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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 486:189-201 (2013)  -  DOI:

Movement and home range of pink abalone Haliotis corrugata: implications for restoration and population recovery

Julia H. Coates1,*, Kevin A. Hovel1, John L. Butler2, A. Peter Klimley3, Steven G. Morgan3

1Department of Biology, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, California 92182-4614, USA
2National Marine Fisheries Service, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, 3333 North Torrey Pines Court, La Jolla, California 92037-1023, USA
3Graduate Group in Ecology, University of California, Davis, 1005 Wickson Hall, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, USA

ABSTRACT: Densities of abalone in southern California have been dramatically reduced by overfishing and disease, leading to the collapse of some populations, and low fertilization rates may be hindering population recovery. This is a pattern typical of abalone species globally. However, movement may produce clustered distributions that promote fertilization success in broadcast spawners, such as abalone, even at low regional densities. We translocated wild, adult pink abalone Haliotis corrugata to an existing pink abalone patch to create a high-density aggregation, and then used acoustic telemetry to characterize abalone movement and monitor aggregation maintenance for a period of 14 mo in the Point Loma kelp forest near San Diego, California. Abalone showed a minimal flight response to handling that did not differ between the resident or translocated groups. Most individuals exhibited small home ranges (median area 183 m2) and homing behavior consisting of regular back-and-forth movement to a single point. Nomadic movement was also observed in several individuals. Though site fidelity may help maintain aggregations, abalone density decreased, and nearest neighbor distances increased at our site to near-initial levels after 18 mo via a combination of mortality, large movements of a few individuals, and small, incremental movements of most individuals. No coordinated movements that would suggest spawning behavior were observed. Translocation of wild abalone to produce aggregations may not result in high rates of fertilization success that promote population recovery. However, the homing behavior observed may provide more opportunities for mating than expectations based on static measures of density and aggregation state.

KEY WORDS: Movement · Restoration · Homing · Broadcast spawning · Allee effect · Translocation

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Cite this article as: Coates JH, Hovel KA, Butler JL, Klimley AP, Morgan SG (2013) Movement and home range of pink abalone Haliotis corrugata: implications for restoration and population recovery. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 486:189-201.

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