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Larval abundance and recruitment of the sand dollar Dendraster excentricus in Monterey Bay, California, USA

Abstract

Seasonal abundance of planktonic larvae of the sand dollar Dendraster excentricus was determined in Monterey Bay, California, USA. Larvae were counted from two offshore stations and also over a coastal sand dollar bed, and these data were compared with settlement in the sand dollar bed, with adult population structure and with adult reproductive condition. These measurements were made during the period July 1978 to October 1980 and in October 1981. Sand dollar larvae were most abundant in the plankton during the summer, a period when phytoplankton productivity tended to be high and currents were relatively slow and variable. In some years, small-scale current variations appeared to prevent many larvae in the open bay from reaching the nearshore sand dollar beds; however, in other years, massive shoreward transport of the larvae evidently did occur, since the adult population in the sand dollar bed exhibited a mode in size, indicating a large settlement. A comparison of settled individuals in 1980 and the adult size-frequency distribution in 1981 gives an estimated mortality rate of 88% yr-1 for early juveniles of D. excentricus.

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Communicated by N. D. Holland, La Jolla

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Cameron, R.A., Rumrill, S.S. Larval abundance and recruitment of the sand dollar Dendraster excentricus in Monterey Bay, California, USA. Mar. Biol. 71, 197–202 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00394630

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Keywords

  • Phytoplankton
  • Population Structure
  • Adult Population
  • Reproductive Condition
  • Phytoplankton Productivity