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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 352:77-87 (2007)  -  DOI:

Using 2-dimensional dispersal kernels to identify the dominant influences on larval dispersal on continental shelves

K. P. Edwards1,2,*, J. A. Hare3,4, F. E. Werner1, H. Seim1

1Department of Marine Sciences, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA
2Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, Tiburon, California 94920, USA
3NOAA Beaufort Laboratory, 101 Pivers Island Road, Beaufort, North Carolina 28516, USA
4NOAA NEFSC NMFS, Narragansett Laboratory, 28 Tarzwell Drive, Narragansett, Rhode Island 02882, USA

ABSTRACT: Pelagic larval dispersal is thought to be the main mechanism connecting many marine populations and is an important determinant both of an individual’s success and a population’s distribution and spatial structure. Thus, quantitative estimates of the retention or dispersion of larvae from spawning grounds is important for the determination of recruitment success in fisheries. Models can be used to study connectivity through a dispersal curve or dispersal kernel: the probability that a larva will settle at a given distance from its release location. We applied a 3-dimensional circulation model and a Lagrangian particle tracking model to the southeast US continental shelf to describe dispersal kernels in 2 dimensions. We used a fully orthogonal design to assess the importance of factors that influence the dispersal kernel, including spawning time, spawning location, larval behavior (vertical position in the water column), larval duration, and turbulent dispersal. Our results indicate that adult behavior, in the form of spawning time and location, may be more important than larval behavior in determining larval dispersal on the inner- and mid-shelves in this region.

KEY WORDS: Dispersal kernels · Larval fish · Lagrangian particle tracking · Southeast US continental shelf

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Cite this article as: Edwards KP, Hare JA, Werner FE, Seim H (2007) Using 2-dimensional dispersal kernels to identify the dominant influences on larval dispersal on continental shelves. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 352:77-87.

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