Abstract


MESOSCALE EDDIES INCREASE LARVAL GROWTH AND SHAPE PATTERNS OF MORTALITY AND RECRUITMENT IN CORAL REEF FISHES

Like most benthic marine organisms, coral reef fishes produce larvae that traverse open ocean waters before settling and metamorphosing into juveniles. Where larvae are transported and how they survive is a central question in marine and fisheries ecology. While there is increasing success in modeling larval trajectories, our knowledge of the physical and biological processes contributing to larval survivorship during dispersal remains relatively poor. Mesoscale eddies, ubiquitous throughout the world's oceans, can exhibit increased productivity in addition to providing a mechanism for retention, suggesting they may serve as important larval habitat. Yet there is a lack of empirical data on growth and survival of larvae associated with these features. We sampled larvae of five coral reef fishes inside and outside of mesoscale eddies and, for three species, tracked cohorts from the plankton to nearshore reefs. Otolith microstructure analysis revealed that four of five species of reef fish examined had consistently faster growth inside of eddies. Additionally, in comparisons of young and old age groups, Thalassoma bifasciatum exhibited trait-based selection that varied spatially and temporally. Importantly, larvae of T. bifasciatum and Cryptotomus roseus that encountered eddies, not only grew faster, but also preferentially survived to settlement. These results indicate that larvae retained in mesoscale eddies likely contribute disproportionately to population replenishment. Successful dispersal in oligotrophic waters may rely on larval encounter with such oceanographic features.

Authors

Shulzitski, K., RSMAS - University of Miami, USA, kshulzitski@rsmas.miami.edu

Sponaugle, S., Hatfield Marine Science Center - Oregon State University, USA, Su.Sponaugle@oregonstate.edu

Hauff, M., Stonehill College, USA, mhauff@whoi.edu

Walter, K., RSMAS - University of Miami, USA, kwalter@rsmas.miami.edu

D'Alessandro, E. K., RSMAS - University of Miami, USA, Edalessandro@rsmas.miami.edu

Cowen, R. K., Hatfield Marine Science Center - Oregon State University, USA, Robert.Cowen@oregonstate.edu

Details

Oral presentation

Session #:15
Date: 06/23/2016
Time: 14:45
Location: 317 A/B

Presentation is given by student: No