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Title: Model-derived dispersal pathways from multiple source populations explain variability of invertebrate larval supply
Author: Domingues, Carla P.
Nolasco, Rita
Dubert, Jesus
Queiroga, Henrique
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Abstract: Background: Predicting the spatial and temporal patterns of marine larval dispersal and supply is a challenging task due to the small size of the larvae and the variability of oceanographic processes. Addressing this problem requires the use of novel approaches capable of capturing the inherent variability in the mechanisms involved. Methodology/Principal Findings: In this study we test whether dispersal and connectivity patterns generated from a biophysical model of larval dispersal of the crab Carcinus maenas, along the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula, can predict the highly variable daily pattern of wind-driven larval supply to an estuary observed during the peak reproductive season (March–June) in 2006 and 2007. Cross-correlations between observed and predicted supply were significant (p,0.05) and strong, ranging from 0.34 to 0.81 at time lags of 26 to+5 d. Importantly, the model correctly predicted observed cross-shelf distributions (Pearson r=0.82, p,0.001, and r=0.79, p,0.01, in 2006 and 2007) and indicated that all supply events were comprised of larvae that had been retained within the inner shelf; larvae transported to the outer shelf and beyond never recruited. Estimated average dispersal distances ranged from 57 to 198 km and were only marginally affected by mortality. Conclusions/Significance: The high degree of predicted demographic connectivity over relatively large geographic scales is consistent with the lack of genetic structuring in C. maenas along the Iberian Peninsula. These findings indicate that the dynamic nature of larval dispersal can be captured by mechanistic biophysical models, which can be used to provide meaningful predictions of the patterns and causes of fine-scale variability in larval supply to marine populations.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035794
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