Data from: Large-scale, multi-directional larval connectivity among coral reef fish populations in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Microsatellite data for Plectropomus leopardus and Pletropomus maculatus in the souther Great Barrier Reef.

Abstract [Related Publication]: Larval dispersal is the key process by which populations of most marine fishes and invertebrates are connected and replenished. Advances in larval tagging and genetics have enhanced our capacity to track larval dispersal, assess scales of population connectivity, and quantify larval exchange among no-take marine reserves and fished areas. Recent studies have found that reserves can be a significant source of recruits for populations up to 40 km away, but the scale and direction of larval connectivity across larger seascapes remain unknown. Here we apply genetic parentage analysis to investigate larval dispersal patterns for two exploited coral reef groupers (Plectropomus maculatus and P. leopardus) within and among three clusters of reefs separated by 60 – 220 km within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Australia. A total of 69 juvenile P. maculatus and 17 juvenile P. leopardus (representing 6% and 9% of the total juveniles sampled respectively) were genetically assigned to parent individuals on reefs within the study area. We identified both short-distance larval dispersal within regions (200 m to 50 km) and long-distance, multi-directional dispersal of up to ~250 km among regions. Dispersal strength declined significantly with distance, with best-fit dispersal kernels estimating median dispersal distances of ~110 km for P. maculatus and ~190 km for P. leopardus. Larval exchange among reefs demonstrates that established reserves form a highly connected network and contribute larvae for the replenishment of fished reefs at multiple spatial scales. Our findings highlight the potential for long-distance dispersal in an important group of reef fishes, and provide further evidence that effectively protected reserves can yield recruitment and sustainability benefits for exploited fish populations.

The full methodology is available in the Open Access publication from the Related Publications link below.

    Data Record Details
    Data record related to this publication Data from: Large-scale, multi-directional larval connectivity among coral reef fish populations in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
    Data Publication title Data from: Large-scale, multi-directional larval connectivity among coral reef fish populations in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
  • Description

    Microsatellite data for Plectropomus leopardus and Pletropomus maculatus in the souther Great Barrier Reef.

    Abstract [Related Publication]: Larval dispersal is the key process by which populations of most marine fishes and invertebrates are connected and replenished. Advances in larval tagging and genetics have enhanced our capacity to track larval dispersal, assess scales of population connectivity, and quantify larval exchange among no-take marine reserves and fished areas. Recent studies have found that reserves can be a significant source of recruits for populations up to 40 km away, but the scale and direction of larval connectivity across larger seascapes remain unknown. Here we apply genetic parentage analysis to investigate larval dispersal patterns for two exploited coral reef groupers (Plectropomus maculatus and P. leopardus) within and among three clusters of reefs separated by 60 – 220 km within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Australia. A total of 69 juvenile P. maculatus and 17 juvenile P. leopardus (representing 6% and 9% of the total juveniles sampled respectively) were genetically assigned to parent individuals on reefs within the study area. We identified both short-distance larval dispersal within regions (200 m to 50 km) and long-distance, multi-directional dispersal of up to ~250 km among regions. Dispersal strength declined significantly with distance, with best-fit dispersal kernels estimating median dispersal distances of ~110 km for P. maculatus and ~190 km for P. leopardus. Larval exchange among reefs demonstrates that established reserves form a highly connected network and contribute larvae for the replenishment of fished reefs at multiple spatial scales. Our findings highlight the potential for long-distance dispersal in an important group of reef fishes, and provide further evidence that effectively protected reserves can yield recruitment and sustainability benefits for exploited fish populations.

    The full methodology is available in the Open Access publication from the Related Publications link below.

  • Other Descriptors
    • Descriptor

      This dataset is available from Dryad in plain text (.txt) format format. Dryad data package: Williamson DH, Harrison HB, Almany GR, Berumen ML, Bode M, Bonin MC, Choukroun S, Doherty PJ, Frisch AJ, Saenz-Agudelo P, Jones GP (2016) Data from: Large-scale, multi-directional larval connectivity among coral reef fish populations in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Dryad Digital Repository. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4m67g

    • Descriptor type Note
  • Data type dataset
  • Keywords
    • larval connectivity
    • parentage analysis
    • recruitment
    • no-take marine reserves
    • coral trout
    • Plectropomus sp.
    • ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
  • Funding source
  • Research grant(s)/Scheme name(s)
  • Research themes
    Tropical Ecosystems, Conservation and Climate Change
    FoR Codes (*)
    • 050202 - Conservation and Biodiversity
    • 060205 - Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)
    SEO Codes
    • 960507 - Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments
    Specify spatial or temporal setting of the data
    Temporal (time) coverage
  • Start Date
  • End Date
  • Time Period
    Spatial (location) coverage
  • Locations
    • Keppel Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia (23°10′S, 150°57′E)
    • Percy Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia (21°42′S, 150°18′E)
    • Capricorn Bunker reefs, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia(23°25′S, 151°46′E)
    Data Locations

    Type Location Notes
    URL https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4m67g
    The Data Manager is: David Williamson
    College or Centre
    Access conditions Open: free access under license
  • Alternative access conditions
  • Data record size 2 files: 381.4 KB
  • Related publications
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    Citation Williamson, David; Harrison, Hugo; Almany, Glenn; Bode, Michael; Bonin, Mary; Choukroun, Severine; Frisch, Ashley; Jones, Geoffrey; Berumen, M; Doherty, P; Saenz-Agudelo, P (2016): Data from: Large-scale, multi-directional larval connectivity among coral reef fish populations in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. James Cook University.