Modeled larval connectivity of a multi-species reef fish and invertebrate assemblage off the coast of Moloka'i, Hawa'i

Emily Conklin, Anna Beatrice Neuheimer, Robert Toonen

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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.
Antal sider32
StatusUdgivet - 2018


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