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Larval depth distribution critically affects dispersal and the efficiency of marine protected areas
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
(English)In: Marine Ecology Progress Series, ISSN 0171-8630, E-ISSN 1616-1599Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

This study aims to improve estimates of dispersal by including information on larval traits, and in particular to explore how larval depth distribution affects connectivity and MPA functionality in the Baltic Sea. A field survey showed that both invertebrates and fish differed in their larval depth distribution ranging from surface waters to more than 100 m. A biophysical model of larval dispersal in the Baltic Sea showed that decreased depthdistribution increased average dispersal distance 2.5 times, decreased coastal retention and local recruitment, and increased connectivity substantially. Together with pelagic larval duration (PLD), depth distribution explained 80% of total variation in dispersal distance, whereas spawning season, geographic and annual variations in circulation had only marginal effects. Median dispersal distances varied between 8 and 46 km, with 10% of simulated trajectories dispersing beyond 30-160 km depending on drift depth and PLD. In the Baltic Sea, the majority of shallow Natura 2000 MPAs are smaller than 8 km. In the present study, only one of the 11 assessed larval taxa would have a local recruitment >10% within MPAs of this size. Connectivity between MPAs was expected to be low for most larval trait combinations. Our simulations and the empirical data suggest that the MPA size within the Natura2000 system is considerably below what is required for local recruitment of most sessile invertebrates and sedentary fish. Future designs of MPA networks would benefit from spatially explicit biophysical models that consider dispersal and connectivity for complex circulation patterns and informed larval traits.

National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Research subject
Atmospheric Sciences and Oceanography
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-75606OAI: diva2:517412
Available from: 2012-04-23 Created: 2012-04-23 Last updated: 2012-04-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Applications of ocean transport modelling
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Applications of ocean transport modelling
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The advective motion of seawater governs the transport of almost everything, animate or inanimate, present in the ocean and those lacking the ability to outswim the currents have to follow the flow. This makes modelling of advective ocean transports a powerful tool in various fields of science where a displacement of something over time is studied. The present thesis comprises four different applications of ocean-transport modelling, ranging from large-scale heat transports to the dispersion of juvenile marine organisms. The aim has been to adapt the method not only to the object of study, but also to the available model-data sets and in situ-observations.

  • The first application in the thesis is a study of the oceanic heat transport. It illustrates the importance of wind forcing for not only the heat transport from the Indian to the Atlantic Ocean, but also for the net northward transport of heat in the Atlantic.
  • In the next study focus is on the particle-transport differences between an open and a semi-enclosed coastal area on the Swedish coast of the Baltic Sea. The modelled patterns of sedimentation and residence times in the two basins are examined after particles having been released from a number of prescribed point sources.
  • In the two final studies the transport-modelling framework is applied within a marine-ecology context and the transported entities are larvae of some Scandinavian sessile and sedentary species and non-commercial fishes (e.g. the bay barnacle, the blue mussel, the shore crab and the gobies). The effects of depth distribution of dispersing larvae on the efficiency of the Marine Protected Areas in the Baltic Sea are examined. Further, the diversity in dispersal and connectivity depending on vertical behaviour is modelled for regions with different tidal regimes in the North Sea, the Skagerrak and the Kattegat.

The spatial scales dealt with in the studies varied from global to a highly resolved 182-metres grid. The model results, excepting those from the global study, are based on or compared with in situ-data.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, 2012. 40 p.
ocean transport modelling, connectivity, particle-tracking, sediment transport, Forsmark, marine protected areas, MPA, stream functions, heat flux, wind forcing, Carcinus maenas
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Research subject
Atmospheric Sciences and Oceanography
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-75344 (URN)978-91-7447-496-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-06-01, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 3: Submitted. 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2012-05-10 Created: 2012-04-16 Last updated: 2012-05-02Bibliographically approved

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Corell, Hanna
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