Mouvement, Abondance, Distribution

Marie-Morgane ROUYER

MSCA Early-Stage Research FellowMarieMorganeROUYER

I am a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions research fellow, part of the Inspire4nature Innovative Training Network, researching at the interface between science and policy in the field of biodiversity conservation. I am looking at the effectiveness of protected areas at conserving biodiversity, in partnership with BirdLife International and the UNEP-WCMC.

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 Project: The effectiveness of protected areas at conserving biodiversity

Supervisor: Ana Rodrigues, Maria Dias (BirdLife International), Nina Bhola (UNEP-WCMC)


Contact details: CEFE UMR5175 - Campus du CNRS - 1919, route de Mende - 34293 Montpellier 5 - France


About me

I graduated from an international master’s in applied ecology during which I worked on identifying critical foraging sites for Antarctic penguins and evaluating how well these sites would be covered by an envisioned network of marine protected areas. This project at the science-policy interface enhanced my desire to better understand the drivers of efficient conservation to improve policies, a topic I will develop in my project looking at the effectiveness of protected areas at conserving biodiversity in the marine world.


Project outline

Biodiversity is declining across the world, with  thousands of species at risk of extinction and major declines in animal populations. With habitat loss and degradation being the most important pressure to biodiversity, protected areas are widely recognised as the most important conservation tool (Watson et al. 2014). They currently cover about 14.9% of the global land surface and 7.3% of the oceans (UNEP-WCMC et al. 2018), and the world’s governments have committed to increase this even further: in 2010, the signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity endorsed the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, including Aichi Target 11 calling for an expansion of the protected area coverage to at least 17% of terrestrial areas and 10% of marine areas by 2020, focusing on well-connected, effectively and equitably managed, and ecologically representative areas of particular importance for biodiversity.

Whereas protected area coverage has been increasing steadily in the past decades, it is not necessarily doing so strategically to protect those areas that are the most important to ensure biodiversity persistence (Venter et al. 2018). Indeed, only 21% of areas identified as Key Biodiversity Areas – i.e., sites contributing significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity – are fully protected, whereas 35% have no protection at all (UNEP-WCMC et al. 2018). Furthermore, there is wide variation in the extent to which protected areas, once established, are effective at retaining the biodiversity within their boundaries, with many of them holding declining populations (Geldmann et al. 2018) and lacking adequate resources in terms of staffing and budget (Coad et al. 2019).

This project will investigate the effectiveness of Protected Areas as biodiversity conservation tools, particularly those covering Key Biodiversity Areas, and the extent to which they ensure the long-term persistence of the biodiversity within their boundaries. The research will have a large-scale scope (continental to global). In order to take advantage of the best existing datasets on the spatial distribution of species, the project will focus on vertebrate species, particularly birds.

It is expected that this project will contribute to more accurate measures of the past impact and future value of protected areas, guiding and inform informing priorities for policy-making.

This research project is part of the Inspire4Nature, an European Training program at the science-policy interface of biodiversity conservation, and funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Horizon 2020 initiative.



2020-2021: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions early-stage research fellow.

2017-2019: International Master in Applied Ecology; Université de Poitiers (France), Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (Germany), University of East Anglia (UK). Master’s thesis in partnership with BirdLife International looking at the identification of marine Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas for Antarctic penguins.

2014-2017: Undergraduate Degree in Biology, with a specialization in Ecology and Organism Biology; Université de Poitiers, France. 1 year exchange program in Oregon State University, USA.


Poster presentations

Conserving Antarctic penguins: identification of critical sites in support of the Antarctic MPA network.
- 10th International Penguin Conference, Dunedin, New Zealand, August 2019.

- Student Conference in Conservation Science, Cambridge, March 2020.