Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New study showed spawning frequency regulates species population networks on coral reefs

09.07.2015

UM Rosenstiel School scientists use computer model to uncover spawning strategies

New research on tropical coral reef ecosystems showed that releasing larvae more often is beneficial for a species' network. The study on reproductive strategies is critical to assess the conservation of coral reef ecosystems worldwide.


This is a juvenile bicolor damselfish (Stegastes partitus).

Credit: Evan D'Alessandro, Ph.D.

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science used a computer model developed by UM Rosenstiel School scientist Claire Paris, known as the Connectivity Modeling System to track larval movements of three distinct reef species - the Carribean sea plume (Anthiellogorgia elisebeathae), the bicolor damselfish (Stegastes partitus) and the Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus). The three species, which have varying larval dispersal strategies, were simulated in a dynamic natural marine system over time to determine whether dispersal was driven by environmental or biological factors for the modeled species.

Many coral reef species live on separate habitat patches on coral reefs that are linked through larval dispersal into a larger population network. As a parent population spawns, the eggs and larvae are transported in the currents from their native location to another, more distant location. This exchange of larvae by currents between geographically separated populations create a network of connections, which is known as a connectivity network. The authors suggest that the more often an animal reproduces, the greater the variability in the ocean currents that larvae can experience, and the more potential habitats that a dispersing animal could be connected to.

"We found that the rate at which a species spawn drives the relatedness between distant populations," said Claire Paris, associate professor of ocean sciences at the UM Rosenstiel School. "Therefore more frequent spawning is more likely to stabilize the connectivity network."

"There is tremendous variability in how often reef animals reproduce and release eggs and larvae, yet they all find their way to coral reefs," said Andrew Kough, UM Rosenstiel School alumnus and lead author of the study. "Our study explored how changes in reproductive frequency shape an animal's connectivity network."

The researchers also found that larval behavior enhances the persistence of these network connections, when compared to passive transport by the ocean currents.

"For animals that reproduce infrequently, vertical swimming behavior during the larval stage helps control the dispersal network and is a vital part of marine ecology," said Kough.

The larval phase of a marine species is often the only time that coral reef inhabitants travel between habitat locations, an important early life history stage required to maintain healthy populations when environmental conditions fluctuate due to both natural and man-made factors.

"Our model has proved accurate enough to test important hypotheses in marine ecology, said Paris. "One hot topic has always been about the role of reproduction strategies on the structure of marine populations. We find a fine balance between spawning frequency and larval behavior in reef species."

###

The study, titled "The influence of spawning periodicity on population connectivity," was published in the Online First section of the journal Coral Reefs. The co-authors are Andrew S. Kough and Claire B. Paris.

About the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School

The University of Miami is one of the largest private research institutions in the southeastern United States. The University's mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940's, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, visit: http://www.rsmas.miami.edu.

Diana Udel | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>