Complexity and simplification in understanding recruitment in benthic populations
Reyns, Nathalie B.
Starczak, Victoria R.
MetadataShow full item record
KeywordRecruitment; Benthic populations; Population dynamics; Larval transport; Larval dispersal; Settlement; Complexity; Models
Research of complex systems and problems, entities with many dependencies, is often reductionist. The reductionist approach splits systems or problems into different components, and then addresses these components one by one. This approach has been used in the study of recruitment and population dynamics of marine benthic (bottom dwelling) species. Another approach examines benthic population dynamics by looking at a small set of processes. This approach is statistical or model oriented. Simplified approaches identify “macrcoecological” patterns or attempt to identify and model the essential, “first order” elements of the system. The complexity of the recruitment and population dynamics problems stems from the number of processes that can potentially influence benthic populations, including (1) larval pool dynamics, (2) larval transport, (3) settlement, and (4) post-settlement biotic and abiotic processes, as well as larval production. Moreover, these processes are non-linear, some interact, and they may operate at disparate scales. This contribution discusses reductionist and simplified approaches to study benthic recruitment and population dynamics of bottom dwelling marine invertebrates. We first address complexity in two processes known to influence recruitment, larval transport, and post settlement survival to reproduction, and discuss the difficulty in understanding recruitment by looking at relevant processes individually and in isolation. We then address the simplified approach, which reduces the number of processes and makes the problem manageable. We discuss how simplifications and “broad-brush first order approaches” may muddle our understanding of recruitment. Lack of empirical determination of the fundamental processes often results in mistaken inferences, and processes and parameters used in some models can bias our view of processes influencing recruitment. We conclude with a discussion on how to reconcile complex and simplified approaches. Although it appears impossible to achieve a full mechanistic understanding of recruitment by studying all components of the problem in isolation, we suggest that knowledge of these components is essential for simplifying and understanding the system beyond probabilistic description and modeling.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2008. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Springer for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Population Ecology 51 (2009): 17-32, doi:10.1007/s10144-008-0118-0.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Causes of decoupling between larval supply and settlement and consequences for understanding recruitment and population connectivity Pineda, Jesus; Porri, Francesca; Starczak, Victoria R.; Blythe, Jonathan N. (2010-01-06)Marine broadcast spawners have two-phase life cycles, with pelagic larvae and benthic adults. Larval supply and settlement link these two phases and are crucial for the persistence of marine populations. Mainly due to ...
Adult demography and larval processes in coastal benthic populations intertidal barnacles in Southern California and Baja California Tapia, Fabian J. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2005-09)The geographic distribution and dynamics of coastal benthic populations are shaped by physical biological interactions affecting larval dispersal and the demography of juvenile and adult individuals. This thesis focused ...
Lillis, Ashlee; Bohnenstiehl, DelWayne R.; Eggleston, David B. (PeerJ, 2015-06-04)Marine seafloor ecosystems, and efforts to restore them, depend critically on the influx and settlement of larvae following their pelagic dispersal period. Larval dispersal and settlement patterns are driven by a combination ...