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.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- Medicine (miscellaneous)