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Successful validation of a larval dispersal model using genetic parentage data

Citation

Bode, M and Leis, JM and Mason, LB and Williamson, DH and Harrison, HB and Choukroun, S and Jones, GP, Successful validation of a larval dispersal model using genetic parentage data, PLoS Biology, 17, (7) Article e3000380. ISSN 1544-9173 (2019) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 Bode et al. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3000380

Abstract

Larval dispersal is a critically important yet enigmatic process in marine ecology, evolution, and conservation. Determining the distance and direction that tiny larvae travel in the open ocean continues to be a challenge. Our current understanding of larval dispersal patterns at management-relevant scales is principally and separately informed by genetic parentage data and biological-oceanographic (biophysical) models. Parentage datasets provide clear evidence of individual larval dispersal events, but their findings are spatially and temporally limited. Biophysical models offer a more complete picture of dispersal patterns at regional scales but are of uncertain accuracy. Here, we develop statistical techniques that integrate these two important sources of information on larval dispersal. We then apply these methods to an extensive genetic parentage dataset to successfully validate a high-resolution biophysical model for the economically important reef fish species Plectropomus maculatus in the southern Great Barrier Reef. Our results demonstrate that biophysical models can provide accurate descriptions of larval dispersal at spatial and temporal scales that are relevant to management. They also show that genetic parentage datasets provide enough statistical power to exclude poor biophysical models. Biophysical models that included species-specific larval behaviour provided markedly better fits to the parentage data than assuming passive behaviour, but incorrect behavioural assumptions led to worse predictions than ignoring behaviour altogether. Our approach capitalises on the complementary strengths of genetic parentage datasets and high-resolution biophysical models to produce an accurate picture of larval dispersal patterns at regional scales. The results provide essential empirical support for the use of accurately parameterised biophysical larval dispersal models in marine spatial planning and management.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:larval biology, dispersal, population connectivity, fisheries
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Ecosystem Assessment and Management
Objective Field:Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments
UTAS Author:Leis, JM (Dr Jeff Leis)
ID Code:134115
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2019-07-28
Last Modified:2019-08-06
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