Multiple processes can act together to determine abundance of organisms and structure of communities. Recently. appreciation of this fact has motivated development of conceptual and statistical frameworks that quantitatively assess the relative importance of multiple causal factors. However, little consideration has been given to variability in the "importance" of processes through space and time (i.e. robustness), which represents another facet of a process's importance. Here, I focused on populations of a coral reef fish (Thalassoma hardwicke) and used an existing analytical method to assess the relative importance of initial population inputs (larval supply) and subsequent juvenile mortality in determining the average abundances of juvenile fish populations in different locations and limes. The relative importance of processes varied significantly both temporally and spatially across a range of scales, and indicate a need fur future assessments of relative importance to incorporate this variability.
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