Meeting Abstract

S4-2.1  Thursday, Jan. 5  What Controls Connectivity? A Place-based, Multi-species Approach LEVIN, Lisa A.*; BECKER, Bonnie J.; CARSON, Hank S.; COOK, Geoff S.; DIBACCO, Claudio; FODRIE, F. Joel; LOPE-DUARTE, Paola C.; Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Univ. of Washington, Tacoma; Univ. of Hawaii, Hilo; McGill University; Bedford Inst. of Oceanography; UNC Chapel Hill; Rutgers Univ.

The exchange of individuals among habitat patches (connectivity) has broad relevance for the conservation and management of marine metapopulations. Elemental fingerprinting-based research conducted over the past 12 years along the coastline and bays of southern California measured connectivity patterns for one native and two invasive mussels, an oyster, brachyuran crab, and two fishes. The studies spanned different years and seasons but overlapped considerably in space, allowing comparisons of dispersal patterns across species, and the relative importance of location, circulation, and intra-and interannual variability. We explored directional transport, transport distances, sources/sinks, self-recruitment, bay-ocean exchange, and their implications for management. Linked connectivity-demographic analyses conducted for four species allowed us to evaluate the contributions of realized connectivity to metapopulation dynamics. Common trends across species included greater isolation of back-bay populations, front bay-ocean exchange, high retention in northern open coast and bay locations, average along-shore dispersal distances of 20-40 km and seasonal changes in dispersal direction that mirrored along-shore circulation patterns. Connectivity was rarely the most influential driver of metapopulation dynamics, but influenced the importance of other vital rates and was required for persistence. Some locations served consistently as larval sources or nurseries, and reproductive timing guided directional transport. Thus local management with an adaptive component may be effective along this coast. Regional, multi-species assessments of larval exchange could move us closer to ecosystem-based management.