Recruitment and Population Dynamics of a Coral Reef Fish

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Science  28 Jan 1983:
Vol. 219, Issue 4583, pp. 419-420
DOI: 10.1126/science.219.4583.419


Daily otolith increments were used to determine the daily pattern of settlement of the bluehead wrasse (Thalassoma bifasciatum), a Caribbean coral reef fish. Recruitment occurs in brief and sporadic episodes even though bluehead wrasses spawn every day. Patterns of recruitment do not correspond to patterns of mortality on the reef. The composition of the adult population directly reflects the relative rates of recruitment of juveniles the year before. The population dynamics of this species may therefore be determined by the supply of recruits and not by the supply of space or some other resource on the reef.