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Spatial dynamics of large-scale, multistage crab (Callinectes sapidus) dispersal: determinants and consequences for recruitment

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We assessed determinants and consequences of multistage dispersal on spatial recruitment of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, within the Croatan, Albemarle, Pamlico Estuarine System (CAPES), North Carolina, U.S.A. Large-scale sampling of early juvenile crabs over 4 years indicated that spatial abundance patterns were size-dependent and resulted from primary post-larval dispersal (pre-settlement) and secondary juvenile dispersal (early post-settlement). In general, primary dispersal led to high abundances within more seaward habitats, whereas secondary dispersal (which was relatively consistent) expanded the distribution of juveniles, potentially increasing the estuarine nursery capacity. There were strong relationships between juvenile crab density and specific wind characteristics; however, these patterns were spatially explicit. Various physical processes (e.g., seasonal wind events, timing and magnitude of tropical cyclones) interacted to influence dispersal during multiple stages and determined crab recruitment patterns. Our results suggest that the nursery value of different habitats is highly dependent on the dispersal potential (primary and secondary dispersal) to and from these areas, which is largely determined by the relative position of habitats within the estuarine landscape.

Notre étude porte sur les facteurs déterminants et les conséquences de la dispersion en plusieurs étapes sur le recrutement du crabe bleu, Callinectes sapidus, dans le système estuarien Croatan-Albemarle-Pamlico (CAPES) de la Caroline du Nord, É.-U. Un échantillonnage à grande échelle des jeunes crabes immatures pendant 4 ans a révélé que les patterns d'abondance spatiale sont reliés à la taille et sont causés principalement par une dispersion primaire des post-larves (avant l'établissement) et une dispersion secondaire des jeunes (tôt après l'établissement). En général, la dispersion primaire entraîne des abondances élevées dans les habitats situés plus vers la haute-mer, alors que la dispersion secondaire (qui est relativement constante) accroît la répartition des jeunes et augmente potentiellement la capacité de nursery de l'estuaire. Il y a de fortes relations entre la dispersion des jeunes crabes et certaines caractéristiques particulières du vent; cependant, ces patterns varient de façon nette selon les endroits. De nombreux processus physiques (e.g., épisodes de vents saisonniers, calendrier et importance des cyclones tropicaux) influencent par leur interaction les diverses étapes de la dispersion et déterminent les patterns de recrutement des crabes. Nos données laissent croire que la valeur des différents habitats comme nurseries dépend fortement du potentiel de dispersion (primaire et secondaire) vers ces régions ou à partir de ces régions, ce qui est en grande partie déterminé par la position relative des habitats dans le paysage estuarien.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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