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  • For many organisms, the reconstruction of source-sink dynamics is hampered by limited knowledge of the spatial assemblage of either the source or sink components or lack of information on the strength of the linkage for any source-sink pair. In the case of marine species with a pelagic dispersal phase, these problems may be mitigated through the use of particle drift simulations based on an ocean circulation model. However, when simulated particle trajectories do not intersect sampling sites, the corroboration of model drift simulations with field data is hampered. Here, we apply a new statistical approach for reconstructing source-sink dynamics that overcomes the aforementioned problems. Our research is motivated by the need for understanding observed changes in jellyfish distributions in the eastern Bering Sea since 1990. By contrasting the source-sink dynamics reconstructed with data from the pre-1990 period with that from the post-1990 period, it appears that changes in jellyfish distribution resulted from the combined effects of higher jellyfish productivity and longer dispersal of jellyfish resulting from a shift in the ocean circulation starting in 1991. A sensitivity analysis suggests that the source-sink reconstruction is robust to typical systematic and random errors in the ocean circulation model driving the particle drift simulations. The jellyfish analysis illustrates that new insights can be gained by studying structural changes in source-sink dynamics. The proposed approach is applicable for the spatial source-sink reconstruction of other species and even abiotic processes, such as sediment transport.
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