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Understanding connectivity patterns in marine fishes for sustainable management

Original title: Het begrijpen en voorspellen van de invloed van de interactie tussen de oceanografische en biologische factoren op larvale recrutering en populatieconnectiviteit bij platvis
Period: September 2012 till August 2014
Status: Completed

Institutes (4)  Top 
  • KU Leuven; Departement Biologie; Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity Conservation Section; Laboratorium voor Biodiversiteit en Evolutionaire Genomica (LBEG), more
  • Vlaamse overheid; Beleidsdomein Landbouw en Visserij; Instituut voor landbouw- , visserij en voedingsonderzoek; Kenniseenheid: Dier; Aquatisch Milieu en Kwaliteit, more
  • Wageningen University and Research Centre; Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies (IMARES), more
  • Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen; Operationele Directie Natuurlijk Milieu; Beheerseenheid Mathematisch Model Noordzee en Schelde-estuarium (BMM), more

We quantify the role of physical and biological constraints on the recruitment process and the realized dispersal of exploited marine flatfishes. Marine populations display some of the most extreme patterns of spatial and temporal heterogeneity in abundance, settlement rates and other demographic factors. Usually, simplified metrics and idealized models are used to describe their interactions. However, the combination of physical and biological information has been proven very effective, for instance to understand dispersal. We develop an Individual Biological Model coupled to a hydrodynamical model to test a range of hypotheses on the importance of factors either regulating or adapting connectivity on various spatial and temporal scales. The commercially exploited sole will be studied as a model for larval dispersal. Patterns and dynamics will be assessed in other exploited flatfishes (plaice, turbot and brill) in a comparative connectivity analysis. We will validate the model using empirical demographic and genetic data from the central and southern North Sea and eastern English Channel. The model will be used to predict the impact of natural and anthropogenic factors on marine population connectivity and resilience.

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