Rarity and extinction risk in coral reef angelfishes on isolated islands: interrelationships among abundance, geographic range size and specialisation

Hobbs, Jean-Paul A,, Jones, G.P., and Munday, P.L. (2010) Rarity and extinction risk in coral reef angelfishes on isolated islands: interrelationships among abundance, geographic range size and specialisation. Coral Reefs, 29 (1). pp. 1-11.

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Determining the species most vulnerable to increasing degradation of coral reef habitats requires identification of the ecological traits that increase extinction risk. In the terrestrial environment, endemic species often face a high risk of extinction because of an association among three traits that threaten species persistence: small geographic range size, low abundance and ecological specialisation. To test whether these traits are associated in coral reef fishes, this study compared abundance and specialisation in endemic and widespread angelfishes at the remote Christmas and Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean. The interrelationships among traits conferring high extinction risk in terrestrial communities did not apply to these fishes. Endemic angelfishes were 50–80 times more abundant than widespread species at these islands. Furthermore, there was no relationship between abundance and ecological specialisation. Endemic species were not more specialised than widespread congeners and endemics used similar resources to many widespread species. Three widespread species exhibited low abundance and some degree of specialisation, which may expose them to a greater risk of local extinction. For endemic species, high abundance and lack of specialisation on susceptible habitats may compensate for the global extinction risk posed by having extremely small geographic ranges. However, recent extinctions of small range reef fishes confirm that endemics are not immune to the increasing severity of large-scale disturbances that can affect species throughout their geographic range.

Item ID: 16141
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: endemic species; macroecology; ccological versatility; Centropyge; reef fish; Christmas Island
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2011 02:47
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 20%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960399 Climate and Climate Change not elsewhere classified @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
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