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Home range of European lobster (Homarus gammarus) in a marine reserve: implications for future reserve design

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Marine reserves are perceived as a critical component in successful rebuilding of overharvested marine populations. Such efforts can be particularly successful in species with limited movement rates. However, long-term data on movement is sparse for most marine species. Here, we investigated space use in European lobster (Homarus gammarus) by ultrasonic tracking in a reserve on the Norwegian Skagerrak coast from September 2006 to August 2007. Over the period, 95% of tagged lobsters remained either within the reserve or near reserve boundaries. Home range estimates based on a kernel density estimator of the 95% utilization distribution ranged from 5728 to 41 548 m2 (mean 19 879 ± 2152 m2 standard error), representing 0.57%–4.15% of the reserve area (1 km2), with no significant difference among males, non-ovigerous females, and ovigerous females for an overlapping observation period of 242 days. Logistic regression predicted average time to reach 50% and 95% of minimum convex polygon home range area at 98 and 259 days, respectively. These results show that European lobsters can be resident with limited home ranges. Small coastal reserves can be designed to afford complete or partial protection by letting boundaries engulf or intersect patches of habitat preferred by this species.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Institute of Marine Research, Flødevigen, N-4817 His, Norway. 2: Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, P.O. Box 8118 Dep, N-0032 Oslo, Norway. 3: Department of Environment, County Governor of Aust-Agder, P.O. Box 788 Stoa, N-4809 Arendal, Norway. 4: Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biology, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1066 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway.

Publication date: July 8, 2011

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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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