Duke University

Project Description

Understanding the Role of Science in Marine Protected Areas

Project Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine expert views on the role of science in the design, management, and evaluation of marine protected areas (MPAs). MPAs are defined as �discrete geographic area[s] that [have] been designated to enhance the conservation of marine and coastal resources� (NRC 2001, p. 13), and are an increasingly popular tool for marine conservation and resource management. There is, however, much debate over whether and how science should be incorporated into the MPA policy process. The purpose of this study, which will form part of a larger dissertation research project, is to examine the views of science and policy experts on the role of science (and scientists) in MPAs.

This study will focus on the first International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC), a professional meeting of MPA experts from scientific, governmental, non-governmental, and private sector institutions, and will include two components: a survey and participant observation. The follow-up on-line survey will be supported by

Conference attendees will be asked to offer their opinions on the nature of science, the proper role of science and scientists in the design and management of MPAs. These views will be related to respondents' characteristics, as well as their views on MPA success. Overall, it is hoped that this research will contribute to both theory and practice related to the management of marine protected areas.

National Research Council (NRC). 2001. Marine Protected Areas: Tools for Sustaining Ocean Ecosystems. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Surveys released for this project:
Perspectives on Science and Marine Protected Areas 70
Sample Survey 3
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