Scientia Marina, Vol 74, No 4 (2010)

Temporal variability of larval growth, size, stage duration and recruitment of a wrasse, Coris julis (Pisces: Labridae), from the Azores

Jorge Fontes
IMAR / Department of Oceanography and Fisheries, University of the Azores , Portugal

Pedro Afonso
IMAR / Department of Oceanography and Fisheries, University of the Azores , Portugal

Ricardo S. Santos
IMAR / Department of Oceanography and Fisheries, University of the Azores , Portugal

Jennifer E. Caselle
Marine Science Institute, University of California , United States


Temporal variability in the size at settlement (SAS), age at settlement (PLD), larval growth and recruitment patterns of a temperate wrasse, Coris julis, were examined over two recruitment seasons for a single island site from the Azores archipelago in the northeastern Atlantic. Relationships between these early life-history traits and recruitment variability over time were also investigated. Average PLD and SAS varied significantly among sampling dates over the settlement season, increasing consistently over time. This pattern was persistent over two consecutive summers. Larval growth was not a good predictor for PLD or SAS, which were in turn positively correlated with each other. Differences in recruitment magnitude over time were not related to SAS, PLD or larval growth. Instead, we found that recruits whose early pelagic stage (first 30 d) overlapped part of a period of enhanced growth (above average and independent of larval age), tended to result in the largest recruitment events; these tended to occur in the mid season. Larvae from earlier and later settlement events, overlapping periods of depressed growth, were linked to more modest recruitment events. We hypothesize that short PLD, with resulting small SAS is favoured early in the season, when post-settlement density is lowest. Over the course of the settlement season, as recruits accumulate competition may increase, and larger SAS (associated with longer PLD), may provide a competitive/survival advantage.


Coris julis; Azores; seasonal patterns; larval growth; recruitment

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