Here, we developed a biophysical, individual-based larval dispersal model to assess the effect of oceanographic variability and biological traits (i.e., larval diel vertical migration (DVM) and temperature-dependent larval development (PLD)) on recruitment success, dispersal distance, and alongshore connectivity patterns. We selected two species exploited by the Chilean artisanal fisheries: Loxechinus albus (20 days PLD) and Fissurella latimarginata (5 days PLD).
A sensitivity analysis was used to examine the effect of intrinsic (DVM and PLD) and extrinsic processes (release depth, latitude, and timing). Release location and timing of release explained respectively (a) 24.30 and 5.54% (F. latimarginata) and 34.8 and 4.19% (L. albus) of the variability observed in recruitment success and (b) 23.80 and 6.94% (F. latimarginata) and 26.10 and 19.60% (L. albus) of the variability observed in dispersal distance.
Most recruitment to local populations was allochthonous, presenting low levels of self-recruitment and local retention, including species with short PLD. Similar geographic patterns of source and destination strengths were observed in both species, showing a geographic mosaic of source and sink populations with relatively higher importance towards the northern region of the study area. Our findings allow us to identify primary determinants of recruitment success and dispersal distance for two important exploited species in Chile.