Evidence for a consistent use of external cues by marine fish larvae for orientation

Igal Berenshtein, Robin Faillettaz, Jean Oliver Irisson, Moshe Kiflawi, Ulrike E. Siebeck, Jeffery M. Leis, Claire B. Paris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The larval stage is the main dispersive process of most marine teleost species. The degree to which larval behavior controls dispersal has been a subject of debate. Here, we apply a cross-species meta-analysis, focusing on the fundamental question of whether larval fish use external cues for directional movement (i.e., directed movement). Under the assumption that directed movement results in straighter paths (i.e., higher mean vector lengths) compared to undirected, we compare observed patterns to those expected under undirected pattern of Correlated Random Walk (CRW). We find that the bulk of larvae exhibit higher mean vector lengths than those expected under CRW, suggesting the use of external cues for directional movement. We discuss special cases which diverge from our assumptions. Our results highlight the potential contribution of orientation to larval dispersal outcomes. This finding can improve the accuracy of larval dispersal models, and promote a sustainable management of marine resources.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1307
Pages (from-to)1307
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank everyone who have contributed to these valuable datasets over the years. We thank the three anonymous reviewers whose comments and suggestions helped improve and clarify this manuscript. I.B. was funded by the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine – Gulf research Program NASEM-GRP award number 2000007703 to Steven Murawski and C.B.P; R.F. and J.O.I were funded by the Paris Lab of the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and a grant from the Partner University Fund (PUF); M.K. was funded by the Binational Science Foundation BSF Grant number 2008144; J.M.L. and U.S. were funded by the Australia Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant DP110100695. The Study was made possible through a National Science Foundation Award NSF-OCE 1459156 to C.B.P.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)


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