Marine protected areas around the world are failing to protect most of the evolutionary diversity of the world's coral and fish, a new study has found.

The study into marine parks was conducted by an international team of researchers and found marine protected areas were not adequately protecting the evolutionary history of corals and fish, which stretches back 7,160 million years and 3,586 million years respectively.

These figures may seem outlandish, but there are in fact true numbers, describing the accumulative amount of evolutionary time, and not the absolute amount.

For example 7,160 million years is the accumulative amount of evolution experienced by all the organisms in the particular tree.

Focusing on 805 species of coral and 450 species of labrid fish, the team, which included scientists from James Cook University, Queensland, and Université de Montpellier in France, calculated how much of the species' geographic range was covered by the marine protected area network.

Read the full story at Sydney Morning Herald >>

Read more about protected areas >>

Have you listened to this article via the audio player?

If so, send us your feedback around what we can do to improve this feature or further develop it. If not, check it out and let us know what you think via email or on social media.

A collection of stories from guest authors.

Join the Conversation