The application of genetics to marine management and conservation: examples from the Indo-Pacific
Bulletin of Marine Science
Molecular tools and analyses have played pivotal roles in uncovering the processes and patterns of biodiversity in the Indian and Pacific oceans. However, integrating genetic results into management and conservation objectives has been challenging, with few examples that show practical applicability. This review aims to address some of the perceived barriers to an enhanced approach that integrates molecular data into management and conservation goals, by reviewing papers relevant to both conservation and fisheries management in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly with respect to phylogeography, connectivity, and species identification, as well as stock delineation, restoration of depleted wild stocks, mislabeled marine resources and "molecular forensics." We also highlight case studies from each of these areas that illustrate how molecular analyses are relevant to conservation and management in the Indo-Pacific, spanning a variety of vertebrate and invertebrate species. We discuss the application of genetic data to the design and evaluation of the effectiveness of marine protected area networks, stock delineation, and restoration and the usage of exclusion tests and parentage analyses for fisheries management. We conclude that there is a distinct need for increasing public awareness and ownership of genetically unique lineages and, ultimately, the increased inclusion of genetic research into management policy and conservation. Finally, we make a case for the importance of clear and effective communication for promoting public awareness, public ownership, and for achieving conservation goals within the region.