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A spatial gradient in the potential reproductive output of the sea mussel Mytilus californianus
Phillips, N.E. (2007). A spatial gradient in the potential reproductive output of the sea mussel Mytilus californianus. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 151(4): 1543-1550.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Phillips, N.E.

    Spatial variation in reproductive output from different populations within a region could have important consequences for recruitment, and cascading effects on populations and communities of marine species, but is rarely examined over meso-scales (i.e., tens to hundreds of kilometers). In this study, reproduction in the dominant mid-intertidal mussel, Mytilus californianus, was examined from sites spanning Point Conception, California over a 6-month period (March–August 2000). There was a dramatic geographic pattern in the relationship between size and potential reproductive output that was qualitatively similar across all 6 months sampled. Increases in allocation to reproductive tissue with increasing body size occurred at all sites, but the slope nearly doubled at sites south of Point Conception compared to northern sites. The spatial variation in size-specific reproductive output, coupled with additional spatial gradients in mussel density and size distributions, combined to increase total reproductive output by over eightfold at southern relative to northern sites. This study highlights the need to explicitly examine spatial patterns of reproductive output at these meso-scales, in order to better understand connectivity and source–sink dynamics in marine systems.

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