The history and biogeography of fishes on coral reefs

Bellwood, David R., and Wainwright, Peter C. (2002) The history and biogeography of fishes on coral reefs. In: Sale, Peter S., (ed.) Coral Reef Fishes: dynamic and diversity in a complex ecosystem. Elsevier, San Diego, CA, USA, pp. 5-32.

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[Extract] Coral reefs have been around since the Ordovician (Wood, 1999), and throughout their 450-million year history they have shared the oceans with fishes. Modern scleractinian-dominated coral reefs and their associated fish faunas represent only the latest manifestation of a reefal ecosystem. It is almost self-evident that history is important to coral reefs, as the reefs build on the skeletons of past generations. But what of the associated fauna? Today, fishes form an integral part of reef communities, modifying benthic community structure and forming a major conduit for the movement of energy and material. Like the reefs, reef fish faunas have been shaped by history, but this historical influence may not be as apparent. Although it is becoming increasingly clear that history plays an important role in structuring local communities (Rickleffs and Schluter, 1993a), its influence on the ecology and biogeography of fishes on coral reefs remains largely unknown.

Most studies of reef systems have addressed the question of how biogeographic and ecological patterns are maintained; relatively few consider how these patterns arose or their consequences. However, it is the combination of these two factors, origins and maintenance, that offers the clearest understanding of the nature of biogeographic patterns in reef organisms. Studies of the history of coral reefs have been largely restricted to documenting the history of the reef builders, which have left an outstanding fossil record (Wood, 1999). The history of associated faunas, and fish in particular, is less clear. However, this is changing, primarily as a result of phylogenetic analyses of reef fishes and from a reappraisal of the fossil record.

Item ID: 14368
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-12-615185-5
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Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2010 23:39
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060302 Biogeography and Phylogeography @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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