MEPS 309:11-24 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/meps309011

Alongshore advection and marine reserves: consequences for modeling and management

David M. Kaplan*

Department of Wildlife, Fish, & Conservation Biology, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA

ABSTRACT: The appropriate configuration of marine reserves for maximizing harvests or ensuring species persistence when there is uncertainty or variability in larval dispersal patterns is not completely understood. This is particularly true in environments with large alongshore advection rates, as the success of a system of marine reserves depends on connectivity through larval and/or adult dispersal between adjacent marine reserves. In this paper, the consequences of alongshore advection in the presence of marine reserves for a fish species with sedentary adults and widely dispersing larvae are examined. First, a uniform configuration of reserves with constant alongshore advection rate is considered. The highest overall catch and recruitment rates occur when the spacing between reserves is precisely tuned to the advection distance. When the alongshore advection distance is allowed to vary in time, catch and recruitment are considerably less sensitive to alongshore advection. At small diffusion distances, catch values differ from what would be predicted from the time-averaged larval dispersal pattern due to density-dependent post-settlement effects. It is important to include short time scale settlement variability in marine reserve models under these conditions. When the spacing between reserves is allowed to vary, the tuning of the system to particular advection distances is less precise. Configurations of marine reserves with a variety of spacings between reserves exhibited more uniform catch levels as a function of advection distance. This suggests that variability in the spacing between reserves is desirable for protecting a diverse group of species with different dispersal patterns.

KEY WORDS: Marine protected areas · Fisheries management · Population dynamics · Variable reserve-spacing · Advection variability

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