Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the 62nd Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute November 2-6, 2009, Cumana, Venezuela






As part of the Coral Reef Targeted Research (CRTR) Program, a partnership between the Global Environment Facility and the World Bank, our research team examined the recruitment patterns of Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) postlarvae among regions in the Caribbean, with a particular focus on Mesoamerica. Our goal was to collect comparable information on postlarval supply among regions and to provide data to test predictions of connectivity generated from a coupled biophysical oceanographic model of lobster larval dispersal. Here we present the results of the postlarval recruitment monitoring program. We monitored the catch of postlarvae on Witham-style collectors at sites in the Caribbean from March 2006 to May 2009, although the duration and frequency of sampling varied among locations. Recruitment varied considerably among months and locations. It peaked in the Western Caribbean in the fall (Oct - Dec), whereas in Florida, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela peaks were in spring (Feb - April) with a smaller peak in the fall. Sites generally fell into two groups with respect to monthly variability in recruitment: low variability sites (e.g., Honduras, southern Mexico, Venezuela) and high variability sites (e.g., Florida, San Andres Islands, Puerto Rico, northern Mexico). Recruitment magnitude varied locally, but generally increased (lowest to highest) from Puerto Rico, San Andres Islands, Honduras, Mexico, Venezuela, to Florida. Recruitment trends mirrored fishery catch in some locations, implying a recruit-to-stock linkage. Recruitment was significantly correlated among several sites, suggesting similarity in their larval sources and oceanographic regimes.

Original Publication Citation

Butler, M.J., Mojica, A.M., Sosa-Cordero, E., Millet, M., Sanchez-Navarro, P., Maldonado, M.A., . . . Cowen, R. (2010). Patterns of spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) postlarval recruitment in the Caribbean: A CRTR project. Proceedings of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, 62, 360-369.