Integrating climate adaptation and transboundary management: Guidelines for designing climate-smart marine protected areas

Nur Arafeh-Dalmau*, Adrian Munguia-Vega, Fiorenza Micheli, Ainoa Vilalta-Navas, Juan Carlos Villaseñor-Derbez, Magdalena Précoma-de la Mora, David S. Schoeman, Alfonso Medellín-Ortíz, Kyle C. Cavanaugh, Oscar Sosa-Nishizaki, Theresa L. U. Burnham, Christopher J. Knight, C. Brock Woodson, Marina Abas, Alicia Abadía-Cardoso, Octavio Aburto-Oropeza, Michael W. Esgro, Noemi Espinosa-Andrade, Rodrigo Beas-Luna, Nirari CardenasMark H. Carr, Katherine E. Dale, Frida Cisneros-Soberanis, Ana Laura Flores-Morales, Stuart Fulton, Emiliano García-Rodríguez, Alfredo Girón-Nava, Mary G. Gleason, Alison L. Green, Arturo Hernández-Velasco, Beatriz Ibarra-Macías, Andrew F. Johnson, Julio Lorda, Luis Malpica-Cruz, Gabriela Montaño-Moctezuma, Carolina Olguín-Jacobson, Alejandro Parés-Sierra, Peter T. Raimondi, Georgina Ramírez-Ortiz, Arturo Ramírez-Valdez, Héctor Reyes-Bonilla, Emily Saarman, Luz Erandi Saldaña-Ruiz, Alexandra Smith, Cecilia Soldatini, Alvin Suárez, Guillermo Torres-Moye, Mariana Walther, Elizabeth Burke Watson, Sara Worden, Hugh P. Possingham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Climate change poses an urgent threat to biodiversity that demands societal responses. The magnitude of this challenge is reflected in recent international commitments to protect 30% of the planet by 2030 while adapting to climate change. However, because climate change is global, interventions must transcend political boundaries. Here, using the California Bight as a case study, we provide 21 biophysical guidelines for designing climate-smart transboundary marine protected area (MPA) networks and conduct analyses to inform their application. We found that future climates and marine heatwaves could decrease ecological connectivity by 50% and hinder the recovery of vulnerable species in MPAs. To buffer the impacts of climate change, MPA coverage should be expanded, focusing on protecting critical nodes for the network and climate refugia, where impacts might be less severe. For shared ecoregions, these actions require international coordination. Our work provides the first comprehensive framework for integrating climate resilience for MPAs in transboundary ecoregions, which will support other nations’ aspirations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1523-1541
Number of pages19
JournalOne Earth
Issue number11
Early online date26 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2023


  • biophysical guidelines
  • California Current System
  • climate adaptation strategies
  • conservation planning
  • kelp forests
  • larval dispersal models
  • marine reserves
  • marine spatial planning
  • post-2020 conservation targets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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