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Work Package 3 - Ecological Fitness

Biophysical modelling of larval transport in the Irish Sea

  • Dr. Peter Robins (Bangor University)
  • Dr. Shelagh Malham (Bangor University)
  • Dr. Luis Gimenez (Bangor University)
  • Dr. Stuart Jenkins (Bangor University)
  • Dr. Simon Neil (Bangor University)
  • Dr. Emma Wootton (Swansea University)
  • Prof. Andrew Rowley (Swansea University)

SUSFISH is examining dispersal patterns of shellfish larvae using particle tracking models and larval behaviour. 

Population Connectivity

Results to date suggest that on-shore coastal currents and long/sheltered estuaries/bays promote self- recruitment and connectivity with neighbouring populations (less than 50km away).  Additionally, strong tidal currents and residual (wind or density-driven) currents promote connectivity with further afield populations (50-400 km). Finally, vertical migration strategies promote self-recruitment and connectivity (i.e. fewer larvae become stranded off-shore than for passive organisms).


Genetic analysis of cockle samples in the southern Irish Sea has revealed three spatially separate genetic groups (Burry Inlet, Pembrokeshire, Ireland).  Our biophysical model predicts analogous population dynamics, due to  a combination of location of the larvae and off-shore residual circulation.