Local Replenishment of Coral Reef Fish Populations in a Marine Reserve

Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville QLD 4811, Australia.
Science (Impact Factor: 33.61). 06/2007; 316(5825):742-4. DOI: 10.1126/science.1140597
Source: PubMed


The scale of larval dispersal of marine organisms is important for the design of networks of marine protected areas. We examined
the fate of coral reef fish larvae produced at a small island reserve, using a mass-marking method based on maternal transmission
of stable isotopes to offspring. Approximately 60% of settled juveniles were spawned at the island, for species with both
short (<2 weeks) and long (>1 month) pelagic larval durations. If natal homing of larvae is a common life-history strategy,
the appropriate spatial scales for the management and conservation of coral reefs are likely to be much smaller than previously

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Available from: Simon R Thorrold, Oct 04, 2015
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    • "Empirical studies of self-recruitment and connectivity are limited in number and often restricted to single dispersal events (Jones et al. 1999; Almany et al. 2007; D&apos;Aloia et al. 2013; Schunter et al. 2014). However, investigating the temporal variability of dispersal patterns at several seasonal and interannual scales is essential for understanding the degree of openness of marine populations , thus inferring sizing and spacing of marine protected area networks (e.g., Pusack et al. 2014). "
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    ABSTRACT: Understanding the dynamics of marine populations is critical to managing marine systems effectively and requires information on patterns of population dispersal and connectivity that are still poorly known. We used transgenerational marking to study larval dispersal of the humbug damselfish, Dascyllus aruanus, in the patchy reef seascape of the southwest Lagoon of New Caledonia (SWL), southwest tropical pacific. The adult population of a patch reef located in the central part of the SWL was injected repeatedly with an enriched 137Ba solution to ensure mass production of marked larvae over two successive reproductive seasons. Multiple cohorts of newly settled larvae were sampled, and their otolith core was analyzed by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry to assess the seasonal and interannual variability of self-recruitment at the central reef. Connectivity between this reef and ten neighboring reefs was also estimated. Analysis of >1200 settlers indicated that self-recruitment varied significantly between months (ranging from 0 to 68 %) and years (21 % in 2011 and 0 % in 2012). However, variable self-recruitment did not always correspond to variable numbers of self-recruits. Therefore, whereas self-recruitment is undoubtedly a good indication of the degree of population openness, it may not indicate local population persistence. Finally, being the first self-recruitment study to include such a large number of settlers, our study reveals that the threshold used to determine marked individuals significantly affects perceived self-recruitment and connectivity rates and, therefore, must be carefully chosen.
    Coral Reefs 09/2015; 34(3). DOI:10.1007/s00338-015-1300-4 · 3.32 Impact Factor
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    • "Our focal species is regularly used to model coral reef fish connectivity in the Coral Triangle (Almany et al. 2007; Berumen et al. 2012b; Pratchett et al. 2014). Evidence of reef fish population connectivity is an important driver for improved reef management and the implementation of notake marine reserves (Almany et al. 2007; Jones et al. 2009; Berumen et al. 2012b), but reef-scale variability in key life history traits for this species is not yet known. "
    Coral Reefs 07/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00338-015-1330-y · 3.32 Impact Factor
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    • "Damselfish are abundant and conspicuous in the back reef zones of coral reefs (Allen 1991). They are grazers, browsers or plankton feeders that feed near habitat refuges that provide quick escape from predators. "
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    ABSTRACT: Because fish have a high dispersal ability, an understanding coral reef fish metacommunity structure is vital for effective conservation. Coral reefs provide patchy habitat of various sizes and scales. We examined the species-area relationship (SAR) of damselfish (Pomacentridae) assemblages over 81 environmentally homogenous patch reefs ranging 0.07-45.4 m2 with low coral cover. Patch reefs were located in the shallow back reef (1/2500) color aerial photograph used as a fine-scale seascape map. To assess the effects of three-dimensional meso-scale rugosity on species richness, we assumed that all reefs had a cylindrical shape and examined species by volume (area × height) relationships (SVR). Patch reef volume was a better determinant of species richness than area, and the regression functions of SVR provided better estimates of patch reef species richness. Neither the observed SVRs nor SARs, however, could be explained by a random placement model alone. Our results suggest that several small reefs are likely to have higher species richness than a single large reef of equivalent area in the shallow back reef where large patch reefs are flat. Thus, total patch reef volume (area × height) better reflects meso-scale rugosity and is a useful indicator of total species richness relative to the total amount of essential habitat in shallow back reefs.
    Ecological Research 04/2015; 30(4). DOI:10.1007/s11284-015-1268-0 · 1.30 Impact Factor
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