Larval dispersion along an axially symmetric mid-ocean ridge Academic Article uri icon


  • We investigated planktonic larval transport processes along an axially symmetric mid-ocean ridge with characteristics similar to that of the East Pacific Rise (EPR) segment at 9-10°N. The hydrodynamic basis for this study is a primitive equation model implemented in two dimensions (depth and across-ridge), forced at the open boundaries to provide suitably realistic simulation of currents observed on the EPR ridge crest from May to November 1999. Three-dimensional trajectories of numerical larvae are computed assuming homogeneity in currents in the along-ridge direction. Larval dispersal fluctuates significantly in time. Transport distance decreases systematically with height above the bottom where numerical larvae are less subject to strong currents along the flanks of the ridge. The probability that the simulated larvae will be located near the ridge crest at settlement depends strongly on their behavioral characteristics (vertical position in the water column during the larval stage) and the length of their precompetency period.

publication date

  • July 2010