Oceanographic chaos and its role in larval self-recruitment and connectivity among fish populations in Micronesia

Wolanski, Eric, Richmond, Robert H., and Golbuu, Yimnang (2021) Oceanographic chaos and its role in larval self-recruitment and connectivity among fish populations in Micronesia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 259. 107461.

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A 30-year time series of the recruitment of rabbit fish, a herbivorous coral reef fish, on the island of Guam in the tropical western Pacific, showed variability that ENSO alone does not explain. To help explain this variability, a high-resolution biophysical model that includes directional swimming reveals how mesoscale turbulence and ENSO-driven changes in the ocean circulation control the self-recruitment of rabbit fish. ENSO drives island wakes that enhance the capacity to retain locally spawned larvae, and mesoscale turbulence generates much variability and promotes seaward dispersion at time scales larger than the Pelagic Larval Duration. The same processes are predicted to occur for the self-recruitment of grouper fish, a carnivorous coral reef fish, in Palau, Micronesia. The models suggests that 99% of these fish larvae are exported seaward from Guam and Palau. Those larvae are the ones that could provide connectivity between reefs and islands in Micronesia. This connectivity for the grouper fish was predicted using an altimetry-driven advection-diffusion oceanography model for 40 mass spawning events spread over 10 years. The mesoscale turbulence, and not the mean oceanographic currents, is the dominant process controlling the connectivity, which is thus chaotic. This finding applies also in the Galapagos archipelago and the Coral Sea fringing the Great Barrier Reef.

Item ID: 68739
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1096-0015
Keywords: Eddies; Southern oscillation index; Coral reef fish; Self-recruitment; Connectivity
Copyright Information: Published version: © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Accepted Version: © 2021. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/CC BY-NC-ND
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2021 01:21
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3708 Oceanography > 370801 Biological oceanography @ 50%
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3708 Oceanography > 370803 Physical oceanography @ 50%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180203 Coastal or estuarine biodiversity @ 50%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180501 Assessment and management of benthic marine ecosystems @ 50%
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