TitleTemperature Influences Selective Mortality during the Early Life Stages of a Coral Reef Fish
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsRankin, TL, Sponaugle, S
JournalPlos One
Type of ArticleJournal Article

For organisms with complex life cycles, processes occurring at the interface between life stages can disproportionately impact survival and population dynamics. Temperature is an important factor influencing growth in poikilotherms, and growth-related processes are frequently correlated with survival. We examined the influence of water temperature on growth-related early life history traits (ELHTs) and differential mortality during the transition from larval to early juvenile stage in sixteen monthly cohorts of bicolor damselfish Stegastes partitus, sampled on reefs of the upper Florida Keys, USA over 6 years. Otolith analysis of settlers and juveniles coupled with environmental data revealed that mean near-reef water temperature explained a significant proportion of variation in pelagic larval duration (PLD), early larval growth, size-at-settlement, and growth during early juvenile life. Among all cohorts, surviving juveniles were consistently larger at settlement, but grew more slowly during the first 6 d post-settlement. For the other ELHTs, selective mortality varied seasonally: during winter and spring months, survivors exhibited faster larval growth and shorter PLDs, whereas during warmer summer months, selection on PLD reversed and selection on larval growth became non-linear. Our results demonstrate that temperature not only shapes growth-related traits, but can also influence the direction and intensity of selective mortality.

URL<Go to ISI>://WOS:000290222600001