A simple approximation for larval retention around reefs

Cetina-Heredia, Paulina, and Connolly, Sean R. (2011) A simple approximation for larval retention around reefs. Coral Reefs, 30 (3). pp. 593-605.

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Estimating larval retention at individual reefs by local scale three-dimensional flows is a significant problem for understanding, and predicting, larval dispersal. Determining larval dispersal commonly involves the use of computationally demanding and expensively calibrated/validated hydrodynamic models that resolve reef wake eddies. This study models variation in larval retention times for a range of reef shapes and circulation regimes, using a reef-scale three-dimensional hydrodynamic model. It also explores how well larval retention time can be estimated based on the "Island Wake Parameter", a measure of the degree of flow turbulence in the wake of reefs that is a simple function of flow speed, reef dimension, and vertical diffusion. The mean residence times found in the present study (0.48–5.64 days) indicate substantial potential for self-recruitment of species whose larvae are passive, or weak swimmers, for the first several days after release. Results also reveal strong and significant relationships between the Island Wake Parameter and mean residence time, explaining 81–92% of the variability in retention among reefs across a range of unidirectional flow speeds and tidal regimes. These findings suggest that good estimates of larval retention may be obtained from relatively coarse-scale characteristics of the flow, and basic features of reef geomorphology. Such approximations may be a valuable tool for modeling connectivity and meta-population dynamics over large spatial scales, where explicitly characterizing fine-scale flows around reef requires a prohibitive amount of computation and extensive model calibration.

Item ID: 20182
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: residence time, island wake parameter, larval retention, connectivity, coral reef, eddies
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2012 05:23
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0404 Geophysics > 040403 Geophysical Fluid Dynamics @ 30%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0405 Oceanography > 040503 Physical Oceanography @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969902 Marine Oceanic Processes (excl. Climate Related) @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 50%
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