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Ciencias marinas

versión impresa ISSN 0185-3880


PALLEIRO-NAYAR, JS; SOSA-NISHIZAKI, O  y  MONTANO-MOCTEZUMA, G. Impact of substrate and the presence of adults on recruitment of the red sea urchin Strongylocentrotus franciscanus in Baja California. Cienc. mar [online]. 2011, vol.37, n.1, pp.59-70. ISSN 0185-3880.

Several authors have studied the protection that adult red sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus franciscanus) offer their juveniles and have found that post-settlement mortality due to the absence of adults can diminish recruitment to adult populations. It is also well documented that adult sea urchin densities are low in overexploited populations, reducing the protection adults can offer juveniles. When adults are absent, habitat structure plays a key role in the protection ofjuveniles against predation. In this study we analyze the spatial variation in S. franciscanus recruitment and assess the impact of substrate availability (percentage of crevices) and adult sea urchin density on recruitment along the west coast of Baja California. Recruit and adult red sea urchin densities were estimated at 10 sites by scuba diving. Habitat structure was assessed by the analysis of digital video images. Temporal variation in red sea urchin recruitment as well as its relation to substrate availability and adult density were analyzed at two sites during three consecutive years. There were significant differences in recruit density among sites and substrate structure was the main factor that explained these differences. Adult densities did not explain recruitment differences among sites; however, the temporal analysis results showed that both substrate structure and adult densities were important in explaining recruit densities at both sites. The absence of a clear spatial pattern suggests that other factors such as harvesting and larval retention may explain the differences observed in the density of recruits among sites.

Palabras llave : recruitment; red sea urchin; substrate structure; harvest.

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