Movement of adult temperate reef fishes off the west coast of North America

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Movement of reef fishes has important consequences for the demography, spatial structure, and connectivity of their populations and their conservation and management. I synthesized and analyzed the available data on the movement of adult temperate reef fishes along the west coast of North America to summarize our current knowledge and identify future research needs. For 80% of analyzed species, the 75th percentile movement distance was less than 1.5┬ákm. Movement distances of examined species are characterized by positively skewed frequency distributions and discrete movement ranges rather than unbounded diffusive or directional movement. There is no relationship between species body size and movement distance, but shallower living species move much shorter distances than deeper dwelling reef fishes. Such limited movement suggests that ecological neighborhoods of adult individuals are small, and finite movement ranges will have important consequences for understanding and modeling population connectivity in ecological and management contexts. Future research should focus on effects of habitat heterogeneity and population parameters on movement to investigate variability in movement patterns and its consequences for species’ ecology and management.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 20, 2012

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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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