Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2022

Department 1

Environmental Studies


Coral reefs are biodiversity hotspots that provide humans with extractive ecosystem services like fisheries and non-extractive services like tourism. Though no studies have examined these trade-offs among these services at a global scale, there are now large, open datasets that make this possible. Using these datasets, we asked whether spatial protection and the level of protection (World Database on Protected Areas) impacted coral reef tourism value (Atlas of Ocean Wealth). We also examined whether proximity to regions of high fishing effort, defined as the top 25th percentile of the average annual effort from Global Fishing Watch, impacted tourism values. Since our data were zero-inflated, we used a two-step modeling approach for statistical analysis, examining predictors of tourism presence/absence then predictors of tourism value magnitude. We found that protected coral reefs are more likely to have a tourism value than those that are not. Among reefs with tourism value, protected areas had a higher average value than unprotected areas. In addition, the level of protection influenced the likelihood and magnitude of tourism value, though in some instances in unexpected ways, possibly due to restrictions on tourism in strongly protected reefs. Coral reefs in closer proximity to high fishing effort had a lower chance of having tourism value, but in areas that did have tourism value, areas closer to high fishing effort had a higher average value. Using large, global datasets of ecosystem services, our study informs management trade-offs in coral reef ecosystems.


Written for ES 460: Individualized Study-Research

Presented at the ASLO 2021: Aquatic Sciences Conference