Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Transport mechanisms and the potential movement of planktonic larvae in the central region of the Great Barrier Reef

  • 302 Accesses

  • 148 Citations

Abstract

It is suggested that considerable inter-reef dispersal of reef fishes and many benthic invertebrates is likely in the central region of the Great Barrier Reef. Larvae are most abundant in spring-summer when currents on the outer shelf, where most of the coral reefs occur, are almost entirely unidirectional and southeastward (longshore). Net drift on the outer shelf at this time is likely to be greater, but the dispersion smaller, than that nearshore at the same time due to more extensive periodic reversals of water movement in the latter area than the former. Net drift on the outer shelf in winter will be significantly more restricted, but the dispersion greater, than in summer due to extensive periodic reversals of currents in this area during the trade wind (winter) season. These conclusions suggest that reefs within the Central Great Barrier Reef are biologically interconnected and interdependent; a result of considerable significance for management of reefs within the Great Barrier Reef marine park.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Allen JS (1980) Models of wind-driven currents on the continental shelf. Ann Rev Fluid Mech 12:389–433

  2. Andrews JC (1982) Description, aging, distributional and feeding ecology of the larvae of four flathead species-types (Teleostei: Platycephalidae) from the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon region off Townsville. BSc (Hons) thesis, James Cook University of North Queensland

  3. Andrews JC (1983a) Thermal waves on the Queensland shelf. Aust J Mar Freshwater Res 34:81–96

  4. Andrews JC (1983b) Water masses, nutrient levels, and seasonal drift on the outer central Queensland shelf. Aust J Mar Freshwater Res 34:821–834

  5. Andrews JC (1983c) Lagoon-Ocean interactions. In: Baker JT, Carter RM, Sammarco PW, Stark KP (eds) Proceeding Inaugural Great Barrier Reef Conference. Townsville 1983. JCU Townsville, pp 403–408

  6. Andrews JC, Gentien P (1982) Upwelling as a source of nutrients for the Great Barrier Reef ecosystems: a solution to Darwin's question? Mar Ecol Progr Ser 8:257–269

  7. Andrews JC, Dunlap WC, Bellamy NF (1983) Cycles of thermal stratification in a lagoon in a windward reef flat (Great Barrier Reef). Aust J Mar Freshwater Res (in press)

  8. Bellamy N, Mitchell A, Gentien P, Andrews J, Ball S (1982) Oceanographic observations on the outer shelf and slope in the central zone of the Great Barrier Reef. Australian Institute of Marine Science Data Report, Ref OS-82-2

  9. Birtles A, Arnold P (1983) Between the reefs: some patterns of soft substrate epibenthos on the central Great Barrier Reef shelf. In: Baker JT, Carter RM, Sammarco PW, Stark KP (eds) Proceedings Inaugural Great Barrier Reef Conference. Townsville 1983. JCU Towsville, pp 159–163

  10. Boden BP (1952) Natural conservation of insular plankton. Nature (London) 169:697–699

  11. Brothers EB, Williams DMcB, Sale PF (1983) Length of larval life in some coral reef fishes. Mar Biol 76:319–324

  12. Castle PHJ (1983) Muraenid leptocephali in Australasian waters. Trans R Soc NZ 7:57–84

  13. Church JA (1983) A review of circulation in the Western Coral Sea and internal tides on the shelf slope adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef. In: Baker JT, Carter RM, Sammarco PW, Stark KP (eds) Proceedings Inaugural Great Barrier Reef Conference, Townsville 1983. JCU Press, Townsville, pp 415–420

  14. Connell JH (1973) Population ecology of reef-building corals. In: Jones OA, Endean R (eds) Biology and geology of coral reefs, vol 2: Biology 1. Academic Press, New York London, pp 205–245

  15. Dinesen Z (1983) Patterns in the distribution of soft corals across the central Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 1:229–236

  16. Doherty PJ (1983) Diel, lunar and seasonal rhythms in the reproduction of two tropical damselfishes: Pomacentrus flavicauda and P. wardi. Mar Biol 75:215–224

  17. Doherty PJ, Williams DMcB, Sale PF (1984) The adaptive significance of larval dispersal in coral reef fishes. Environ Biol Fish (in press)

  18. Done TJ (1982) Patterns in the distribution of coral communities across the central Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 1:95–107

  19. Drew EA (1983) Halimeda biomass, growth rates and sediment generation on reefs in the central Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 2:101–110

  20. Emery AR (1972) Eddy formation from an oceanic island: ecological effects. Caribb J Sci 12:121–8

  21. Fischer HB, List EY, Koh RCY, Imberger J, Brooks NH (1979) Mixing in inland and coastal waters. Academic Press, New York London

  22. Goldman B, Stroud G, Talbot F (1983) Fish eggs and larvae over a reef: abundance with habitat, time of day and moon phase. In: Baker JT, Carter RM, Sammarco PW, Stark KP (eds) Proceedings Inaugural Great Barrier Reef Conference. Townsville 1983. JCU Townsville, pp 203–211

  23. Hamner WM, Hauri IR (1981) Effects of island mass: water flow and plankton pattern around a reef in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, Australia. Limnol Oceanogr 26:1084–1102

  24. Hardy AC (1953) Some problems of pelagic life. In: Marshall SM, Orr AP (eds) Essays in marine biology. Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh, pp 101–121

  25. Harrison PL, Babcock RC, Bull GD, Oliver JK, Wallace CC, Willis BL (1984) Mass spawning in tropical reef corals. Science 223:1186–1189

  26. Jenkins GP (1981) Identification and description, distributional and feeding ecology and larvae of spanish mackerel species, genus Scomberomorus (Teleostic: Scombridae), in waters off Townsville. BSc (Hons) thesis, James Cook University of North Queensland

  27. Johannes RE (1978) Reproductive strategies of coastal marine fishes in the tropics. Environ Biol Fish 3:65–84

  28. Johannes RE (1981) Using knowledge of reproductive behaviour of reef and lagoon fishes to improve fishing yields. In: Bardach J, Magnusm JJ, May R, Reinhart J (eds) Fish behaviour and its use in capture and culture of fishes. ICLARM, Manila

  29. Johannes RE, Helfman GS, Leis JM (1982) Stock boundaries of reef and lagoon food fishes. Proc 4th Int Coral Reefs Symp 1:112

  30. Johnson MW (1949) Zooplankton as an index of water exchange between Bikini lagoon and the open sea. Trans Am Geophys Union 30:238–244

  31. Kenchington RA (1977) Growth and recruitment of Acanthaster planci (L.) on the Great Barrier Reef. Biol Conserv 11:103–118

  32. Lasker R (1975) Field criteria for survival of anchovy larvae: the relation between inshore chlorophyll maximum layers and successful first feeding. Fish Bull 73:453–462

  33. Leis JM (1982) Distribution of fish larvae around Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef: coral reef lagoon as refuge? Proc 4th Int Coral Reef Symp 2:471–478

  34. Leis JM, Goldman B (1983) Studies on the biology of larval fishes in the Lizard Island area, Northern Great Barrier Reef. In: Baker JT, Carter RM, Sammarco PW, Stark KP (eds) Proceedings Inaugural Great Barrier Reef Conference. Townsville 1983. JCU Townsville, pp 221–225

  35. Lucas JS (1973) Reproductive and larval biology of Acanthaster planci in Great Barrier Reef waters. Micronesica 9:197–207

  36. Mileikovsky SA (1971) Types of larval development in marine bottom invertebrates, their distribution and ecological significance: re-evaluation. Mar Biol 10:193–213

  37. Pearson RG, Endean R (1969) A preliminary study of the coral predator Acanthaster planci (L.) (Asteroidea) on the Great Barrier Reef. Fisheries Notes, Queensland Department of Harbours and Marine, Brisbane 3:27–55

  38. Sale PF (1970) Distribution of larval Acanthuridae off Hawaii. Copeia 4:765–766

  39. Sale PF (1980) The ecology of fishes on coral reefs. Oceanogr Mar Biol 18:367–421

  40. Sammarco PW (1983) Coral recruitment across the central Great Barrier Reef: a preliminary report. In: Baker JT, Carter RM, Sammarco PW, Stark KP (eds) Proceedings Inaugural Great Barrier Reef Conference. Townsville 1983. JCU Townsville, pp 245–250

  41. Sammarco PJW, Crenshaw H (1984) Plankton community dynamics of the central Great Barrier Reef lagoon: analysis of data from Ikeda et al. Mar Biol 82:167–180

  42. Thorson G (1961) Length of pelagic life in marine bottom invertebrates as related to larval transport by ocean currents. In: Sears M (ed) Oceanography. Publ No 67 of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington DC, pp 455–474

  43. Williams DMcB (1982) Patterns in the distribution of fish communities across the central Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 1:35–43

  44. Williams DMcB (1983) Longitudinal and latitudinal variation in the structure of reef fish communities. In: Baker JT, Carter RM, Sammarco PW, Stark KP (eds) Proceedings Inaugural Great Barrier Reef Conference. Townsville 1983. JCU Townsville, pp 265–270

  45. Williams DMcB, Hatcher AI (1983) Structure of fish communities on outer slopes of inshore, mid-shelf and outer shelf reefs of the Great Barrier Reef. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 10:239–250

  46. Wolanski E (1983) Water circulation in the central and northern sections of the Great Barrier Reef. In: Baker JT, Carter RM, Sammarco PW, Stark KP (eds) Proceedings Inaugural Great Barrier Reef Conference. Townsville 1983. JCU Townsville, pp 467–472

  47. Wolanski E, Bennett AF (1983) Continental shelf waves and their influence on the circulation around the Great Barrier Reef. Aust J Mar Freshwater Res 34, 23–48

  48. Wolanski E, Imberger J (1984) Island wakes in shallow coastal waters. J Geophys Res (in press)

  49. Wolanski E, Jones M (1980) Water circulation around Britomart Reef, Great Barrier Reef, during July 1979. Aust J Mar Freshwater Res 31:415–30

  50. Wolanski E, Pickard GL (1983a) Currents and flushing of Britomart Reef, Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 2:1–8

  51. Wolanski E, Pickard GL (1983b) Upwelling by internal tides and Kelvin waves at the Great Barrier Reef continental shelf break. Aust J Mar Freshwater Res 34:65–80

  52. Wolanski E, Pickard GL (1985) Long-term observations of currents on the central Great Barrier Reef continental shelf. Coral Reefs (in press)

  53. Wolanski E, Jones M, Williams WT (1981) Physical properties of Great Barrier Reef Lagoon waters near Townsville. II. Seasonal variations. Aust J Mar Freshwater Res 32:321–334

  54. Wolanski E, Pickard GL, Jupp DLB (1983) River plumes, coral reefs and mixing in the Gulf of Papua and the northern Great Barrier Reef. Estuarine Coastal Shelf Sci 18:291–314

  55. Yamaguchi M (1973) Recruitment of coral reef asteroids, with emphasis on Acanthaster planci (L.). Micronesica 9:207–212

  56. Yudelson JM (1967) A survey of ocean diffusion studies and data. WM Keck Lab of Hydraulics and Water Resource, California Institute of Technology, Tech Memo 67–72

Download references

Author information

Additional information

Australian Institute of Marine Science Contribution No. 250

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Williams, D.M., Wolanski, E. & Andrews, J.C. Transport mechanisms and the potential movement of planktonic larvae in the central region of the Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs 3, 229–236 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00288259

Download citation

Keywords

  • Central Region
  • Coral Reef
  • Transport Mechanism
  • Sedimentology
  • Water Movement