Dr Maria Beger

University Academic Fellow in Marine Conservation Biology
School of Biology

Background: 2012-2016 Research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, The University of Queensland, Australia 2008-2011 Postdocs: The University of Queensland, University of Melbourne, University of Tasmania 2002-2008 PhD Conservation Science, The University of Queensland, Australia 2000-2002 Australian-European Exchange Scholar, James Cook University, Australia 1996 Dipl.Ing. Groundwater Engineering, TU Dresden, Germany 1994 MSc Marine Resources Management & Conservation, Heriot Watt Uni, UK

Contact: Manton 8.02, +44(0) 113 34 32899, email address for  

You can read more about Dr Beger's interests here:


Twitter: @MariaBeger
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=FOuwA4gAAAAJ&hl=en

Research Interests

I am a quantitative marine ecologist and conservation scientist integrating field data, spatial models and decision science to find conservation solutions that link theory and practice.

I am a conservation ecologist with complementary interests in coral reef ecology and spatial conservation prioritization. I mostly work in the Coral Triangle, the Pacific, the Western Indian Ocean, Japan and Australia.  I also work in projects dealing with fish biomass predictions, climate change science, ecosystem services, and global evaluations of protected areas. Current themes I work on are:

  •     Integrating larval dispersal into spatial planning and conservation;
  •     How can genetic data inform conservation decisions?
  •     Managing whole life cycles in migratory animals: integrating telemetry into planning;
  •     How can we model and manage coral reef resilience?
  •     Multi-taxon community assembly rules along a tropical to temperate temperature gradient (Australia, Japan)
  •     Managing range shifts;
  •     How do pristine reefs differ (Republic of the Marshall Islands)?
  •     Develop coastal and offshore bioregionalisations (South Pacific);
  •     Quantifying human-ecological links in coastal ecosystems;
  •     Which fish are here (fish species counts in Maldives, Philippines, Indonesia, PNG, Australia, Palau, FSM, Marshall Islands, ...)

 I collaborate with local and regional conservation NGOs, including The Nature Conservancy (Coral Triangle, Micronesia), IUCN (Pacific, Maldives), World Wildlife Fund (Malaysia), Marshall Islands Conservation Society (Republic of the Marshall Islands). I also work with government agencies, such as the NSW Department of Primary Industries and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage in Australia.


Schooling Thalassoma



2017 PhD Scholarships available!

NERC DTP: Understanding and managing tropical marine ecosystem interactions to improve their climate change futures

Dr Maria Beger (SoB), Professor Piers Forster (SEE): http://www.nercdtp.leeds.ac.uk/projects/index.php?id=697



Current Projects

1. Effect of climate change on coral reef ecosystems and their management


2. Conservation planning / spatial decision science in marine environments


3. Community shifts along gradients: Tropical - Temperate (Australia, Japan)

                                                       Pristine - Degraded by humans


Faculty Research and Innovation

Studentship information

Postgraduate studentship areas:

  • CONTACT me to discuss other projects in the fields of:
  • Marine ecology
  • Spatial conservation planning

See also:

Modules taught

BLGY1303 - Tutorials for Biology and Genetics
BLGY2100 - Enhanced Study Skills for Biologists
BLGY2321 - Marine Zoology Field Course
BLGY3247 - Advanced Topics in Conservation Science
BLGY3345 - Biology Integrated Research Projects
BLGY3395 - Advanced Research Skills and Experience
BLGY3396 - Research Literature Review
BLGY5191M - Biodiversity and Conservation MSc and MRes Summer Project
BLGY5198M - Biodiversity and Conservation MRes Research Project 1


Louise Anderson (Primary supervisor) 50% FTE
James Cant (Primary supervisor) 50% FTE
Katie Cook (Primary supervisor) 50% FTE
Afreen Hussain (Primary supervisor) 100% FTE
Sonja Wild (Co-supervisor) 30% FTE

Beyer HL, Kennedy EV, Beger M, Chen CA, Cinner JE, Darling ES, Eakin CM, Gates RD, Heron SF, Knowlton N, Obura DO, Palumbi SR, Possingham HP, Puotinen M, Runting RK, Skirving WJ, Spalding M, Wilson KA, Wood S, Veron JE, Hoegh-Guldberg O Risk-sensitive planning for conserving coral reefs under rapid climate change Conservation Letters, 2018
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Takashina N, Beger M, Kusumoto B, Rathnayake S, Possingham HP Correction to: A theory for ecological survey methods to map individual distributions Theoretical Ecology 1-3, 2018
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Cinner JE, Maire E, Huchery C, MacNeil MA, Graham NAJ, Mora C, McClanahan TR, Barnes ML, Kittinger JN, Hicks CC, D’Agata S, Hoey AS, Gurney GG, Feary DA, Williams ID, Kulbicki M, Vigliola L, Wantiez L, Edgar GJ, Stuart-Smith RD, Sandin SA, Green A, Hardt MJ, Beger M, Friedlander AM, Wilson SK, Brokovich E, Brooks AJ, Cruz-Motta JJ, Booth DJ, Chabanet P, Gough C, Tupper M, Ferse SCA, Sumaila UR, Pardede S, Mouillot D Gravity of human impacts mediates coral reef conservation gains Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2018
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Takashina N, Beger M, Kusumoto B, Rathnayake S, Possingham HP A theory for ecological survey methods to map individual distributions Theoretical Ecology 11 213-223, 2018
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Takashina N, Kusumoto B, Beger M, Rathnayake S, Possingham HP Spatially explicit approach to estimation of total population abundance in field surveys. Journal of theoretical biology, 2018
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McGowan J, Bode M, Holden MH, Davis K, Krueck NC, Beger M, Yates KL, Possingham HP Correction to: Ocean zoning within a sparing versus sharing framework Theoretical Ecology 1-, 2018
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Zinke J, Gilmour JP, Fisher R, Puotinen M, Maina J, Darling E, Stat M, Richards ZT, Mcclanahan TR, Beger M, Moore C, Graham NAJ, Feng M, Hobbs J-PA, Evans SN, Field S, Shedrawi G, Babcock RC, Wilson SK Gradients of disturbance and environmental conditions shape coral community structure for south-eastern Indian Ocean reefs Diversity and Distributions 24 605-620, 2018
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Sommer B, Beger M, Harrison PL, Babcock RC, Pandolfi JM Differential response to abiotic stress controls species distributions at biogeographic transition zones Ecography 41 478-490, 2018
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Álvarez-Romero JG, Munguía-Vega A, Beger M, del Mar Mancha-Cisneros M, Suárez-Castillo AN, Gurney GG, Pressey RL, Gerber LR, Morzaria-Luna HN, Reyes-Bonilla H, Adams VM, Kolb M, Graham EM, VanDerWal J, Castillo-López A, Hinojosa-Arango G, Petatán-Ramírez D, Moreno-Baez M, Godínez-Reyes CR, Torre J Designing connected marine reserves in the face of global warming Global Change Biology 24 e671-e691, 2018
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Levin N, Beger M, Maina J, McClanahan T, Kark S Evaluating the potential for transboundary management of marine biodiversity in the Western Indian Ocean Australasian Journal of Environmental Management 25 62-85, 2018
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McGowan J, Bode M, Holden MH, Davis K, Krueck NC, Beger M, Yates KL, Possingham HP Ocean zoning within a sparing versus sharing framework Theoretical Ecology, 2018
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Reynolds SD, Norman BM, Beger M, Franklin CE, Dwyer RG Movement, distribution and marine reserve use by an endangered migratory giant Diversity and Distributions 23 1268-1279, 2017
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Martin TSH, Connolly RM, Olds AD, Ceccarelli DM, Fenner DE, Schlacher TA, Beger M Subsistence harvesting by a small community does not substantially compromise coral reef fish assemblages ICES Journal of Marine Science 74 2191-2200, 2017
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Saunders MI, Bode M, Atkinson S, Klein CJ, Metaxas A, Beher J, Beger M, Mills M, Giakoumi S, Tulloch V, Possingham HP Simple rules can guide whether land- or ocean-based conservation will best benefit marine ecosystems PLoS Biology 15, 2017
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Sommer B, Sampayo EM, Beger M, Harrison PL, Babcock RC, Pandolfi JM Local and regional controls of phylogenetic structure at the high-latitude range limits of corals Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 284, 2017
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Nielsen ES, Beger M, Henriques R, Selkoe KA, von der Heyden S Multispecies genetic objectives in spatial conservation planning. Conservation Biology 31 872-882, 2017
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Jumin R, Binson A, McGowan J, Magupin S, Beger M, Brown CJ, Possingham HP, Klein C From Marxan to management: ocean zoning with stakeholders for Tun Mustapha Park in Sabah, Malaysia ORYX 1-12, 2017
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McGowan J, Beger M, Lewison RL, Harcourt R, Campbell H, Priest M, Dwyer RG, Lin HY, Lentini P, Dudgeon C, McMahon C, Watts M, Possingham HP Integrating research using animal-borne telemetry with the needs of conservation management Journal of Applied Ecology 54 423-429, 2017
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Hughes TP, Kerry JT,Álvarez-Noriega M, Álvarez-Romero JG, Anderson KD, Baird AH, Babcock RC, Beger M, Bellwood DR, Berkelmans R, Bridge TC, Butler IR, Byrne M, Cantin NE, Comeau S, Connolly SR, Cumming GS, Dalton SJ, Diaz-Pulido G, Eakin CM, Figueira WF, Gilmour JP, Harrison HB, Heron SF, Hoey AS, Hobbs J-PA, Hoogenboom MO, Kennedy EV, Kuo C-Y, Lough JM, Lowe RJ, Liu G, McCulloch MT, Malcolm HA, McWilliam MJ, Pandolfi JM, Pears RJ, Pratchett MS, Schoepf V, Simpson T, Skirving WJ, Sommer B, Torda G, Wachenfeld DR, Willis BL, Wilson SK Global warming and recurrent mass bleaching of corals Nature 543 373-377, 2017
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Chauvenet ALM, Kuempel CD, McGowan J, Beger M, Possingham HP Methods for calculating Protection Equality for conservation planning PLoS ONE 12, 2017
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Baldwin C, Lewison RL, Lieske SN, Beger M, Hines E, Dearden P, Rudd MA, Jones C, Satumanatpan S, Junchompoo C Using the DPSIR framework for transdisciplinary training and knowledge elicitation in the Gulf of Thailand Ocean and Coastal Management 134 163-172, 2016

Roelfsema C, Thurstan R, Beger M, Dudgeon C, Loder J, Kovacs E, Gallo M, Flower J, Cabrera KLG, Ortiz J, Lea A, Kleine D A citizen science approach: A detailed ecological assessment of subtropical reefs at point lookout, Australia PLoS ONE 11, 2016
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Cinner JE, Huchery C, MacNeil MA, Graham NAJ, McClanahan TR, Maina J, Maire E, Kittinger JN, Hicks CC, Mora C, Allison EH, D'Agata S, Hoey A, Feary DA, Crowder L, Williams ID, Kulbicki M, Vigliola L, Wantiez L, Edgar G, Stuart-Smith RD, Sandin SA, Green AL, Hardt MJ, Beger M, Friedlander A, Campbell SJ, Holmes KE, Wilson SK, Brokovich E, Brooks AJ, Cruz-Motta JJ, Booth DJ, Chabanet P, Gough C, Tupper M, Ferse SCA, Sumaila UR, Mouillot D Bright spots among the world's coral reefs Nature 535 416-419, 2016
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Boon PY, Beger M The effect of contrasting threat mitigation objectives on spatial conservation priorities Marine Policy 68 23-29, 2016
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Mazor T, Beger M, Mcgowan J, Possingham HP, Kark S The value of migration information for conservation prioritization of sea turtles in the Mediterranean Global Ecology and Biogeography 25 540-552, 2016
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Hunter M, Westgate M, Barton P, Calhoun A, Pierson J, Tulloch A, Beger M, Branquinho C, Caro T, Gross J, Heino J, Lane P, Longo C, Martin K, McDowell WH, Mellin C, Salo H, Lindenmayer D Two roles for ecological surrogacy: Indicator surrogates and management surrogates Ecological Indicators 63 121-125, 2016
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Lewison RL, Rudd MA, Al-Hayek W, Baldwin C, Beger M, Lieske SN, Jones C, Satumanatpan S, Junchompoo C, Hines E How the DPSIR framework can be used for structuring problems and facilitating empirical research in coastal systems Environmental Science and Policy 56 110-119, 2016
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Lindenmayer D, Pierson J, Barton P, Beger M, Branquinho C, Calhoun A, Caro T, Greig H, Gross J, Heino J, Hunter M, Lane P, Longo C, Martin K, McDowell WH, Mellin C, Salo H, Tulloch A, Westgate M A new framework for selecting environmental surrogates Science of the Total Environment 538 1029-1038, 2015
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Klein CJ, Brown CJ, Halpern BS, Segan DB, McGowan J, Beger M, Watson JEM Shortfalls in the global protected area network at representing marine biodiversity Scientific Reports 5, 2015
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Peirson W, Davey E, Jones A, Hadwen W, Bishop K, Beger M, Capon S, Fairweather P, Creese B, Smith TF, Gray L, Tomlinson R Opportunistic management of estuaries under climate change: A new adaptive decision-making framework and its practical application Journal of Environmental Management 163 214-223, 2015
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Brown CJ, White C, Beger M, Grantham HS, Halpern BS, Klein CJ, Mumby PJ, Tulloch VJD, Ruckelshaus M, Possingham HP Fisheries and biodiversity benefits of using static versus dynamic models for designing marine reserve networks Ecosphere 6, 2015
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Beger M, McGowan J, Treml EA, Green AL, White AT, Wolff NH, Klein CJ, Mumby PJ, Possingham HP Integrating regional conservation priorities for multiple objectives into national policy Nature Communications 6, 2015
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Makino A, Klein CJ, Possingham HP, Yamano H, Yara Y, Ariga T, Matsuhasi K, Beger M The Effect of Applying Alternate IPCC Climate Scenarios to Marine Reserve Design for Range Changing Species Conservation Letters 8 320-328, 2015
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Simpson CJ, Beger M, Colman JG, Friedman KJ, Hill AK, Kendrick AJ, Waples KA, Whiting SD, Wilson SK Prioritisation of conservation research and monitoring for Western Australian protected areas and threatened species Conservation Science Western Australia 9 227-237, 2015
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Tulloch VJD, Tulloch AIT, Visconti P, Halpern BS, Watson JEM, Evans MC, Auerbach NA, Barnes M, Beger M, Chadès I, Giakoumi S, McDonald-Madden E, Murray NJ, Ringma J, Possingham HP Why do We map threats? Linking threat mapping with actions to make better conservation decisions Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 13 91-99, 2015
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Tallis H, Lubchenco J Working together: A call for inclusive conservation Nature 515 27-28, 2014

Sommer B, Harrison PL, Beger M, Pandolfi JM Trait-mediated environmental filtering drives assembly at biogeographic transition zones ECOLOGY 95 1000-1009, 2014

Ceccarelli DM, Frisch AJ, Graham NAJ, Ayling AM, Beger M Habitat partitioning and vulnerability of sharks in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 24 169-197, 2014
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Hobbs JPA, Beger M, De Brauwer M, Emslie MJ North-eastern range extension of the anemone Stichodactyla haddoni to the Marshall Islands represents a new record of host use by the endemic anemonefish Amphiprion tricinctus Marine Biodiversity Records 7, 2014
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Von Der Heyden S, Beger M, Toonen RJ, Van Herwerden L, Juinio-Meñez MA, Ravago-Gotanco R, Fauvelot C, Bernardi G The application of genetics to marine management and conservation: Examples from the Indo-Pacific Bulletin of Marine Science 90 123-158, 2014
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Beger M, Selkoe KA, Treml E, Barber PH, Von Der Heyden S, Crandall ED, Toonen RJ, Riginos C Evolving coral reef conservation with genetic information Bulletin of Marine Science 90 159-185, 2014
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Makino A, Yamano H, Beger M, Klein CJ, Yara Y, Possingham HP Spatio-temporal marine conservation planning to support high-latitude coral range expansion under climate change Diversity and Distributions 20 859-871, 2014
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Beger M, Sommer B, Harrison PL, Smith SDA, Pandolfi JM Conserving potential coral reef refuges at high latitudes Diversity and Distributions 20 245-257, 2014
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Makino A, Klein CJ, Beger M, Jupiter SD, Possingham HP Incorporating conservation zone effectiveness for protecting biodiversity in marine planning PLoS ONE 8, 2013
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Richards Z, Beger M Regional conservation status of scleractinian coral biodiversity in the republic of the marshall islands Diversity 5 522-540, 2013
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Lukoschek V, Beger M, Ceccarelli D, Richards Z, Pratchett M Enigmatic declines of Australia's sea snakes from a biodiversity hotspot Biological Conservation 166 191-202, 2013
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Makino A, Beger M, Klein CJ, Jupiter SD, Possingham HP Integrated planning for land-sea ecosystem connectivity to protect coral reefs Biological Conservation 165 35-42, 2013
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Halpern BS, Klein CJ, Brown CJ, Beger M, Grantham HS, Mangubhai S, Ruckelshaus M, Tulloch VJ, Watts M, White C, Possingham HP Achieving the triple bottom line in the face of inherent trade-offs among social equity, economic return, and conservation Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110 6229-6234, 2013
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Cvitanovic C, Wilson SK, Fulton CJ, Almany GR, Anderson P, Babcock RC, Ban NC, Beeden RJ, Beger M, Cinner J, Dobbs K, Evans LS, Farnham A, Friedman KJ, Gale K, Gladstone W, Grafton Q, Graham NAJ, Gudge S, Harrison PL, Holmes TH, Johnstone N, Jones GP, Jordan A, Kendrick AJ, Klein CJ, Little LR, Malcolm HA, Morris D, Possingham HP, Prescott J, Pressey RL, Skilleter GA, Simpson C, Waples K, Wilson D, Williamson DH Critical research needs for managing coral reef marine protected areas: Perspectives of academics and managers Journal of Environmental Management 114 84-91, 2013
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McClanahan TR, Donner SD, Maynard JA, MacNeil MA, Graham NAJ, Maina J, Baker AC, Alemu I JB, Beger M, Campbell SJ, Darling ES, Eakin CM, Heron SF, Jupiter SD, Lundquist CJ, McLeod E, Mumby PJ, Paddack MJ, Selig ER, van Woesik R Prioritizing Key Resilience Indicators to Support Coral Reef Management in a Changing Climate PLoS ONE 7, 2012
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MacLeod ID, Richards V, Beger M The effects of human and biological interactions on the corrosion of WWII iron shipwrecks in Chuuk Lagoon, 2011
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Rasaiah B, Peterson E, Beger M, Jones SD Bathymetry of near-shore zones in rongelap atoll, marshall islands using satellite imagery, 2011
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Richards ZT, Beger M A quantification of the standing stock of macro-debris in Majuro lagoon and its effect on hard coral communities Marine Pollution Bulletin 62 1693-1701, 2011
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Kininmonth S, Beger M, Bode M, Peterson E, Adams VM, Dorfman D, Brumbaugh DR, Possingham HP Dispersal connectivity and reserve selection for marine conservation Ecological Modelling 222 1272-1282, 2011
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Beger M, Babcock R, Booth DJ, Bucher D, Condie SA, Creese B, Cvitanovic C, Dalton SJ, Harrison P, Hoey A, Jordan A, Loder J, Malcolm H, Purcell SW, Roelfsma C, Sachs P, Smith SDA, Sommer B, Stuart-Smith R, Thomson D, Wallace CC, Zann M, Pandolfi JM Research challenges to improve the management and conservation of subtropical reefs to tackle climate change threats: (Findings of a workshop conducted in Coffs Harbour, Australia on 13 September 2010), 2011
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Mora C, Aburto-Oropeza O, Ayala-Bocos A, Ayotte PM, Banks S, Bauman AG, Beger M, Bessudo S, Booth DJ, Brokovich E, Brooks A, Chabanet P, Cinner JE, Cortés J, Cruz-Motta JJ, Cupul-Magaña A, DeMartini EE, Edgar GJ, Feary DA, Ferse SCA, Friedlander AM, Gaston KJ, Gough C, Graham NAJ, Green A, Guzman H, Hardt M, Kulbicki M, Letourneur Y, Ĺpez-Pérez A, Loreau M, Loya Y, Martinez C, Mascareñas-Osorio I, Morove T, Nadon MO, Nakamura Y, Paredes G, Polunin NVC, Pratchett MS, Reyes Bonilla H, Rivera F, Sala E, Sandin SA, Soler G, Stuart-Smith R, Tessier E, Tittensor DP, Tupper M, Usseglio P, Vigliola L, Wantiez L, Williams I, Wilson SK, Zapata FA Global human footprint on the linkage between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in reef fishes PLoS Biology 9, 2011
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Ceccarelli DM, Beger M, Kospartov MC, Richards ZT, Birrell CL Population trends of remote invertebrate resources in a Marine reserve: Trochus and holothurians at Ashmore Reef Pacific Conservation Biology 17 132-140, 2011
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Baker N, Beger M, McClennen C, Ishoda A, Edwards F Reimaanlok: A National Framework for Conservation Area Planning in the Marshall Islands Journal of Marine Biology 2011, 2011

Klein CJ, Ban NC, Halpern BS, Beger M, Game ET, Grantham HS, Green A, Klein TJ, Kininmonth S, Treml E, Wilson K, Possingham HP Prioritizing land and sea conservation investments to protect coral reefs PLoS ONE 5, 2010
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Klein C, Kark S, Carvalho S, Beger M, Possingham H Conserving evolutionary novelty on the edge Science 328 1558-, 2010

Beger M, Grantham HS, Pressey RL, Wilson KA, Peterson EL, Dorfman D, Mumby PJ, Lourival R, Brumbaugh DR, Possingham HP Conservation planning for connectivity across marine, freshwater, and terrestrial realms Biological Conservation 143 565-575, 2010
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Beger M, Linke S, Watts M, Game E, Treml E, Ball I, Possingham HP Incorporating asymmetric connectivity into spatial decision making for conservation Conservation Letters 3 359-368, 2010
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Beger M, Possingham HP Environmental factors that influence the distribution of coral reef fishes: Modeling occurrence data for broad-scale conservation and management Marine Ecology Progress Series 361 1-13, 2008
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Peterson EL, Beger M, Richards ZT Thinking outside the reef Science 319 1759-, 2008

Richards ZT, Beger M, Pinca S, Wallace CC Bikini Atoll coral biodiversity resilience five decades after nuclear testing Marine Pollution Bulletin 56 503-515, 2008
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Beger M, McKenna SA, Possingham HP Effectiveness of surrogate taxa in the design of coral reef reserve systems in the Indo-Pacific Conservation Biology 21 1584-1593, 2007
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Gerber LR, Beger M, McCarthy MA, Possingham HP A theory for optimal monitoring of marine reserves Ecology Letters 8 829-837, 2005
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Beger M, Harborne AR, Dacles TP, Solandt JL, Ledesma GL A framework of lessons learned from community-based marine reserves and its effectiveness in guiding a new coastal management initiative in the Philippines Environmental Management 34 786-801, 2004
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Ledesma GL, Dacles TP, Raines PS, Solandt JL, Beger M, Harborne AR, Harding SP, Lizares J Spill-over effects of a community-based marine protected area: A case study from Negros Occidental Silliman Journal 44 61-80, 2003

Solandt JL, Beger M, Dacles TP, Harding SP, Raines PS Effects of the 1998 bleaching event on a large Pavona clavus colony in a Philippine marine protected area Silliman Journal 44 19-33, 2003

Beger M, Jones GP, Munday PL Conservation of coral reef biodiversity: A comparison of reserve selection procedures for corals and fishes Biological Conservation 111 53-62, 2003
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