Lester, S. E., and B. I. Ruttenberg. The relationship between pelagic larval duration and range size in tropical reef fishes: a synthetic analysis. Proceedings of the Royal Society

Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara 93106, USA.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Impact Factor: 5.05). 04/2005; 272(1563):585-91. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2004.2985
Source: PubMed


We address the conflict in earlier results regarding the relationship between dispersal potential and range size. We examine all published pelagic larval duration data for tropical reef fishes. Larval duration is a convenient surrogate for dispersal potential in marine species that are sedentary as adults and that therefore only experience significant dispersal during their larval phase. Such extensive quantitative dispersal data are only available for fishes and thus we use a unique dataset to examine the relationship between dispersal potential and range size. We find that dispersal potential and range size are positively correlated only in the largest ocean basin, the Indo-Pacific, and that this pattern is driven primarily by the spatial distribution of habitat and dispersal barriers. Furthermore, the relationship strengthens at higher taxonomic levels, suggesting an evolutionary mechanism. We document a negative correlation between species richness and larval duration at the family level in the Indo-Pacific, implying that speciation rate may be negatively related to dispersal potential. If increased speciation rate within a taxonomic group results in smaller range sizes within that group, speciation rate could regulate the association between range size and dispersal potential.

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Available from: Benjamin I. Ruttenberg, May 22, 2014
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    • "As such, understanding the drivers of species' geographic distributions is crucial for the development of strategic conservation plans. Up to now, it was generally believed that the main determinant of geographic range size of marine organisms was larval dispersion and a few studies have indeed reported a positive relationship between range size and planktonic larval duration [54]–[56]. However, many other studies found no relationship [57], [58]. "
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    PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e105158. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0105158 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "In many cases, single aspects of the life history such as reproductive mode and larval longevity have been successfully used as a surrogate for estimating dispersal ability and population connectivity (e.g. Lester and Ruttenberg 2005; Sherman et al. 2008). However, patterns in connectivity are difficult to predict based on reproductive traits alone and are likely strongly influenced by multiple biotic and abiotic environmental factors, especially oceanographic processes such as local water circulation patterns (Bowen et al. 2006; Nunes et al. 2011). "
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    • "Both processes are fundamental in determining species range size, so that a species with a high dispersal ability, but with low adaptability to new environments, may have a restricted range. Dispersal potential of marine fishes can be confidently estimated through the length of the larval phase [4], [5], [6], whereas the identification of possible determinants of dispersal ability in freshwater fishes is less straightforward. Freshwater species distributions are subject to a variety of constraints (such as dendritic arrangement of riverine ecosystems, changes in drainage basin boundaries, human alterations of river courses, sea water barriers, etc.), as well as to biogeographic patterns (such as the geological history of the areas), which make it difficult to disentangle the role of dispersal from the effects of environmental (hydrographical) and human-induced processes potentially responsible for species range expansion [7]. "
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