The overarching research focus of my lab is directed at the
dynamics of population replenishment and connectivity in marine
organisms. We are particularly interested in the transition
between the pelagic larval stage and the reef-based juvenile
stage in tropical coral reef fishes and invertebrates. Some of
our efforts have focused on identifying the physical and
biological processes creating temporal and spatial pattern in
larval supply. Other efforts are directed at identifying the
linkages between the pelagic life of larvae and subsequent
recruitment of juveniles to the reef. For over seven years, we
have been measuring monthly fish recruitment to cross-shelf
habitats in the upper Florida Keys. These data will be useful
for quantifying overall population replenishment, interpreting
future environmental changes, and designing and evaluating
marine reserves. Our current NSF-sponsored project is highly
interdisciplinary and involves the integration of intensive
field sampling and biophysical modeling to begin to define
dispersal kernels for reef fish populations in
oceanographically dynamic regions such as the Florida Keys.
High-resolution shipboard ichthyoplankton and physical
oceanographic sampling is linked with simultaneous reef-based
sampling of larval supply and juvenile recruitment. Fishes are
“tracked” across this transitional period by analysis
of their otolith growth trajectories and by the incorporation
of empirical data into coupled biophysical models. Co-PIs on
this project are Robert Cowen (MBF/RSMAS), Claire Paris
(AMP/RSMAS), and Villy Kourafalou (MPO/RSMAS).
Grorud-Colvert, K., and S. Sponaugle. 2010. Variability in temperature affects trait-mediated survival a newly settled coral reef fish. Oecologia DOI 10.1007/s00442-010-1748-4
Sponaugle S. 2010. Otolith microstructure reveals ecological and oceanographic processes important to fisheries management. Environmental Biology of Fishes DOI: 10.1007/s10641-010-9676-z
D’Alessandro, E., S. Sponaugle, and J. Serafy. 2010. Larval ecology of a suite of snappers (family: Lutjanidae) in the Straits of Florida. Marine Ecology Progress Series 410:159-175
Sponaugle, S., K. D. Walter, K. Denit, J.L. Llopiz, and R.K. Cowen. 2010. Variation in pelagic larval growth of Atlantic billfishes: the role of prey composition and selective mortality. Marine Biology 157:839-849
Paddack, M.J., S. Sponaugle, and R.K. Cowen. 2009. Small-scale demographic variation in the stoplight parrotfish, Sparisoma viride (Bonnaterre, 1788). Journal of Fish Biology 75:2509-2526
Huebert K., and S. Sponaugle. 2009. Observed and simulated swimming trajectories of settlement-stage coral reef fish larvae in the Florida Keys. Aquatic Biology 7:207-216
Richardson, D.E., R.K. Cowen, E.D. Prince, and S. Sponaugle. 2009. Importance of Straits of Florida spawning ground to Atlantic sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) and blue marlin (Makaira nigricans). Fisheries Oceanography 18:402-418
Sponaugle, S. 2009. Daily otolith increments in the early stages of tropical fishes. Pages 93-132 In: B. Green, B. Mapstone, G. Carlos, and G. Begg, eds. Gathering information from otoliths of tropical fishes. Methods and Technologies in Fish Biology and Fisheries. Springer
Sponaugle, S., J. Llopiz, L. Havel, and T. Rankin. 2009. Spatial variation in larval growth and gut fullness in a coral reef fish. Marine Ecology Progress Series 383:239-249.
Luo, J., J.E. Serafy, S. Sponaugle, PB Teare, and D. Kieckbusch. 2009. Movement of gray snapper Lutjanus griseus among subtropical seagrass, mangrove, and coral reef habitats. Marine Ecology Progress Series 380:255-269.
Grorud-Colvert, K. and S. Sponaugle. 2009. Larval supply and juvenile recruitment of coral reef fishes to reserves and non-reserves in the upper Florida Keys. Marine Biology 156:277-288 DOI 10.1007/s00227-008-1082-0
Cowen, R.K. and S. Sponaugle. 2009. Larval dispersal and marine population connectivity. Annual Reviews of Marine Science 1:443-466.
Paddack, M.J. and S. Sponaugle. 2008.Recruitment and habitat selection of newly settled Sparisoma viride to reefs with low coral cover. Marine Ecology Progress Series 369:205-212.
Pineda, J., J.A. Hare, and S. Sponaugle. 2007. Larval dispersal and transport in the coastal ocean and consequences for population connectivity. Oceanography 20:22-39
D’Alessandro, E., S. Sponaugle, and T.N. Lee. 2007. Patterns and processes of larval fish supply to the coral reefs of the upper Florida Keys. Marine Ecology Progress Series 331:85-100
Sponaugle, S. and K. Grorud-Colvert. 2006. Environmental variability, early life history traits, and survival of new recruits of a coral reef fish. Integrative and Comparative Biology 46:623-633
Grorud-Colvert, K. and S. Sponaugle. 2006. Influence of condition on behavior and survival potential of a newly settled coral reef fish. Marine Ecology Progress Series 327:279-288
Paddack, M.J., R.K. Cowen, and S. Sponaugle. 2006. Grazing pressure of herbivorous coral reef fishes on low coral-cover reefs. Coral Reefs 25: 461-472DOI:10.1007/s00338-006-0112-y
Sponaugle, S., K. Grorud-Colvert, and D. Pinkard. 2006. Temperature-mediated variation in early life history traits and recruitment success of the coral reef fish Thalassoma bifasciatum in the Florida Keys. Marine Ecology Progress Series 308: 1-15.
Sponaugle, S., K.L. Denit, S.A. Luthy, J.E. Serafy, and R.K. Cowen. 2005. Growth variation in larval Makaira nigricans. Journal of Fish Biology 66: 822-835.
Sponaugle, S., T. Lee, V. Kourafalou, and D. Pinkard. 2005. Florida Current frontal eddies and the settlement of coral reef fishes. Limnology and Oceanography 50:1033-1048
Luthy, S.A., J.E. Serafy, R.K. Cowen, K.L. Denit, and S. Sponaugle. 2005. Age and growth of larval Atlantic sailfish, Istiophorus platypterus. Marine and Freshwater Research 56:1027-1035
Paris, C.B., S. Sponaugle, R.K. Cowen, and T. Rotunno. 2005. Pomacentridae. Pages 1787-1818 In:WJ Richards, ed., Early Stages of Atlantic Fishes, CRS Press, Boca Raton.
Sponaugle S. and D.R. Pinkard. 2004. Impact of variable pelagic environments on natural larval growth and recruitment of the reef fish Thalassoma bifasciatum. Journal of Fish Biology 64:34-54.
Sponaugle, S. and D.R. Pinkard. 2004. Lunar cyclic population replenishment of a coral reef fish: shifting patterns following oceanic events. Marine Ecology Progress Series 267:267-280.
Denit, K. and S. Sponaugle. 2004. Growth variation, settlement and spawning of the gray snapper Lutjanus griseus across a latitudinal gradient. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 133:1339-1355.
Sponaugle, S., J. Fortuna, K. Grorud, and T. Lee. 2003. Dynamics of larval fish assemblages over a shallow coral reef in the Florida Keys. Marine Biology 143:175-189.
Cowen, R.K., S. Sponaugle, C. B. Paris, K.M.M. Lwiza, J.L. Fortuna, and S. Dorsey. 2003. Impact of North Brazil Current rings on local circulation and coral reef fish recruitment to Barbados, West Indies. Pages 443-462 In: G.J. Goni and P.M. Rizzoli, eds., Interhemispheric water exchange in the Atlantic Ocean. Elsevier, Amsterdam.
Sponaugle, S., R.K. Cowen, A. Shanks, S. G. Morgan, J. M. Leis, J. Pineda, G. W. Boehlert, M. J. Kingsford, K. Lindeman, C. Grimes, and J. L. Munro. 2002. Predicting self–recruitment in marine populations: Biophysical correlates and mechanisms. Bulletin of Marine Science 70(S):341-375.
Searcy, S. and S. Sponaugle. 2001. Selective mortality during the larval-juvenile transition in two coral reef fishes. Ecology 82: 2452-2470.
Valles, H., S. Sponaugle, and H. Oxenford. 2001. Larval supply to a marine reserve and adjacent fished area in the Soufriere Marine Management Area, St. Lucia, West Indies. Journal of Fish Biology 59:152-177.
Searcy, S. and S. Sponaugle. 2000. Variable larval growth in a coral reef fish. Marine Ecology Progress Series 206:213-226.
Cowen, R.K., K.M.M Lwiza, S. Sponaugle, C. Paris, and D. Olson. 2000. Connectivity of marine populations: Open or closed? Science 287:857-9.
Reyns, N. and S. Sponaugle. 1999. Patterns and processes of brachyuran crab settlement to Caribbean coral reefs. Marine Ecology Progress Series 185:155-170.
Sponaugle, S. and R.K. Cowen. 1997. Early life history traits and recruitment patterns of Caribbean wrasses (Labridae). Ecological Monographs 67:177-202.
Cowen, R.K. and S. Sponaugle. 1997. Relationships between early life history traits and recruitment in coral reef fishes. pp. 423-449. In: R.C. Chambers & E. Trippel (eds.), Early Life History and Recruitment in Fish Populations. Chapman & Hall.
Sponaugle, S. and R.K. Cowen. 1996. Larval supply and patterns of recruitment for two Caribbean fishes, Stegastes partitus and Acanthurus bahianus. Marine and Freshwater Research 47:344-47.
Sponaugle, S. and R.K. Cowen. 1996. Nearshore patterns of larval supply to Barbados, West Indies. Marine Ecology Progress Series 133:13-28.
Sponaugle, S. and R.K. Cowen. 1994. Larval durations and recruitment patterns of two Caribbean gobies (Gobiidae): Contrasting early life histories in demersal spawners. Marine Biology 120:133-143.
Sponaugle, S. and M. LaBarbera. 1991. Drag-induced deformation: a functional feeding strategy in two species of gorgonians. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 148:121-134.
Sponaugle, S. 1991. Flow patterns and velocities around a suspension-feeding gorgonian polyp: evidence from physical models. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 148: 135-145.
Sponaugle, S. and P. Lawton. 1990. Portunid crab predation on juvenile hard clams: effects of substrate type and prey density. Marine Ecology Progress Series 67:43-53.