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How baby fish find a home
Date:1/16/2008

rly 2008. Paris and colleagues are interested in gathering data on the successful identification of larval abilities to orientate as they mature.

Typical research on larvae is assessed in laboratory experiments or in studies done in situ with the naked eye, but it does not provide information on whether or not larvae use cues to find a home, when in their life history they use them, or how far from the reef they can sense the cues. Were hoping to find out how the larvae behaviorally interact with the blue-water environment minimizing human intervention, said Paris. The success of this new device in recording true orientation in fish larvae opens new possibilities for research in the field of larval ecology.

Working at the Lizard Island Research Station, a satellite-facility of the Australian Museum on the Great Barrier Reef, Paris will directly compare her research methods with those of Lizard Island researcher, Dr. J.M. Leis, who published his results diving and following larval fish. Researchers hope that OWNFOR will provide minimal interference in the natural migration of organisms, helping to understanding just what influences these organisms to settle on a final reef home after days or weeks in a relatively featureless open ocean landscape.

The larval phase is often the main opportunity in benthic organisms to colonize new habitats, but how far from home are these new habitats? They can range from tens of kilometers away to the natal reef (reef of origin). Ideally, well discover crucial inputs for a new generation of biophysical larval dispersal models vital to achieving a better understanding of larval connectivity in marine systems, said Paris. The implications will have global impacts on the effective management of fisheries, conservation of marine biodiversity, including design of marine reserves, and helping to predict the effects of climate change on marine systems.


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Contact: Barbra Gonzalez
barbgo@rsmas.miami.edu
305-421-4704
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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