Pelayo’s PhD involves the development of microsatellite markers to investigate patterns of connectivity between populations of a common NZ gastropod (Austrolittorina cincta). Several populations are being characterized across New Zealand’s North and South Islands, including several Marine Reserves around the Cook Strait region. Also, Pelayo is conducting a large-scale recruitment study that in conjunction with molecular analysis will provide an estimate on how far the A. cincta larvae travels. Another component of her PhD investigates the effects of locally available larvae on recruitment. Pelayo has conducted a set of field surveys and experiments to investigate the effect of hard coral coverage upon hard coral recruitment rates across reefs under different degrees of disturbance.