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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 415:221-236 (2010)  -  DOI:

Spatial synchrony and temporal dynamics of juvenile red drum Sciaenops ocellatus populations in South Carolina, USA

Stephen A. Arnott1,*, William A Roumillat1, John A. Archambault1, Charles A. Wenner1, Joy I. Gerhard1,2, Tanya L. Darden1, Michael R. Denson1

1Marine Resources Research Institute, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Charleston, South Carolina, 29412, USA
2Grice Marine Laboratory, College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, 29412, USA

ABSTRACT: Across a species’ range, the population dynamics of some areas may express spatial synchrony (i.e. they fluctuate with one another), whereas other areas may express no synchrony (they fluctuate independently). The degree of synchrony and spatial extent of synchrony are important considerations when assessing the population as a whole. We examined these aspects in red drum Sciaenops ocellatus along the coast of South Carolina using long-term survey data of juvenile abundance in estuarine areas separated by up to ~200 km. Synchrony of year class strength was detected among areas, but the degree of synchrony declined significantly with distance. By comparison, genetic segregation along the coast was either weak or undetectable (based on allele frequencies at 8 microsatellite loci), although it depended on the year class (2004, 2005 or 2007) of fish that was tested. By standardizing juvenile abundance data across estuaries and survey types, a single, region-wide juvenile time series was generated that covered the 1985–2007 year classes. The juvenile time series correlated significantly with the year class composition of the present-day adult population, which was determined using otoliths collected by a separate survey operating in deeper adult habitats. Future work integrating data across even broader spatial scales would assist in the understanding of large-scale ecological processes that control fluctuations in red drum populations, and would provide useful information for fishery managers.

KEY WORDS: Sciaenops ocellatus · Red drum · Synchrony · Population dynamics · Recruitment · Genetics · Microsatellites · South Carolina

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Cite this article as: Arnott SA, Roumillat WA, Archambault JA, Wenner CA, Gerhard JI, Darden TL, Denson MR (2010) Spatial synchrony and temporal dynamics of juvenile red drum Sciaenops ocellatus populations in South Carolina, USA. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 415:221-236.

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