Assessing potential influence of larval development time and drift on large-scale spatial connectivity of American lobster (homarus americanus)

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University of New Brunswick


I used a new larval drift model to investigate potential spatial connectivity of American lobsters at a large scale incorporating most of the species' range. Because temperature-dependent development of lobster larvae might vary across the species' range, I compared a lab study using cold-water larvae with results of previous studies using warm-water larvae, and tested the sensitivity of model predictions to differences in larval development. The relationship between temperature and larval development time differed between warm- and cold-origin larvae, possibly due to adaptation to local thermal regimes. Different larval development scenarios affected the amount of connectivity predicted by the model among areas. The model predicted much potential connectivity among lobster fisheries areas, and predicted retention of larvae in certain areas, and reliance on external larval supply in others. This is important to management, as the amount and direction of connectivity among lobster fisheries can be used to manage them sustainabIy.