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Fish larvae study stirs marine park debate in Australia by Anna Salleh March 20,2013   |  Source: ABC

A new study on the dispersal of fish larvae has reignited a debate on the science behind marine parks.

The study, by marine biologist Dr Jeffrey Leis of the Australian Museum, and colleagues, is published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Leis says marine parks can be a source of fish for other protected areas, as well as areas that are currently used by recreational and commercial fishing.

"You can get biodiversity protection plus the bonus of fish babies for the fished areas," says Leis, who is also an honorary research professor at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania.

He says understanding how far fish larvae disperse will help in planning the location of marine parks so they can act as a connected network of breeding populations of fish, and provide maximum benefit to both fisheries and conservation.

To date most research on larvae dispersal has been carried out in tropical areas, says Leis, but there is now increasing interest in marine parks being established in temperate areas.

"The question is do we have to do all this research again in cooler water areas or can we apply what we have learned in the tropical areas to what's going on in temperate zones," says Leis.

In the past the assumption has


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