Connectivity of the Longfin Grouper (Epinephelus Quoyanus) in a marine reserve in the Great Keppel Island Group

  • Manalle Al-Salamah

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


With a dramatic decrease of biodiversity as a result of the increase in exploitation of marine ecosystems, the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) serves as an important means of protecting those resources. Although there is support for the effectiveness of these MPAs and MPA networks, there is room for improvement in terms of MPA management and design. For example, a better understanding of the dispersal dynamics of targeted species across these MPAs will serve as a more accurate means of reserve as well as fisheries management. While there have been many methods used to determine the larval dispersal of a certain species, parentage analysis is becoming the most robust. In this thesis, I attempt to determine the patterns of self-recruitment and larval dispersal of the Longfin Grouper (Epinephelus quoyanus) in one focal marine reserve within the Great Keppel Island group through the method of parentage. For this, I developed 14 microsatellite markers and with those, genotyped 610 adults as well as 478 juveniles from the study site. These genotypes allowed me to assign offspring to their potential parents, which then allowed me to measure the self-recruitment, local retention as well as larval dispersal percentages of this species from and within the reserve. My results indicate that there is 32% local retention to the reserve while 68% of the assigned juveniles were dispersed to other areas (4% of which dispersed to another reserve). Previous studies conducted in the same area showed higher reserve self-recruitment rates for both Plectropomus maculatus (~30%) and Lutjanus carponotatus (64%) despite their similar life history traits. The results from this study add to the growing evidence that dispersal patterns cannot be generalized across marine systems or even between species within a single system.
Date of AwardDec 2014
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorMichael Berumen (Supervisor)


  • Epinephelus Quoyanus
  • Larval Dispersal
  • Parentage Analysis
  • Keppel Island
  • Self-recruitment

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