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 Just Accepted

This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.


HOMING AND ORIENTATION OF PALINURUS ELEPHAS (FABR., 1787) IN THREE NO-TAKE AREAS OF THE CENTRAL-WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN: IMPLICATIONS FOR MARINE RESERVE DESIGN.

Maria Follesa, R Cannas, Alessandro Cau, Danila Cuccu, Antonello Mulas, Cristina Porcu, Silvia saba, Angelo Cau

Abstract

The homing and orientation skills of Palinurus elephas were investigated in three no-take areas of the CW Mediterranean, in order to inform future reserve design. In general, P.elephas did not show a particular ability to orient homeward. A considerable portion of tagged lobsters were recaptured in the same direction as the capture point but, the points of capture and recapture were at such a distance from each other as to exclude any possible return to the original den. Homing ability seemed to be constrained to where lobsters were only displaced a short distance For distances longer than 0.5 km, the lobster movements seem to become nomadic, without a particular direction. The movement pattern suggests that it will be important that any restocking of marine reserves must be performed with lobsters collected in adjacent zones at distance more than 0.5 km. In fact, lobsters captured in fishing zone <0.5km outside the reserve will return to the point of capture while, on the contrary, those collected in zone from further away don't go back to their original place. Our results indicate that, for species like P.elephas, small reserves can protect most small subpopulations with a consequent benefit for the surrounding commercial areas.

MF13079  Accepted 14 February 2014
 
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