Impacts of simulated overfishing on the territoriality of coral reef damselfish

Ceccarelli, Daniela M., Hughes, Terry P., and McCook, Laurence J. (2006) Impacts of simulated overfishing on the territoriality of coral reef damselfish. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 309. pp. 255-256.

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The loss of large fishes from coral reefs can alter the composition of benthic assemblages and increase the abundance of smaller fishes at lower trophic levels. An experimental exclusion of medium and large fishes, maintained over 30 mo, had a major impact on the dynamics of 2 abundant damselfishes (Pomacentrus adelus and P. wardi) and altered their relative abundance in favour of the larger species, P. wardi. The territory size of both species inside exclusion cages increased by 20 to 50% in the first year, but then declined to their original size after a further 6 mo. The exclusion of larger fishes also led to an increase in the quantity and quality of food algae within damselfish territories. These results suggest that larger predatory and herbivorous fish influence the composition of coral reef communities not only directly, but also indirectly, by controlling the abundance and territorial activities of damselfish.

Item ID: 3993
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1599
Keywords: overfishing; coral reef; Damselfish
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2009 01:23
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960508 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Mining Environments @ 100%
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