Contrasting patterns of reef utilization and recruitment of coral trout (Plectropomus leopardus) and snapper (Lutjanus carponotatus) at One Tree Island, southern Great Barrier Reef

Kingsford, M.J. (2009) Contrasting patterns of reef utilization and recruitment of coral trout (Plectropomus leopardus) and snapper (Lutjanus carponotatus) at One Tree Island, southern Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs, 28 (1). pp. 251-264.

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Abstract

Patterns of abundance, age structure and recruitment of coral trout (Plectropomus leopardus) and snapper (Lutjanus carponotatus) were described in different environments, which varied in benthic cover, in a 12-yr study at One Tree Island. It was hypothesized that both taxa would show strong preferences to different environments and benthic cover and that patterns would be consistent through time. Plectropomus leopardus were abundant on the reef slope and seaward edge of the lagoon, where live coral cover was high, and recruitment was generally low, in all environments. The population was sustained by a trickle of recruits, and total abundance varied little after 10 to 25 yr of protection in a no-take area, suggesting P. leopardus had reached an environment-related carrying capacity. Protogynous P. leopardus recruited to shallow environments at sites with 20% or more hard live coral and age data indicated the abundance of fish on the reef slope was from redistribution. Most recruits of gonochoristic L. carponotatus (\150 mm Standard length, SL) were found in the lagoonal environments, and adults were rare on the reef slope. Abundance of recruit L. carponotatus and P. leopardus did not correlate with percent cover of live and soft coral within environments. Recruits of L. carponotatus were usually rare in all lagoonal environments, but in 2003, many recruits (80 to 120 mm SL) were found in lagoonal environments with low and high hard live coral cover. A substantial proportion of the population (age max 18 yr) was from strong recruitment events. In 2003 and 2004, total abundance of L. carponotatus was supported by 1 year class 51.7 and 41% respectively. The utilization of environments and types of substrata varied among taxa and in some cases among lifehistory stages. There was also temporal variation in the importance of some environments (e.g. Lagoon Centre).

Item ID: 4801
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Lutjanidae, Serranidae, coral-reef fishes, habitat-use, demography, no-take-area
ISSN: 1432-0975
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2009 01:01
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology) @ 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 14
Downloads: Total: 2
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