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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 308 - Feature article
New recruit, older juveniles, and terminal phase male bluehead wrasse, Thalassoma bifasciatum (counter- clockwise from upper right). Photos: Evan D'Alessandro

Sponaugle S, Grorud-Colvert K, Pinkard D


Temperature-mediated variation in early life history traits and recruitment success of the coral reef fish Thalassoma bifasciatum in the Florida Keys


Su Sponaugle and co-workers examined the influence of larval transport and growth on recruitment in a tropical reef fish, investigating the relationship between water temperature, larval growth, and recruitment for 13 bluehead wrasse cohorts from the Florida Keys. Temperature explained 78% of larval growth variation among cohorts, and larval growth explained 85% of variation in duration of the pelagic phase. Recruitment was low for cool-water cohorts and variable among warm-water cohorts. Recruitment variability in the latter is likely due to the difficulty of sustaining high growth rates in nutrient-poor warm water, and to the interference of oceanographic transport processes. Temperature explained 61% of variation in recruitment magnitude after exclusion of cohorts that settled during passage of mesoscale frontal eddies.


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