Scale-Dependent Benthic Recolonization Dynamics: Life Stage-Based Dispersal and Demographic Consequences

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Subject: LCSH

Marine ecology, Polydora cornuta, Boccardia syrtis


Biology | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Soft-sediment recruitment dynamics are dependent upon two sources of colonists: larvae transported from the water column and post-settlement movement of juvenile and/or adult life-stages across the seabed. Differences in the relative dispersal ability of the different life-stages into disturbed patches of habitat should vary predictably with the spatial scale of the disturbance. Smaller patches with a greater edge:surface area ratio should be more influenced by the post-settlement colonist pool than larger patches possessing a smaller edge:surface area ratio. A life stage-based recolonization model, using a Polydora cornuta life table, has been developed to describe how differences in the immigration rates of larvae, juveniles and adults can influence within-patch recovery times. Model results indicate that immigration of adult stages into disturbed patches has the least influence on patch recovery time. In contrast, post-settlement juvenile stages generally has a pronounced effect on patch population dynamics. Experimental evidence of scale-dependent migration of different life-stages to disturbed patches is also presented for the spionid polychaete Boccardia syrtis. Future research on scale-dependent recolonization dynamics in soft-sediment habitats should focus on acquisition of within-patch demographic data in order to more fully understand the importance of post-settlement life-stage movement in regulating population and community dynamics.


Purchase the print book on Amazon

Purchase chapter or e-book at SpringerLink.



Publisher Citation

Whitlatch, R., Lohrer, A., Thrush, S., Pridmore, R., Hewitt, J., et al. (1998) Scale-dependent benthic recolonization dynamics: life stage-based dispersal and demographic consequences. In Baden, S., Leif, P., Rosenberg, R., et al. Recruitment, Colonization and Physical-Chemical Forcing in Marine Biological Systems. Proceedings of the 32nd European Marine Biology Symposium, held in Lysekil, Sweden, 16–22 August 1997. Springer Netherlands. ISBN 978-90-481-5109-7 (Print); 978-94-017-2864-5 (Online).

This document is currently not available here.