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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 476:227-235 (2013)  -  DOI:

Patterns of variability in early life traits of a Mediterranean coastal fish

Antonio Di Franco1,2,*,**, Kaicheng Qian 1,**, Antonio Calò1, Manfredi Di Lorenzo1, Serge Planes3,4, Paolo Guidetti1,2

1Laboratory of Conservation and Management of Marine and Coastal Resources, DiSTeBA, University of Salento, CoNISMa,
73100 Lecce, Italy
2Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, Faculté des Sciences, EA 4228 ECOMERS, 06108 Nice Cedex 2, France
3USR 3278 CNRS-EPHE, 4Laboratoire d’excellence ‘CORAIL’, Centre de Recherches Insulaires et Observatoire de l’Environnement, Université de Perpignan, 66860 Perpignan Cedex, France
 *‑Email: **These authors contributed equally to this work

ABSTRACT: Spawning dates and pelagic larval duration (PLD) are early life traits (ELT) crucial for understanding life cycles, properly assessing patterns of connectivity and gathering indications about patchiness or homogeneity of larval pools. Considering that little attention has been paid to spatial variability in these traits, we investigated variability of ELT from the analysis of otolith microstructure in the common two-banded sea bream Diplodus vulgaris. In the southwestern Adriatic Sea, along ~200 km of coast (~1° in latitude, 41.2° to 40.2°N), variability of ELT was assessed at multiple spatial scales. Overall, PLD (ranging from 25 to 61 d) and spawning dates (October 2009 to February 2010) showed significant variability at small scales (i.e. <6 km), but not at larger scales. These outcomes suggest patchiness of the larval pool at small spatial scales. Multiple causal processes underlying the observed variability are discussed, along with the need to properly consider spatial variability in ELT, for example when delineating patterns of connectivity.

KEY WORDS: Life history traits · Spatial variability · Sea bream · Mediterranean Sea · Larval patchiness · Connectivity

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Cite this article as: Di Franco A, Qian K, Calò A, Di Lorenzo M, Planes S, Guidetti P (2013) Patterns of variability in early life traits of a Mediterranean coastal fish. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 476:227-235.

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