Seabirds: a Window into California’s Marine Protected Areas


Adapting to change is something wildlife populations have always done. But now they face exceptionally rapid rates of change—on land and in the ocean. They need conservation measures that provide more time, and room, for adapting.

Climate-smart conservation is one such approach. It mixes mitigation and adaptation strategies to increase the resiliency and persistence of ecosystems in the face of climate change. On land, climate-smart habitat restoration is one effective way to revive and support ecosystems. In marine systems, one successful strategy for helping wildlife populations adapt to rapid change is to designate safe havens, free from pressures of fishing and other human impacts.

California’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) aim to do just this—to give fishes, whales, seabirds and the whole marine food web protected places for feeding and breeding.

“The MPAs off California’s coast are a valuable tool in our conservation toolbox,” says Dan Robinette, a lead marine scientist with Point Blue Conservation Science. “They can buy some time for seabird populations to adapt to an ocean environment that’s changing dramatically. And seabirds, like other marine life forms, will adapt if given enough time and space.”

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article: Claire Peaslee
photo: Point Blue


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