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Local Replenishment of Coral Reef Fish Populations in a Marine Reserve

Science  04 May 2007:
Vol. 316, Issue 5825, pp. 742-744
DOI: 10.1126/science.1140597

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Abstract

The scale of larval dispersal of marine organisms is important for the design of networks of marine protected areas. We examined the fate of coral reef fish larvae produced at a small island reserve, using a mass-marking method based on maternal transmission of stable isotopes to offspring. Approximately 60% of settled juveniles were spawned at the island, for species with both short (<2 weeks) and long (>1 month) pelagic larval durations. If natal homing of larvae is a common life-history strategy, the appropriate spatial scales for the management and conservation of coral reefs are likely to be much smaller than previously assumed.

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