Directed conservation of the world's reef sharks and rays

Authors: Goetze, J.S., Heithaus, M.R., MacNeil, M.A. et al.

Collaboration: Global FinPrint, A Paul G. Allen initiative led by researchers at the Marine Science Program, Biodiversity and Conservation Science, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Perth, Western Australia, and collaborators from around the world

Published Date: 20th May 2024

Journal: Nature Ecology & Evolution (2024),

Highlights: A global study using baited remote underwater videos (BRUV) on coral reefs reveals that reef sharks are nearly twice as abundant in marine protected areas that are effectively managed for fisheries. However, these conservation benefits did not extend to wide-ranging/migratory sharks or rays present on the reef.


How a coastal megacity affects marine biodiversity and ecosystem function: Impacts of reduced water quality and other anthropogenic stressors

Authors: Rinaldi Gotama, David M. Baker, Isis Guibert, Shelby E. McIlroy, Bayden D. Russell


  1. Swire Institute of Marine Science and Area of Ecology and Biodiversity, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, China
  2. Indo Ocean Project, Indonesia
  3. School of Life Sciences, Simon F.S Li Marine Science Laboratory, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China
  4. The joint Laboratory for Marine Ecology and Environmental Sciences (JLMEES), The Swire Institute of Marine Science, The University of Hong Kong, China
  5. Institute for Climate and Carbon Neutrality, The University of Hong Kong, China

Published Date: February 28th, 2024

Journal: Ecological Indicatory, vol. 160 (2024), 111683


  • One of very few studies of biodiversity-ecosystem function in real-world settings.
  • Quantified biodiversity and functions in a water quality gradient of a coastal megacity.
  • Biodiversity, primary and secondary productivity are diminished in highly impacted areas.
  • Ecosystem functionality is context-dependent due to eutrophication and biodiversity effects.
  • Opportunistic organisms may fill gaps in functional roles in degraded habitats


An initial fish and megafauna biomass assessment from Tanjung Bira, a remote unprotected marine area

Authors: Pascal Sebastian, Rinaldi Gotama, Qinthan A. Aulia, Serena J. Stean, Lauren D. Sparks, Syafyudin Yusuf


  1. Indo Ocean Project, Bali, Indonesia
  2. Pusat Penelitian dan Pengembangan Laut, Pesisir, dan Pulau Kecil, Universitas Hasanuddin, Sulawesi Selatan, Indonesia

Published Date: February 20th 2024

Journal: Regional Studies in Marine Science, Vol 72, 103447.


  • Tanjung Bira in South Sulawesi is an unprotected marine area that possesses understudied marine biodiversity.
  • Roving surveys and citizen science assessed fish biomass in Tanjung Bira surroundings, including key species and megafauna.
  • The offshore sites in Kambing exhibited higher richness and biomass of elasmobranchs and pelagic fish.
  • The diverse habitats of Bira and Liukang Loe supported sea turtles, benthic rays, and parrotfishes.
  • Spatial assemblages were influenced by site topography and oceanic factors
  • All regions face threats from human impacts that could be mitigated through the implementation of protective measures.


Connecting communities to coral reefs: a socio-ecological perspective on coral restoration programs in a remote marine protected area

Authors: Pascal Sebastian, Lauren D. Sparks, Prisilia Resolute, Rahmadi Prasetyo


  1. Indo Ocean Project, Bali, Indonesia
  2. Yayasan Terra Segara Indonesia, Bali, Indonesia
  3. Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK
  4. Faculty of Health, Science and Technology, Universitas Dhyana Pura, Bali, Indonesia
  5. Indonesian Marine Education & Research Organization, Bali, Indonesia

Published Date: February 17th, 2024

Journal: Journal of Coastal Conservation, vol. 28,39 (2024)

Highlights: There has been a discernible rise in coral restoration initiatives over the past few years, with Indonesia emerging as a global leader. Due to advancements in accessible methodologies, favorable public opinion, and government-backed initiatives, local communities now have more opportunities to participate in coral restoration projects. The purpose of this study is to provide a fundamental assessment of a community’s level of knowledge concerning coral restoration activities in a remote marine protected area in Indonesia.


Citizen science approach of monitoring fish and megafauna assemblages in a remote Marine Protected Area

Authors: Rinaldi Gotama, Serena J. Stean, Lauren D. Sparks, Rahmadi Prasetyo, Pascal Sebastian


  1. Indo Ocean Project, Bali, Indonesia
  2. Faculty of Health Sciences, Science and Technology, Dhyana Pura University, Bali, Indonesia
  3. Indoneisan Marine Education & Research Organization, Bali, Indonesia

Published Date: June 19th, 2023

Journal: Regional Studies in Marine Science, p.103058.

Highlights: Marine Protected Areas (MPA) safeguard threatened marine ecosystems by protecting fish populations, limiting anthropogenic stressors, and providing additional livelihood for local populations. However, many MPAs do not function effectively due to lack of funding and manpower, engendering the need to find long-lasting, sustainable solutions to monitor and maintain MPA performance. In this study, we utilized citizen science involvement to survey select fish families, key fish species, and megafauna in Nusa Penida MPA, Indonesia using the roving survey method.


Widespread diversity deficits of coral reef sharks and rays

Authors: Colin A. Simpfendorfer, Michael R. Heithaus, M. Aaaron MacNeil, Damian D. Chapman, et al.

Collaboration:Global FinPrint, A Paul G. Allen initiative led by researches at Florida International University and collaborators from around the world

Published Date: July 16th, 2023

Journal: Science, Vol 380, Issue 6650, pp. 1155-1160

Highlights: In recent years, much attention has been given to catastrophic declines in sharks. Most of this attention has focused on large pelagic species that are highly threatened by direct and indirect harvest. Simpfendorfer et al. looked globally at the smaller, coral reef–associated species of sharks and rays and found steep declines in shark species (see the Perspective by Shiffman). Five of the most common reef shark species have experienced a decline of up to 73%. As shark species decline on coral reefs, ray species increase, indicating a community-wide shift. Species are best protected when active protections are in place, suggesting routes for better conservation. —Sacha Vignieri


Coral reef carnivorous fish biomass relates to oceanographic features depending on habitat and prey preference

Authors: Greta Sartori, Michelle L. Taylor, Pascal Sebastian, Rahmadi Prasetyo

University of Essex, United Kingdom
Indo Ocean Project, Indonesia
Dhyana Pura University, Bali, Indonesia

Published Date: Oct 19th, 2021

Journal: Marine Environmental Research, p.105504.

Highlights: Southern Indonesia is characterised by vertical mixing phenomena which drives the presence of marine megafauna. Large predatory fish can exploit ocean current and primary production patterns. The magnitude of the influence of oceanography on carnivorous fish depend on their living and feeding habits. Local oceanography must be considered when studying the movements of large motile species.


Global status and conservation potential of reef sharks

Authors: M. Aaron MacNeil, Demian D. Chapman, et al.

Collaboration: Global FinPrint, A Paul G. Allen initiative led by researches at Florida International University and collaborators from around the world 

Published Date: July 22nd, 2020

Journal: Nature, 583, pp.801–806.

Highlights: Decades of overexploitation have devastated shark populations, leaving considerable doubt as to their ecological status. Yet much of what is known about sharks has been inferred from catch records in industrial fisheries, whereas far less information is available about sharks that live in coastal habitats. Here we address this knowledge gap using data from more than 15,000 standardized baited remote underwater video stations that were deployed on 371 reefs in 58 nations to estimate the conservation status of reef sharks globally.

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