Global patterns in marine dispersal estimates: the influence of geography, taxonomic category and life history.
ABSTRACT: We examine estimates of dispersal in a broad range of marine species through an analysis of published values, and evaluate how well these values represent global patterns through a comparison with correlates of dispersal. Our analysis indicates a historical focus in dispersal studies on low-dispersal/low-latitude species, and we hypothesize that these studies are not generally applicable and representative of global patterns. Large-scale patterns in dispersal were examined using a database of correlates of dispersal such as planktonic larval duration (PLD, 318 species) and genetic differentiation (FST, 246 species). We observed significant differences in FST (p<0.001) and PLD (p<0.001) between taxonomic groups (e.g. fishes, cnidarians, etc.). Within marine fishes (more than 50% of datasets), the prevalence of demersal eggs was negatively associated with PLD (R2=0.80, p<0.001) and positively associated with genetic structure (R2=0.74, p<0.001). Furthermore, dispersal within marine fishes (i.e. PLD and FST) increased with latitude, adult body size and water depth. Of these variables, multiple regression identified latitude and body size as persistent predictors across taxonomic levels. These global patterns of dispersal represent a first step towards understanding and predicting species-level and regional differences in dispersal, and will be improved as more comprehensive data become available.
Project description:Dispersal is thought to be an important process determining range size, especially for species in highly spatially structured habitats, such as tropical reef fishes. Despite intensive research efforts, there is conflicting evidence about the role of dispersal in determining range size. We hypothesize that traits related to dispersal drive range sizes, but that complete and comprehensive datasets are essential for detecting relationships between species' dispersal ability and range size. We investigate the roles of six traits affecting several stages of dispersal (adult mobility, spawning mode, pelagic larval duration (PLD), body size, aggregation behavior, and circadian activity), in explaining range size variation of reef fishes in the Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP). All traits, except for PLD (148 species), had data for all 497 species in the region. Using a series of statistical models, we investigated which traits were associated with large range sizes, when analyzing all TEP species or only species with PLD data. Furthermore, using null models, we analyzed whether the PLD-subset is representative of the regional species pool. Several traits affecting dispersal ability were strongly associated with range size, although these relationships could not be detected when using the PLD-subset. Pelagic spawners (allowing for passive egg dispersal) had on average 56% larger range sizes than nonpelagic spawners. Species with medium or high adult mobility had on average a 25% or 33% larger range, respectively, than species with low mobility. Null models showed that the PLD-subset was nonrepresentative of the regional species pool, explaining why model outcomes using the PLD-subset differed from the ones based on the complete dataset. Our results show that in the TEP, traits affecting dispersal ability are important in explaining range size variation. Using a regionally complete dataset was crucial for detecting the theoretically expected, but so far empirically unresolved, relationship between dispersal and range size.
Project description:To address patterns of genetic connectivity in a mass-aggregating marine fish, we analyzed genetic variation in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), microsatellites, and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus). We expected Nassau grouper to exhibit genetic differentiation among its subpopulations due to its reproductive behavior and retentive oceanographic conditions experienced across the Caribbean basin. All samples were genotyped for two mitochondrial markers and 9 microsatellite loci, and a subset of samples were genotyped for 4,234 SNPs. We found evidence of genetic differentiation in a Caribbean-wide study of this mass-aggregating marine fish using mtDNA (FST?=?0.206, p<0.001), microsatellites (FST?=?0.002, p?=?0.004) and SNPs (FST?=?0.002, p?=?0.014), and identified three potential barriers to larval dispersal. Genetically isolated regions identified in our work mirror those seen for other invertebrate and fish species in the Caribbean basin. Oceanographic regimes in the Caribbean may largely explain patterns of genetic differentiation among Nassau grouper subpopulations. Regional patterns observed warrant standardization of fisheries management and conservation initiatives among countries within genetically isolated regions.
Project description:Cannibalism has been commonly observed in fish from northern and alpine regions and less frequently reported for subtropical and tropical fish in more diverse communities. Assuming all else being equal, cannibalism should be more common in communities with lower species richness because the probability of encountering conspecific versus heterospecific prey would be higher. A global dataset was compiled to determine if cannibalism occurrence is associated with species richness and latitude. Cannibalism occurrence, local species richness and latitude were recorded for 4,100 populations of 2,314 teleost fish species. Relationships between cannibalism, species richness and latitude were evaluated using generalized linear mixed models. Species richness was an important predictor of cannibalism, with occurrences more frequently reported for assemblages containing fewer species. Cannibalism was positively related with latitude for both marine and freshwater ecosystems in the Northern Hemisphere, but not in the Southern Hemisphere. The regression slope for the relationship was steeper for freshwater than marine fishes. In general, cannibalism is more frequent in communities with lower species richness, and the relationship between cannibalism and latitude is stronger in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, weaker latitudinal gradients of fish species richness may account for the weak relationship between cannibalism and latitude. Cannibalism may be more common in freshwater than marine systems because freshwater habitats tend to be smaller and more closed to dispersal. Cannibalism should have greatest potential to influence fish population dynamics in freshwater systems at high northern latitudes.
Project description:Freshwater fishes often exhibit high genetic population structure due to the prevalence of dispersal barriers (e.g., waterfalls) whereas population structure in diadromous fishes tends to be weaker and driven by natal homing behaviour and/or isolation by distance. The Australian smelt (Retropinnidae: Retropinna semoni) is a native fish with a broad distribution spanning inland and coastal drainages of south-eastern Australia. Previous studies have demonstrated variability in population genetic structure and movement behaviour (potamodromy, facultative diadromy, estuarine residence) across the southern part of its geographic range. Some of this variability may be explained by the existence of multiple cryptic species. Here, we examined genetic structure of populations towards the northern extent of the species' distribution, using ten microsatellite loci and sequences of the mitochondrial cyt b gene. We tested the hypothesis that genetic connectivity among rivers should be low due to a lack of dispersal via the marine environment, but high within rivers due to dispersal. We investigated populations corresponding with two putative cryptic species, SEQ-North (SEQ-N), and SEQ-South (SEQ-S) lineages occurring in south east Queensland drainages. These two groups formed monophyletic clades in the mtDNA gene tree and among river phylogeographic structure was also evident within each clade. In agreement with our hypothesis, highly significant overall FST values suggested that both groups exhibit very low dispersal among rivers (SEQ-S FST = 0.13; SEQ-N FST= 0.27). Microsatellite data indicated that connectivity among sites within rivers was also limited, suggesting dispersal may not homogenise populations at the within-river scale. Northern groups in the Australian smelt cryptic species complex exhibit comparatively higher among-river population structure and smaller geographic ranges than southern groups. These properties make northern Australian smelt populations potentially susceptible to future conservation threats, and we define eight genetically distinct management units along south east Queensland to guide future conservation management. The present findings at least can assist managers to plan for effective conservation and management of different fish species along coastal drainages of south east Queensland, Australia.
Project description:Although fish range sizes are expected to be associated with species dispersal ability, several studies failed to find a clear relationship between range size and duration of larval stage as a measure of dispersal potential. We investigated how six characteristics of the adult phase of fishes (maximum body length, growth rate, age at first maturity, life span, trophic level and frequency of occurrence) possibly associated with colonization ability correlate with range size in both freshwater and marine species at global scale. We used more than 12 million point records to estimate range size of 1829 freshwater species and 10068 marine species. As measures of range size we used both area of occupancy and extent of occurrence. Relationships between range size and species traits were assessed using Canonical Correlation Analysis. We found that frequency of occurrence and maximum body length had a strong influence on range size measures, which is consistent with patterns previously found (at smaller scales) in several other taxa. Freshwater and marine fishes showed striking similarities, suggesting the existence of common mechanisms regulating fish biogeography in the marine and freshwater realms.
Project description:Anthropogenic habitats are increasingly prevalent in coastal marine environments. Previous research on sessile epifauna suggests that artificial habitats act as a refuge for nonindigenous species, which results in highly homogenous communities across locations. However, vertebrate assemblages that live in association with artificial habitats are poorly understood. Here, we quantify the biodiversity of small, cryptic (henceforth "cryptobenthic") fishes from marine dock pilings across six locations over 35° of latitude from Maine to Panama. We also compare assemblages from dock pilings to natural habitats in the two southernmost locations (Panama and Belize). Our results suggest that the biodiversity patterns of cryptobenthic fishes from dock pilings follow a Latitudinal Diversity Gradient (LDG), with average local and regional diversity declining sharply with increasing latitude. Furthermore, a strong correlation between community composition and spatial distance suggests distinct regional assemblages of cryptobenthic fishes. Cryptobenthic fish assemblages from dock pilings in Belize and Panama were less diverse and had lower densities than nearby reef habitats. However, dock pilings harbored almost exclusively native species, including two species of conservation concern absent from nearby natural habitats. Our results suggest that, in contrast to sessile epifaunal assemblages on artificial substrates, artificial marine habitats can harbor diverse, regionally characteristic assemblages of vertebrates that follow macroecological patterns that are well documented for natural habitats. We therefore posit that, although dock pilings cannot function as a replacement for natural habitats, dock pilings may provide cost-effective means to preserve native vertebrate biodiversity, and provide a habitat that can be relatively easily monitored to track the status and trends of fish biodiversity in highly urbanized coastal marine environments.
Project description:As with many marine species, the vast majority of coral-reef fishes have a bipartite life cycle consisting of a dispersive larval stage and a benthic adult stage. While the potentially far-reaching demographic and ecological consequences of marine dispersal are widely appreciated, little is known of the structure of the larval pool and of the dispersive process itself. Utilizing Palindrome Sequence Analysis of otolith micro-chemistry (PaSA;) we show that larvae of Neopomacentrus miryae (Pomacentridae) appear to remain in cohesive cohorts throughout their entire pelagic larval duration (PLD; ~28 days). Genetically, we found cohort members to be maternally (mtDNA) unrelated. While physical forcing cannot be negated as contributing to initial cohort formation, the small scale of the observed spatial structure suggests that some behavioral modification may be involved from a very early age. This study contributes to our ongoing re-evaluation of the processes that structure marine populations and communities and the spatial scales at which they operate.
Project description:An increasing body of studies of widely distributed, high latitude species shows a variety of refugial locations and population genetic patterns. We examined the effects of glaciations and dispersal barriers on the population genetic patterns of a widely distributed, high latitude, resident corvid, the gray jay (Perisoreus canadensis), using the highly variable mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region and microsatellite markers combined with species distribution modeling. We sequenced 914 bp of mtDNA control region for 375 individuals from 37 populations and screened seven loci for 402 individuals from 27 populations across the gray jay range. We used species distribution modeling and a range of phylogeographic analyses (haplotype diversity, ?ST, SAMOVA, FST, Bayesian clustering analyses) to examine evolutionary history and population genetic structure. MtDNA and microsatellite markers revealed significant genetic differentiation among populations with high concordance between markers. Paleodistribution models supported at least five potential areas of suitable gray jay habitat during the last glacial maximum and revealed distributions similar to the gray jay's contemporary during the last interglacial. Colonization from and prolonged isolation in multiple refugia is evident. Historical climatic fluctuations, the presence of multiple dispersal barriers, and highly restricted gene flow appear to be responsible for strong genetic diversification and differentiation in gray jays.
Project description:We use a novel individual-based model (IBM) to simulate larval dispersal around the island of Moloka'i in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Our model uses ocean current output from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology general circulation model (MITgcm) as well as biological data on four invertebrate and seven fish species of management relevance to produce connectivity maps among sites around the island of Moloka'i. These 11 species span the range of life history characteristics of Hawaiian coral reef species and show different spatial and temporal patterns of connectivity as a result. As expected, the longer the pelagic larval duration (PLD), the greater the proportion of larvae that disperse longer distances, but regardless of PLD (3-270 d) most successful dispersal occurs either over short distances within an island (<30 km) or to adjacent islands (50-125 km). Again, regardless of PLD, around the island of Moloka'i, connectivity tends to be greatest among sites along the same coastline and exchange between northward, southward, eastward and westward-facing shores is limited. Using a graph-theoretic approach to visualize the data, we highlight that the eastern side of the island tends to show the greatest out-degree and betweenness centrality, which indicate important larval sources and connectivity pathways for the rest of the island. The marine protected area surrounding Kalaupapa National Historical Park emerges as a potential source for between-island larval connections, and the west coast of the Park is one of the few regions on Moloka'i that acts as a net larval source across all species. Using this IBM and visualization approach reveals patterns of exchange between habitat regions and highlights critical larval sources and multi-generational pathways to indicate priority areas for marine resource managers.
Project description:Genetic structure within marine species may be driven by local adaptation to their environment, or alternatively by historical processes, such as geographic isolation. The gulfs and seas bordering the Arabian Peninsula offer an ideal setting to examine connectivity patterns in coral reef fishes with respect to environmental gradients and vicariance. The Red Sea is characterized by a unique marine fauna, historical periods of desiccation and isolation, as well as environmental gradients in salinity, temperature, and primary productivity that vary both by latitude and by season. The adjacent Arabian Sea is characterized by a sharper environmental gradient, ranging from extensive coral cover and warm temperatures in the southwest, to sparse coral cover, cooler temperatures, and seasonal upwelling in the northeast. Reef fish, however, are not confined to these seas, with some Red Sea fishes extending varying distances into the northern Arabian Sea, while their pelagic larvae are presumably capable of much greater dispersal. These species must therefore cope with a diversity of conditions that invoke the possibility of steep clines in natural selection. Here, we test for genetic structure in two widespread reef fish species (a butterflyfish and surgeonfish) and eight range-restricted butterflyfishes across the Red Sea and Arabian Sea using genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms. We performed multiple matrix regression with randomization analyses on genetic distances for all species, as well as reconstructed scenarios for population subdivision in the species with signatures of isolation. We found that (a) widespread species displayed more genetic subdivision than regional endemics and (b) this genetic structure was not correlated with contemporary environmental parameters but instead may reflect historical events. We propose that the endemic species may be adapted to a diversity of local conditions, but the widespread species are instead subject to ecological filtering where different combinations of genotypes persist under divergent ecological regimes.