Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 20 Issue 03

View Issue TOC
Volume 20, No. 3
Pages 40 - 53


Observing Larval Transport Processes Affecting Population Connectivity: Progress and Challenges

Glen Gawarkiewicz Stephen Monismith John Largier
First Paragraph

Population connectivity is inherently bio-physical: it is determined by physical transport and dispersion, as well as biological processes such as timing of spawning, larval behavior, and mortality. Knowledge of connectivity is essential for understanding ecosystem responses to changing environmental conditions. It establishes the spatial scales over which a population is connected, and in turn the primary spatial scale of population interactions and ecosystem dynamics. Concepts in population connectivity were initially developed in terrestrial ecology, where dispersal may occur at different life stages. In the simplest form, a one-dimensional dispersal curve describes the distribution of settlers away from a source region as a function of distance. As this spatial distribution varies in time, the “dispersal kernel” defines a spatial probability density function of settlers aggregated over time (see, e.g., Okubo and Levin, 2002). This dispersal kernel may be three dimensional, but is often reduced to two dimensions (e.g., animals on a plain) or one dimension (e.g., animals living along the land-water interface).


Gawarkiewicz, G., S. Monismith, and J. Largier. 2007. Observing larval transport processes affecting population connectivity: Progress and challenges. Oceanography 20(3):40–53, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2007.28.

Copyright & Usage

This is an open access article made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format as long as users cite the materials appropriately, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate the changes that were made to the original content. Images, animations, videos, or other third-party material used in articles are included in the Creative Commons license unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If the material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission directly from the license holder to reproduce the material.