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Potential connectivity between marine protected areas in the Mesoamerican Reef for two species of virtual fish larvae: Lutjanus analis and Epinephelus striatus
Martínez, Samuel (autor) ; Carrillo Bibriezca, Laura Elena (autora) ; Marinone, S. Guido (autor) ;
Contenido en: Ecological Indicators Vol. 102 (July 2019), p. 10-20 ISSN: 1470-160X
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Resumen en inglés

The potential connectivity network of marine protected areas (MPAs) with spawning aggregations sites in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef system (MBRS) was examined through simulated dispersal of two study cases, Lutjanus analis and Epinephelus striatus larvae. The analysis was based on a particle tracking model incorporating four years of daily horizontal surface currents from the global scale HYCOM 1/12°. We carried out two approaches, the first one used the period of larval duration (PLD) and the second the time of flexion of the notochord as the limit time of dispersion of the particles. Additionally, peak spawning seasons (December-Febraury for E. striatus and March-July for L. analis), lunar phases and georeferenced spawning aggregations sites were considered for releasing the virtual larvae. Our findings suggest that in general, the network of MPAs of the MBRS are well connected, however, the connectivity network structure presented variations in the relative role of each MPA, and their played role will depend on the specie reproductive period, the oceanographic conditions and the assumed biological approximation (such as PLD or flexion). Our analysis suggested a regionalization of the MBRS. A southern region (Bacalar Chico, Roatan and Sapodilla) with low degree of connectivity, moderate self-recruitment rate, and low values of betweenness centrality. A second southern region (Turneff Island, Lighthouse Atoll, Glover Reef Atoll and Gladen Spit) with high rate of self-recruitment (up to 20%) that could be related to self-recruitment due to retention mechanism of the Honduras Gyre, with high values of source of larvae, function as bridges that connect the south zone with the north of the system.

A third region (Mahahual and Xcalak) showing sink of larvae, low larval arrival rate but self-recruitment, low values of betweenness centrality area influenced by slow and variable currents and the presence of a southward flow. And a fourth region (Chinchorro, Sian Ka’an, Puerto Morelos and Cozumel) with moderate fast current speed (Yucatan Current), low self-recruitment, larval sink, bridge with the Gulf of Mexico and Florida.