Advertisement

Oecologia

, Volume 82, Issue 1, pp 40–44 | Cite as

Recruitment-limitation in open populations of Diadema antillarum: an evaluation

  • Ronald H. Karlson
  • Don R. Levitan
Original Papers

Summary

Empirical evidence from studies of the sea urchin Diadema antillarum suggests that this organism widely disperses its offspring, that both recruitment and mortality rates are independent of local densities, and that local food availability does not regulate local population sizes. These attributes would indicate that local populations are generally open and recruitment-limited. Given that current populations have been devastated by a 1983–1984 mass mortality event which spread throughout the range of this species, we examine current population trends and evaluate the prospects for population recovery under the assumptions of recruitment-limitation and density-independent rates of recruitment and mortality. Specifically, we evaluate the dynamics of five, local populations at Lameshur Bay, St. John, U.S.V.I. in order to 1) determine current rates of recruitment and mortality, 2) predict population densities based on the above assumptions, 3) compare predicted densities against observed 1984–1988 densities, and 4) predict future population densities based on current trends. We estimate current recruitment rates at 0.02–0.11 individuals/m2/yr and per capita mortality rates at 0.27–0.47 deaths/yr. Over the period 1985–1988, predicted densities based on these annual rates did not differ significantly from actual observed densities. Therefore, the assumptions that recruitment and mortality rates are density-independent and that local populations are recruitment-limited are sufficient, at present, to adequately predict current population trends. These trends indicate no recovery towards pre-mass mortality densities. The above description of the dynamics of open, recruitment-limited populations may be appropriate for a wide variety of organisms. We note the prevalence of animals with extensive larval dispersal capabilities. Populations located near the limits of their distribution, in freshwater streams and ponds, mountain tops, or other similarly isolated populations may also be subject to recruitment-limitation. Remote, recruitment-limited populations are likely to be more susceptible to local extinction than less remote populations. Dispersal distances and the scale of the processes controlling recruitment and mortality are important determinants of the degree of openness of local populations.

Key words

Open populations Recruitment-limitation Density-independence Diadema antillarum 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bak RPM (1985) Recruitment patterns and mass mortalities in the sea urchin Diadema antillarum. Proc. 5th Coral Reef Cong. 5: 267–272Google Scholar
  2. Boer PJ den (1968) Spreading of risk and stabilization of animal numbers. Acta Bioth 18: 165–194Google Scholar
  3. Boer PJ den (1981) On the survival of populations in a heterogeneous and variable environment. Oecologia 50: 39–53Google Scholar
  4. Boer PJ den (1986) Density dependence and the stabilization of animal numbers. 1. The winter moth. Oecologia 69: 507–512Google Scholar
  5. Caffey HM (1985) Spatial and temporal variation in settlement and recruitment of intertidal barnacles. Ecol Monogr 55: 313–332Google Scholar
  6. Caswell H (1978) Predator-mediated coexistence: a nonequilibrium model. Am Nat 112: 127–154Google Scholar
  7. Connell JH (1985) The consequences of variation in initial settlement vs. post-settlement mortality in rocky intertidal communities. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 93: 11–45Google Scholar
  8. Ebert TA (1975) Growth and mortality of post-larval echinoids. Am Zool 15: 755–775Google Scholar
  9. Ebert TA (1982) Longevity, life history, and relative body wall size in sea urchins. Ecol Monogr 52: 353–394Google Scholar
  10. Ehrlich PR, Birch LC (1967) The “balance of nature” and “population control”. Am Nat 101: 97–107Google Scholar
  11. Doherty PJ (1983) Tropical territorial damselfishes: is density limited by aggression or recruitment? Ecology 64: 176–190Google Scholar
  12. Frogner KJ (1980) Variable development period: intraspecific competition models with conditional age-specific maturity and mortality schedules. Ecology 61: 1099–1106Google Scholar
  13. Gaines S, Roughgarden J (1985) Larval settlement rate: A leading determinant of structure in an ecological community of the marine intertidal zone. Proc Nat Acad Sci 82: 3707–3711Google Scholar
  14. Gaines S, Brown S, Roughgarden J (1985) Spatial variation in larval concentrations as a cause of spatial variation in settlement of the barnacle, Balanus glandula. Oecologia 67: 267–272Google Scholar
  15. Gill DE (1978) The metapopulation ecology of the red-spotted newt, Notophthalmus viridescens (Rafinesque). Ecol Monogr 48: 145–166Google Scholar
  16. Hansen TA (1978) Larval dispersal and species longevity in lower Tertiary gastropods. Science 199:885–887Google Scholar
  17. Hughes TP (1984) Population dynamics based on individual size rather than age: a general model with a reef coral example. Am Nat 123:778–795Google Scholar
  18. Hughes TP (1989) Recruitment limitation, mortality and population regulation in open systems: a case study. Ecology (in press)Google Scholar
  19. Hughes TP, Reed DC, Boyle MJ (1987) Herbivory on coral reefs: community structure following mass mortalities of sea urchins. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 113:39–59Google Scholar
  20. Hunte W, Younglao D (1988) Recruitment and population recovery in the black sea urchin Diadema antillarum in Barbados. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 45:109–119Google Scholar
  21. Iwasa Y, Roughgarden J (1986) Interspecific competition among metapopulations with space-limited subpopulations. Theor Pop Biol 30:194–214Google Scholar
  22. Jackson GA, Strathmann RR (1981) Larval mortality from off-shore mixing as a link between precompetent and competent period of development. Am Nat 118:16–26Google Scholar
  23. Lessios HA (1988a) Mass mortality of Diadema antillarum in the Caribbean: what have we learned? Ann Rev Ecol Syst 19:371–393Google Scholar
  24. Lessios HA (1988b) Population dynamics of Diadema antillarum (Echinodermata: Echinoidea) following the mass mortality in Panama. Mar Biol 99:515–526Google Scholar
  25. Lessios HA, Glynn PW, Robertson DR (1983) Mass mortalities of coral reef organisms. Science 222:715Google Scholar
  26. Lessios HA, Robertson DR, Dubit DJ (1984) Spread of Diadema mass mortality through the Caribbean. Science 226:335–337Google Scholar
  27. Levitan DR (1988a) Density-dependent size regulation and negative growth in the sea urchin Diadema antillarum Philippi Oecologia 76:627–629Google Scholar
  28. Levitan DR (1988b) Algal-urchin biomass responses following mass mortality of Diadema antillarum Philippi at Saint John., U.S. Virgin Islands. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 119:167–178Google Scholar
  29. Levitan DR (1988c) Asynchronous spawning and aggregative behavior in the sea urchin Diadema antillarum Philippi. R. Burke Editor, Proc. 6th Int. Echinoderm Conf. A.A. Balkema Press, Rotterdam, pp 181–186Google Scholar
  30. Levitan DR (1989) Density-dependent size regulation in Diadema antillarum: effects on fecundity and survivorship. Ecology 70:1414–1424Google Scholar
  31. May RM, Oster GF (1976) Bifurcations and dynamic complexity in simple ecological models. Am Nat 110:573–599Google Scholar
  32. Olson RR (1985) The consequences of short-distance larval dispersal in a sessile marine invertebrate. Ecology 66:30–39Google Scholar
  33. Olson RR, McPherson R (1987) Potential vs. realized larval dispersal of the ascidian Lissoclinum patella (Gottschaldt) J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 110:245–256Google Scholar
  34. Pennington JT (1985) The ecology of fertilization of echinoid eggs: The consequences of sperm dilution, adult aggregation, and synchronous spawning. Biol Bull 169:417–430Google Scholar
  35. Pennington JT, Rumrill SS, Chia FS (1986) Stage-specific predation upon embryos and larvae of the Pacific sand dollar, Dendraster excentricus, by eleven species of common zooplankton predators. Bull Mar Sci 39:234–240Google Scholar
  36. Pulliam HR (1988) Sources, sinks, and population regulation. Am Nat 132:652–661Google Scholar
  37. Reddingius J, Boer PJ den (1970) Simulation experiments illustrating stabilization of animal numbers by spreading of risk Oecologia 5:240–284Google Scholar
  38. Roughgarden J, Iwasa Y (1986) Dynamics of a metapopulation with space-limited subpopulations. Theor Pop Biol 29:235–261Google Scholar
  39. Roughgarden J, Iwasa Y, Baxter C (1985) Demographic theory for an open marine population with space-limited recruitment. Ecology 66:54–67Google Scholar
  40. Shanks AL, Wright WG (1987) Internal-wave-mediated shoreward transport of cyprids, megalopae, and gammarids and correlated longshore differences in the settling rate of intertidal barnacles. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 114:1–13Google Scholar
  41. Shulman MJ, Ogden JC (1987) What controls tropical reef fish populations: recruitment or benthic mortality? An example in the Caribbean reef fish Haemulon flavolineatum. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 39:233–242Google Scholar
  42. Strathmann RR (1985) Feeding and nonfeeding larval development and life-history evolution in marine invertebrates. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 16:339–361Google Scholar
  43. Sutherland JP (1987) Recruitment limitation in a tropical intertidal barnacle: Tetraclita panamensis (Pilsbry) on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 113:267–282Google Scholar
  44. Thorson G (1950) Reproduction and larval ecology of marine bottom invertebrates. Biol Rev 25:1–45Google Scholar
  45. Vance RR (1980) The effect of dispersal on population size in a temporally varying environment. Theor Pop Biol 18:343–362Google Scholar
  46. Vance RR (1984) The effect of dispersal on population stability in one-species, discrete-space population growth models. Am Nat 123:230–254Google Scholar
  47. Veer HW van der (1985) Impact of coelenterate predation on larval plaice Pleuronectes platessa and flounder Platichthys flesus stock in the western Wadden Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 25:229–238Google Scholar
  48. Vermeij GJ (1978) Biogeography and adaptation. Patterns of marine life. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  49. Victor BC (1986) Larval settlement and juvenile mortality in a recruitment-limited coral reef fish population. Ecol Monogr 56:145–160Google Scholar
  50. Warner RR, Hughes TP (1989) The population dynamics of reef fishes. Proc. 6th Int. Coral Reef Symp., Townsville, Australia (in press)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald H. Karlson
    • 1
  • Don R. Levitan
    • 1
  1. 1.Ecology Program (SLHS)University of DelawareNewarkUSA

Personalised recommendations