MEPS 398:49-67 (2010)  -  DOI:

Population persistence in marine reserve networks: incorporating spatial heterogeneities in larval dispersal

J. Wilson White1,2,*, Louis W. Botsford1, Alan Hastings3, John L. Largier2,3

1Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA
2Bodega Marine Laboratory, University of California, Davis, PO Box 247, Bodega Bay, California 94923, USA
3Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA

ABSTRACT: The relationship between marine reserve design and metapopulation persistence has been analyzed only for cases of spatially homogenous advective-diffusive larval dispersal. However, many coastlines exhibit more complex circulation, such as retention zones in which slower-moving currents shorten dispersal distances and larvae can accumulate. We constructed metapopulation models that incorporated 3 types of spatial variability in dispersal associated with retention zones: (A) reduction of both advective (LA) and stochastic (LS) length scales of dispersal within the retention zone, (B) reduction of LA only, and (C) accumulation of larvae in the retention zone, followed by redistribution along the coastline. For each scenario, we examined reserve networks with a range of size and spacing configurations. The scenarios differed in the relative number of self-persistent reserves, i.e. those which can survive in isolation, and network-persistent reserves, i.e. those which rely on connectivity through space and across generations to offset shortfalls in direct self-replenishment. When dispersal was dominated by stochastic movements (LS > LA in scenarios A and B), metapopulations typically consisted of self-persistent reserves. As dispersal became increasingly advective (LA > LS), retention aided persistence, and network persistence became more prevalent. Persistence in scenario C decreased with the amount of redistribution. The specific patterns of persistence depended on the size and number of reserves and demographic parameters, but self-persistence was always more likely for reserves in the retention zone. Thus, placing a reserve in a retention zone to promote population persistence is advisable for all 3 dispersal scenarios.

KEY WORDS: Larval dispersal · Dispersal kernel · Headland · Metapopulation · Marine reserve · Persistence · Self-recruitment

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Cite this article as: White JW, Botsford LW, Hastings A, Largier JL (2010) Population persistence in marine reserve networks: incorporating spatial heterogeneities in larval dispersal. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 398:49-67.

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