The influence of spawning periodicity on population connectivity

Andrew S. Kough, Claire B. Paris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Many coral reef populations exist as discrete habitat patches linked through larval dispersal into a larger network. On these reefs, organisms spawn periodically and release propagules over a range of frequencies. Biophysical models of larval transport examine marine networks, yet particle release frequency needs careful consideration. We describe the time between sequential spawning events as the release interval and define any linkage of modeled larvae between two habitat sites as a connection. We investigate how changing the release interval affects the connectivity networks of three Caribbean species with low- to high-dispersal potential and swimming behavior. We find that spawning periodicity controls the number and persistence of network connections. Further, larval vertical movement behavior stabilizes the network, significantly increasing connections and connection persistence. This work demonstrates the impact of release interval on connectivity networks and underscores including larval behavior with realistic spawning periodicity in biophysical models of larval transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-757
Number of pages5
JournalCoral Reefs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 8 2015


  • Connectivity network
  • Lagrangian stochastic model
  • Larval behavior
  • Larval dispersal
  • Release frequency
  • Spawning periodicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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