Dangerous demographics: the lack of juvenile humphead parrotfishes Bolbometopon muricatum on the Great Barrier Reef

Bellwood, D.R., and Choat, J.H. (2011) Dangerous demographics: the lack of juvenile humphead parrotfishes Bolbometopon muricatum on the Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs, 30 (2). pp. 549-554.

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Abstract

The humphead parrotfish, Bolbometopon muricatum, the largest of all parrotfish species, is heavily fished throughout most of its range. In remote and heavily protected locations, such as the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), it is a major component of parrotfish biomass and plays a critical role in ecosystem processes. However, extensive surveys of GBR populations have revealed a striking lack of juveniles. Of 633 individuals censused, just four were juveniles. This represents 0.6% juveniles and contrasts markedly with the 20.2–40.2% juveniles recorded in eight other medium to large parrotfish species. These low values in Bolbometopon are corroborated by over 5,000 h of independent observations and extensive museum collections. Whilst there is no evidence to suggest that this is an extraordinary new condition for GBR Bolbometopon, it may nevertheless expose them to special risks in a changing and unpredictable world. Despite excellent management on the GBR, Bolbometopon populations may be more vulnerable than previously thought.

Item ID: 18815
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Bolbometopon, demographics, coral reefs, fishing pressure, population structure, Labridae
ISSN: 1432-0975
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2011 04:18
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2
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