Simon R Thorrold

Learn More
The scale of larval dispersal of marine organisms is important for the design of networks of marine protected areas. We examined the fate of coral reef fish larvae produced at a small island reserve, using a mass-marking method based on maternal transmission of stable isotopes to offspring. Approximately 60% of settled juveniles were spawned at the island,(More)
Population connectivity through larval dispersal is an essential parameter in models of marine population dynamics and the optimal size and spacing of marine reserves. However, there are remarkably few direct estimates of larval dispersal for marine organisms, and the actual birth sites of successful recruits have never been located. Here, we solve the(More)
Networks of no-take marine protected areas (MPAs) have been widely advocated for the conservation of marine biodiversity. But for MPA networks to be successful in protecting marine populations, individual MPAs must be self-sustaining or adequately connected to other MPAs via dispersal. For marine species with a dispersive larval stage, populations within(More)
Marine reserves, areas closed to all forms of fishing, continue to be advocated and implemented to supplement fisheries and conserve populations. However, although the reproductive potential of important fishery species can dramatically increase inside reserves, the extent to which larval offspring are exported and the relative contribution of reserves to(More)
The majority of shallow-water marine species have a two-phase life cycle in which relatively sedentary, demersal adults produce pelagic larvae. Because these larval stages are potentially subject to dispersal by ocean currents, it has been widely accepted that local populations are open, with recruitment resulting from the arrival of larvae from non-local(More)
The application of spatially explicit models of population dynamics to fisheries management and the design marine reserve network systems has been limited due to a lack of empirical estimates of larval dispersal. Here we compared assignment tests and parentage analysis for examining larval retention and connectivity under two different gene flow scenarios(More)
Identifying natal origins of marine fishes is challenging because of difficulties in conducting mark-recapture studies in marine systems. We used natural geochemical signatures in otoliths (ear bones) to determine natal sources in weakfish (Cynoscion regalis), an estuarine-spawning marine fish, in eastern North America. Spawning site fidelity ranged from 60(More)
Design and decision-making for marine protected areas (MPAs) on coral reefs require prediction of MPA effects with population models. Modeling of MPAs has shown how the persistence of metapopulations in systems of MPAs depends on the size and spacing of MPAs, and levels of fishing outside the MPAs. However, the pattern of demographic connectivity produced(More)
The global decline in coral reefs demands urgent management strategies to protect resilience. Protecting ecological connectivity, within and among reefs, and between reefs and other ecosystems is critical to resilience. However, connectivity science is not yet able to clearly identify the specific measures for effective protection of connectivity. This(More)
The use of marine protected area (MPA) networks to sustain fisheries and conserve biodiversity is predicated on two critical yet rarely tested assumptions. Individual MPAs must produce sufficient larvae that settle within that reserve's boundaries to maintain local populations while simultaneously supplying larvae to other MPA nodes in the network that(More)