Does fish larval dispersal differ between high and low latitudes?

Jeffrey M. Leis, Jennifer E. Caselle, Ian R. Bradbury, Trond Kristiansen, Joel K. Llopiz, Michael J. Miller, Mary I. O'Connor, Claire B. Paris, Alan L. Shanks, Susan M. Sogard, Stephen E. Swearer, Eric A. Treml, Russell D. Vetter, Robert R. Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Several factors lead to expectations that the scale of larval dispersal and population connectivity of marine animals differs with latitude. We examine this expectation for demersal shorefishes, including relevant mechanisms, assumptions and evidence. We explore latitudinal differences in (i) biological (e.g. species composition, spawning mode, pelagic larval duration, PLD), (ii) physical (e.g. water movement, habitat fragmentation), and (iii) biophysical factors (primarily temperature, which could strongly affect development, swimming ability or feeding). Latitudinal differences exist in taxonomic composition, habitat fragmentation, temperature and larval swimming, and each difference could influence larval dispersal. Nevertheless, clear evidence for latitudinal differences in larval dispersal at the level of broad faunas is lacking. For example, PLD is strongly influenced by taxon, habitat and geographical region, but no independent latitudinal trend is present in published PLD values. Any trends in larval dispersal may be obscured by a lack of appropriate information, or use of 'off the shelf' information that is biased with regard to the species assemblages in areas of concern. Biases may also be introduced from latitudinal differences in taxa or spawning modes as well as limited latitudinal sampling. We suggest research to make progress on the question of latitudinal trends in larval dispersal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20130327
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1759
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Genetic structure
  • Habitat fragmentation
  • Larval behaviour
  • Larval dispersal
  • Pelagic larval duration
  • Population connectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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