Influence of larval traits on dispersal and connectivity patterns of two exploited marine invertebrates in central Chile

TitleInfluence of larval traits on dispersal and connectivity patterns of two exploited marine invertebrates in central Chile
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsBlanco, M, Ospina-Álvarez, A, Navarrete, SA, Fernández, M
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
ISSN0171-8630, 1616-1599
KeywordsIndividual-based model, Larval behavior, Larval migration, Management, Numerical model, Source-sink dynamics

Environmental variability can influence larval development rates and affect critical processes in the dynamics of natural populations, such as dispersal distances and connectivity, when modulated by different larval traits. Knowledge of connectivity patterns in marine populations is fundamental for defining population viability and progressing with management and conservation goals. Here, we developed a biophysical, individual-based larval dispersal model to assess the effect of oceanographic variability and biological traits (i.e. larval diel vertical migration [DVM] and temperature-dependent larval development [PLD]) on recruitment success, dispersal distance, and alongshore connectivity patterns. We selected 2 species exploited by Chilean artisanal fisheries: Loxechinus albus (PLD: 20 d) and Fissurella latimarginata (PLD: 5 d). A sensitivity analysis was used to examine the effect of intrinsic (DVM and PLD) and extrinsic (release depth, latitude, and timing) processes. Release location and timing of release explained respectively 24.30 and 5.54% (F. latimarginata) and 34.8 and 4.19% (L. albus) of the variability observed in recruitment success, and 23.80 and 6.94% (F. latimarginata) and 26.10 and 19.60% (L. albus) of the variability observed in dispersal distance. Most recruitment to local populations was allochthonous, presenting low levels of self-recruitment and local retention, including species with short PLD. Similar geographic patterns of source and destination strengths were observed in both species, showing a geographic mosaic of source and sink populations with relatively higher importance towards the northern region of the study area. Our findings allow us to identify primary determinants of recruitment success and dispersal distance for 2 important exploited species in Chile.