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Larval behavior and dispersal mechanisms in shore crab larvae: Local adaptations to different tidal environments?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Recent studies indicate that local adaptations may occur in marine populations over relatively small geographic areas despite high dispersal potential if strong environmental gradients are present. Here we assess if local adaptations in larval behavior can develop in response to tidal gradients by studying the shore crab Carcinus maenas in the North Sea area using a combination of empirical and model studies. Specific aims of the study was to assess if shore crab larvae from different tidal environments have different swimming behaviors, and if these behaviors affect connectivity and recruitment success of the larvae.

Field and laboratory studies demonstrated that newly hatched shore crab larvae from mesotidal Danish Wadden Sea displayed an inherited vertical migration rhythm with a circatidal periodicity, and that postlarvae swam in surface water almost exclusively during flood tides, suggesting that larvae use selective tidal stream transport to control the dispersal process. In contrast, shore crab larvae from microtidal Skagerrak displayed a nocturnal vertical migration behavior that switched to a diurnal behavior at the end of the larval phase, indicating an adaptation to avoid visual predators and to use wind-driven transport to reach shallow settlement areas.

Results from a biophysical model showed that larval swimming behavior had a dominant role for the dispersal process and the recruitment success in the study area, and demonstrated that modeled tidal-migrating larvae in Wadden Sea had 2x higher recruitment success than larvae with a diel behavior. However, in microtidal Skagerrak no differences in recruitment success was found between the two larval behaviors. Lower fitness is suggested for tidal-migrating larvae in microtidal regions due to a predicted higher predation mortality. Consistent with recent population genetic studies, connectivity analyses indicated an oceanographic dispersal barrier in Eastern Wadden Sea that will restrict gene-flow between the two areas, and allow local adaptations in larval behavior. 

National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Research subject
Atmospheric Sciences and Oceanography
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-75611OAI: diva2:517423
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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