nected through larval and juvenile dispersal and thus would not be dynamically separate replicates. However, even in these situations, protecting some stock subunits from fishing may facilitate research on postdispersal processes (e.g., recruitment and growth) and how they are affected by local density and changes in habitat structure from fishing. Reserves could serve an important role in fisheries research as a tool to study fishing impacts through spatially replicated areas under different management regimes.
MPAs provide a unique opportunity for the public to learn about the diversity of marine life and how human activities both on land and in the sea affect the health of marine environments. Many MPAs, like parks on land, establish interpretive centers and prepare educational material for schools and recreational groups.
Tourism and recreation could contribute significantly to the commercial value of an MPA. The aesthetic appeal of marine areas for tourism is dependent on the quality of the natural environment—abundant marine life, unpolluted waters, intact habitats. An MPA may serve as a catalyst for the development of a suite of nonconsumptive services that include such diverse elements as shore-based aquaria and museums and seagoing activities such as whale watching. Recreational activities that do not threaten the protection of marine life not only provide local communities with economic opportunities, but also may enhance appreciation and support for the MPA.
Marine ecosystems provide benefits beyond harvestable products such as fish and algae. Sometimes referred to as a category of ecosystem services, these benefits include processes such as water purification, protection of coastal areas from storm damage (coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds), bioremediation of chemical and oil spills, reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide through biological carbon sequestration, and nutrient cycling. MPAs and reserves can support the maintenance of marine ecosystems and the services they provide.
MPAs can also be established to protect areas of distinct character with significant cultural value. Examples of these are protecting archaeological sites, shipwrecks, places of special historical significance, and landscapes or seascapes