Geographic coupling of juvenile and adult habitat shapes spatial population dynamics of a coral reef fish

Loading...
Thumbnail Image
File version
Author(s)
Huijbers, Chantal M
Nagelkerken, Ivan
Debrot, Adolphe O
Jongejans, Eelke
Griffith University Author(s)
Primary Supervisor
Other Supervisors
Editor(s)
Date
2013
Size
594781 bytes
File type(s)
application/pdf
Location
License
Abstract

Marine spatial population dynamics are often addressed with a focus on larval dispersal, without taking into account movement behavior of individuals in later life stages. Processes occurring during demersal life stages may also drive spatial population dynamics if habitat quality is perceived differently by animals belonging to different life stages. In this study, we used a dual approach to understand how stage-structured habitat use and dispersal ability of adults shape the population of a marine fish species. Our study area and focal species provided us with the unique opportunity to study a closed island population. A spatial simulation model was used to estimate dispersal distances along a coral reef that surrounds the island, while contributions of different nursery bays were determined based on otolith stable isotope signatures of adult reef fish. The model showed that adult dispersal away from reef areas near nursery bays is limited. The results further show that different bays contributed unequally to the adult population on the coral reef, with productivity of juveniles in bay nursery habitat determining the degree of mixing among local populations on the reef and with one highly productive area contributing most to the island's reef fish population. The contribution of the coral reef as a nursery habitat was minimal, even though it had a much larger surface area. These findings indicate that the geographic distribution of nursery areas and their productivity are important drivers for the spatial distribution patterns of adults on coral reefs. We suggest that limited dispersal of adults on reefs can lead to a source-sink structure in the adult stage, where reefs close to nurseries replenish more isolated reef areas. Understanding these spatial population dynamics of the demersal phase of marine animals is of major importance for the design and placement of marine reserves, as nursery areas contribute differently to maintain adult populations.

Journal Title
Ecology
Conference Title
Book Title
Edition
Volume
94
Issue
8
Thesis Type
Degree Program
School
Publisher link
Patent number
Funder(s)
Grant identifier(s)
Rights Statement
Rights Statement
© 2013 Ecological Society of America. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Item Access Status
Note
Access the data
Related item(s)
Subject
Ecology
Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Evolutionary biology
Persistent link to this record
Citation
Collections