Coral larvae distribution, settlement and early-survivorship at Los Roques National Park, Venezuela

Adriana Humanes

One of the central interests in marine ecology is to assess the connectivity among populations; (i.e. the proportion of larvae or propagules that migrate from one population to the other) as well as the identification of potential sources and sinks for these propagules. For corals, addressing these questions has been a difficult task because direct estimations of the number of larvae exchanged among populations after spawning events are almost impossible. The high number of offspring released into the water column and the high rates of mortality of these propagules makes recapturing labeled individuals practically impossible. However, the knowledge of coral settlement rates and early-survivorship of new coral spats is useful for managing protected coral reef areas and forecasting coral recovery. The overall goal of this project was to evaluate hard corals larvae abundance, recruitment and early-survivorship rates of at Los Roques National Park (LRNP).