Coral Reefs

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 137–143 | Cite as

Larval supply is a good predictor of recruitment in endemic but not non-endemic fish populations at a high latitude coral reef

  • A. J. Crean
  • S. E. Swearer
  • H. M. Patterson


Despite extensive research, factors influencing the importance of pre- and post-settlement processes to recruitment variability remain ambiguous. Using a novel perspective, we investigated the potential influence of endemism on the relationship between larval supply and recruitment in reef fish populations at Lord Howe Island, Australia. Larval supply and recruitment were measured for three regional endemic and four widespread non-endemic species using light traps, artificial collectors, and underwater visual censuses. Recruitment was correlated with larval supply in endemics but not in non-endemics, likely due to a combination of low larval supply and post-settlement survival of non-endemics. Surveys also indicated that endemics were far more abundant and occurred in more locations than closely related non-endemics. These preliminary findings suggest that either local adaptation enhances recruitment in endemics through higher larval replenishment rates or reduced post-settlement mortality, populations of widespread species at the periphery of their range are poorly adapted to local environmental conditions and therefore experience lower and more variable settlement and post-settlement survival rates, or both.


Endemism Larval supply Recruitment Reef fish Local adaptation 



We thank V. Thompson, M. Lindsay, and B. Busteed for assistance in the field. Logistical support was provided by the NSW Marine Parks Authority. Comments by R. Warner, P. Doherty, and B. Curley improved earlier drafts of the manuscript. Funding was provided to S.E.S. by the University of Melbourne, The National Geographic Committee for Research & Exploration, and the Australian Research Council.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. Crean
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. E. Swearer
    • 1
  • H. M. Patterson
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.School of Integrative BiologyUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneQLDAustralia
  3. 3.Fisheries and Marine Sciences ProgramBureau of Rural SciencesCanberraAustralia

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