Determinants of reproductive potential and population size in open populations of Patella vulgata
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The importance of external and internal population processes in determining variation in reproductive output and variation in population size were quantified with model simulations for open populations of the sequentially hermaphroditic limpet Patella vulgata using field data from the Isle of Man and South West Ireland. Cross-correlation analyses of model outputs and elasticity analyses show that population dynamics are dominated by the effects of large females, and that recruitment adds little to reproductive output. However, populations experiencing low but highly variable recruitment appear male limited and recruitment pulses carrying young males into the population are correlated to reproductive output with a 2–5-year lag. We conclude that pulses in recruitment can be a major structuring force in these limpet populations, but site-specific post-recruitment processes will determine the relative importance of recruitment to population dynamics and the lag between recruitment and reproductive output.
KeywordsReproductive Output Large Female Elasticity Analysis Birth Function Open Population
This study was performed as a part of the project DELOS (EU EVK3-CT-2000-00041). Data were attained from EUROROCK (EU MAS3-CT95-0012). We would like to thank N. Jonzén for valuable comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript. SJH and SRT were supported by NERC grant in aid of the MBA and the Oceans 2025 programme.
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