Title

Local retention, dispersal and fluctuating connectivity among populations of a coral reef fish

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2012

Publication Title

Oecologia

Volume

168

Issue

1

First Page

61

Last Page

71

DOI

10.1007/s00442-011-2058-1

Keywords

bicolor damselfish; Connectivity matrix; damselfish stegastes-partitus; Dispersal kernel; fisheries; genetic patchiness; larval dispersal; life-history; Local retention; management; Marine protected areas; Metapopulation; pomacentridae; Self-recruitment

Abstract

The persistence and resilience of marine populations in the face of disturbances is directly affected by connectivity among populations. Thus, understanding the magnitude and pattern of connections among populations and the temporal variation in these patterns is critical for the effective management and conservation of marine species. Despite recent advances in our understanding of marine connectivity, few empirical studies have directly measured the magnitude or pattern of connections among populations of marine fishes, and none have explicitly investigated temporal variation in demographic connectivity. We use genetic assignment tests to track the dispersal of 456 individual larval fishes to quantify the extent of connectivity, dispersal, self-recruitment and local retention within and among seven populations of a coral reef fish (Stegastes partitus) over a three-year period. We found that some larvae do disperse long distances (similar to 200 km); however, self-recruitment was a regular phenomenon. Importantly, we found that dispersal distances, self-recruitment, local retention and the pattern of connectivity varied significantly among years. Our data highlight the unpredictable nature of connectivity, and underscore the need for more, temporally replicated, empirical measures of connectivity to inform management decisions.

Comments

This is an accepted manuscript version of an aritcle whose version of record was published in:Oecologia: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-011-2058-1