Abalone are planktonic larvae in their early life history stages, and their dispersal predominantly takes place during these stages. Abalone stocks rely on the natural supply of larvae in self-recruiting populations, larval connectivity in metapopulations, and artificial hatchery—produced larvae in regions where larval restoration is needed. Larval dispersal is, therefore, one of the key factors in the management of wild populations as well as in the establishment of resilient and genetically viable populations during restoration. In this review of abalone larval dispersal studies conducted in different regions of the world, evidence is found for three modes of larval dispersal; (1) short distance, (2) long distance, and (3) both short and long distance (dual mode). Four biological factors (spawning, larval duration, vertical behaviors, and presettlement mortality) are proposed to influence larval dispersal. Consideration of larval dispersal mode, influential biological factors, and their interactions may improve estimation of connectivity in metapopulations for establishment of effective marine protected areas, which could help the recovery of declining populations and the conservation of endangered abalone species.
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Vol. 36 • No. 1