Transport and connectivity modeling of larval permit from an observed spawning aggregation in the Dry Tortugas, Florida

David R. Bryan, Jiangang Luo, Jerald S. Ault, David B. McClellan, Steven G. Smith, Derke Snodgrass, Michael F. Larkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Large aggregations of adult permit (Trachinotus falcatus) were consistently observed since 2004 by divers in a collaborative fishery-independent reef fish visual census survey during May and June on the western-most edge of the Dry Tortugas Bank, Florida, in coral reef habitat, indicating proximal spawning sites. We investigated the possible fate and connectivity of larvae spawned at this location in the Dry Tortugas and two other published aggregation sites through a drift analysis using the ocean circulation and transport dynamics simulator HYCOM (Hybrid Community Ocean Model). New age-length data facilitated the determination of larval durations and rates of juvenile growth. Modeled larval transport data from spawning sites in the Dry Tortugas, Belize and Cuba were evaluated and compared to a spatially-extensive empirical juvenile permit data set from Florida. Our study revealed that unique oceanographic processes provided pathways for both downstream larval transport and juvenile retention, to and from Florida waters. These simulation results indicated that the Dry Tortugas region is a key source of permit recruits to southeast Florida stretching from the Florida Keys and up Florida’s east coast, and to a much lesser extent the west Florida shelf. Simulations from Belize and Cuba spawning sites revealed high local retention with low connectivity to Florida, emphasizing the importance of local resource management throughout the permit’s range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2263-2276
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Issue number11
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Drift
  • Fishery management
  • Juvenile age and growth
  • Larval transport and fate
  • Population dynamics
  • Recruitment
  • Trachinotus falcatus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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