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Spatial variation in population dynamics in a colonial ascidian (Botryllus schlosseri)
Yund, P.O.; Stires, A. (2002). Spatial variation in population dynamics in a colonial ascidian (Botryllus schlosseri). Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 141(5): 955-963.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Yund, P.O.
  • Stires, A.

    Recent interest in the dynamics of marine invertebrate populations has focused largely on taxa with an open population structure. However, in many colonial taxa with limited larval dispersal, settlers may be locally derived. Consequently, dynamics may vary among sites that are separated by relatively short distances. This study explored spatial variation in temporal dynamics of colonial ascidians (Botryllus schlosseri Pallas) inhabiting five sites distributed along a ˜ 17-km temperature and phytoplankton gradient in the Damariscotta River estuary, Maine, USA. Settlement and population densities and sexual reproductive status were assayed throughout the summer seasons of 1996 and 1997. Sexual reproduction and larval settlement commenced earlier in the summer in up-river populations, which subsequently underwent a seasonal population explosion that was much smalier in down-river populations. Two peaks in settlement density up-river (in early July and early September) suggest that colonies there may have completed two sexual generations, in contrast to a single generation at down-river sites. Similar spatial variation is expected among populations of other taxa with limited larval dispersal when they are distributed across environmental gradients.

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