Stephen identifies the driver for his doctoral research as it can contribute to a global body of work: ‘Understanding how species disperse in the marine environment continues to be a central research theme in conservation biology. Determining patterns of larval dispersal, or connectivity, has profound implications for the survival of marine metapopulations at the brink of extinction’.
From this focused research then, comes data with a much wider reach. ‘This knowledge can help inform the design of well-connected Marine Protected Area (MPA) networks; an essential tool to conserve marine biodiversity in the face of altered seascapes as recognised by the Convention on Biological Diversity. Factors such as the location, size, spacing and configuration of MPA networks need to be considered’.
Key will be that he has chosen a model species to investigate how connectivity and metapopulation dynamics can help guide the design and optimisation of a Micro-MPA Network in the Straits of Gibraltar and Western Alboran Sea, two of the main strongholds for the species. Truly a legacy for the future that, with his work, will hopefully see the humble Mediterranean Ribbed Limpet survive the shifting marine landscape.
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