We study the dispersal of larvae of benthic invertebrates and their recruitment back to the seafloor. Many of these larvae are planktonic, so their dispersal and settlement is influenced by interactions with ocean currents and turbulence. We use many different approaches to studying these interactions, including field observations, laboratory experiments, and mathematical modeling. Dispersal is particularly interesting in ecosystems where the habitat is patchy, because exchange of individuals between patches influences the dynamics and structure of the broader system (i.e., the metacommunity). For this reason, we focus our studies on patchy ecosystems, such as bays along the north Atlantic coastline, deep Atlantic seamounts, and deep-sea hydrothermal vents in the eastern and western tropical Pacific.