Possible effects of downwelling on the recruitment of coral reef fishes to the Eilat (Red Sea) coral reefs

Ben-Tzvi, Ofer, Moshe Kiflawi, Hezi Gildor, Avigdor Abelson

Limnol. Oceanogr., 52(6), 2007, 2618-2628 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2007.52.6.2618

ABSTRACT: We compared water current measurements with data on the recruitment of reef fishes to a coral reef in Eilat, Red Sea for two consecutive recruitment seasons. There was a clear correlation between the daily number of recruits and the magnitude of the downwelling flow, suggesting that an increase in offshore (near bottom) flow induces higher recruitment. The higher recruitment may be the result of larval swimming against the flow. Although the exact mechanism explaining this correlation is unclear, it may involve odor transport from the reef by the downwelling currents, which reaches competent larvae in deeper water and directs them to potential settlement sites.

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