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MPA Education

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Special MPA Center sponsored edition of Current: The Journal of Marine Education focused on Networks and Systems of Marine Protected Areas

Increasing impacts on the world’s oceans and Great Lakes, caused by development, pollution, overfishing, and natural events, strain the health of our coastal and marine ecosystems. Some of these impacts can include decreased or damaged fish populations, loss of wetlands and other coastal habitats, bleached corals, threatened or endangered species, or resulting social and economic impacts. Marine protected areas, or MPAs, are one type of ocean management tool that, when used effectively, help protect and restore our oceans. They may also protect historic artifacts such as shipwrecks that could otherwise be damaged by handling or theft.

Current November 2, 2010
Click here to view this issue of Current
Sometimes a single MPA is not sufficient in size or scope to protect all of the resources that reside within its boundaries. Therefore, a network of MPAs – a grouping of smaller MPAs protecting different habitats at various locations within the larger ecosystem - may be required. This issue of Current focuses on networks of MPAs, and includes articles written by authors who have had extensive experience in MPA network management and research. The activities and additional resources at the end of the articles will help you bring the concept of MPAs and networks of MPAs directly into your classroom.


Welcome Letter from Dr. Jane Lubchenco

Networks of Marine Protected Areas: What are They and Why Are They Needed?
by Kara Schwenke, Lauren Wenzel, and Katya Wowk

Activity: Working Together with Sherman and the National System of Marine Protected Areas

Institutional Networks of Marine Protected Areas – Connecting People to Protect Places
by Georgina Bustamante, Meghan Gombos, Hans Herrmann, Karen Schmidt, and Alessandra Vanzella-Khouri

Why are Ecological Networks of Marine Protected Areas Important?
by Steven Gaines and Satie Airamè

Graphic: How Marine Reserves and Networks Protect Ocean Resources

Activity: Biodiversity

Pelagic Reserves for Marine Top Predators: How Big and How Many?
by David Hyrenbach

Activity: Origami Whale and Turtle

New Stresses, New Strategies: Managing Marine Protected Areas in an Age of Global Environmental Change
by Daniel Gleason

Activity: Architects of Seamounts

Current - The Journal of Marine Education is published by the National Marine Educators Association. The National Marine Educators Association brings together those interested in the study and enjoyment of the world of water. Affiliated with the National Science Teachers Association, NMEA includes professionals with backgrounds in education, science, business, government, museums, aquariums, and marine research, among others.

Permission has been granted to The National Marine Protected Areas Center to post the special issue of "The National Marine Protected Areas Center: Networks of Marine Protected Areas" of Current: The Journal of Marine Education (Volume 26, Number 2, 2010) published by the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA). For more information about the NMEA, please visit their website at

For More Information or to request a hard copy, write to