Special Symposium, 9-11 November 2006, 59th Annual Meeting of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, Belize City, Belize. Marine Sanctuaries Conservation Series ONMS-08-07
The life history of most marine organisms includes an obligate period of pelagic larval dispersal. Migration to spawning areas and pelagic dispersal is often well beyond the home range of these organisms. Designing marine protected areas to include a broad range of taxa and their various dispersal patterns is an important and daunting challenge. This paper addresses the issue of connectivity for one set of species in a limited geographic area. We focus on transient spawning reef fish within the Mesoamerican Reef and their connectivity. We divide our scientific review into four sections as follows: (1) ecological characterization of transient multi-species reef fish spawning aggregations, (2) oceanographic and biophysical modeling approaches for understanding connectivity, and (3) validation of models with observations. We conclude that the science behind connectivity is advancing rapidly on many fronts, but there are still large gaps, and it is still largely impossible for managers to apply the results of these studies in specific cases. We further recognize that "human and political connectivity" may be as important for management as the science behind it. Managers, scientists, fishermen, and politicians can and should embrace connectivity as an important factor in regional fisheries and marine biodiversity management. The collaborative design and implementation of networks of marine reserves that include multi-species spawning aggregation sites, critical nursery habitat, and their connectivity, are likely to provide an important contribution to reversing the decline in fisheries throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region.
Original Publication Citation
Heyman, W., Kjerfve, B., & Ezer, T. (2008). Mesoamerican reef spawning aggregations help maintain fish population: A review of connectivity research and priorities for science and management. Paper presented at the Special Symposium, 9-11 November 2006, 59th Annual Meeting of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, Belize City, Belize. Marine Sanctuaries Conservation Series ONMS-08-07
Heyman, W.; Kjerfve, W. B.; and Ezer, T., "Mesoamerican Reef Spawning Aggregations Help Maintain Fish Population: A Review of Connectivity Research and Priorities for Science Management" (2008). CCPO Publications. 163.