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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    • "Although pelagic larvae are subjected to strong hydrodynamic processes that can affect dispersal (Cowen et al. 2006 ), species often display non-random distributions (Bell et al. 1982 ; Shulman 1998 ) and high levels of self-recruitment to natal reefs (Jones et al. 1999 ; Taylor and Hellberg 2003 ; Almany et al. 2007 ). These patterns, along with the remarkable swimming and sensory competency of many late-stage larvae (Fisher et al. 2000 ), suggest that reef fi shes exert substantial control over where they settle. "

    Full-text · Chapter · Jan 2016
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    • "Due to the approach adopted here, we cannot spatially locate the natal sources, track propagule dispersal and build a propagule dispersal kernel, so we cannot provide any hypotheses about the relative frequency of short-and long-distance propagule dispersal events. This would be possible by focusing on nesting fishes where the exact location of the propagule source (i.e. the nest) is known (e.g.Buston et al., 2012) or by using marking methods based on maternal transmission of stable isotopes to offspring (Almany et al., 2007;Munro et al., 2009). Even if we cannot identify where the natal sources are located, we can speculate that a relevant percentage of propagules originated from the Torre Guaceto Marine Protected Area (TGMPA) located within our study area and that has been shown to host high density and biomass of fishes (Sala et al., 2012;Di Franco et al., 2012b). "
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    ABSTRACT: In the marine context, information about dispersal is essential for the design of networks of marine protected areas (MPAs). Generally, most of the dispersal of demersal fishes is thought to be driven by the transport of eggs and larvae in currents, with the potential contribution of dispersal in later life stages relatively minimal. Using otolith chemistry analyses, we estimate dispersal patterns across a spatial scale of approximately 180 km at both propagule (i.e. eggs and larvae) and juvenile (i.e. between settlement and recruitment) stages of a Mediterranean coastal fishery species, the two-banded seabream Diplodus vulgaris. We detected three major natal sources of propagules replenishing local populations in the entire study area, suggesting that propagule dispersal distance extends to at least 90 km. For the juvenile stage, we detected dispersal of up to 165 km. Our work highlights the surprising and significant role of dispersal during the juvenile life stages as an important mechanism connecting populations. Such new insights are crucial for creating effective management strategies (e.g. MPAs and MPA networks) and to gain support from policymakers and stakeholders, highlighting that MPA benefits can extend well beyond MPA borders, and not only via dispersal of eggs and larvae, but also through movement by juveniles.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Biological Conservation
    • "To adequately protect marine species, reserves should be large enough so that protected populations can be self-replenishing and distributed so that they benefit from larval connectivity with other protected populations. Recent studies have now established that populations in reserves can be self-replenishing (Almany et al. 2007; Berumen et al. 2012; Harrison et al. 2012) and connected to form networks (Planes et al. 2009; Berumen et al. 2012; Harrison et al. 2012). Although data on the lifetime reproductive output of protected populations would further improve capacity to manage for their persistence (Botsford et al. 2009; Burgess et al. 2014), parentage-based measurements of larval dispersal and self-recruitment across reserve networks are the most empirically feasible metrics currently available to assess population persistence (Hogan et al. 2012; Lett et al. 2015). "
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    ABSTRACT: The development of parentage analysis to track the dispersal of juvenile offspring has given us unprecedented insight into the population dynamics of coral reef fishes. These tools now have the potential to inform fisheries management and species conservation, particularly for small fragmented populations under threat from exploitation and disturbance. In this study we resolve patterns of larval dispersal for a population of the anemonefish Amphiprion melanopus in the Keppel Islands (southern Great Barrier Reef). Habitat loss and fishing appear to have impacted this population and a network of no-take marine reserves currently protects 75% of the potential breeders. Using parentage analysis, we estimate that 21% of recruitment in the island group was generated locally, and that breeding adults living in reserves were responsible for 79% (31 out of 39) of these of locally-produced juveniles. Overall, the network of reserves was fully connected via larval dispersal; however one reserve was identified as a critical source of larvae for the island group. The population in the Keppel Islands also appears to be well-connected to other source populations at least 60 km away, given that 79% (145 out of 184) of the juveniles sampled remained unassigned in the parentage analysis. We estimated the effective size of the A. melanopus metapopulation to be 745 (582-993 95% CI) and recommend continued monitoring of its genetic status. Maintaining connectivity with populations beyond the Keppel Islands and recovery of local recruitment habitat, potentially through active restoration of host anemone populations, will be important for its long-term persistence. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Molecular Ecology
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