Date of Award

Summer 2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biological Sciences

Committee Director

Kent Carpenter (Advisor)

Committee Member

Holly Gaff

Committee Member

Heather Harwell

Abstract

Around the world, protected areas are the primary conservation measure used to combat biodiversity loss; however, these are often established without comprehensive species-specific information, leading to placement in areas that often do not address the processes that threaten biodiversity. To address this, International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List assessments are being utilized to determine species-specific threats and population status at the global and sub-global levels. This study examines the regional extinction risk for all known marine bony fishes of the Persian Gulf. About 8.3% of the 471 marine bony fishes assessed are at elevated risk of regional extinction. The distribution of threatened species is primarily linked to coastal areas with high human activity and environmental extremes. Evaluation of the Persian Gulf marine protected area network identified limited coverage, with most marine bony fishes having 5% or less of their ranges covered. Given this limited coverage, the offshore islands of Saudi Arabia and near-shore areas around Abu Dhabi and the Kuwait/Iraq border, which contain high concentrations of endemic and threatened species as well as critically important habitats, are recommended for future conservation prioritization. With efficient and effective management and protection, there is potential for the status of the threatened species to improve within this globally important region.

ISBN

9781369143706

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