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Titolo: A multidisciplinary approach for puzzling over fish connectivity in the Mediterranean Sea: The role of early life history stages of red mullet (Mullus barbatus)
Data di pubblicazione: 17-mar-2015
Abstract: Integrating connectivity patterns into marine ecosystem management is a fundamental step, specially for stock subjected to the combined impacts of human activities (overfishing, habitat degradation, etc.) and climate changes. Thus, management of marine resources must incorporates the spatial scales over which the populations are connected. Notwithstanding, studying these dynamics remains a crucial and hard task and the predictions of the temporal and spatial patterns of these mechanisms are still particularly challenging. This thesis aims to puzzle over the red mullet Mullus barbatus population connectivity in the Western Mediterranean Sea, by implementing a multidisciplinary approach. Otolith sclerochronology, larval dispersal modelling and genetic techniques were gathered in this study. More particularly, this research project focused on early life history stages of red mullet and their role in the characterization of connectivity dynamics. The results show that M. barbatus larval dispersal distances can reach a range of 200 km. The differences in early life traits (i.e. PLD, spawning and settlement dates) observed between various areas of the Western Mediterranean Sea suggest a certain level of larval patchiness, likely due to the occurrence of different spawning pulses during the reproductive period. The dispersal of individuals across distant areas, even not significant in demographic terms, is accountable for the maintenance of the genetic flow among different demes. Fluctuations in the level of exchange among different areas, due to the variability of the source-sink dynamics, could have major implications in the population connectivity patterns. These findings highlight the reliability of combining several approaches and represent a benchmark for the definition of a proper resource management, with considerable engagements in effectively assuring the beneficial effects of the existent and future conservation strategies.
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