Connectivity between marine reserves and exploited areas in the philopatric reef fish Chrysoblephus laticeps (Teleostei: Sparidae)

P. R. Teske, F. R G Forget, P. D. Cowley, S. von der Heyden, L. B. Beheregaray

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    35 Citations (Scopus)


    'No-take' marine protected areas (MPAs) are successful in protecting populations of many exploited fish species, but it is often unclear whether networks of MPAs are adequately spaced to ensure connectivity among reserves, and whether there is spillover into adjacent exploited areas. Such issues are particularly important in species with low dispersal potential, many of which exist as genetically distinct regional stocks. The roman, Chrysoblephus laticeps, is an overexploited, commercially important sparid endemic to South Africa. Post-recruits display resident behavior and occupy small home ranges, making C. laticeps a suitable model species to study genetic structure in marine teleosts with potentially low dispersal ability. We used multilocus data from two types of highly variable genetic markers (mitochondrial DNA control region and seven microsatellite markers) to clarify patterns of genetic connectivity and population structure in C. laticeps using samples from two MPAs and several moderately or severely exploited regions. Despite using analytical tools that are sensitive to detect even subtle genetic structure, we found that this species exists as a single, well-mixed stock throughout its core distribution. The high levels of connectivity identified among sites support the findings of previous studies that have indicated that inshore MPAs are an adequate tool for managing overexploited temperate reef fishes. Even though dispersal of adult C. laticeps out of MPAs is limited, the fact that the large adults in these reserves produce exponentially more offspring than their smaller counterparts in exploited areas makes MPAs a rich source of recruits. We nonetheless caution against concluding that the lack of structure identified in C. laticeps and several other southern African teleosts can be considered to be representative of marine teleosts in this region in general. Many such species are represented in more than one marine biogeographic province and may be comprised of regionally adapted stocks that require individual management.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2029-2042
    Number of pages14
    JournalMarine Biology
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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