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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 534:95-106 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11397

Metapopulation connectivity via larval transport of the Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus in waters around Ireland: a modelled approach

David O’Sullivan1, Colm Lordan2,*, Jennifer Doyle2, Alan Berry1, Kieran Lyons1

1Ocean Science and Information Services, and 2Fisheries Ecosystems Advisory Services, The Marine Institute, Rinville, Oranmore, Co. Galway, Ireland
*Corresponding author.

ABSTRACT: Many marine invertebrates exist as metapopulations comprised of disparate local populations whose persistence depends on rates of larval delivery and recruitment, and thus connectivity, between populations. For commercially exploited species, predicting connectivity of the metapopulation would enable estimates of potential annual recruitment and help inform fisheries managements in their decisions to ensure sustainable exploitation. The Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus is the second most valuable commercial species landed from Irish waters. Its distribution depends on the presence of suitable sediment and larval supply. The aim of this study was to improve understanding of N. norvegicus metapopulation connectivity in waters around Ireland and between disparate fished populations in the wider northeast Atlantic. We employed hydrodynamic and larval transport models to describe spatial and temporal changes in oceanographic conditions and quantitatively predict the degree of connectivity between populations. The simulations suggested that there are 3 isolated populations (Porcupine Bank, Southwest Slope and Irish Sea), whereas a network of populations along the south coast of Ireland are likely interconnected and act as a metapopulation.


KEY WORDS: Hydrodynamics · Larval dispersal · Metapopulation · Nephrops norvegicus


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Cite this article as: O’Sullivan D, Lordan C, Doyle J, Berry A, Lyons K (2015) Metapopulation connectivity via larval transport of the Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus in waters around Ireland: a modelled approach. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 534:95-106. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11397

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