Phase shifts and coral reef fishes

Graham, Nicholas A.J. (2015) Phase shifts and coral reef fishes. In: Mora, Camilo, (ed.) Ecology of Fishes on Coral Reefs. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 191-198.

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Abstract

Phase shifts, defined as major changes in the composition of a community, have mainly been assessed for the benthos of coral reefs, with scant attention to the consequences for reef fish assemblages. A greater number of species of fish from more families feed on or shelter within live coral as compared to macroalgae (a common alternative benthic organism). Survey and experimental assessments have demonstrated a limited role of softcoral-dominated substrates for reef fishes. Furthermore, surveys have demonstrated more species of juvenile reef fishes, a greater density, diversity and abundance of most feeding groups of fishes and a more complex size structure of fish assemblages associated with live coral habitats than macroalgal habitats. Further, phase shifts in crypotobenthic reef fish assemblages have been observed to persist following reversal back to a coral-dominated benthos. The evidence suggests that coral-dominated reefs usually provide more diverse and economically valuable fisheries, even though some abundant fish species on macroalgal-dominated reefs have fast life histories and can sustain heavily exploited fisheries. Much more research is necessary to fully understand the stabilization of reef fish assemblages on reefs of different state, how ecosystem processes are affected, and how ecosystem services are likely to change.

Item ID: 39004
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-107-08918-1
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Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2016 03:16
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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