MEPS 612:43-64 (2019)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12870

Influence of larval traits on dispersal and connectivity patterns of two exploited marine invertebrates in central Chile

Marta Blanco*, Andrés Ospina-Álvarez, Sergio A. Navarrete, Miriam Fernández

Núcleo Milenio - Centro de Conservación Marina CCM, Estación Costera de Investigaciones Marinas ECIM, LINC-Global, Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Environmental variability can influence larval development rates and affect critical processes in the dynamics of natural populations, such as dispersal distances and connectivity, when modulated by different larval traits. Knowledge of connectivity patterns in marine populations is fundamental for defining population viability and progressing with management and conservation goals. Here, we developed a biophysical, individual-based larval dispersal model to assess the effect of oceanographic variability and biological traits (i.e. larval diel vertical migration [DVM] and temperature-dependent larval development [PLD]) on recruitment success, dispersal distance, and alongshore connectivity patterns. We selected 2 species exploited by Chilean artisanal fisheries: Loxechinus albus (PLD: 20 d) and Fissurella latimarginata (PLD: 5 d). A sensitivity analysis was used to examine the effect of intrinsic (DVM and PLD) and extrinsic (release depth, latitude, and timing) processes. Release location and timing of release explained respectively 24.30 and 5.54% (F. latimarginata) and 34.8 and 4.19% (L. albus) of the variability observed in recruitment success, and 23.80 and 6.94% (F. latimarginata) and 26.10 and 19.60% (L. albus) of the variability observed in dispersal distance. Most recruitment to local populations was allochthonous, presenting low levels of self-recruitment and local retention, including species with short PLD. Similar geographic patterns of source and destination strengths were observed in both species, showing a geographic mosaic of source and sink populations with relatively higher importance towards the northern region of the study area. Our findings allow us to identify primary determinants of recruitment success and dispersal distance for 2 important exploited species in Chile.


KEY WORDS: Numerical model · Individual-based model · Source-sink dynamics · Larval migration · Larval behavior · Management


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Cite this article as: Blanco M, Ospina-Álvarez A, Navarrete SA, Fernández M (2019) Influence of larval traits on dispersal and connectivity patterns of two exploited marine invertebrates in central Chile. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 612:43-64. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12870

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