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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 515:203-215 (2014)  -  DOI:

Biophysical modelling of snapper Pagrus auratus larval dispersal from a temperate MPA

A. Le Port1,2,*, J. C. Montgomery1,2, A. E. Croucher3

1Institute of Marine Science, Leigh Marine laboratory, University of Auckland, PO Box 349, Warkworth 0941, New Zealand
2School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand
3Department of Engineering Science, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, New Zealand
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: A high-resolution 3D biophysical model was used to investigate the patterns of larval transport for an important commercial and recreational temperate fish, snapper Pagrus auratus, from a well-established marine reserve (Cape Rodney to Okakari Point marine reserve, CROP), and spawning ground. Our focus was to study the effects of local hydrodynamics, contrasting larval vertical behaviours and changing El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycles (via their effect on wind forcing) on the potential larval supply to adjacent non-protected areas. The model suggests the CROP marine reserve provides significant larval subsidies within a relatively small scale (≤40 km), the details of which depend on larval behaviour and ENSO patterns. Changing ENSO patterns mostly affected the dispersal direction of larvae, while larval behaviour was a strong driver only under La Niña conditions. Modelling suggests that under El Niño conditions, snapper larvae are more likely to settle successfully and hence make a strong contribution to surrounding fished stocks. Understanding the contribution of MPAs to fisheries management will require multiple approaches. Modelling will help identify the strength of contributing physical and biological factors, and in due course enable site- and time-specific examples of larval subsidy to be generalised.

KEY WORDS: Biophysical model · Snapper · Larval dispersal · MPA · ENSO · Sparid

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Cite this article as: Le Port A, Montgomery JC, Croucher AE (2014) Biophysical modelling of snapper Pagrus auratus larval dispersal from a temperate MPA. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 515:203-215.

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