Ecologically relevant dispersal of corals on isolated reefs : implications for managing resilience

Jim Underwood, L.D. Smith, M.J.H. Van Oppen, J.P. Gilmour

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    93 Citations (Scopus)


    Coral reefs are in decline worldwide, and marine reserve networks have been advocated as a powerful management tool for maximizing the resilience of coral communities to an increasing variety, number, and severity of disturbances. However, the effective design of reserves must account for the spatial scales of larval dispersal that affect the demography of communities over ecological time frames. Ecologically relevant distances of dispersal were inferred from DNA microsatellite data in a broadcast-spawning (Acropora tenuis) and a brooding (Seriatopora hystrix) coral at isolated reef systems off northwest Australia. Congruent with expectations based on life histories, levels of genetic subdivision among populations were markedly higher in the brooder than in the broadcast spawner. Additionally, significant subdivision for both species between systems (>100 km), and between (>10 km) or within reefs (
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)18-29
    JournalEcological Applications
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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