Dr. Barbara Horta e Costa is a marine researcher at the Center for Marine Sciences (CCMAR) at the University of Algarve in Portugal. She focuses on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and their effects on coastal communities and local users, like artisanal fishers. Dr. Horta e Costa’s research includes work on MPA effectiveness, connectivity, MPA networks, climate change, fisheries vulnerability, and fish assemblage resilience. She has experience with MPAs in Portugal, Cuba, the U.S., and Brazil, as well as regional and global MPA patterns.
Dr. Horta e Costa co-developed a Global Regulations-Based Classification System for MPAs (Horta e Costa et al. 2016), with an accompanying website for MPA practitioners, classifympas.org/en/. Their system is used in GLORES evaluations to help determine a nominee’s award level. Dr. Horta e Costa has also classified Portuguese MPAs under this system, working as a consultant for ANP/WWF PT and Fundação Oceano Azul.
At the Fisheries, Biodiversity and Conservation group (CCMAR), Dr. Horta e Costa currently studies spawning aggregations and reserve effects in a Portuguese MPA through investigating local fishers’ perceptions and ecological surveys. She will soon start a collaborative project with participatory approaches to co-define conservation measures that can protect these vulnerable, important events.
We asked Dr. Horta e Costa why she joined the GLORES Science Council:
“I believe MPAs can and should work. Currently we are risking discrediting MPAs, by not including some requirements when designating them. Effectiveness is central and depends on a lot of factors or criteria. We need to understand what we are protecting and how. GLORES will tackle related issues and will hopefully contribute to more efficient MPAs. I’m proud to be part of this relevant and timely effort. Thanks for inviting me to this journey! I think it will not be easy or always immediately fruitful, but we need to re-think ocean conservation together and communicate it.”