Due to the presence of the complex life cycles involving a benthic adult and a pelagic larval phase, the study of benthic community dynamics cannot ignore investigations of the processes occurring in the water column. Current investigations focus mainly on larval dispersal from an evolutionary and a biogeographic perspective, taking into account also population connectivity, conservation planning and coastal management. In the present paper we underline the need to improve knowledge of the main traits of marine invertebrate life cycles, highlighting the limits and challenges of current approaches. Firstly, we summarized the changing approaches within community studies, following the paradigm shifts found in recent marine ecological research, from supply-side ecology to connectivity, and involving the concepts of open and closed populations. Secondly, we analysed the main larval traits influencing dispersal, paying particular attention to pelagic larval duration in light of the few available data for connectivity studies. The difficulty in estimating many of the main traits of larval ecology make numerical simulation fundamental for a better understanding of the relationship between propagule dispersal and seawater dynamics, both being highly variable. We conclude that some essential biological information is still lacking for the proper integration of the modeling approaches. Thus it is necessary to further investigate the life-cycle traits and physiological and ecological characteristics of each species, an approach known as autecology or natural history. All too frequently modern ecologists ignore such reductionist approaches, although they are essential for a full understanding of processes, such as connectivity and metapopulation dynamics.

Paradigm shifts in community ecology: Open versus closed units, challenges and limits of connectivity studies

Giangrande A
;
2017

Abstract

Due to the presence of the complex life cycles involving a benthic adult and a pelagic larval phase, the study of benthic community dynamics cannot ignore investigations of the processes occurring in the water column. Current investigations focus mainly on larval dispersal from an evolutionary and a biogeographic perspective, taking into account also population connectivity, conservation planning and coastal management. In the present paper we underline the need to improve knowledge of the main traits of marine invertebrate life cycles, highlighting the limits and challenges of current approaches. Firstly, we summarized the changing approaches within community studies, following the paradigm shifts found in recent marine ecological research, from supply-side ecology to connectivity, and involving the concepts of open and closed populations. Secondly, we analysed the main larval traits influencing dispersal, paying particular attention to pelagic larval duration in light of the few available data for connectivity studies. The difficulty in estimating many of the main traits of larval ecology make numerical simulation fundamental for a better understanding of the relationship between propagule dispersal and seawater dynamics, both being highly variable. We conclude that some essential biological information is still lacking for the proper integration of the modeling approaches. Thus it is necessary to further investigate the life-cycle traits and physiological and ecological characteristics of each species, an approach known as autecology or natural history. All too frequently modern ecologists ignore such reductionist approaches, although they are essential for a full understanding of processes, such as connectivity and metapopulation dynamics.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11587/417865
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