Kyle Gillespie/Project Seahorse

Kyle Gillespie/Project Seahorse

PhD student Kyle Gillespie (@kylemgillespie) is investigating how MPAs — a popular conservation tool that has been shown to improve the health of fish populations — can be used to protect invertebrates.

The ocean is filled with incredible creatures, most of which lack a backbone: octopuses, crabs, colourful sea slugs, and roving sea stars. Invertebrates comprise 95% of ocean fauna and play a critical role within their ecosystems. They clean algae from coral reefs, filter water, pick parasites from fish, and are an important source of food for hundreds of millions of people. They also face incredible human pressures, in the form of overfishing, habitat loss, and pollution. In spite of this, marine resource management and conservation rarely take invertebrates into account. 

Working in the central Philippines, Kyle is also studying how the growth patterns of invertebrates can be used to develop effective minimum size limits (i.e. rules about how large an animal must be before it can be caught) for whole groups of species. This will safeguard against animals being caught by trawls and other fisheries before they have the chance to reproduce and replenish their numbers. 

(Banner photo: Claudio Contreras Koob/iLCP)

Project details

Click on the map hotspots for more information.

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Blog posts

Images from the field


Further reading

Kyle to come up with list.