Understanding how widely marine organisms disperse and the spatial scale of connectivity within and among populations, species and ecosystems is critical to effective science-based spatial management of marine biodiversity. How well do current marine reserve design efforts account for the spatial component of population and community diversity? The spatial extent of a population or ecological community has direct bearing on several key aspects of reserve design, namely how big they should be (to ensure adequate representation and viability of the organism) and how close together should they be (to ensure adequate opportunity for dispersal between reserves to prevent the effects of isolation including loss of viability and evolutionary divergence).

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