MEPS 552:159-176 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11753

Wandering mussels: using natural tags to identify connectivity patterns among Marine Protected Areas

Inês Gomes1,2,*, Laura G. Peteiro1,3, Rui Albuquerque1, Rita Nolasco4, Jesús Dubert4, Stephen Edward Swearer5, Henrique Queiroga1

1Departmento de Biologia & CESAM, Universidade de Aveiro, Campus Universitario de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
2Marine Biology Research Group, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
3Departamento de Ecoloxía e Bioloxía Animal, Facultade de Ciencias do Mar, Universidade de Vigo, 36310 Vigo, Spain
4Departmento de Física and Centro de Estudos do Ambiente e do Mar (CESAM), Universidade de Aveiro, Campus Universitario de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
5School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Knowledge of connectivity pathways in the marine environment is crucial for understanding the spatial structure of populations and for developing appropriate monitoring and management strategies. Here, we used the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis as a model species to investigate connectivity patterns within the Berlengas and Arrábida Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) along the central Portuguese west coast. We generated an atlas of location-specific environmental markers based on the microchemistry of bivalve larval shells (using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry). This atlas was then employed to trace the natal origins of newly settled mussels and generate connectivity matrices among populations. Our results reflected 3 distinctive chemical signatures in larval shells, corresponding to 3 regions: Estremadura, Cascais and Arrábida. Linear discriminant analyses allowed for a high reclassification success (average of 79.5% of jackknifed cross-validated cases correctly assigned) based on 8 of the 16 trace elements analyzed (B, P, Co, Cu, Zn, Ce, Pb and U). The population connectivity matrix identified different dispersal pathways for mussel larvae, in particular a predominantly northward dispersion pattern in July 2013. This pattern was consistent with simultaneous environmental physical data, which confirmed an extended period of wind reversal and upwelling relaxation. The Arrábida MPA was an important source population for the other 2 regions and showed high rates of self-recruitment but limited connectivity to the Berlengas MPA. These direct measures of demographic connectivity can be a powerful tool to inform policymakers on the conservation and management of ecologically coherent networks of protected areas in coastal marine ecosystems.


KEY WORDS: Natal site atlas · Mytilus · Elemental composition · LA-ICP-MS · Connectivity


Full text in pdf format 
Cite this article as: Gomes I, Peteiro LG, Albuquerque R, Nolasco R, Dubert J, Swearer SE, Queiroga H (2016) Wandering mussels: using natural tags to identify connectivity patterns among Marine Protected Areas. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 552:159-176. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11753

Export citation
Mail this link - Contents Mailing Lists - RSS
- -