The population dynamics of reef fishes

Warner, Robert R., and Hughes, Terence P. (1988) The population dynamics of reef fishes. In: Proceedings of the International Coral Reef Symposium (6) pp. 149-155. From: 6th International Coral Reef Symposium, 8-12 August 1988, Townsville, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

Recent models of populations with dispersive larvae have important lessons for the empirical ecologist studying reef fish populations. First, the models show that when recruitment is limiting, local populations will fluctuate around an equilibrium level even in the absence of any density-dependent effects. Second, when recruitment limitation occurs, variations in recruitment will cause fluctuations in population size, although it will be very difficult to detect this pattern in the populations consists of long-lived organisms. Such populations will be large relative to recruitment levels, and will have stored the effects of many past recruitment events. Third, even minor variation in the mortality rates of the settled population will severely reduce the correlation between recruitment and population size. Fourth, extreme fluctuations in numbers can result in strong density dependence in mortality and recruitment.

Thus most of the criteria used in past studies to characterize populations as recruitment-limited or density-dependent are suspect and should be employed with a great deal of caution. We advocate instead that experimental approaches be used to estimate the relative magnitudes of the effects of recruitment, density-dependence, and density-independence on population size and structure.

Item ID: 25791
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
ISBN: 978-0-7316-5606-6
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2013 01:21
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 > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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