The emergent geography and geopolitical (mis)alignment of dispersal corridors and barriers across the Indo-West Pacific – Eric Treml


Although barriers to dispersal are known to contribute to the distinctiveness of communities, species and populations, the importance of the biophysical processes associated with permeable barriers is not well understood. In this research, I predict the geographic location and strength of multitaxon dispersal barriers across the Indo-West Pacific Ocean. Specifically, I ask three questions: (1) What biological attributes are important in influencing the location and strength of dispersal barriers? (2) What is the geographic configuration of multitaxon dispersal barriers? (3) Is there geographic concordance with previously described and empirically based barriers? Although individual taxa varied in their predicted fine-scale population connectivity, there was broad-scale consistency in the location of dispersal barriers. Across all trait combinations, reproductive output (fecundity and density of reproductive adults), reproductive strategy (spawning phenology) and the length of the larval dispersal phase determined the strength of barriers across the seascape. Finally, I describe a new approach for quantifying the ecological-institutional alignment and mismatch across this environmentally and politically complex seascape. Intersecting these dispersal barriers and corridors with estimates of cross-country institutional linkages related to marine management, we identify geopolitical fit and misfit between the region’s ecological processes and its governance.

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