Biophysical dispersal models for marine fish larvae are widely used by marine ecologists and managers of fisheries and marine protected areas to predict movement of larval fishes during their pelagic larval duration (PLD). Over the past 25 years, it has become obvious that behaviour—primarily vertical positioning, horizontal swimming and orientation—of larvae during their PLD can strongly influence dispersal outcomes. Yet, most published models do not include even one of these behaviours, and only a tiny fraction include all three. Furthermore, there is no clarity on how behaviours should be incorporated into models, nor on how to obtain the quantitative, empirical data needed to parameterize models. The PLD is a period of morphological, physiological and behavioural change, which presents challenges for modelling. The present paper aims to encourage the inclusion of larval behaviour in biophysical dispersal models for larvae of marine demersal fishes by providing practical suggestions, advice and insights about obtaining and incorporating behaviour of larval fishes into such models based on experience. Key issues are features of different behavioural metrics, incorporation of ontogenetic, temporal, spatial and among-individual variation, and model validation. Research on behaviour of larvae of study species should be part of any modelling effort.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited