Cowen, R. K.. RSMAS/MBF, rcowen@rsmas.miami.edu
Lwiza, K. K.. MSRC, klwiza@notes.cc.sunysb.edu
Sponaugle, S. RSMAS/MBF, ssponaugle@rsmas.miami.edu

 
CONNECTIVITY AND REPLENISHMENT OF REEF FISH POPULATIONS
 
Population connectivity is an important requirement for marine sanctuaries to function as spawning refugia. But what are the appropriate scales for connectivity of different areas? If taken purely in terms of defining a population, then different areas need only to exchange very few individuals to maintain a genetically homogeneous population. However, if a protected area is intended to support 'downstream' populations on ecological time scales, then exchange needs to occur at higher orders of magnitude. Previous examples of connectivity have in reality only indicated the potential for exchange thus supporting the findings that local populations exchange sufficient number of individuals on evolutionary time scales to maintain a homogenous genetic stock. We present a model that not only incorporates typical advective and diffusive properties of larval transport by the ambient flow field, but also propagule productions rates and mortality rates, to determine if and over what area sufficient numbers of larvae can be transported to numerically sustain downstream populations. We provide evidence of likely bio/physical mechanisms that may enhance local retention of larvae, thereby minimizing downstream transport. Our preliminary findings suggest the need to rethink the placement of sanctuaries for the purpose of seeding downstream areas and outlines future research efforts to quantify the rates of exchange.
 
Day: Wednesday, Feb. 3
Time: 03:30 - 03:45pm
Location: Sweeney Center
 
Code: SS09WE0330S