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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 509:303-308 (2014)  -  DOI:

Spatial variation in selective mortality on larval traits in the coral reef fish Chromis viridis

Heidi E. Block*, Mark A. Steele

California State University Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge, California 91330-8303, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Larval traits in reef fishes influence their probability of surviving after settling, but few studies have explored the extent to which selective mortality varies from site to site. We examined the effects of larval traits on the survival of Chromis viridis at 2 sites in Moorea, French Polynesia. We compared average traits of recently settled fish with those of 1 mo old survivors from the same cohort. At both study sites, there was selection for larger size at settlement. A commonly used statistical approach that does not account for correlations among larval traits (ANOVA) indicated that selection on planktonic larval duration (PLD) and larval growth rate was inconsistent between the 2 sites, with selection for PLD at one site and larval growth rate at the other. Larval growth rate and PLD, however, were strongly correlated, such that faster-growing larvae settled at younger ages at both sites. Selection gradient analysis, which accounts for correlations among larval traits, revealed that selection for longer PLD and faster larval growth rates occurred at both study sites but was stronger at one site than the other. We detected no significant differences in habitat characteristics or predator assemblages between the 2 sites. Our findings highlight the need to statistically control for correlations among larval traits when measuring selection, as well as the need to explore spatial variation in selection on larval traits.

KEY WORDS: Larval growth · Planktonic larval duration · Size at settlement · Moorea · Otolith · Correlated larval traits

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Cite this article as: Block HE, Steele MA (2014) Spatial variation in selective mortality on larval traits in the coral reef fish Chromis viridis. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 509:303-308.

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