A Community Perspective of Dispersal Linkages in the Ocean

PISCO scientists based at UCSB compared propagule (material used for reproduction) dispersal distances between terrestrial land systems and marine nearshore coastal systems. Using novel genetic techniques, dispersal distances were measured among different taxonomic groups and compared to terrestrial dispersal to place these distances in context. The results confirm some long-standing views regarding the large dispersal potential of ocean organisms. These findings also have particular relevance for ocean policy makers that, based on this study, may have to factor in multiple dispersal mechanisms and scales to encompass ecosystem based management. This study has been used to inform the maximum spacing guidelines for California’s Marine Life Protection Act Initiative.

Kinlan, B. P., and S. D. Gaines. 2003. Propagule dispersal in marine and terrestrial environments: a community perspective. Ecology 84:2007-2020.


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