Probability of successful larval dispersal declines fivefold over 1 km in a coral reef fish

Buston, Peter M., Jones, Geoffrey P., Planes, Serge, and Thorrold, Simon R. (2012) Probability of successful larval dispersal declines fivefold over 1 km in a coral reef fish. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 279 (1735). pp. 1883-1888.

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Abstract

A central question of marine ecology is, how far do larvae disperse? Coupled biophysical models predict that the probability of successful dispersal declines as a function of distance between populations. Estimates of genetic isolation-by-distance and self-recruitment provide indirect support for this prediction. Here, we conduct the first direct test of this prediction, using data from the well-studied system of clown anemonefish (Amphiprion percula) at Kimbe Island, in Papua New Guinea. Amphiprion percula live in small breeding groups that inhabit sea anemones. These groups can be thought of as populations within a metapopulation. We use the x- and y-coordinates of each anemone to determine the expected distribution of dispersal distances (the distribution of distances between each and every population in the metapopulation). We use parentage analyses to trace recruits back to parents and determine the observed distribution of dispersal distances. Then, we employ a logistic model to (i) compare the observed and expected dispersal distance distributions and (ii) determine the relationship between the probability of successful dispersal and the distance between populations. The observed and expected dispersal distance distributions are significantly different (p < 0.0001). Remarkably, the probability of successful dispersal between populations decreases fivefold over 1 km. This study provides a framework for quantitative investigations of larval dispersal that can be applied to other species. Further, the approach facilitates testing biological and physical hypotheses for the factors influencing larval dispersal in unison, which will advance our understanding of marine population connectivity.

Item ID: 22186
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: propagule dispersal, dispersal kernel, parentage analyses, population connectivity, reserve design, marine fish
ISSN: 1471-2954
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2012 16:20
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060411 Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060207 Population Ecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960502 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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