December 7 2009

2:00 LSB 2320

This seminar is sponsored by The Departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Atmospheric & Oceanic Studies

Dr. Satoshi Mitarai
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Japan


Quantitative descriptions of larval dispersal are critical for the predictive understanding of many nearshore marine populations. For sessile species with a planktonic life stage, larval dispersal is the predominant means which connect spatially segregated populations. Larval dispersal is driven by mean currents, wind-driven Ekman circulation and coastal eddy motions as modified by the larval development time course and larval movements. In contemporary marine ecology, most models oversimplify the processes of larval dispersal and often describe it as a simple diffusion process. In this study, I assess the roles of time-varying circulation on larval dispersal using coastal circulation simulations of the California Current. The results show that nearshore habitat connectivity via larval dispersal is driven primarily by turbulent coastal eddy motions, which results in larval connectivity that are heterogeneous in space and intermittent in time. This eddy-induced variability in larval dispersal can have important consequences in stock dynamics and community structure of nearshore marine populations. I demonstrate that larval dispersal driven by eddy motions can be a dominant mechanism i) structuring biogeography of marine organisms and ii) enabling species co-existence of nearshore marine species in an advective environment. These results give new insights of the nature of larval dispersal and its potential for regulating population dynamics of nearshore marine species in the coastal ocean.











































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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