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Identifying the key biophysical drivers, connectivity outcomes, and metapopulation consequences of larval dispersal in the sea

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Version 2 2024-06-04, 14:18
Version 1 2018-04-09, 11:54
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-04, 14:18 authored by Eric TremlEric Treml, JR Ford, KP Black, SE Swearer
Background: Population connectivity, which is essential for the persistence of benthic marine metapopulations, depends on how life history traits and the environment interact to influence larval production, dispersal and survival. Although we have made significant advances in our understanding of the spatial and temporal dynamics of these individual processes, developing an approach that integrates the entire population connectivity process from reproduction, through dispersal, and to the recruitment of individuals has been difficult. We present a population connectivity modelling framework and diagnostic approach for quantifying the impact of i) life histories, ii) demographics, iii) larval dispersal, and iv) the physical seascape, on the structure of connectivity and metapopulation dynamics. We illustrate this approach using the subtidal rocky reef ecosystem of Port Phillip Bay, were we provide a broadly-applicable framework of population connectivity and quantitative methodology for evaluating the relative importance of individual factors in determining local and system outcomes. Results: The spatial characteristics of marine population connectivity are primarily influenced by larval mortality, the duration of the pelagic larval stage, and the settlement competency characteristics, with significant variability imposed by the geographic setting and the timing of larval release. The relative influence and the direction and strength of the main effects were strongly consistent among 10 connectivity-based metrics. Conclusions: These important intrinsic factors (mortality, length of the pelagic larval stage, and the extent of the precompetency window) and the spatial and temporal variability represent key research priorities for advancing our understanding of the connectivity process and metapopulation outcomes.

History

Journal

Movement ecology

Volume

3

Pagination

1-16

Location

London, Eng.

Open access

  • Yes

eISSN

2051-3933

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article, C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, Treml etal

Issue

17

Publisher

BMC