Larval growth predicts the recruitment success of a coral reef fish
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- Bergenius, M.A., Meekan, M.G., Robertson, R.D. et al. Oecologia (2002) 131: 521. doi:10.1007/s00442-002-0918-4
While growth rates of pelagic larvae have been argued to be one of the principal determinants of the recruitment success of temperate marine fishes, it is not known if this is the case in the tropics. Here, we use larval growth histories derived from otoliths of a Caribbean reef fish to show that monthly variation in the intensity of settlement and recruitment of pelagic juveniles onto reefs is positively correlated with variation in growth rates 1–2 weeks after larvae begin feeding. Our results suggest that the processes thought to underlie recruitment of marine fishes in temperate regions may also operate in the tropics and contrasts with current research on the causes of recruitment variability in coral reef fishes, which emphasises the role of larval transport.