A review of methods to assess connectivity and dispersal between fish populations in the Mediterranean Sea

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Antonio Calò *
Fabiana C. Félix-Hackradt
Jessica Garcia
Carlos W. Hackradt
Delphine Rocklin
Jorge Treviño Otón
José A. García Charton
(*) Corresponding Author:
Antonio Calò | antonio.calo@um.es

Abstract

Fish populations are linked to each other via dispersal of individuals as eggs, larvae, juveniles or adults. The understanding of this process, known as connectivity, has a pivotal role for the management of overexploited fish stocks and the development of accurate conservation strategies. Knowledge on connectivity and fish movements is considered fundamental toward the correct design of marine protected area (MPA) networks for the achievement of the benefits of protection. Connectivity patterns are still largely unknown worldwide. A general lack of knowledge is particularly evident for the Mediterranean Sea where few studies dealing with this topic have been carried out and some methods, currently available for assessing connectivity, have not been used yet. In this review we present the methods used for studying connectivity patterns and fish movements at different life history stages and the main results achieved until now in the Mediterranean Sea. We encompass the pros and cons of each method, and conclude with future perspectives on the use of these methodologies in the Mediterranean context.

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