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Free Content Interaction of physical and biological processes in the settlement of planktonic larvae

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Planktonic larvae are at the mercy of the currents for their approach to settlement sites. The presence of planktonic larvae at any given location is a random process. Time-series data for phytoplankton suggest that the characteristic time for a plankton patch to be at a given coastal location is about a week. Once at a settlement site, the interaction of physical processes and biological responses determines the spatial pattern of settlement. For example, where larvae settle when they encounter a kelp bed depends on the current speed, vertical larval distribution, and larval behavior. Simple calculations of settling by abalone larvae suggest that their concentrations in the water could be halved within 100 m of entering a kelp bed. The faster currents of a kelp-free area would extend this distance to about a kilometer. This interaction of the physical and the biological is an important aspect of larval ecology.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1986-09-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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