Inter-Research > MEPS > v731 > p89-104  
Marine Ecology Progress Series

via Mailchimp

MEPS 731:89-104 (2024)  -  DOI:

Coastal connectivity of an abundant inshore fish species: model-data comparison along the southern coast of South Africa

Cuen Muller1,*, Christophe Lett2, Francesca Porri1,3, Paula Pattrick4,5, Dylan Bailey6, Hugo Denis7, Nicolas Barrier2, Warren Potts1, David M. Kaplan2,8

1Department of Ichthyology & Fisheries Science, Rhodes University, Makhanda 6139, South Africa
2MARBEC, University of Montpellier, CNRS, Ifremer, IRD, Sète 34203, France
3South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB), Makhanda 6139, South Africa
4South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), Elwandle Coastal Node, Ocean Sciences Campus, Nelson Mandela University, Gqeberha 6001, South Africa
5Abalobi NPO, 34 Estmil Rd, Elfindale, Cape Town 7945, South Africa
6Port Elizabeth Museum t/a Bayworld, Gqeberha 6013, South Africa
7Aix Marseille Université, Marseille 13007, France
8Institute for Coastal and Marine Research, Nelson Mandela University, Gqeberha 6001, South Africa
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Biophysical models are often used to estimate larval dispersal patterns for the assessment of marine metapopulation spatial structure. However, comparisons of these models with field observations are relatively rare, and the extent to which models reproduce true marine connectivity patterns is unclear. We developed a biophysical model for larvae of the blacktail seabream Diplodus capensis (Sparidae), an abundant recreational and subsistence fishery species along the south-east coast of South Africa, and compared outputs from various configurations of that model to results from a field study conducted in a large regional embayment (Algoa Bay). Seasonal patterns of dispersal and recruitment produced by the model agreed best with field observations when thermal constraints on spawners and larvae were included. Spatial gradients in settling larvae also matched well, with the model capturing observed high settler densities within the lee of a major headland. Nevertheless, stronger spatial gradients were observed in larval densities from the field study when compared with model results, which may be explained by behavioural post-settlement processes. Model-based dispersal patterns revealed up to 5 subpopulations along the southern coast, with barriers to connectivity between subpopulations generally linked to hydrographic features. Overall, our results suggest that thermally mediated spawning behaviour, physical transport and post-settlement processes all play important roles in determining marine connectivity for the blacktail seabream. Refining physiological larval constraints may be an important component that needs to be considered going forward.

KEY WORDS: Larval dispersal · Population dynamics · Biophysical model · Seabream · Diplodus capensis

Full text in pdf format
Supplementary material
Cite this article as: Muller C, Lett C, Porri F, Pattrick P and others (2024) Coastal connectivity of an abundant inshore fish species: model-data comparison along the southern coast of South Africa. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 731:89-104.

Export citation
Share:    Facebook - - linkedIn

 Previous article Next article