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Does larval advection explain latitudinal differences in recruitment across upwelling regimes?

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Larval supply determines year-class strength of fisheries and complex ecological interactions among adults of benthic marine species. In upwelling regions, a latitudinal cline in the intensity and persistence of upwelling is thought to affect larval advection and recruitment, thereby regulating the intensity of interactions in adult populations and communities. We tested this hypothesis by determining the monthly cross-shelf abundances of nearshore benthic crustacean larvae throughout development during the peak upwelling season for 7 years in a region of intermittent upwelling and high recruitment (45°N). We tested whether larvae were found farther offshore during upwelling conditions, and we compared their interspecific cross-shelf distributions to previous results from a region of strong, persistent upwelling (38°N). We also compared larval abundances across the 2 upwelling regions for 1 year. Most species were retained nearshore, regardless of intra- and inter-annual variations in the intensity of upwelling. In both upwelling regions, larvae of each species consistently occurred at different distances from the shore. Further, there were no differences in nearshore larval abundance across upwelling regions for all but 1 larval stage of 1 species. Thus, latitudinal variations in the intensity and persistence of upwelling do not appear to affect larval survival, providing further evidence that nearshore processes may be a primary determinant of larval delivery to the rocky intertidal across these regions. © Inter-Research 2014.

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