The emergent geography of biophysical dispersal barriers across the Indo-West Pacific

Treml, Eric A., Roberts, Jason, Halpin, Patrick N., Possingham, Hugh P. and Riginos, Cynthia (2015) The emergent geography of biophysical dispersal barriers across the Indo-West Pacific. Diversity and Distributions, 21 4: 465-476. doi:10.1111/ddi.12307

Author Treml, Eric A.
Roberts, Jason
Halpin, Patrick N.
Possingham, Hugh P.
Riginos, Cynthia
Title The emergent geography of biophysical dispersal barriers across the Indo-West Pacific
Journal name Diversity and Distributions   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1472-4642
Publication date 2015-04-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/ddi.12307
Open Access Status
Volume 21
Issue 4
Start page 465
End page 476
Total pages 12
Place of publication Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Publisher Oxford, United Kingdom
Language eng
Formatted abstract

To discover and evaluate potential dispersal barriers across the Indo-West Pacific Ocean and to develop spatially explicit hypotheses regarding the location of barriers and their capacity to filter taxa. Additionally, to compare model predictions with previously described barriers and build a more thorough understanding of the region's biogeographic patterns.


The reefs of the Indo-West Pacific Ocean, from 100 to 170°E and from 30°N to 30°S.


A biophysical larval dispersal model was used to quantify over 800,000 dispersal kernels by simulating 99 model taxa. Spatial analysis was used to map emergent patterns of potential multispecies population connectivity and predict geographic locations and strength of concordant dispersal barriers across the seascape.


Although individual taxa varied in their predicted fine-scale population connectivity, there was 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. More than 80% of the previously described marine boundaries in the region were predicted to restrict the dispersal of at least 10% of the simulated taxa. The location and strength of many additional multitaxa barriers were described at scales <200 km.

Main conclusions

The geographic structure of many previously described multispecies barriers across the Indo-West Pacific were predicted with the biophysical dispersal model and spatial analysis. The permeability of individual dispersal barriers was primarily determined by reproductive output, spawning phenology and the length of the pelagic larval stage. Across all dispersal barriers analysed, Euclidean distance explained up to 49% of the variation in barrier strength.
Keyword Barriers
Biophysical modelling
Coral reef
Network analysis
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 11 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 11 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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