweden does). Do you work in a beautiful office? If so, please send us a photo! We will print entries in MPA News and invite readers to vote in a future issue. The winner will be named “Most Beautiful MPA Office in the World” and receive a limited edition MPA News tote bag.

Please send your entry to Good luck!

Winners announced for last month’s trivia question

We received many, many correct answers to our trivia question last month, “In what year was MPA News first published?” Thanks to all of you who participated! Originally we were going to draw one winning entry at random to receive an MPA News tote bag, but there were so many of you that we drew three instead. The winners of tote bags are Vainuupo Jungblut of Samoa, Lim Ai Gaik of Malaysia, and Fiona Wilton of Uruguay. Congratulations!

Primer for managers on ocean plastics

The current issue of Marine Ecosystems and Management, the sister newsletter of MPA News, features a review of the latest research on ocean plastics, with an audience of ocean managers in mind. The review covers how much plastic is in the oceans, what happens to it there, its ecosystem effects, and what can be done about it.

Number of natural World Heritage sites affected by climate change nearly doubles in three years

A new report from IUCN finds that the number of natural World Heritage sites threatened by climate change has grown from 35 to 62 in just three years. The report examines both terrestrial and marine World Heritage sites. Climate change impacts, including coral bleaching, now affect a quarter of all natural World Heritage sites – compared to one in seven sites in 2014 – and place coral reefs among the most threatened ecosystems. Other ecosystems, including wetlands and low-lying deltas, are also affected. The report IUCN World Heritage Outlook 2 warns that the number of natural World Heritage sites affected by climate change is likely to continue growing.

Severe coral mortality in Chagos MPA; prospects for long-term recovery seen as poor

A study of coral reefs in the UK’s 640,000-km2 Chagos Marine Protected Area in the Indian Ocean has found that the global coral bleaching event from 2015-2017 resulted in severe coral mortality in the MPA. Over the two-year period, coral cover declined from 40-50% to less than 10%, and commonly just 5% in water less than 15-m depth. The prolonged warming also nearly eliminated soft corals. The study predicts that recurrences of mass mortalities will take place too frequently for significant recovery of reef health in Chagos by the late 2020s. The study “Coral Bleaching and Mortality in the Chagos Archipelago” is in Atoll Research Bulletin and is available for free here.

Milestone reached for project to breed bleaching-resistant corals

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority are supporting a project to breed bleaching-resistant corals. The project, called Sea-quence, is examining coral genetics to determine why reefs of similar species are bleaching in Australian waters but surviving in the Red Sea. Through selective breeding, the project aims to ensure a future for healthy coral reefs in a climate-changed world. Started five years ago, Sea-quence reached a milestone in October: project researchers genetically sequenced a whole coral organism for the first time, including the coral animal, the plants (zooxanthellae) that live in its tissue, and associated microbes including bacteria and viruses.

New tool visualizes important seafloor features, and guides planning for improved protection

A new online tool helps users understand the seafloor features that occur in a particular managed area and how well those features are currently represented in MPAs. This information can be used to guide future planning of protected areas. The Protected Areas Impact Maps Virtual Research Environment (PAIM VRE) allows users to visualize, analyze, and report on a range of ecologically important seafloor features, including seamounts, canyons, ridges, trenches, seagrass beds, mangroves, coral reefs, and more. More information and a demo of the tool are available here.

Report on MPAs in EU overseas countries and territories

MPAs in the overseas countries and territories of EU member states contribute nearly 30% of global MPA coverage, despite accounting for just 5% of the world’s marine realm. According to a new report from IUCN, five of the ten largest MPAs on the planet reside in EU overseas waters – almost 6 million km2. The report European Union Overseas Coastal and Marine Protected Areas assesses current overseas sites’ geographic coverage, management, representativeness, resilience against invasive alien species, climate change and anthropogenic pressures, and progress toward the achievement of international conservation objectives. The report is available here.

From the MPA News vault

Features and news items from yesteryear

Five years ago: November-December 2012

  • What Counts as a Marine Protected Area?
  • Perspective: When NGOs Invest Long-term in an MPA’s Management

Ten years ago: November 2007

  • New Zealand Designates Network of Deep Sea Protected Areas Covering More than One Million Square Kilometers
  • Special Feature: More Lessons from the European Symposium on MPAs

Fifteen years ago: November 2002

  • Women and MPAs: How Gender Affects Roles in Planning and Management
  • Shrimpers and Mexican Government Compromise on Fishing in Reserve

For these and all other issues of MPA News, go to