PhD Project: Life history traits and population dynamics of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus
In an over-exploitation context of echinoids fisheries, my thesis analyzes what factors are driving the spatial variability in reproduction, growth and recruitment of P. lividus at local scale. One important finding of my work was that recruitment occurs mainly in the dense aggregations that sea urchins form in shallow areas, suggesting a posterior migration toward deeper areas. I also analyzed and discussed the implications of the metapopulation structure of these echinoids and the observed Allee effects for the effectiveness of the existing territorial rights in Galicia, suggesting the implementation of spatial management measures (i.e. rotational systems that guarantee a partial exploitation of the aggregations, or marine reserves in the shallow recruitment areas) to ensure the ecological sustainability of sea urchin fisheries. An understanding of the coupling of ecological, operative and management scales (and the strategies to generate it) is the final outcome of my work.