Connections Between Campeche Bank and Red Snapper Populations in the Gulf of Mexico via Modeled Larval Transport

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Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory


The potential for Red Snapper Lutjanus campechanus on Campeche Bank to contribute to regional fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico through larval transport was studied using numerical circulation model data. A tracking algorithm was applied at an array of starting locations over Campeche Bank and simulated larval propagules launched every 3d during the spawning seasons of four model years within the period 2003-2010. Successful recruitment was defined as arrival in water depths less than 200m after 31 d of planktonic drift, regional recruitment being defined as a percentage of propagules launched. It was found that successful natal retention to Campeche Bank was high, varying between 67% and 73% of all launched propagules. However, successful recruitment to other regions around the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) was sporadic and extremely low. Robustness of the methodology was examined in a set of experiments involving larval depth and subgrid scale diffusion. The results suggest that larvae from Campeche Bank can contribute to homogenization of the gene pool throughout the GOM but may be insufficient to restore depleted regional populations. Received February 7, 2012; accepted August 5, 2012

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Transactions of the American Fisheries Society





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