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Volume 44 - Number 3 - 2009

The use of otoliths and larval abundance for studying the spatial ecology of the blenny Scartichthys viridis (Valenciennes, 1836) in coastal central Chile

Eduardo Hernández-Miranda1,2, Rodrigo Veas3, C. Valeria Espinoza1, Simon R. Thorrold4 and F. Patricio Ojeda1


1Center for Advanced Studies in Ecology and Biodiversity & Department of Ecology, Pontificia Universidad Católica de
Chile, Casilla 114-D, Santiago, Chile
2Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Oceanográficas, Casilla 160-C,Universidad de Concepción,Concepción, Chile
3Departamento de Oceanografía, Universidad de Concepción,Casilla 160-C,Concepción, Chile
4Biology Department MS 50, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA




Several studies in marine ecology have focused on evaluating what determines the spatial and temporal structure of organisms within the intertidal and coastal zone. Our results suggest that individuals of Scartichthys viridis, separated by spatial scales greater that 200 km, would also be demographically separated, having independent reproductive activity and population dynamics. Such spatial difference is suggested by analyzing trace elements found in the otoliths of recruited specimens, which were obtained simultaneously from Los Molles and Isla Negra, central Chile. Considering larval dispersion potential (92-106 days), based on daily micro increments of otoliths, both populations could be connected. However, this may not be the case, since the behavioral trend of these fish during larval stages seems to be near the areas where they hatched. Although this study does not fully reveal the specific biophysical mechanisms involved, it proposes some alternatives that may address such questions. These results may assist in guiding further studies towards explicitly determining population segregation at minor spatial scales, as well as the specific biophysical mechanisms that determine transport, larval dispersion and population connectivity of fishes in intertidal environments


Key words: Microchemistry, fish larvae, intertidal zone, dispersal




1Laboratorio de Zooplancton, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología,Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. A. P. 70-305, 04510 México, D. F. México
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