Larval Dispersal and Migration in the Marine Environment

Larval Dispersal and Migration in the Marine Environment

Larval Dispersal and Migration in the Marine Environment Chapter 5 From spawning to larvae Larval Ecology Many marine animals reproduce by spawning and then release offspring into ocean waters. These young must find food, protection, and a suitable

home. Most marine communities are composed of species that reproduce by producing various larval types. Therefore, an understanding of larval ecology is central to understanding how such communities persist. Larvae: independent morphologically different stages that develop from fertilized eggs and must undergo a profound change before assuming adult features. Settlement: when larvae fall out (leave) the water column, select habitat, and

undergo metamorphosis. This is usually brought on by cues from the environment. Recruitment: The larvae that have (1) dispersed and settled, (2) metamorphosed successfully, and (3) survived to be detected by the observer. Larvae and adult of goose neck barnacle species. Hairy Triton and its larval form

Palthyoa species larvae Larvae and their adults Sea star larvae and and newly settled sea star (juvenile) Christmas Tree worm (polychate worm species) and its larval form

Dispersal Types in Benthic Species PLANKTOTROPHIC DISPERSAL - female produces many (103 - 106) small eggs, larvae feed on plankton, long dispersal time (weeks) LECITHOTROPHIC LARVAE - female produces fewer eggs (102 - 103), larger, larvae live on yolk, short dispersal time (hrs-days usually) DIRECT RELEASE - female lays eggs, or broods

young, juveniles released and crawl away Teleplanic Larvae: larvae that live in transoceanic currents (are always planktotrophic larvae) Lecithotrophic larva: tadpole larva of the colonial ascidian Botryllus schlosseri Planktotrophic larva of snail Cymatium parthenopetum

teleplanic larva of an urchin Veliger Larvae: a larval type only found in Mollusks. Torsion, twisting of the body that produces the spiral shell, is already taking place or will very soon after hatching. Many marine mollusks produce veliger larvae, which are

lecithotrophic larvae. This type of larvae is usually ready to settle within days of hatching, and is unique to mollusks. Dispersing of larvae PROBLEM OF SWIMMING LARVAE: water motion carries them away from appropriate habitats

Loss to offshore waters Wind-driven recruitment onshore Self-seeding eddies Longshore drift Shore Population

Internal waves, tidal bores Some helping hands in dispersal Winds that wash larvae to shore Internal waves - bring material and larvae to shore Eddies that concentrate larvae in spots Behavior rising to the surface at certain

times of day, or with the rise of the tide. Most larvae have some ability to control the direction in which they disperse. Estuarine larval adaptations - retention Larvae rise on the flooding tide, sink to bottom on the ebbing tide: results in retention of larvae within estuary Estuarine larval adaptations - movement of

larvae to coastal waters, return of later stage larvae Blue crab, Callinectes sapidus Recruitment of juvenile corals Effect of local eddies on larval retention in a patch reef on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

larva of coral Distance from reef perimeter Newly settled coral Gamete production and larval life must often be timed precisely to allow settlement and promote dispersal, to avoid being swept from suitable habitat, and to counter predation. These factors influence reproductive success (R in population models).

Planktonic larval stage Post-settling stage Examples of timing for Reproductive Success: a) larvae in intertidal areas that move at night are

selected for (avoid predation). b) Grunion spawning on beaches; timed with highest spring tides of Spring. c) Coral reef damselfish lay eggs at dawn; larvae hatch 4 sunsets later (avoid predation). Egg production timed so that hatching is with the ebb tide which sweeps larvae offshore (lowers predation). Settling problems of planktonic

larvae Presettling problems: Starvation Predation in plankton Loss to inappropriate habitats Settlement Cues Larval settlement is an active choice, aided by chemical and physical cues. Photopositive and photonegative behaviors exist, sometimes

within same individual. Almost all larvae prefer settlement sites with bacteria present. Gregarious settling is where larvae settle on adults (oysters, barnacles). (What are the costs and benefits??) Larvae frequently use chemicals produced by other animals and plants to determine settlement locations. After all this, metamorphosis takes place and the animal becomes a juvenile, and looks like a small adult). Recruitment:

The larvae that have (1) dispersed and settled, (2) metamorphosed successfully, and (3) survived to be detected by the observer. Larvae and adult of goose neck barnacle species. Why disperse when mortality is thought be 90% or higher for most species??

Biogeography and Function of Larval Dispersal Why disperse? High probability of local extinction; best to export juveniles Spread your young (siblings) over a variety of habitats; evens out the probability of mortality Maybe it has nothing to do with dispersal

at all; just a feeding ground in the plankton for larvae Biogeography and function of larval ecology Most marine inverts have planktonic feeding larvae. However, planktonic feeding larvae are rare in high latitudes (Fig. 5.28) As you more South, planktonic feeding larvae dominant. Allows species to invade new areas Avoids crowding (areas where space is the limiting factor for

population growth). The End

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