Cross-Shelf Larval Migrations Regulating Larval Supply and Connectivity in a Network of Marine Reserves

Start/End: February, 2009 to January, 2012

Contrary to prevailing view, invertebrate larvae are not mere passive floats swept hither and yon by ocean currents, say the scientists leading this project. Instead, surprisingly, invertebrate larvae appear to exert considerable control over their movements, as seen by the fact that they usually remain near shore, even during strong upwelling events. The point of this project is to test the degree to which ocean currents can be accurately seen as a forcing mechanism for larval transport and settlement. In the first year, larvae were surveyed at two locations with persistent upwelling, including Point Arena, the strongest upwelling center in California, and Bodega Head. Findings will augment what is known about larval transport mechanisms, connectivity and self-recruitment, and the role of physical forcing on larval supply.

Co-principal Investigators