New Study Maps Ocean Biodiversity Risks

Location matters: This young leatherback sea turtle hatched in Costa Rica. It could be part of the relatively healthy Caribbean population, or it might be crawling toward the Pacific, where the species is critically endangered. (Photo Credit: Casey O’Hara)

Roughly 1 million plant and animal species face extinction, according to a multinational study by a United Nations-backed panel. But where are these species concentrated, and which regions are most vulnerable?

A new paper out of UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management provides an overview of where ocean biodiversity is most at risk, and how that compares with protected areas. The paper, led by doctoral student Casey O’Hara, appears in the journal Conservation Letters. The results present the first comprehensive map of risks to biodiversity in the ocean.

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