Coral reef fish association and behaviour on the fire coral Millepora spp. in north-east Brazil

Silva Leal, Isabela Carolina, Cipresso Pereira, Pedro Herique, and de Araújo, Maria Elisabeth (2013) Coral reef fish association and behaviour on the fire coral Millepora spp. in north-east Brazil. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 93 (6). pp. 1703-1711.

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Abstract

The branching structure of the coral colonies from the genus Millepora provides substrate, shelter, and food resources for several reef organisms, such as fish and invertebrates. The present work analysed the association and behaviour of reef fish on the fire coral Millepora alcicornis and M. brasiliensis from September 2010 to February 2011, on the coastal reefs of Tamandaré, north-east Brazil. A total of 473 reef fish individuals of 27 species were sighted associated with the coral colonies, mainly composed of juveniles (65%). The most frequently observed behaviours were sheltered/stationary and swimming close to the coral; however, individuals were also observed foraging and breeding among Millepora spp. branching colonies. The agonistic behaviour performed by Stegastes fuscus individuals was highlighted in the present study, especially against Chaetodon striatus, Diodon holacanthus and Ophioblennius trinitatis individuals. Millepora spp. hydrocorals are ecologically important for juvenile and adult reef fish belonging to several trophic guilds. The complex structure of the coral colonies provides a wide variety of ecological functions on coral reefs (e.g. shelter, reproduction area, food and even territory). Nevertheless, the abundance of branching fire coral in Brazilian reefs have been declining over the past years; therefore, efforts must be made to protect this key habitat.

Item ID: 33365
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Hydrozoa; interactions; Pernambuco; habitat; substrate
ISSN: 1469-7769
Funders: CNPq, PIBIC-FACEPE, CAPES, IDEA WILD
Date Deposited: 25 May 2014 06:13
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060207 Population Ecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
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