Presentation Abstract

The spatial configuration of habitat and biological dispersal traits affect how organisms move across heterogenous landscapes, connecting populations and maintaining biodiversity. Quantifying this connectivity is critical to understanding and managing marine biodiversity. Despite its importance, for most regions, we lack estimates of connectivity and consideration of how habitat loss or restoration scenarios change connectivity and thereby affect diversity. We simulated dispersal and connectivity in several habitat change scenarios for seagrass habitats in the Salish Sea of British Columbia and Washington. We used a spatially explicit biophysical model to track passive larval dispersal in oceanographic currents for select life history traits. The resulting potential connections were compared to field-sampled biodiversity data. We found spatial variation in connectivity, and that only a few meadows were either highly connected or acted overwhelmingly as sources of dispersing individuals, while most meadows were only sources to meadows in their immediate vicinity. This approach provides a strategy to describe patterns of connectivity and simulate scenarios of habitat reconfiguration (restoration, loss) to identify meadows important for maintaining connectivity and diversity. Understanding connectivity of seagrass meadows could provide tools, based mostly on ocean current models and some life history information, that would allow MPA designs to consider connectivity.

Session Title

Seagrass Cross-Border Connections: Management

Keywords

Seagrass, Connectivity, Biodiversity

Conference Track

SSE4: Ecosystem Management, Policy, and Protection

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE4-43

Start Date

5-4-2018 3:30 PM

End Date

5-4-2018 3:45 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 3:30 PM Apr 5th, 3:45 PM

Prioritizing seagrass meadows for biodiversity conservation based on landscape connectivity

The spatial configuration of habitat and biological dispersal traits affect how organisms move across heterogenous landscapes, connecting populations and maintaining biodiversity. Quantifying this connectivity is critical to understanding and managing marine biodiversity. Despite its importance, for most regions, we lack estimates of connectivity and consideration of how habitat loss or restoration scenarios change connectivity and thereby affect diversity. We simulated dispersal and connectivity in several habitat change scenarios for seagrass habitats in the Salish Sea of British Columbia and Washington. We used a spatially explicit biophysical model to track passive larval dispersal in oceanographic currents for select life history traits. The resulting potential connections were compared to field-sampled biodiversity data. We found spatial variation in connectivity, and that only a few meadows were either highly connected or acted overwhelmingly as sources of dispersing individuals, while most meadows were only sources to meadows in their immediate vicinity. This approach provides a strategy to describe patterns of connectivity and simulate scenarios of habitat reconfiguration (restoration, loss) to identify meadows important for maintaining connectivity and diversity. Understanding connectivity of seagrass meadows could provide tools, based mostly on ocean current models and some life history information, that would allow MPA designs to consider connectivity.