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Connectivity of marine populations: Open or Closed? Science 287: 857-859

Author(s): Cowen RK, Lwiza K, Sponaugle S, Paris C, Olson D

Abstract

Most marine populations are thought to be well connected via long-distance dispersal of larval stages. Eulerian and Lagrangian flow models, coupled with linear mortality estimates, were used to examine this assumption. The findings show that when simple advection models are used, larval exchange rates may be overestimated; such simplistic models fail to account for a decrease of up to nine orders of magnitude in larval concentrations resulting from diffusion and mortality. The alternative process of larval retention near local populations is shown to exist and may be of great importance in the maintenance of marine population structure and management of coastal marine resources.

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