Transport Pathways of Marine Larvae Around the Mariana Archipelago
Many coral reef organisms have a larval development phase in pelagic environments. These larvae may be returned to
their natal islands or dispersed downstream in ocean currents. Understanding the strength and geographic patterns of
this larval connectivity is an important part of managing marine ecosystems through ecosystem based-fisheries
management plans, marine protected area (MPA) network design, recovery strategies for endangered species, and
promoting reefs that are resilient to disturbance. Sufficient sources of larvae must be maintained to sustain future
The overall goal of the assessment was to evaluate ocean currents as a mechanism of transport and to compare
connectivity among larvae with different life-history characteristics using computer simulations. Cumulative connectivity
over a recent 9 year span was investigated for the entire region. Island roles as larval sources and destinations, as well as
self-seeding versus larval import, were evaluated for each of the Marianas. For Guam and Saipan, the two most
populous islands, the seasonal and inter-annual variation in larval supply was examined.
Appearing as solitary forms in the fossil record more than 400 million years ago, corals are extremely ancient animals that evolved into modern reef-building forms over the last 25 million years. Continue Reading →
coral reef conservation program
The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) is a partnership between the NOAA Line Offices that work on coral reef issues: the National Ocean Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, and the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service. The CRCP brings together expertise from across NOAA for a multidisciplinary approach to managing and understanding coral reef ecosystems.
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