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Population genetics, demographic connectivity, and the design of marine reserves
Palumbi, S.R. (2003). Population genetics, demographic connectivity, and the design of marine reserves. Ecol. Appl. 13(1, Suppl.): S146-S158
In: Ecological Applications. Ecological Society of America: Tempe, AZ. ISSN 1051-0761, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Connecting; Dispersion; Geographical isolation; Larvae; Marine parks; Population structure; Marine

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  • Palumbi, S.R.

Abstract
    Genetic analyses of marine population structure often find only slight geographicdifferentiation in species with high dispersal potential. Interpreting the significanceof this slight genetic signal has been difficult because even mild genetic structure impliesvery limited demographic exchange between populations, but slight differentiation couldalso be due to sampling error. Examination of genetic isolation by distance, in which closepopulations are more similar than distant ones, has the potential to increase confidence inthe significance of slight genetic differentiation. Simulations of one-dimensional steppingstone populations with particular larval dispersal regimes shows that isolation by distanceis most obvious when comparing populations separated by 2-5 times the mean larvaldispersal distance. Available data on fish and invertebrates can be calibrated with thissimulation approach and suggest mean dispersal distances of 25-150 km.Design of marine reserve systems requires an understanding of larval transport in andout of reserves, whether reserves will be self-seeding, whether they will accumulate recruitsfrom surrounding exploited areas, and whether reserve networks can exchange recruits.Direct measurements of mean larval dispersal are needed to understand connectivity in areserve system, but such measurements are extremely difficult. Genetic patterns of isolationby distance have the potential to add to direct measurement of larval dispersal distanceand can help set the appropriate geographic scales on which marine reserve systems willfunction well.

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