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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 544:213-224 (2016)  -  DOI:

Propagule dispersal and larval patch cohesiveness in a Mediterranean coastal fish

Antonio Calò1,*, Antonio Di Franco2, Giuseppe E. De Benedetto3, Antonio Pennetta3, Ángel Pérez-Ruzafa1, José Antonio García-Charton1

1Departamento de Ecología e Hidrología, Universidad de Murcia, Murcia 30100, Spain
2Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, CNRS, FRE 3729 ECOMERS, Parc Valrose 28, Avenue Valrose, Nice 06108, France
3Laboratorio di Spettrometria di massa analitica ed isotopica, Dipartimento di Beni Culturali, University of Salento, Lecce 73100, Italy
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The assessment of fish dispersal is fundamental for both conservation and management of fishery resources as it provides crucial information for the establishment of more effective marine protected areas (MPAs) and networks of MPAs. In this study, we investigated the elemental composition of otoliths in early life stages of the saddled sea bream Oblada melanura (Linnaeus, 1758) (Perciformes: Sparidae) in order to obtain information on its propagule (egg and larva) dispersal in the south-western Mediterranean Sea. Specifically, using pre-settlement individuals we investigated (1) larval patch cohesiveness during the last phase of larval life; and with early post-settlement individuals we investigated (2) the number of potential natal sources, and (3) propagule dispersal distances. Results indicated that different larval patches can merge in the pelagic environment after having travelled separately for some days. In total, 7 natal sources were found to replenish, with different proportions, almost all sampling sites along a stretch of coastline of ~180 km, suggesting that propagule dispersal can extend at least up to ~90 km. This information provides important insights for understanding fish dispersal processes and supports the appropriate establishment of spatially explicit conservation strategies such as MPAs and MPA networks in the south-western Mediterranean Sea.

KEY WORDS: Propagule dispersal · Natal origins · Patch cohesiveness · Saddled sea bream · Mediterranean Sea

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Cite this article as: Calò A, Di Franco A, De Benedetto GE, Pennetta A, Pérez-Ruzafa Á, García-Charton JA (2016) Propagule dispersal and larval patch cohesiveness in a Mediterranean coastal fish. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 544:213-224.

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