Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-2012

Publication Title

Ecological Applications

Keywords

Connectivity, Coral reef seascapes, Dispersal, Landscape ecology, Marine protected areas, Metapopulation, Population openness, Reef fishes

ISSN

1051-0761

Volume

22

Issue/No.

4

First Page

1257

Last Page

1267

Abstract

Which populations are replenished primarily by immigrants (open) and which by local production (closed) remains an important question for management with implications for response to exploitation, protection, and disturbance. However, we lack methods for predicting population openness. Here, we develop a model for openness and show that considering habitat isolation explains the existence of surprisingly closed populations in high-dispersal species, including many marine organisms. Relatively closed populations are expected when patch spacing is more than twice the standard deviation of a species' dispersal kernel. In addition, natural scales of habitat patchiness on coral reefs are sufficient to create both largely open and largely closed populations. Contrary to some previous interpretations, largely closed marine populations do not require mean dispersal distances that are unusually short, even for species with relatively long pelagic larval durations. We predict that habitat patchiness has strong control over population openness for many marine and terrestrial species with a highly dispersive life stage and relatively sedentary adults. This information can be used to make initial predictions about where populations will be more or less resilient to local exploitation and disturbance.

Comments

©2012 by the Ecological Society of America

ResearcherID

B-8552-2013

DOI

10.1890/11-1240.1

Peer Reviewed

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