Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name



Biological Sciences


Biology, Ecology.




Among vertebrates, coral reef fishes are a spectacularly diverse group currently threatened by different forms of human activities. Such a situation has added impetus to the understanding of ecological processes that regulate their diversity. The aim of this dissertation is to assess the role of dispersal in processes that maintain the diversity of coral reef fishes at levels of integration ranging from populations to communities. I started by reviewing existing information of dispersal in coral reef fishes and showing that critical methodological artifacts, biases and alternative interpretations limit any conclusion on the extent to which reef fish populations are "open" or "closed" systems. I then used a variety of approaches and databases to show that during the process of dispersal species interchange propagules among populations (Chapters 2, 3, 4) likely affecting the dynamics of their populations, the geographical extent of their range (Chapter 5) and their presence in communities within the range (Chapter 6). These broad effects of dispersal on diversity patterns suggest that the maintenance of coral reef fish diversity will strongly depend on the extent to which conservation strategies warranty the connectivity that maintain such patterns. This thesis is one of the first attempt to unify principles for the development of a paradigm to apply dispersal theory to different levels of biological organization at different spatial scales.Dept. of Biological Sciences. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2004 .M673. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 66-07, Section: B, page: 3518. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2005.