Realized and Potential Larval Connectivity Along the Oregon Coast (2012-2014)

Harold Batchelder
Oregon State University
College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences
104 CEOAS Administration Building
Corvallis, Oregon 97331
Phone: 541-737-4500

Co-PI: William Peterson, NOAA Fisheries

As part of a larger Pacific Northwest regional effort, Oregon is in the process of establishing a coastal observing network and a series of marine reserves and marine protected areas, all of which require solid scientific data to support observation and resource management activities. To date, Oregon coastal modeling has lacked species-specific details about marine larvae: Where they are distributed, at what densities and at what depth over the course of their development. 

Dr. Batchelder intends to develop the first detailed set of information about realized (as opposed to potential) larval supply across a large geographic range, based on samples his team has already collected and will continue to collect, and similar data from colleagues in California. Having samples in hand will allow the researchers to integrate large-scale observations and modeling in ways not otherwise possible. The research will enhance understanding of the abundance, distribution and retention of marine larvae along the Oregon coast, and help resource managers understand how larval marine life moves among and between Oregon's established and proposed reserves and protected areas. 

Dr. Batchelder’s research team will be able to model realized larval connectivity instead of potential connectivity.  Better models, with sensitivity to ocean processes including water temperature and seasonal/intra-seasonal variability of larval behavior will strengthen future efforts to determine whether marine reserves and protected areas actually help sustain marine resources. Comparing Oregon results with data from California will allow a clearer understanding of factors driving dispersal and supply along the entire west coast, and will complement efforts to improve marine monitoring and ecosystem-based management in the Pacific Northwest.

Realized and Potential Larval Connectivity Along the Oregon Coast