Scientia Marina, Vol 76, No 4 (2012)

Contrasting effects of protection from harvesting in populations of two limpet species in a recently established marine protected area

Cataisa López
Biodiversidad, Ecología Marina y Conservación, Departamento de Biología Animal (Ciencias Marinas), Facultad de Biología, Universidad de La Laguna, Spain

Ainoa Poladura
Biodiversidad, Ecología Marina y Conservación, Departamento de Biología Animal (Ciencias Marinas), Facultad de Biología, Universidad de La Laguna, Spain

José Carlos Hernández
Biodiversidad, Ecología Marina y Conservación, Departamento de Biología Animal (Ciencias Marinas), Facultad de Biología, Universidad de La Laguna, Spain

Laura Martín
Área de Biodiversidad, Reserva Mundial de la Biosfera La Palma, Spain

Laura Concepción
Área de Biodiversidad, Reserva Mundial de la Biosfera La Palma, Spain

Carlos Sangil
Área de Biodiversidad, Reserva Mundial de la Biosfera La Palma, Spain

Sabrina Clemente
Biodiversidad, Ecología Marina y Conservación, Departamento de Biología Animal (Ciencias Marinas), Facultad de Biología, Universidad de La Laguna, Spain


This study aimed to evaluate the effects of protection from extractive activities on the population structure of two limpets of commercial interest, Patella ulyssiponensis and Patella candei crenata. We evaluated the status of these populations in La Palma Marine Protected Area (MPA), Canary Islands, and in comparable unprotected areas in the lower intertidal zone of the same island. We showed that the density of P. ulyssiponensis depended greatly on the level of protection, whereas the effects of protection on the density of P. candei crenata were less clear and only differences between sites were found. These results are probably linked to the different habitat affinities of the two species studied and demonstrate the need to tailor conservation strategies in MPAs to individual species for appropriate management of local shellfish resources.


marine protected area; shellfishing; intertidal habitat; Patella ulyssiponensis; Patella candei crenata; Canary Islands

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